USMRA Elections

The nomination process has ended. Here is the slate of candidates. Click on each candidate’s name to read their bio.

Candidates for the position of President

I have been interested in this sport for ten years and heavily involved for the past eight. I have attended 3 World Championships and every National Championship for the past eight years.
I have seen the ups and downs of this sport over the past ten years and I would love to be able to work towards fixing some of the issues in our organization. Some of the issues I’d like to focus on are –
Decoy certification and decoy camps to improve the skills of our decoys. We have 30 certified decoys and many never get selected for trials. I would like to have decoy camps where they can go and practice their skills and work different dogs outside of their club dogs.
Judges program and getting new judges. We have 6 judges and none (that I’m aware of) in the judges program. I would also like to put an emphasis on continued training for our current judges. Another issue I’d like to focus on is the FCI issues with non AKC dogs. I was able to meet Frans Jansen in Poland and would like to push to extend our agreement with FCI if possible.
Thank you!

My professional experiences lend themselves well to the responsibilities of USMRA President. I am currently leading a team in local government through swift changes in technologies and sustainability. As a leader of a multidisciplinary group, I have gained experience in representation of my organization in government meetings and making win-win compromises with cities and counties.

I also have been nominated to represent my own county in Colorado for a 1 year term as an Engineering Code Reviewer to lead difficult conversations on safety and engineering advancement in new projects.

My qualifications professionally give me a track record of ethics, leaderships and innovation. I have worked in projects that have required detailed background checks and I have a clean criminal record. My roll has also given me the unique experience of having to negotiate the individual concerns of resident taxpayers with the overall visions of the county government. This experience has taught me patience, to be compassionate while at the same time objective, and to learn how to align and compromise the needs of everyone with the needs of the individual.

As far as Mondioring, I am part of one of the fastest growing and inclusive dog sport clubs in Colorado, Rocky Mountain All-Sports K9. My agenda as President of USMRA would focus on transparency, sportsmanship and ethics. I will be supporting programs that develop our decoys and judges, and advocate ideas to include all dog breeds in Mondioring. I also believe all committees should be respected and
supported, as they help make USMRA successful and fair for all paying members.

Karen A Shivers had been involved in the sport of dogs since 1969 beginning in 4-H competition with dog obedience and showmanship. She has been an exhibitor, training instructor, professional handler, professional groomer, and a licensed AKC, UKC, and ASCA judge. She continues to exhibit in numerous events in both AKC, UKC and Mondioring and is a AKC Breeder of Merit for Belgian Malinois and Shetland Sheepdogs Karen is the recent past President of the National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors, serving two terms in that position and has been serving on the USMRA Board of Directors since 2017. She has also served as President of Texas K9 (UKC Conformation, Obedience, Rally Club & Mondioring club), United Nosework, Garden State Kennel Club, the United Shetland Sheepdog Association and is the current chairperson for the American Belgian Malinois Club working dog committee.

Karen wrote the UKC Nosework program and the new rules and regulations for the USMRA Obedience Only program. She is currently employed with the United Kennel Club as the Program Director for Nosework, Obedience and Rally Obedience. Karen holds a Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education and Criminal Justice.

Candidates for the position of Secretary

My past experiences include having been a part of various AKC dog sports since 2008 as a competitor and judge with dachshunds. In 2017 I received my first GSD named Wire and we began the crazy journey into ring sports. Since then, we have become fully immersed in this new (to us) and exciting world.

At the beginning of this year, I took over the latter half of the Secretary term for Michon. With her mentoring, I was able to be up and running with secretarial duties in a fairly short period of time; despite just how much there was to learn. At this point, I am confident that I have a solid grasp on the duties required of the Secretary to better serve the membership. This includes managing the submission forms, club requests, scorebooks, meetings and anything in between. One bonus that has come into play a few times is the benefit that I work from home. When a member needs a request ASAP, I am often able to accommodate fairly quickly. I would also like to add that, since I compete with German shepherd dogs (not only in Mondio), I’m fairly immersed in the affairs of UScA and its interactions with the AWDF. It has been helpful, when determining USMRA’s actions, to have a board member that is up to date with the GSD breed club dynamics.

It has been wonderful to get to know so many of the membership that I might not have due to geographical location. While there have been a few bumps along the road that has been 2019, I do hope that the membership does not feel that I have let them down. I would love the opportunity to continue on as USMRA Secretary for another 2 years.

