John David, CSEE, is chief operating officer of USA BMX. As a 2017 Connect Sports Game Changer, David discusses his passion for sports tourism.
What I do: I’m responsible for leading and managing the operations of USA BMX by guiding our amazing 30-plus-member staff. My primary duties include annually creating and managing the 30-event national series, while building and maintaining all relationships in the sports tourism industry. Additionally, I spearhead our participant and membership insurance programs, while also managing the association’s legal affairs.
How I got here: I started as a BMX racer growing up. In college, I worked for the Baton Rouge Parks and Recreation Association managing our local BMX facility and club. After working with the Baton Rouge Area Sports Foundation, we were awarded the bid to host the BMX Cajun Nationals in 1997, and shortly after, the event hired the National Bicycle League to run their field operations. In 2000, I was hired by the ‘other’ sanctioning body, American Bicycle Association, as the director of new track development and, in 2009, was promoted to COO.
Why I am a game changer: In the sports tourism industry I have always tried to give back and truly feel I get more than I give. I have learned so much by volunteering with NASC and serving as a board member for the past six years. Most importantly, with every relationship I develop with a DMO, I have a very simple philosophy: Build a partnership and a friendship. When both are in place, no challenge cannot be overcome—and your successes taste twice as sweet.
My greatest career accomplishment: In 2010, our CEO and I negotiated the asset purchase of our sole competitor. This is my greatest accomplishment because it unified the sport under one organization. While we once were consumed by politics between the two associations, we now have our full focus on the growth and sustainability of our sport.
Impressive stats: Our entire staff is truly responsible for the amazing growth we have experienced over my 17 years with the association. Our number of sanctioned events has skyrocketed to more than12,000 annually, and our membership has increased by almost 20,000 members.
What I’m working on: I’m most excited about our initiatives to expand our sport to the masses. We were the first Olympic sport to ever create a STEM program and now have it deployed in more than 200 schools servicing more than 30,000 students. We have expanded the curriculum and piloted a new STEM-based program where students design and build a scale model of a BMX facility guided by STEM principles and lessons. The pilot program was phenomenal, and its scalability to schools across the U.S. is in the works. We’re also in the midst of moving our headquarters to Tulsa, Oklahoma, where we already host our national championships and are excited to continue to make a mark in that community.
What I do outside of work: I currently serve on the NASC board of directors, and chair the symposium committee, the Austin CVB customer advisory board and the Connect Sports executive advisory board. I love a good round of golf, but, most importantly, try to spend quality time with those close to me when not traveling.