BTA selects Bricker for top job

BTA's Alice Awards and Auction

Scott Bricker at the
2007 Alice Awards.
(Photos © Jonathan Maus)

After a career with the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) that has spanned nearly a decade, Scott Bricker has been named their new executive director.

Bricker has served in an interim capacity since July when former executive director Evan Manvel stepped down.

His selection comes after a nationwide search and a final decision made by the BTA’s Board of Director’s this weekend.

Bricker has been with the BTA since 1998, when the organization had just three full-time staff and focused their advocacy solely on Portland. Now, the BTA is a regional and national player (Bricker recently flew to Washington D.C. to testify in front of a Congressional committee) with 15 full-time staffers (and another 15 seasonal and part-time) and 4,500 members.

“This will be an evolution…I’m looking to re-structure the entire organization and I’m looking for feedback on how to do it. It will take a while to evolve.”
–Scott Bricker

For the past three legislative sessions, Bricker has made a name for himself pushing bike-related bills through the halls of Salem. Now, he’ll officially pass that torch to Karl Rohde, who the BTA hired as their government relations and public affairs director back in August.

Born and raised in Monroe, New York, Bricker moved to Portland in 1994 to work at Metro as a transportation planning intern. In 1998 he received his Masters in Urban and Regional Planning from Portland State University and was hired by the BTA later that year.

Oregon Bicycle Summit

Addressing the Oregon
Bicycle Summit.
Scott Bricker on Broadway Bridge

On the commute with
his step-daughter.

I sat down with Scott a few weeks ago, just after he assumed interim leadership of the organization.

He said he already had plans to meet with each employee and “as many stakeholders as possible” to get an assessment of where things stand and talk about potential changes.

He spoke about how he wanted to bring about an “evolution” at the BTA. “I’m looking to re-structure the entire organization,” and he was quick to add that he’s, “looking for feedback on how to do it.”

Community Budget Hearing

Testifying about the budget
in front of City Council.

He said one of the major challenges they face is a lack of administrative support. “We’re hiring one administrative person and we’d like to hire two. This will free up staff to do more advocacy.”

Bricker went on to say that along with hiring more help he is trying to, “build in capacity to react so we can do project-level advocacy like the Sellwood Bridge, enforcement issues, etc…”

Back in July, the BTA’s ability and/or willingness to react to pressing local bike issues became a public conversation when concerns about their focus were aired on a local email list. The message, which specifically called out a quote by Bricker from a local newspaper, struck a nerve. While some replies offered support, others shared pointed critiques and questioned the BTA’s impact in Portland metro-area issues.

One person wrote, “The BTA has little relevance for bike commuters, and seems to be focused on influencing PDOT and Salem.”

I asked Bricker about that email.

“I would have liked to have heard about those feelings in a different way…The people that have had grievances with me don’t even know me. I’m not saying I’m perfect, but if you want to talk with me, give me a phone call. That being said, the community concerns did get my attention.”

Bricker says he learned from the email episode.

“We learned if we engage the community we will get better ideas. It was hard to hear it like that, but we still have to be strategic about what [projects and issues] we [choose to] work on.”

It all boils down to communication, and Bricker feels they can do better.

“I don’t think we’re good communicators at this point. We haven’t had a strategic approach to our communications. At our first staff meeting [after Manvel left], I asked the staff to communicate better and more frequently. Some staff don’t feel comfortable posting to the blog…but we’re all getting better at that.”

Going forward, Bricker said he’s excited to be in his new role and to spend more time in the community, something his former position didn’t allow him to do.

At the time we spoke, Bricker hoped he’d get this job and he felt that hiring someone from within, who already knows the culture, would be a plus. “We need to hit the ground running. I’ve been around long enough to understand the organizational structure we need to build in order to make us successful.”

Congratulations Scott! I look forward to you and the BTA playing a pivotal role in Portland’s bike future…

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at maus.jonathan@gmail.com, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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Mark Lear
Mark Lear
16 years ago

Jonathan,

This is great news for the BTA, Portland, and all of Oregon.

Scott has the experience and skills to lead the BTA. Scott is a great resource on legislation, funding, and policy issues.

I routinely see Scott help the non-biking community understand that investments in safe and convenient bicycle improvements are in everyone\’s interest.

Go BTA – Go Scott

Greg Raisman
Greg Raisman
16 years ago

You said it, Mark!

Go Scott!

Elliot
Elliot
16 years ago

Congratulations Scott.

Jason
Jason
16 years ago

Great news… looking forward to seeing Scott move this organization into a new direction. Congratulations to Scott and the BTA.

Jessica Roberts
Jessica Roberts
16 years ago

I worked with Scott for 5 years and I know he\’s the real deal. He combines passion, smarts, skills, and vision and applies these qualities to making the world a better place for bikes. I\’m not surprised the board discovered that they already had the right guy in place all along…congrats to Scott and to the BTA, and to all of us everyday bicyclists who will benefit from his leadership!!

Matt Picio
16 years ago

Congratulations, Scott!

The email Jonathan quoted was mine, and unfortunately my subsequent clarification was lost – I was pointing out that there seemed to be a disconnect between what the BTA *actually* does versus the public perception of the BTA. Scott, if you took that to mean I was criticizing you, then I apologize. In the 3 months since I wrote that email, I\’ve become a lot more aware of what the BTA is doing, became a member, and have worked with a number of the BTA staff on various projects. I really like the direction that Scott is taking the BTA so far.

Keep up the great work, everybody!

Todd Boulanger
Todd Boulanger
16 years ago

Scott (and the BTA),

Congratulations on your promotion to ED.

I have enjoyed working with you in the 8 years I have known you and will look forward to doing more on the bi-state bicycle design and accessibility issues, Bike Blvds, and parking too.

The BTA is in good hands.

-Todd

Ian Stude
Ian Stude
16 years ago

Congrats, Scott! And kudos to the BTA Board for making such a smart choice. I have great faith that the BTA will grow and succeed admirably under Scott\’s capable leadership.

Curt Dewees
Curt Dewees
16 years ago

Congratulations, Brickerhouse! This is good news not only for Scott and for the BTA, but for all of us who care about bicycling here in Portland and the rest of Oregon & SW Washington!

If you\’re a bicyclist in Oregon, the future looks very bright, now that Scott is \”officially\” in at the BTA! Scott, you ARE the right choice!

I hope Scott still finds some time in his new, even busier schedule to visit to Salem and the State Legislature now and then (when the timing is right, of course). Scott\’s quiet, steady influence there has made a huge positive difference for all of us bicyclists, and I hope it can continue to do so!

David Guettler
16 years ago

I\’m so glad the BTA made the right choice and promoted from within. Scott has been so involved at so many different levels of this organization, to me , he was the obvious choice.
Congrats, Scott.

Carl
Carl
16 years ago

Congratulations Scott!
We\’ll try to have a special donut for you on the bridge this month…

Susan Remmers
16 years ago

Congratulations Scott; I look foward to working together!

Mark Johnson
Mark Johnson
16 years ago

Congrats Scott and good choice BTA Board.

Now, the first order of business. We all need to figure out how to stop the spiraling death & injury of cyclist on Portland city and metro-area streets.

Scott Bricker, BTA
Scott Bricker, BTA
16 years ago

Thanks y\’all. The BTA is going to be reaching out more to cyclists. We will be launching a strategic planning process that includes focusing energy on hearing from today\’s cyclists of all ages and types.

I look forward to working with all of you.

As for the donut, just please make sure I get my action-card when I bring my own coffee mug. I\’m trying to collect the entire set.

veronica goldsmith
veronica goldsmith
16 years ago

best man for the job!