Meet the 2021 Board of Directors Candidates

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This summer has been jam-packed with opportunities to keep the Bike Boom going and growing the bicycling movement even more. Next, beginning August 2nd, the League members will be electing leaders to our Board to keep our momentum to make biking better at full speed.  

 

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We encourage you to get to know the candidates, each of whom applied for selection by the League Board’s Governance Committee, and learn about their passion for improving and growing active transportation and why they want to volunteer their time to contribute to the League of American Bicyclists’ mission of building a Bicycle Friendly America for everyone. 

League members should keep an eye on their email box as we’ll be sending further instructions for voting to the email address we have on record.


Martin Buchman

I am Martin Buchman and I running for the board of LAB. I have served for the past 4 years as a board member for NYBC and I am also the co-proprietor of The Stony Brookside Bed & Bike Inn (the only B&B in NY State that is on the LAB list of approved Bicycle Friendly Businesses). I have been active in advocating for cycle tourism and cycling infrastructure in NY and have met often with national, state and local legislators. I have testified in front of the Suffolk County legislature multiple times in support of cycling infrastructure and safety. This spring I brokered a deal enabling Suffolk County to be the 1st county in NYS to adopt the 3-foot safe passage law.

I am a retired American History teacher and I consider myself an “OG” of American cycle tourism, having rode with AYH across the country in 1976. Since then, I have cycled in 21 countries and most of the USA. I have explored the East Coast Greenway, the Adventure Cycling network, the Euro Velo and Rails to Trails.

My goal for LAB is to continue to elevate the role of the bicycle as a fully integrated member of the American transportation family and not just a tool of fitness and group rides. Bicycles need to be a way that people vacation, shop, commute, and sightsee safely. To do that, the entire picture of transportation in this country has to be developed with a bicycle in focus as part of the national infrastructure. I will help support LAB goals with enthusiasm, knowledge and the ability to influence change.


Melissa Lee

Greetings! My name is Melissa Lee. I consider myself as an urban planner, community organizer, social alchemist, and reformed public servant, steeped in the certainty that anything is possible when radical imagination pairs with action. I have over 20 years of experience shepherding socially innovative programs from inception to completion across multiple U.S. cities. 

As Director of Planning and Community Engagement at Concordia LLC, I lead a team of seasoned experts to work collaboratively and think holistically to create unique human-centered places and spaces around the world. I’m also the Board President of Bike Easy, the regional bicycling education and advocacy organization dedicated to making bicycling easy, safe, and fun for everyone in Greater New Orleans. During my 3-year tenure as Board President, I have led an intentional internal equity transformation process, which led board, staff, and members to a deep understanding and recommitment to place multiculturalism, inclusivity, and anti-racism at the center of our work.

If elected to the League of American Bicyclists’ Board of Directors, I will work to advance the development of a common organizational framework and vocabulary to talk about equity and inclusion; a shared acknowledgment of the deep connections between bicycling and larger considerations of social, economic, and health equity; and an action plan for goal setting and specific metrics for tracking progress. I thank you in advance for your consideration. And I do hope my candidacy resonates with you and feels aligned with the goals and focus of the League of American Bicyclists.


Ralph Monti

Hello, I am the immediate past chair of the League board and have worked most positively with my fellow board members and with League Executive Director Bill Nesper and his fine staff. 

While I was chair, we initiated new equity measures—including adding a new “E” for Equity into the League’s guiding “E” principles. These efforts informed the League in many ways—from the selection of board candidates to new programs that reflect the League’s diversity. As past president of a bicycling club, I’ve worked closely with League staff in creating and presenting a robust menu of club sessions at the National Bike Summit. I’ve also worked with diversity-based organizations in helping them develop and grow their riding and advocacy programs and activities.

I’m also active in bicycle safety education as a League Cycling Instructor (LCI). I helped launch a series of bicycle safety education workshops for children and adults throughout the Sarasota, Florida area– including sessions at the Boys and Girls Club and the Sarasota Housing Authority Youth Initiative. I also created a “Ride a Pedicab” program developed for mobility-challenged people.

I’m an active member of the Florida Bike Association and lobby every Summit for better bicycle infrastructure for the state of Florida. I’m a board member for the Sarasota Bicycle Pedestrian and Trail Advisory Council, and Bicycle Director for The Friends of Osprey Junction Trailhead Park in Osprey, FL. I recently created a “pop-up” Bicycle Safety Education Center that will launch this fall.

Thanks for your consideration, and I wish you well.


Bob Oppliger

It’s been my privilege to serve on the League’s Board of Directors for the past three years and a great pleasure to meet many LAB members and biking enthusiasts through the Summit and the Bike, Walk, Place conference. Productive leadership activities on the board have included chairing the Executive Director Evaluation Committee, serving on the three-member Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Committee, and lobbying Congress for safe biking infrastructure as part of LAB’s Capitol Hill Day. As a leader in my professional fitness association, I’ve used my networking ability to create partnering opportunities and synergy with the LAB. This included arranging for Bill Nesper to speak about LAB’s shared agenda at our national fitness association meeting, and lobbying Congress on the same issues supported by the LAB. 

A LAB life member since 1994, I’ve worked, locally, to promote LAB initiatives including co-founding Iowa City’s first Bike to Work Week in 1990, serving as the bicycling representative on two county transportation policy committees and organizing bike rodeos and traffic gardens in all the 22 metro area grade schools. Recently, I worked with fellow LCI Connie Schmucker from Bike Indy creating a booklet, Teaching Your Child to Ride a Bike which is available on LAB’s Hub page. 