Candidates for the position of Treasurer

Patrick currently works for PNC Investments in Pittsburgh as the lead Project Manager for all projects that come from PNCI. He has worked in the financial industry for the last 7 years. His previous role was a Wealth/ Financial Advisor for the largest Credit Union in Western PA. He has experience in budgeting, forecasting, wealth/financial management and the ability to work with financial institutions in achieving success. He has managed wealth in excess of $250 million and controls and manages projects in excess of $4 million. Additionally, he has served in the US Army for 8 years as a Field Artillery Officer. He has the leadership ability to add insight and improve any organization he is part of. With that experience, he can provide unbiased input and help make decisions based on facts. Steel City Working Dogs fully supports the nomination of Patrick for the position of Treasurer.

Qualifications:

Education
  • BA: Mathematics and Computer Science
  • Fellow in the Society of Actuaries
Career as Actuary: 1987 – 2002
  • 1st Actuarial position: Corporate Tax planning
  • 2nd Actuarial position: Financial product development
  • 3rd Actuarial position: Vice President and development and sales of tax advantaged products
Real Estate Investing 2002 – present

Dog Training Business Business, The Canine Coach
  • opened 2004 with myself as the only trainer
  • expanded to 5 locations by 2011
  • 38 employees by 2019

USMRA Membership, I am writing to accept my nomination for USMRA Treasurer. I have been involved with Mondioring for about 6 years. I am excited to see the sport grow. I have served as the Chairman for the Board of Inquiry and am eager to serve again. I have been a Fire Team Leader, Squad Leader and Platoon Sergeant in the United States Army. I have been a leadership instructor at the Army Regional Training Institute. I have been an entry team leader, and the Commander of a federal SWAT team. I have owned and operated 4 successful companies. I have the skills and the experience required to be fair, impartial and responsible with the USMRA finances.
Thank you for your consideration.

Candidates for the position(s) of Director at Large

I am a member in good standing of both Marvel K9 Ringsport and the USMRA.

Qualifications

I have been a member of the USMRA in good standing since 2014.I have trained and trialed a dog from category 1 through to category 3, and have been an active participant in numerous club trials, as a player as well as jury and field help. I have also been a training decoy for many other dogs that have trialed at levels 1-3. I have been an active participant in the USMRA national championship as well as represented the US Team at the FCI World Championship in Poland.

I graduated from North Carolina State University in 2005 with a BA in Political Science with a minor in International Relations. During those years I was a member of Theta Chi Fraternity and served as a treasurer for two terms and vice president for one. At that time, I became very familiar with parliamentary procedure as well as operation of a voluntary organization of 30 to 40 members with an annual operating budget of over 100k a year as well as stewardship over property valued at over 1.5 million dollars. During my terms as treasurer I maintained financial records, made weekly reports, and set annual budgets for committees as well as the fraternity as a whole. During the last half of my term as VP, I presided over the formal weekly meetings because the president took a long leave of absence they did not return from until the end of their term.

During that time, following actual parliamentary procedure, meetings which normally ran 2 to 3 hours in length were shortened to an hour or less without a loss in operational ability. I oversaw the appointment of members as well as the operation of the committee system. I also oversaw an overhaul of the chapter bylaws.

I have been a training and trial decoy in various dog sports for 19 years. I served on previous boards in this organization providing insight from my experience as a decoy, National Championship competitor, and World Team member. I have supported Team USA Mondioring in the role of Team Leader at the 2016 FCI World Championship. I am a founding member of West Penn Mondioring Club; West Penn Mondioring Club was the 2018 USMRA National Championship host. I have been the recipient of the USMRA Sportsmanship Award. I look forward to having the opportunity to serve the members of this organization again.

I served the members of the USMRA as the Secretary from 2014 to 2018 and loved that position. I believe there are still lots of things that USMRA needs to accomplish to keep the organization moving in a positive direction.

I think it is important to address the current variance and what direction the organization wants to go regarding the FCI requirements.

I would like to see the Judges Program grow, since we have such a limited amount of judges. I would like to see the decoy requirements updated so that there is accountability and growth. I also think it is important for the decoys to receive training so that there isn’t such a discrepancy between the skill sets of our decoys.

I am currently training my upcoming Mondioring dog and plan to stay in the organization for many years to come. I think USMRA is composed with amazing members that all share the same goal and vision, spending time building a relationship with their dogs. Thank you for your considerations.

Kind regards, Michon Mills

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