Monday, August 14, 2017

AU Board President Tom Coletti

Coop Kohli, Lakes Zone Director                                                July 10, 2017




Just My Opinion: For clarification, I need to say that after spending 25 years in corporate America, for nearly another 20 years, I have owned a small business in Ohio, employing just under 40 employees. I have in that time developed an improving sense about people, and I understand the need that all my partners in the business make a contribution, as we work to survive and make a profit. When you pay the bills yourself, you are motivated to quickly sort the productive types from the talking types. The same thing applies to our ARPU. Tom Coletti is one of the productive types.

I am also in my third year as a zone director, and have no illusions of grandeur about being a long term board member, although it clearly takes several years to develop board members well rounded and well versed in navigating the challenges facing the sport, especially challenges that are taking on a different face.  When my contributions level off, I will gladly vacate my seat to someone better equipped to contribute. I serve on the board without compensation because I feel I can help. I am a volunteer that loves the sport. I do not subscribe to the thinking by some Facebook talking-heads that being a board member automatically makes one a free-loader, a crook, a charlatan, lazy or stupid. I find that simpleminded talk to be patently offensive to the good men working hard on the AU board for the improvement of the sport. The talking-heads forget that board members aren't paid for their services like board members in many commercial companies. And, good luck with that attempt to establish election platforms and impact re-elections. A number of us had to be appointed to our board positions because not enough members in our zones voted to make the elections functional the first time around.

We currently are facing some challenges, but tough times don’t last. If, several years ago, I had been
asked to help design a robot with AI to lead the AU, I would not have recommended that you create
another Tom Coletti. In fact, in 2004, when a younger Coletti became our National Race Secretary, I
clearly did not like the man, or his aggressive style of interpreting race rules. Our poor race
secretaries didn't stand a chance in rules challenges against the man.

Now, however, after having watched Coletti for 3 years as Lakes Zone Director, I have a new
perspective. I sit here tonight wishing I had someone like him for a business partner. My business
could use some of that PUSH and raw determination. As a CEO, this pugnacious style is an asset.
The man is very knowledgeable about previous challenges the sport has faced, is very opinionated
about how best to deal with those challenges, and defends his beliefs vigorously. Tom Coletti is cut
from a different cloth, and leads our organization from a management perspective much more
managerial than in times past, reflective of his vast experience and training as Superintendent of
Public Works for the city of Millbrae, California, where for 34 years, he managed people,
budgets, negotiated contracts, managed streets, water, buildings, and the Department of Public
Works Emergency Response.

Where could we have found a man with that background to contribute so generously for so many
years to our sport without making us pay him? You couldn't possibly have found a more sincere man,
more perfectly prepared to volunteer to head up a small national organization with an annual budget
of $500K. Tom Coletti is exactly the right man for our organization, at the right time, and he is a bull-dog fighting for the interests of the small back-yard flyer that races pigeons for the love of it, that is losing his voice.

After his retirement, preparation for his current role as AU President was also time-consuming and
significant. It took 9 years, in this form; Chairman of the AU Competition Standards Committee
for 9 years, AU National Race Secretary for 9 years, AU Constitution and By-laws advisor for 2
years, and Northwest Zone Director. During much of that time Coletti received 8 to 10 phone calls
a week creating its own back-log of additional duties. If one seeks consistency in policy-making and
decision-making, you do not reinvent the wheel with green personnel every term. An organization
cross-trains, and promotes from within if qualified people are available, and prepared. Coletti is a
good example of that kind of training coming to fruition.

During his time as AU President, Coletti has focused on cost-cutting: he has eliminated the AU
Historian, cut the travel and expenses of past Presidents, is trying to cut the term of the President ex-officio and the expenses associated with 4 more years of travel, cut our membership in the FCI and its associated European travel expense, reduced the staff in the AU office, and centralized the mid-summer meeting location to minimize yet more travel expense.  When is the last time you saw serious cost-cutting get done? Coletti has no sacred cows, EXCEPTING WINSPEED DEVELOPMENT, a topic for another article.

Tom Coletti is certainly very capable of defending himself, but it boggles the mind to think that a man that has given so much of himself to this great sport for so long should have to tolerate, for even a minute, the verbal abuse and disrespect some uninformed fanciers throw his way. I am very aware of his contributions, and this sport will miss him when he steps down in Chicago. I want to assure the
people that know me, that your AU Board is comprised of some fine men with backgrounds that can
help the sport progress, and they are very generous with their time. I am honored to sit among them.
Don’t let the loud few confuse and obscure the good works done by these seasoned, high quality
board members.

President Tom Coletti and this Board of Directors deserve your continuing confidence and support.
Tom Coletti has mine. I wish I could find a 35 year old Tom Coletti to run my business with the
same tenacity he manages our union.

In the words of former President, Steve Lawler, “GO AU”.