Meet the ACA Board Candidate - Harry Hilgers

Taken from the ACA site

I have been nominated for Board Candidacy by Schwab Cycles. Per Jon’s request, I am posting below a statement about myself. I have tried to be as all-inclusive as possible in the hope that it will give the clubs the information needed to make an educated voting decision. I will also be more than happy to discuss any issues, your thoughts and opinions either on this forum or personally via direct communications. With that in mind, please do not hesitate to contact me at 303-917-5882, at hhhilgers@mesanetworks.net or via this forum.

See you at the yearly meeting.

1. Who am I?

My name is Harry Hilgers. I was born and raised in the province of Limburg, The Netherlands, Amstel Gold Race country, including the infamous Cauberg. (So many times I cursed that hill as I climbed it while cycling from my job in Valkenburg to my girlfriend’s house in Maastricht). In other words, as a born Dutchman, cycling is part of my heritage. I immigrated to the USA in 1968 and obtained my US citizenship in 1976.
I am a retired Electrical Engineer. For the first half of my career I worked as an Electrical Controls Design Engineer and Project Manager in industry. The second half of my career I worked as an Aerospace Controls Analyst. Although I have had an exciting career, I never did like the fact that having a job really interfered with my cycling. (Don’t you hate when that happens?)
I have been cycling, with periods of racing intertwined, for the past 60 years. Currently I race in the Masters 65+ category. Now that I have entered my “golden years” I am in a position to devote time and energy to help promote and expand the sport that I love and that has done so much for me.

2. What is my vision for the future of ACA?
The un-selfish work done by the current and past ACA staff, promoters and executive committees has build a “GRASS ROOTS” cycling organization that is ACCESSIBLE to ALL individuals of any age and genre. My vision is to help continue and grow this.

3. How do I see my role as an ACA Board member? (My “platform”).
1) Work to encourage new and current promoters to promote more races and especially more Road Races.
2) Encourage more sponsors to enter our sport. This may be possible by working with the TV media to get more visibility. I would love to see a short clip of our weekend races during the sports section of the Sunday evening news. (After all, they show “Ride the Rockies” clips).
3) Further the continuation and expansion of our children’s racing programs. Without our kids entering cycling, our sport will again fade into obscurity.
4) Help make sure that ALL categories and ALL age groups have the opportunity to race among their peers without having to combine categories, while still allowing for a shortening of the criterium race days. The “blue/yellow/green” grouping for closed course events, as proposed by Jon and the current Board, will go a long way towards accomplishing this.
5) Do whatever needs to be done to obtain/train more judges. Currently we have only a few experienced judges. This is a very weak link in our organization. What would the result be if, heaven forbid, anything were to happen to them? No judges, no races. So I will be proposing that Jon and our current judges be given the resources to hire and train new judges. This needs to go hand in hand with the shortening of the race days, mentioned above. (Yvonne tells me that the long race day is one of the main reasons why so few folks are interested in becoming judges).
6) I have always thought that splitting off ACA away from USAC in the mid eighties resulted in a greater expansion of bicycle racing in Colorado. ACA has had full LOCAL control over its own affairs and I am adamant that this continue. However, I am also a great proponent of cooperating with USAC, as well as with any other race organization, to search for common ground where we may come together to promote the interests of ALL racers, irregardless of which organization they belong to.
7) Support our new Executive Director to the fullest. I think that Jon has “hit the ground running” and done a very commendable job for his first year. He has not been afraid to properly tackle and prioritize the pertinent issues as needed.
8)Last but not least and in full agreement with our current president, Bill Barr, full transparency and openness is of the utmost importance and there is no room for any “hidden agendas”. In light of this I will be (stay) active on the forum in order to pass on pertinent issues to the members. (In this regard, I think that Stephen and Jon have done an excellent job on the forum).

4. Why did I withdraw from last years’ board elections?
As some of you may recall, one year ago my name was entered into the hat for the elections and I withdrew a few weeks later. I want to explain the reasons why.

ACA had just come to the end of a period that saw some turmoil resulting in the resignation of several board members as well as the Executive Director. So my first reaction was to jump in and volunteer my time to help with pressing ACA matters.

However, prior to last year and due to reasons beyond my control, I had been away from racing for some years. I recognized that I did not have a good enough grasp on the current state of ACA affairs. So it would clearly be best for ACA, as well as for me, to look at things for a year to come up to speed. I also had to convince myself that ACA was still on the original track that made it into the great organization it is today.

With that in mind I set several goals for myself for this past year:
1) Enter as many races as possible. In this way I would be combining my love for racing with finding out first hand what the real race-day issues are that affect the race organizers and the ACA officials.
2) Find out about the every day ACA affairs by attending several ACA Board meetings.
3) Get to know and communicate regularly with the newly hired Executive Director (Jon).
4) Communicate with some long time ACA members and officials to get their first-hand opinions on the relevant issues.
5) Obtain opinions from my fellow racers by taking an active part in the forum.

At the end of this year I can truly say that I have accomplished all of the above goals. I have come away with the conclusion that ACA is indeed headed in the right direction; a direction that I want to encourage and be an active part of.

5. Closing comment
Though this write up was lengthy, I truly hope that I have given enough information for you to make an educated voting decision. I will also be more than happy to discuss any issues, thoughts and opinions you may have. With that in mind, please do not hesitate to contact me at 303-917-5882, at hhhilgers@mesanetworks.net or via the forum.

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