Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on November 28th, 2009 at 5:41 pm
“This new position proved to be my most challenging professional venture.”
— Scott Bricker
On November 18th, the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) announced that Scott Bricker would no longer be their leader. The firing was effective immediately, and it caught some in the community off guard. After all, Bricker had the longest tenure of any other BTA staffer.
Bricker has yet to respond at length to the personnel decision. Today, he sent out a letter to his friends and colleagues that he has given us permission to reprint in its entirety below:
Dear friends and colleagues –
Back in university I learned about Robert Moses and how one man with a vision shaped a city, a culture, through transportation. This vision set my course for the past fifteen years, including moving to Portland, graduate studies, and a career focused on creating sustainable cities and healthy economies. I believe that bicycling is a key indicator for these outcomes and so I spent eleven years at the BTA to make Oregon the best for bicycling in the nation.
It has been a privilege to have served as a leader for over a decade in making bicycling safe, convenient and accessible to all. In that time I helped develop the Safe Routes to School movement in Oregon and nationally, working with people in over 20 Oregon cities and creating the nation’s strongest youth cycling education program. I built a state bicycle lobby program that now is carried by many, and worked on key projects such as partnering with businesses to bring the first on-street bike corral to Portland. Perhaps most important to me personally has been my work to shift the focus of cycling infrastructure development to ensure that people of all ages and abilities can be accommodated… and the funding is now flowing to make this a reality.
In the last two years I took on a new challenge, that of Executive Director of the BTA. This new position proved to be my most challenging professional venture. As the new BTA leader I reorganized the staffing structure, successfully shifted the operating culture and refit the team to have the right aptitudes to meet the evolving and growing demands to elevate bicycling. This required painful choices of moving friends and competent colleagues out of the organization solely in the name of a more solid and complete BTA. Just the week prior to my departure, the BTA hired two new staff and set in motion exciting advocacy campaigns . We capped our financial systems overhaul with a renewed budgeting process, and were four weeks away from piloting a new database system. Building upon nine previous years of success, I can proudly say that in the last two I led the advancement of an organization with a top notch staff and operating culture, a very strong financial position, dozens of ongoing successes, and strong and opinionated Board of Directors.
While I am personally disappointed to not be leading this great team, there are many excellent leaders and spokespeople advocating to advance cycling. I continue to believe that any movement requires many leaders and a vocal community. The BTA is the leading bicycling advocacy and education organization, and I am confident that with all of our support it will continue to be so.
Moving forward I will seek new opportunities in broader urban issues, sustainable economies, tax policies, education, and equity. But first, I am spending some well deserved time with my family. I will finish the year relaxing with friends and getting ready for the challenges ahead in the new year.
I look forward to continuing this work with many of you.
For more analysis of the BTA’s decision to move forward with Bricker, see our coverage from last week. In the coming weeks, we’ll have more analysis about what this means to the BTA and to bike advocacy in Portland.