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BTA unveils list of new board nominees

Posted by on September 7th, 2010 at 10:11 am

New faces nominated for BTA board*:

  • Martina Fahrner
  • Randy Miller
  • Rick Potestio
  • Susan Remmers
  • Cecil Reniche-Smith
  • Kenji Sugahara
  • David Forman
  • David Kottkamp

*View full list of nominees and ballot
statements below.

The Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) has unveiled their slate of board nominees. With eight new faces up for election and six current members up for re-election, the results could lead to the largest board of directors the BTA has had in their 20 year history.

BTA Board Vice Chair Stephen Gomez handled the elections process. He says after the elections, the board could have 20 members, the largest currently allowed by the BTA by-laws. Gomez says the large board is neccessary to help the organization build on the foundation of 20 years of bike advocacy: “We have big ambitions and our members expect a lot from the BTA.”

Gomez also adds that the BTA wants to “to broaden and diversify the experience and energy of our board” and that, “Spreading the work across a bigger group makes more sense and can be much more effective when well-managed.” The BTA’s executive director Rob Sadowsky will feel right at home working with a large board. When he left the Active Transportation Alliance in Chicago, that board had 25 members.

In a letter to BTA members, current Board Chair Mary Roberts wrote,

“As the demand for bicycle programs and infrastructure increases, the BTA board must grow larger and more diverse so that it can support the organization and continue to influence transportation policy, investments, and the direction of bicycling in Oregon.”

It’s an impressive crop of new faces that adds some serious firepower to the BTA. Check out the list of names below (followed by ballot statements provided by the BTA):

Martina Fahrner

As one of the partners of Clever Cycles, Martina has spent the last 3 years trying to convince families to use bikes as transportation. Based on the shared experiences of families in Portland and cities all over the US, Martina would like to improve cycling conditions for parents and kids, whose needs sometimes differ from those of commuters. During her decade as an IT usability professional, Martina learned a lot about user research, consensus building, uphill battles and the power of evangelizing, and she is not afraid to use it. She also feels strongly about better communication between drivers and cyclists. She dreams of the day when riding a bike as a woman with kids will be nothing special anymore. Martina hates to admit it, but she has ridden her bike for 40 years now!

Randy Miller

National Bike Summit - Day three-28

Randy is a fifth generation Oregonian who returned to Portland after graduating from Boston University in 1969. A businessman and active in numerous business and civic organizations over his career, he developed a deep interest in biking and its community improvement aspects after leading a Best Practices delegation to Scandinavia in 2008. Randy aspires to help link the cycling community to the many organizations with which he is associated to encourage others to better comprehend the benefits of cycling, and support wider ridership among those less inclined.

Rick Potestio

Crusade and SSCXWC 09-2

Rick Potestio is a professional architect and avid cyclist whose daily explorations of the Portland region began when he was a young kid, eventually leading him to the sport of bike racing. He is a member of the Rapha Racing Team and founder of River City Bicycles Cross Crusade Cycle Cross Series, the largest series in the nation and host of the US National Championships, the US Gran Prix of Cyclo Cross, and other events. Rick is currently a member of the Metro Executive Council for Active Transportation, PDXplore, and the Gresham Design Commission. He is a founding member of the Portland-Bologna Sister City Association. His architecture office, PotestioStudio, has been recognized with numerous local, regional and national design awards.

Susan Remmers

Susan Remmers, Exec. Dir of the CCC

Susan Remmers believes the solution to some of our most entrenched social and economic problems is the equitable distribution of the natural and built assets that make up this region we call home. She is excited to contribute to the BTA’s efforts to craft policy and influence decisions that increase infrastructure and program investments that expand access to bicycling for all. Professionally, Remmers owns Remmers Consulting, a public interest firm offering executive coaching, organizational assessments, and strategic positioning to progressive and entrepreneurial organizations. Previously she served as executive director for the Community Cycling Center, a social enterprise committed to using the bicycle as a tool for empowerment and a vehicle for change. Remmers has served on numerous local, regional and national boards of progressive, mission-driven organizations., including Oregon Action, a statewide economic advocacy organization, and MRG Foundation, a local social change foundation.

Cecil Reniche-Smith

Cecil is a devoted bicyclist and attorney for the State of Oregon whose professional and practical experience with the courts and legislature would add strength to the BTA’s legislative agenda. An avid bike commuter and recreational cyclist, Cecil wants to create an environment in which bicycle transportation is the norm, and not the exception. Cecil has served on the boards of directors of Randonneurs USA, REACH Community Development, and Oregon Women Lawyers.

