View Full Version : USMS National Office moves to Sarasota, FL

February 11th, 2009, 09:39 AM
Just in Swimming World On-line Lane 9 News.

Industry News: U.S. Masters Swimming to Establish National Headquarters in Sarasota -- February 10, 2009

SARASOTA, Florida, February 10. U.S. Masters Swimming, the national governing body for adult fitness, wellness and competition through aquatics, is pleased to announce it has selected Sarasota, Fla., in which to establish its national headquarters. After an extensive search process that included the review of numerous proposals from various cities across the country, the U.S. Masters Swimming Board of Directors approved the selection of Sarasota.

U.S. Masters Swimming hosted its first adult competitive swimming event in 1970. In the 39 years since its first event, a passionate and committed base of volunteers has built and operated the membership organization with the support of two full-time employees and a couple of independent contractors. Today, U.S. Masters Swimming provides participant insurance coverage to nearly 50,000-adult swimmers that comprise the membership, sanctions and promotes two nationally recognized pool national championships, six open water national championships and a series of fitness challenges. In addition, it sanctions more than 500 local adult swimming competitions, tracks individual results, including adult age-group American records, promotes coaches education, distributes a bimonthly member magazine and monthly member e-newsletters, and has 21 national corporate sponsors. The organization partners with 52 Local Masters Swimming Committees that in turn deliver regional and local support to more than 1,000 adult swimming programs that serve the members.

"This is a significant milestone in the history of U.S. Masters Swimming," commented Rob Copeland, U.S. Masters Swimming president. "For nearly 40 years, we have existed as a virtual, volunteer-run organization. Our membership has continued and is continuing to grow. We are now at nearly 50,000 members, and with the hiring of an executive director and additional staff, establishing a national headquarters is a natural evolution."

"Sarasota, through the entire process, exhibited a tremendous volunteer spirit that marries well with our culture," continued Copeland. "They are committed to health and fitness, and aquatics are an important part of their community, as evidenced by the nationally recognized Sarasota Sharks age-group and Masters swimming programs. They also are a community steeped in giving, with numerous foundations, which also fits well with our own foundation program. The Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County developed a diverse committee that included local Masters swimmers, the Sarasota YMCA, Ringling College, University of South Florida Sarasota -Manatee, the city, the county and private business leaders, all coming together to make us feel very welcome. We see important short-term and long-term opportunities in Sarasota that we believe can best serve our initiatives. We in turn look forward to being a terrific and valued partner to Sarasota."

In addition to becoming the national headquarters, Sarasota will also be recognized with a U.S. Masters Swimming Community Partner designation. The Community Partner designation is awarded to localities that commit to increasing public awareness of U.S. Masters Swimming and supporting U.S. Masters Swimming's mission of promoting health and fitness in adults through Masters swimming. Community Partners promote Masters swimming locally by collaborating with U.S. Masters Swimming to increase programming, awareness, events and membership.

U.S. Masters Swimming and Sarasota have established a transition team. The transition team will assist in the site selection of the office space and relocation of employees to Sarasota. The transition is expected to take place throughout the spring and summer of 2009.


"The Economic Development Corporation is pleased U.S. Masters Swimming chose Sarasota County for its headquarters. It is a fantastic organization that embodies the type of active lifestyle and lifelong fitness philosophy shared by so many people in our area. We enjoyed working with the organization as they made their relocation decision and will continue to provide assistance as they transition to Sarasota County. The organization's planned relocation to Sarasota County is a testament to the role of community collaboration in strengthening the local economy. We led a committee of diverse community stakeholders that made it clear to U.S. Masters Swimming that their organization was welcome in Sarasota County and by doing so, our community gained a new business.." Joan McGill, VP of Business Development, Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County

"We are thrilled U.S. Masters Swimming is coming to Sarasota. Our outstanding climate, aquatic facilities and history of producing championship swimmers make Sarasota a perfect fit for their headquarters. I am certain USMS will add to our area's quality of life and help promote the active lifestyle so many of us enjoy." City of Sarasota Mayor Lou Ann Palmer

"On behalf of the tourism industry, the Sarasota Convention & Visitors Bureau welcomes U.S. Masters Swimming to Sarasota. With the many things our community has to offer, we feel they have found a swimmer's paradise. We look forward to our future partnership and ensuring a first-class experience for all visiting their new headquarters in sunny Sarasota." Virginia J. Haley, President, Sarasota Convention & Visitors Bureau

"The Sarasota Family YMCA is very pleased to learn U.S. Masters Swimming will establish their headquarters here in our community. Our YMCA has been committed to aquatics at all levels, including competitive aquatics for all ages, for a half century. We are all looking forward to a strong and lasting relationship that will add even more to our beautiful community." Ira Klein, Head Coach, Sarasota YMCA Sharks Swim Team

