Dear Iron Dog Community:
I am writing to introduce myself and to let you know that I am excited to be a part of the Iron Dog team! I am eager to share this update with you.
Iron Dog Team
I have spent the last six weeks working with the Board of Directors, Laurel Hickel, Director of Operations and Sarah Miller, Event Coordinator, delving into the vast and multilayered plans that it takes to make the Iron Dog happen. It is impressive how much growth and development Kevin Kastner accomplished during his tenure with only one full time and one seasonal employee! I am fortunate to say that I have Laurel and Sarah back on board for 2017/2018!
Even with such an experienced team, the only way we can make this happen is because of the incredible team of Iron Dog volunteers! Everyone from board members, oﬃcials, timers, checkers, logistics teams and more, are unpaid volunteers. These folks take oﬀ a week and countless hours of their lives to make the Iron Dog happen. Why? Because they are passionate about this race! Please join me in showing our appreciation whenever possible.
Sponsorship & Fundraising (Merchandise, Raffle)
Since joining the team in mid-August, I have focused on retaining our sponsors and reaching out to new sponsors. I am happy to say that we are in great shape for the 2018 Iron Dog! We have several new sponsors that we will be announcing soon. Sponsorship will continue to be a strong focus for me as we move forward. I will continue to pursue, develop, maintain and foster sponsor relations. Please feel free to refer folks to me. We will take care of them! Please thank and support our sponsors every chance you have- a simple thank you goes a long way.
We are also beginning to get our 2018 merchandise in so be sure to check our website! Also, our raffle tickets go on sale this weekend.
As you are no doubt aware, a flaw was discovered in the rules for the race in 2017. This spring, a Rules Committee consisting of two Board members and 17 racers was formed. The committee reviewed and revised the rules to make them as fair and consistent as possible. The rules are posted at IronDog.org for your review. As the race continues to grow, there is no doubt that we will have more opportunities for improvement and will continue to do so through committee process in the future.
I have spent quite a few hours in meetings with various racers/participants/partners/ contributors/supporters, listening to feedback and perceptions, discussing their suggestions, and frankly, in some cases, hearing criticism. This has been extremely valuable and has brought to light challenges that, if not already addressed by the Board, I have begun to address from my position.
I am working diligently with the Board and staﬀ to support their eﬀorts, as well as making additional changes in some areas that need a bit of tweaking. I am pleased to say that the Board of Directors is supportive and has agreed to the following initiatives:
Past Champions Council
The Past Champions Council will serve as an Advisory Committee to the Board of Directors. We hope that all of our Past Champions will join in and participate. We recognize that the history, knowledge and experience of this group is vast and it is a resource that we hope to use! Many of the issues that the organization has faced and will face, would benefit greatly from the collective voice of the Past Champions Council. We are planning a meeting and will be in contact with group members in the future.
Are you a member of Iron Dog? Racers, as a part of your registration fee, you pay for a membership in the Iron Dog organization. If you are not a member and are interested in becoming one, please contact our office for more information.
We will do a better job of communicating with you. We want your input on plans, issues and our strategy moving ahead. As a member, you can expect to hear from us regularly and to have opportunities for input. We will be formalizing the voting/feedback process and will reach out to you soon on this topic. Some of the items we plan to ask for input on are:
- Nominations for the yearly charity partner that receives a share of raﬄe proceeds
- Nominations/suggestions for key race volunteers
- Ideas for improvement in all areas of the Iron Dog
- Input on strategic planning and growth of the Iron Dog
- Nominations for Hall of Fame Inductees
We all benefit by operating at the highest level of respect for each other and if we don’t, we all lose. Whether it is a personal interaction, a media interview or a social media comment, I ask that we all take the high road, please. I believe that we all want the race to continue and grow well into the future and by conducting ourselves with the utmost professionalism and mutual respect, we will insure that the race, as well as and our positive relationships with sponsors, fans, volunteers, schools and businesses will continue.
If we haven’t met yet, please know that it is simply due to the short time I have been on staﬀ. and that your feedback is very important to me. I want to hear from everyone who wants to contribute towards Iron Dog’s future success! The more information I have from diﬀerent perspectives, the better job I can do translating that into mutually beneficial partnerships.
Finally, please accept my personal thanks and gratitude for participating in the success of Iron Dog! Whether you are a racer, fan, sponsor or volunteer, you have my highest respect for the time and energy you put into the race. You are critical to the past and future success of the Iron Dog! I look forward to meeting you and your families and to an amazing 2018 Iron Dog!