My priorities for LAB moving forward included, engaging communities of color, women, and young people in biking for everyone, enhancing local club stability, advocating for more safe infrastructure, and maintaining the fiscal health of LAB. I would appreciate your support for another term on the board.


Cadesha Prawl

A philosophy I model in life is that small victories add up to major changes. This can be seen where the small daily inputs in my digital accessibility profession result in big changes that are implemented for use by individuals with impairments. This same philosophy holds true where my small daily volunteerism in bicycle safety advocacy results in big changes in the lives of bicyclists. 

Since becoming an LCI, I have dedicated my volunteer efforts to better local and national bicycling. I currently serve on the board of the New Haven Coalition for Active Transportation (NHCAT), whose mission is to offer free bicycle education that is accessible to all. As a board member, I provide strategic inputs as well as oversee the organization’s technology needs. I also serve as a Shero on the New Haven chapter of Black Girls Do Bike (BGDB). As a BGDB Shero, I find great joy in introducing women to the joy of cycling, coordinating local group rides and the fellowship.

Becoming a board member of the League of American Bicyclists will allow me to contribute to better bicycling on a larger, national level. As a board member, I look forward to advocating for bicycle safe communities and improved access to bicycling for underserved black and brown individuals. I want to help the bicycle movement forward by advocating for improved bicycle safety, improving the laws to protect cyclists, and encouraging others to get on the saddle, in hopes that at some point along the way, the small victories will inspire someone to make big changes. 


Mike Sewell

Mike serves as Gresham Smith’s active transportation service line leader bringing more than 20 years of experience in the planning, design and implementation of transportation projects. Leading projects ranging from rural roadways to major multimodal planning initiatives, Mike has spent the past decade focused on complete streets and right-sizing our roadways for all users. A daily bike commuter himself, Mike’s advocacy efforts for bicyclists and pedestrians have helped forge many important relationships within the local communities he serves and the broader transportation industry.

The child of working-class parents, Mike and his family moved to the country when he was eight years old. It was there that he first experienced the inequalities of transportation and what it felt like to live in a community that failed to support the people that lived in it. Mike believes transportation is the lifeblood of our communities and, as an avid bicyclist, has focused his career on walking and bicycling as the great equalizer.

His dedication to his profession has led to recent co-authoring of the widely used NCHRP 880 as well as testifying in front of Congress in the spring of 2019 on the importance of better funding and planning for bicycle and pedestrian safety. Mike has championed and developed a patent-pending empathic data analysis platform that is being used to vet the perceived safety of multimodal facilities. This won a 2020 research and development award by Architect Magazine.

Karin Weisburgh

I am currently serving as Board Vice-Chair in my third year on the Board. I very much desire to continue working alongside the other Board members and League staff toward achieving a more bicycle-friendly America. 

Bicycling is my greatest passion which I pursue on a daily basis to get around. Having ditched my car 10 years ago, I cycle to do errands, for pleasure, as exercise, and for the environment. As an LCI, I also enjoy teaching and sharing cycling skills with others. 

I worked for Consumer Reports for 32 years as a market analyst. I was selected as Westchester’s Bike Commuter of the Year, commuting 10 miles each way through rain, snow, and all weather conditions every day by bike. I also served as Vice-Chair for Consumers Union Newspaper Guild and acted as grievance chairperson for six years. I studied Chemistry and German undergrad and got an MBA in Marketing from Wharton. My hobbies include tennis, bridge and travel (often by bike). I rode across the country in 2000, and from Minneapolis to New Orleans in 2004. 

My primary goal for the League is to increase membership. By joining forces, we can spread the word that we are all connected in our enthusiasm for riding. With a united membership, the League can influence governing bodies to make roads safer for vulnerable users. 

If you vote for me, I promise to continue transforming this nation towards better bicycling conditions. This involves advocating for more bicycle infrastructure and safer roads for all users. 


AJ Zelada

A. J. Zelada, OD is a retired optometric physician in Portland OR. He was a Member/Chair of the Oregon Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee (OBPAC) to the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) for 8 years. Concurrent to this governor-appointed position, he served on Oregon Statewide Transportation Strategy To Reduce Greenhouse Emissions in the Transportation Sector Committee.

Zelada is a long-time bicyclist and tourist. He bicycled from NYC to Illinois in 1975 and from Oregon to NYC in 1982. He has served on the legislative committee of the Bicycle Transportation Alliance and was part of the team that developed the Vulnerable Road User Status for Oregon Rules and Regulations. Presently he is Chair of the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion committee of the League of American Bicycles Board of Directors. He serves on two boards: Friends of the Historical Columbia River Highway and Street Trust, both in Oregon.

He has developed a variety of cycling programs: Bike to Groceries in collaboration with New Season Markets; Elderplace Rides for medically fragile patients of Providence Elderplace, both in Portland Oregon. In 2019 he created Gorge Pedal, a family and athletic ride within the Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area which attracted 49% women and 50% new riders who had never ridden along the Columbia Gorge. Adaptive Bike Clinics were created for Portland Sunday Parkways for children with disabilities.

This year, he presented a program at Walk Bike Places to reset the inclusion of people with disabilities at the policy table for transportation infrastructure. 


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