"Sarasota Masters swimmers are proud to be welcoming the sport we love to the community we love. We believe Sarasota, with her beaches and her passionate swimming community, will prove to be a great match and a very comfortable home base for USMS operations. USMS is a nonprofit organization that will bring great aquatics services and yet another layer of social capital to this vibrant community. The Southwest Florida community embraces its nonprofits with generous philanthropy and enthusiastic volunteerism every day. As a member of that nonprofit community, and a Masters swimmer, I'm particularly happy to be welcoming USMS to town." Jay Lockaby, President, The Wellness Community, Executive Director & President, Sharks Masters

"The decision by the U.S. Master's Swimming organization to select Sarasota as their new home is a testament to the wonderful teamwork put forth by the community leadership. The Sarasota-Manatee county area has long been regarded as one of the premier locations in the entire country for those who are interested in an active healthy lifestyle, and the decision of USMS to relocate to Sarasota only helps to further strengthen the area's wonderful reputation. I truly believe that there is no better place to live, work, and raise a family than Sarasota and we are excited to welcome the USMS leadership team and their members to the paradise we call home." Tim Morris, CEO, Corvus International Managing Principal, Springbok Sports Club & Academy

Special thanks to USMS for contributing this report.

June 8th, 2009, 08:37 PM
This is very cool news. I can't believe no one has commented on this yet... I am relocating to Sarasota this Fall and will be swimming with the Sarasota YMCA Sharks Masters team. The open water swimming opportunities in that area are incredible, and there are lots of OWS races going on year-round.

June 9th, 2009, 01:35 PM
This is very cool news. I can't believe no one has commented on this yet... I am relocating to Sarasota this Fall and will be swimming with the Sarasota YMCA Sharks Masters team. The open water swimming opportunities in that area are incredible, and there are lots of OWS races going on year-round.

It has been commented, and pictures added in this thread.

Ahelee Sue Osborn
June 9th, 2009, 08:30 PM
It has been commented, and pictures added in this thread. (http://forums.usms.org/showthread.php?t=14146)

Thanks TIM!
And Todd - I also thought it was VERY cool news!

June 9th, 2009, 09:29 PM
Thanks for that link aztimm! The "Bumpy" Jones swim meet is this weekend at the Sarasota YMCA Sharks Pool.

Rob Butcher
June 9th, 2009, 09:33 PM
Today is day three of the renovation project on our new headquarters. To take a brief step back, in February after nearly a six month search, the board selected Sarasota as the community to establish U.S. Masters Swimming headquarters. After reviewing a number of proposals, the board selected Sarasota for the following reasons:

The Sarasota task force of nearly 20-citizens included leaders from the swimming community, private sector and elected sector. This well rounded approach was impressive to the board with each group sharing the same message in a produced video of how much they wanted USMS in their community and their commitment to help grow the USMS mission

The proposal guaranteed economically the annual cost would come within our budget. It is important to note USMS was not seeking a free land deal. If we did want free, we would have had to guarantee something back each year like our Nationals. This was not something we wanted to guarantee

Sarasota has more than $1BB in Foundation giving within its community. This was important as we hope to tap this spirit of giving in growing our own Foundation efforts

Sarasota did share facilities such as the Sarasota YMCA, Arlington Park Community pool and beaches could be made available for hosting of events

Sarasota is also a warm weather destination favorable to those who might want to travel and/or visit the area

With the Sarasota selection in place, I made three trips to Sarasota to begin the selection location for our headquarters. I looked at more than 30-different locations and the community lived up to its promise. In May, the board and Finance Committee approved the signing of a 10-year lease on the historic Pagoda Building. The Pagoda Building is a City owned building. The lease is public records. We are paying $1,066 a month in rent for roughly 2,000 square foot of space.

As required by USMS Financial Policy, anytime you spend more than $1,000 we must go through a formal bid process. We sought bids from three contractors to renovate the Pagoda building. We sought three bids for the phone systems and we sought three bids for the signage installation. We selected Rock Solid as our General Contractor. Rock Solid presented architectural plans, a full scope of work, costs and estimated timeline to us. We received our permits from the City of Sarasota and the renovation began last week. The carpet, paint, blinds for the windows, etc. have all been selected and ordered. It is anticipated the construction will last 2-3 weeks. The T1 lines for phone and Internet are also ordered and should be installed along with the phone system installed later in June. When the renovations are complete, the Pagoda building will be able to seat 10-employees with the option to add two more as we grow.

Ashley and I closed our Charlotte office last week. Ashley is moving to Auburn where she has been accepted to PHD school starting in August. Her husband Mark is continuing to train for the 2012 Olympics. Ashley will continue to stay involved on projects with USMS. Alli (my much better half), our two cats, our border collie and I moved to Sarasota last week. The Charlotte office furniture was loaded on the moving truck with our personal stuff.

We are now in Sarasota full time. Nick Florio (our new Controller), Laura Hamel (our new Editor-in-Chief) and I are temporarily working out of a 10' x 14' office. We continue to service our members, clubs, LMSCs and partners from this space off our cell phones and laptops.

Mark Gill is working from his home in Louisville. He will be making his first trip to Sarasota in July.

Jim Matysek works from his home office in Kansas City. He and Anna Lea are hoping to move to Sarasota full time in the Fall/Winter timeframe, pending the sale of their home.