Kenji Sugahara

Kenji is the Executive Director of the 4,000 plus member Oregon Bicycle Racing Association. He is a graduate of Dartmouth College and the University of Oregon School of Law, he is also a member of the Oregon State Bar. Originally from Connecticut, he now resides in Salem with his wife Tessa. Not only does Kenji love road bikes, he enjoys mountain biking, track riding and cyclocross. Known for crashing all the time on his mountain bike, he always gets up with a smile. He believes the success of cycling in Oregon can be credited to the wonderful cycling community and efforts of great organizations like the BTA. His love of cycling is evident every time he gets on the bike – he’s always grinning when he’s on two wheels (which happens to include his motorcycle).

David Forman
Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, David Forman moved to Portland from New York City where he learned to ride on city streets to get to the Central Park loop. Now he enjoys his daily ride downtown from Southeast Portland. David is an active civic volunteer and has extensive experience serving on a variety of non profit and community boards, including the Portland/Multnomah Sustainable Development Commission, the Oregon State Bar Task Force on Sustainability, and Voice for Oregon Innovation & Sustainability, Inc. In 2004, the Portland Business Journal recognized David as one of the most influential community and business leaders under the age of 40. Through the BTA, David hopes to advocate for local and state policies that promote safe and reliable cycling and bridge the communication gap between cyclists and other modes of transportation. For his day job, David is a partner at the law firm of Tonkon Torp LLP where he works with clients to promote the development of renewable energy and sustainable practices and products.

David Kottkamp
David Kottkamp grew up in Portland and continues a love affair with the city. David worked for Neil Goldschmidt for 7 years as campaign staff, as a bureau director, and as Mayor’s Office staff. While working for Nike and its predecessor for 20 years he lived in Germany for 4 years and experienced state of the art bicycle transportation in Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and other cities. David has lived in Bend the last 12 years and hopes to contribute to raising the level of Bend and Oregon’s bicycle transportation. He believes in a bicycle transportation foundation of safety, the environment, and fun. David has been a volunteer SMART reader, and served on the boards of Planned Parenthood Columbia-Willamette, Cycle Oregon, Oregon States Park Trust, and Oregon State Parks Commission.

And here are the names and ballot statements of the six current members up for re-election:

Chris Achterman
Chris joined the BTA board in 2010. An Oregon native, Chris grew up in Salem where he frequently rode cross-town to his grandmother’s house or up Fairmont Hill to meet with friends. Professionally, Chris is an orthopedic surgeon. After graduating from Washington University (St Louis), Chris returned to Oregon in 1980 and now focuses on pediatric orthopedics at Emanuel Hospital. Chris’s return to cycling began in 2000, when he bought a recumbent and signed up for Cycle Oregon. He can be found at monthly Portland Bike Advisory Council meetings as well as Metro’s Blue Ribbon Trails Committee meetings. Chris has attended the last two Oregon Bicycle Summits and currently serves on the Active Transportation Council. As a physician, Chris has a strong interest in active transportation and its impact on public health and the environment, and brings this focus to the BTA Board.

Tommy Brooks
Tommy Brooks joined the BTA Board in the Fall of 2008. He currently serves on the Board’s Legislative Committee. During the day, he is an attorney who works on land use and energy issues, and it is that combination of issues that makes the BTA a natural fit for him. Prior to becoming an attorney, he spent most of his professional life working for Portland Mayor Vera Katz, so policy and politics seem to be part of his DNA. The space Tommy occupies in the cycling world consists mainly of his regular bike commute to work and the occasional triathlon when he’s feeling in shape. Tommy is also eagerly awaiting the days when he can bring his new daughter along for weekend rides.

J.S. May
J.S. May joined the BTA board in May 2010. As Director of Development for the Portland Art Museum, J.S. is a seasoned fundraising and communications professional and has worked with a wide range of local, regional, national and international nonprofit organizations. He and his teams have helped raise more than $250 million for PAM. Before joining PAM, J.S. led the fundraising practice for Metropolitan Group, a Portland based social marketing firm, and Doernbecher Children’s Hospital Foundation at Oregon Health and Science University; he also served as the director of corporate support for Oregon Public Broadcasting. A graduate of the University of Oregon, J.S. volunteers for numerous non profit organizations and has served multiple terms as president of the board for both the Portland Schools Foundation and the Portland Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. J.S. is an avid yogi, cyclist and reader.

Jim Middaugh
Jim Middaugh joined the BTA board in the Summer of 2008. Jim is an avid cyclist with several Cycle Oregon’s and many other road trips under his belt. Jim chairs BTA’s Advocacy Committee, where he uses his political and communications skills to advance cycling throughout Oregon. Jim currently is the Communications Director at the Metro, the Portland area’s regional government, where he works on land use, transportation, climate change and other issues important to cyclists and everyone. Jim also served as Chief of Staff for former Portland City Commissioner Erik Sten and has worked for a variety of environmental advocacy groups including Oregon Natural Resources Council and Environmental Defense. Prior to moving to Portland, Jim worked in Washington, D.C. for Oregon representatives Peter DeFazio and Jim Weaver.

