2020 Board Candidate: Peter Clements

My name is Peter Clements – and it would be an honor to represent you and this club on the Board of Governors. I am hoping that I can earn your vote.

I’m an open book, and what I think and how I want to be a member of PBC are no mystery. But I strongly, adamantly believe that there’s no one way to be a member. If you pay your dues, volunteer, and… well, that’s it, you’re a member. No more and less than me, no more and less than someone who just got an offer of membership a day ago, no more and no less than someone who’s been here 50 years or received the Bleed Red Award or enjoys Life Membership or earned an Olympic medal or donated thousands towards the club or an associated charity.

I understand many, many different aspects of the club and – more importantly – members. I want to be there to represent every single one of you, no matter what it is you’re getting out of Potomac Boat Club – or what you’re putting in. 

Now, what’s my vision? It’s pretty straightforward.

  1. Build a culture amongst the Board of Governors that tells you what’s going on, listens to your complaints, and works civilly with one another. Abide by the constitution in its letter and intent, amend it with the membership where necessary, and make sure no one uses governance of this club to abuse or mistreat anyone else. The governance of this club needs to be about RESPECT.
  2. Be someone that is always there to talk your ear off about whatever it is on your mind. I like to leave my fellow members to their own devices, but make no mistake – if you want to geek out about PBC or rowing or anything I’m quite often there, and I’d love to hear what your perspective is. I don’t know all of you, but I’d like to! PBC’s great strength is its MEMBERS.
  3. Set in place the programs, institutions, and capital campaigns necessary to see PBC through a successful second 150 years. That’s raising funds, and that’s pushing SafeSport compliance and smart, safe athletic and social policy. PBC needs to build and protect its invaluable LEGACY.

All of the above requires honesty and integrity, and all aspects of the club functioning properly. As the President’s most recent Notes from the Porch points out, the Finance Committee has been non-functioning as of late, and I know first-hand; in 2018 I stepped down from the Board of Governors and took full responsibility in front of the club – I thought someone should take responsibility for the failure of Board operations and Finance Committee oversight that missed a 990 filing deadline. What I learned is that the way to protect our history is to take responsibility for ourselves and our club, and the only way to do this is focus on getting things done and owning up when we don’t – and I’ll see to it that committees and leadership don’t block competent individuals from contributing. In other words, we need to respect our incredible resources of members and their talent and skills in order to preserve our legacy.

So, how might you know me?

Do you have a great Potomac Boat Club blazer? I helped start those fittings a few years ago, and they’re still going strong. 

Did you race in the biggest-ever Charlie Butt Scullers’ Head of the Potomac in 2013? I ran that regatta as Regatta Chair from 2012-2014; that first year, I wasn’t even a Senior Member yet!

Did you know we’re getting another 2-3 years of life out of our racing fleet, and saving 10-15% in turnover costs? Those savings are thanks to an awesome maintenance plan I helped implement while Racing Committee Chair.

Have you noticed there’s a lot more Women’s Rowing at the club now? I’ve been cooking up plans for a Women’s Sweep team, parallel to Men’s Sweep, for years. When I was Race Committee Chair in 2018 and 2019, it finally took off, and they won Head of the Charles. Twice.

Did you know that when the negotiations between the Board and Washington-Liberty were on the razor’s edge, I developed a continuity plan to not only rent, borrow, lease, and beg for as many as eight racing boats and a half-dozen launches, that would have kept our programs racing and our rowers safe? 

When negotiations between the racing programs and Board of Governors were breaking down over programs’ fees, did you know that I commissioned a study and brokered a deal accepted by the teams and a 7-0 board vote?

Have you competed in the Full Ham Triathlon? I’ve run that for eight years now – that grew out of some tough talk with CJ Miller, and that two-man endurance challenge turned into a 60-competitor fundraiser for our Olympic-bound athletes.

Is the January Virtual Team Challenge the kick in the butt that starts your year off right? I’ve absolutely loved being a goofball and encouraging you all to erg your brains out these past few years.

Did you know we have a full-time High Performance Coach, that doesn’t cost you a penny in dues? A few years ago, as Race Committee Chair, I commissioned a study from program alumni Joe Ledvina – the Ledvina Report. A key finding was the need for a paid coach. I not only set up the funding for that position, via an expanded Juniors program… I built for HPP the beginning of a junior-to-u23-to-elite development pipeline. And – oh yeah – we have juniors opportunities in the summer and fall now, too.

These are all jobs and accomplishments and programs that have all been handed off to more talented, more capable, and more enthusiastic successors. I love – absolutely love – watching John Olbrys run the regatta, or Carol Dinion run the Racing Committee, or Lauren Schumer run the Full Ham Triathlon this year (I was in the ER! It took 22 years of rowing, but my back finally went…)

There’s no one way to be a member, and if you think anyone – Governor or otherwise – is deserving of more or less respect, better or worse treatment, than any other member, then don’t vote for me. Either everyone bleeds red, or no one does. 

Thank you, and I hope to get your vote Sunday, April 5th!

Peter Clements

Senior Member

Potomac Boat Club