We will continue to post pictures of the renovations and progress reports....

June 9th, 2009, 10:05 PM
Wow. This move is a much bigger deal -- and commitment, from all involved -- than I first realized. Thanks for the update.

Anthony Thompson
June 11th, 2009, 12:55 PM
If you are in the Sarasota area, give the national office staff a call then go see it. I was in the area last weekend and got to see the work in progress by making an appointment to see it.

Many swimmers may be in Sarasota for the "Bumpy Jones" Masters meet at the Sarasota YMCA, and I think they plan to have another "visit time" schedule for a few folks.

Yes, moving our professional staff from the Charlotte NC satellite office (along with our national headquarter which have been in NH for many years) to Sarasota is a big accomplishment for our Executive Director and USMS. Other staff will be moving to Sarasota, while a few others work remotely for a time.

Again, if your in Sarasota, call and stop by to see our new USMS National Headquarters,

Anthony Thompson, USMS BOD Breadbasket

Rob Butcher
June 15th, 2009, 03:27 PM
Thanks to all who came to the Bumpy Jones meet and stopped by the office. We appreciate your comments. You saw the same things we did which is the location is a grand slam! The Sarasota Welcome Center used to be in the Pagoda building and a few years ago relocated to a larger building that is next to our new home. The Sarasota Welcome Center located along the bay front gets more than 100,000 visitors a year with an uptick during the November to April season months. We expect to get an overflow of visitors since we are in the same foot traffic path as the Welcome Center. From a marketers perspective, this is a terrific PR and exposure opportunity for USMS.

The Pagoda continues to be a work in progress as you can see by the attached photos. The conference room framing is up and next is the electrical work. We expect the phone installation in the next few weeks. We are currently searching the secondary market for office furniture to fit our needs. Once all done, the Pagoda building will have five private offices, four cubes, a front reception area, a functional conference room and a storage room that could be converted to an office if/when needed.

We are hoping in July we will get our certificate of occupancy and be able to move in.

Rob Butcher
June 25th, 2009, 01:01 PM
Our contractors continue to make progress on our headquarters as you can see with the attached pictures. The plan is to finish off the new conference room dry wall this week. The blinds will be installed next week. So too is the carpet and phone system. Speaking of phones, our brand new U.S. Masters Swimming phone number will be 941-256-USMS (8767). Our fax will be 941-256-SWIM (7946). Each USMS staff employee will have a direct dial phone number. You will also be able to reach Tracy Grilli through dialing the main 256-USMS number and it can be forwarded to her.

Provided all goes well and no hiccups, we will be applying for our certificate of occupancy next week. That would be terrific because as I type this, I'm sitting on the floor sharing a 10' x 12' office space with Nick Florio (our controller) and Laura Hamel (our Editor-in-Chief). A local Sarasota business was kind enough to offer us an extra room so the staff could meet daily. When we get a phone call though, we have to step outside to be courtesy to the others. Needless to say, we're all looking forward to being in the new office.

Jim Matysek will be in Sarasota next week working with the phone installation company. Mark Gill and Ashley Gangloff will be in Sarasota the week of July 6th.

June 25th, 2009, 01:47 PM
Speaking of phones, our brand new U.S. Masters Swimming phone number will be 941-256-USMS (8767). Our fax will be 941-256-SWIM (7946). Each USMS staff employee will have a direct dial phone number.

Rob - sounds like all is going well. Can you please confirm Jim Matysek's new number will be 941-USMS-GeekKickedMyAss. Thanks in advance.

June 25th, 2009, 01:54 PM
Rob - sounds like all is going well. Can you please confirm Jim Matysek's new number will be 941-USMS-GeekKickedMyAss. Thanks in advance.

I wouldn't go there if I were you, oh great geekity one. Yeah, you spanked me in that race in NC. However, a quick check of the end-of-season stats shows this year's best 500 times as:

Geek, Aqua 5:26.94 (http://www.usms.org/comp/meets/swim.php?s=735028)

Geek Dominator, Jim 5:24.13 (http://www.usms.org/comp/meets/swim.php?s=778835)

Still weak times by both of us, but the times don't lie. Replace "Kicked" with "Kissed" in that phone number and you might be right.

June 25th, 2009, 02:03 PM
Dang it, touche! Still, head to head, Charlotte left you weeping, like gull in previous years. The numbers don't lie but your brother said you were double bagging LZR and B70 for your time and possibly hopped up on a BlueFrog and HGH cocktail, but that's just a rumor at this point.

Oh, and if by some miracle I can beat ShePuff on Saturday, this forum will come alive as if Ion made a triumphant return proclaiming he finally made the Top 10, V02Max and late bloomer trophy in hand.

jim clemmons
June 25th, 2009, 03:07 PM
Oh, and if by some miracle I can beat ShePuff on Saturday, this forum will come alive as if Ion made a triumphant return proclaiming he finally made the Top 10, V02Max and late bloomer trophy in hand.

I only pray someone catches it for youtubing just in case it happens!!