Austin Ramsland
Austin Ramsland joined the BTA Board in the fall of 2008. In addition to serving on the Development and Branding Committees, he is committed to expanding the BTA’s range into the community until every bike messenger, Cross Crusader, and TEAM BEER member sports BTA stickers on their top tubes and memberships in their wallets. A native of Duluth, Minnesota, Austin is the co-owner of Sweetpea Bicycles.

Mary Roberts
Mary Roberts, a Seattle native, moved to the Portland area and bike commuted daily to Portland State University long before bike lanes. She joined the board in 2006 and serves as the Board Chair. Mary is committed to helping Oregon become the “north star” nationally for bicycle transportation and cleaner healthier communities. She holds a business degree from PSU. Mary rides her bike for city errands and meetings, and in good weather rides weekly with a group of women friends for recreation. She and her husband enjoy annual cycling vacations with their Co-Motion bikes or folding Bike Fridays. Other interests include delicious food, attending live theater, and skiing.

All votes are due by September 30th.

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areSteve Brownmatt picioJonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)Kenji Recent comment authors
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While this group seems quite accomplished, it quite clearly establishes that the BTA will remain a Portland rather than a statewide organization. In addition to not serving the interests of cyclists outside of the Portland metro area, it will limit the political effectiveness of the BTA in Salem. You can’t pass our agenda with Portland area legislators alone.

A real missed opportunity to make the BTA a more effective organization in Salem.

Lynne F
Lynne F

Last year, I did not renew my BTA membership, because I live in the land that the BTA forgot (just over Sylvan hill, in Beaverton).

BUT the BTA has really turned around on their efforts; they’ve got someone spending a LOT of time in Washington County.

I re-upped just last week. And I know who is getting my first vote of the new nominees. Vote for Cecil – she’ll be amazing.


I nominate Vance for president of BTA


wait a second. there are thirteen people serving on the board right now. some of the present slate are incumbents, and eight are newcomers. if even one incumbent whose term is expiring is not running, this means everyone get elected. not necessarily a bad thing, but i have a question about the slate. did everyone who expressed interest get on the ballot?


Hey…. I’m from Salem!


Salem and Bend are both represented.

Red Five
Red Five

BTA? Ha they forgot to put Jim Spagg on that list.

matt picio

Andrew (#1) – Not sure the fault lies with the BTA on that one. How many applicants were there from outside Portland, and how many were forwarded to the board by the nominating committee? What criteria did the nominating committee use to recommend them to the board, and what criteria did the board use to approve the list? ( Step 6 in the application process says that diversity in background is one of the criteria. There isn’t any transparency in the process since the board does not post its meeting minutes publicly for the members. So your criticism may be valid, or may not – we honestly don’t know. The BTA is limited by the candidates who apply, they can’t just shanghai folks from Bend and Baker City and Oakridge and Prineville, regardless of the city’s history in that regard.

are (#4) – That’s a good question. My understanding is that at least one of the incumbent directors is not intending to serve a new term. Potentially everyone could be elected, since the board can have up to 20 members. I’m curious as to what the BTA’s Bylaws say on the subject.

Ah – I don’t have to be curious, here they are:

The number of directors is fixed by the board itself, and must be between 7 and 20.

There are some great people on this list, and the potential to really re-energize the board – which would really leverage Sadowsky’s talents by providing the kind of support, connections, skills and fundraising sources to enable the BTA to go above and beyond where it’s been before. I hope they keep the momentum going, because there’s a real opportunity for the BTA to engage both the public and the political process at the local, state and federal levels over the next 2 years.

matt picio

Not to say the current board doesn’t have energy – it’s just too small for the BTA’s current needs.

Jim Lee
Jim Lee

Rick and Kenji for sure!


:p Thanks Jim!

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)


here’s the answer to your question via BTA Board vice Chair Stephen Gomez:

“…there are 14 current board members with two choosing not to run again (Beaston and Adkins).

Regarding the slate, members are not obligated to vote for all nominees–they can vote for all, some or none. They can write in a candidate. The Bylaws relative to the election state:

“Directors are elected by a plurality of the votes cast by members.” Plurality is the operative concept when it comes to the election.

And no, not everyone who expressed interest was nominated to the board slate.”

matt picio

Jonathan – the BTA’s bylaws stipulate that the board fixes the number of members. What does the BTA have it currently set at?

Steve Brown

What an exciting group of people that have committed to making the region (Oregon and SW Washington) a better place to ride. Thanks to all of you!


sorry if this message duplicates, but a previous copy did not seem to go through.

how would one go about finding the names of people who self-nominated but did not make the “slate”? someone might want to mount a write-in campaign.

re comment 8, it is my recollection that the bylaws were posted to BTA’s website only a few months ago, at my request. you will note that this slate business is not specified in the bylaws.


for what it is worth, i have confirmed that two incumbents are not seeking re-election, and that therefore absent a successful write-in campaign, the entire slate of fourteen, including six incumbents, will be elected, even if only one person votes for each.