Tennis Industry magazine

 

Organizational Movement: Industry People

For the last 20 years, Carol Hogan has guided the ASBA to new levels of professionalism and influence.

By Mary Helen Sprecher

There’s the traditional retirement celebration that comes with a gold watch and good wishes from co-workers. Carol Hogan’s came with an ovation from the sports facility construction industry.

In December, Hogan formally stepped down as executive vice president of the American Sports Builders Association, a position she had held for 20 years. It has been, by any account, an eventful two decades, with changes that encompassed not only the association, but also the industry as a whole.

“I can’t believe it’s all coming to an end,” Hogan said before December’s Technical Meeting in Austin. “We’ve seen so many changes.”

Carol Hogan
Carol Hogan (at left, with ASBA staffers Cynthia Jordan and Judi Mellendick) has kept the ASBA moving forward for the last 20 years.

In 1988, Hogan took over as executive director of what was then known as the U.S. Tennis Court and Track Builders Association — a group that had potential but lacked poise and positioning. Hogan, a Certified Association Executive (CAE) with 14 years of experience managing trade and professional non-profit associations, saw a group that was ready to move to the next level. She began marking off the steps to take it there: New policies, systems, budgets. Sometimes, members cheered. Sometimes, they chafed. But undeniably, the association was providing better service to its members.

“Carol had the drive to make this a professional trade association in every sense of the word,” says David Marsden, CTCB, who served as chairman of the ASBA, as well as Tennis Division president and as chairman on a number of committees during Hogan’s tenure.

Under Hogan, the association’s publications flourished. Specifications were rewritten and became the industry standards. Hogan herself wrote “Tennis Courts: A Construction and Maintenance Manual” (a book that had been previously published by the USTA under the title “Tennis Courts” was discontinued, with the USTA endorsing the new book). A later publication written by Hogan, “Running Tracks: A Construction and Maintenance Manual,” replaced the old USTC&TBA “Track Construction Manual.”

Not bad for someone with no construction experience.

“Her writing is absolutely phenomenal,” says Gordy Pierce, a past chairman and longtime volunteer. “The fact that she was able to take the information and make sense out of it was incredible. And she’s never been out there with a shovel in her hand — it’s amazing.”

“Carol came to us with experience and training in how to run an association,” says Donna Sierks, CTB, CTCB, who served as Track Division president and as chairman of the USTC&TBA. “What she developed was an outstanding knowledge of our industry.”

Under Hogan’s guidance, the association made contacts with other industry associations and with trade magazines and publications, as well. “Nobody is going to take this organization seriously if we don’t take it seriously,” Hogan was fond of telling her staff.

As the athletic facility industry diversified, the association took a new name: the American Sports Builders Association. New membership divisions were added, as were more publications. The association’s awards program (now recognizing excellence in a wide range of facilities) is extremely competitive.

ASBA is now under new management, with Hogan providing a smooth transition. Her contract officially ends in September 2008 — 20 years after she first took on the association. On that first day, she stood in her office and watched as box after box was brought in. There were hundreds of files, thousands of books and an endless mountain of paper.

“I remember looking at all those boxes and thinking, ‘What have I gotten myself into?’” she says. “But we just started unpacking and we went to work.”

The willingness to tackle any project, and ultimately to do it well, despite the odds, says David Pettit, ASBA’s longtime legal counsel, is one of Hogan’s hallmarks.

“She is a ‘can-do’ person who is not afraid to take on virtually any challenge, even if there is a significant risk of failure,” says Pettit. “The association has changed dramatically over the years, and Carol’s presence has been instrumental in those changes. The growth in membership is, in my opinion, the result of her achievements.”

“Carol always had the best interests of the association at heart,” says Marsden. “Her knowledge of association management, her level-headed thinking and her thorough preparation always gave us comfort that we were in good hands.”

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About the Author

Mary Helen Sprecher  is the managing editor of Sports Destinations Management Magazine, a niche business-to-business publication for planners of sports travel events, in addition to being an RSI Contributing Editor. She is the technical writer for the American Sports Builders Association and works as a newspaper reporter in Baltimore City.

 

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