USA Swimming Announces Seven New Hires
USA Swimming today announced that Dana Bonner (Ship Bottom, N.J.), Tina Dessart (Colorado Springs, Colo.), John Martin (Charlotte, N.C.), Valerie Oswald (Charlottesville, Va.), Wendy Peel (Centerville, Ohio), Tommy Schield (Bellflower, Ill.) and George Ward (Mt. Vernon, Ill.) will join the USA Swimming staff at headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Dana Bonner will serve as a Marketing Manager for USA Swimming. She will oversee the marketing and promotional elements of the USA Swimming Athlete Partnership Program, which is USA Swimming’s community outreach program known as swIMPACT that works with National Team athletes. Additionally, she will manage marketing programs to help USA Swimming clubs and Make a Splash local partners promote themselves. Bonner will also focus on programs like Deck Pass and SwimToday amongst others. She comes to USA Swimming from GMR, an engagement marketing agency, where she oversaw experiential marketing for the smart USA account. Bonner also has been a marketing manager and coach for a USAG club and worked with the NBA’s New Jersey Nets for four seasons on its sponsorship team. She graduated from the University of Miami School of Business in Coral Gables, Fla., with a double major in business management and marketing and double minor in finance and sports administration.
Tina Dessart will be the Make a Splash Program Manager. She will oversee all aspects of the Make a Splash initiative and will focus on improving benefits and services for partners and affiliates, increasing visibility and awareness, and growing participation. Dessart will also have primary responsibility for Affiliate Coalition and developing new affiliate partnerships. She has more than 20-years’ experience in aquatics management and learn-to-swim instruction, and has coached both age group and masters swim programs. Dessart is the owner and director of the Colorado Springs Swim School, and has been active in the USA Swimming Foundation’s Make a Splash Initiative since 2009 as a participating local partner. The Swim School was awarded the 2009 Best of Colorado Springs, Swimming Instruction award, a 2011 USA Swimming Foundation Make a Splash Grant, and a 2011 NDPA Community Lifesaver Award. Dessart holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Bowling Green University, is an American Red Cross Independent Authorized Provider, and Certified Pool Operator.
John Martin joins the USA Swimming staff as the organization’s Sports Communications Manager. He will focus on promoting key events, National Team athletes and the sport of swimming as a whole. Martin spent the last three years at USA Triathlon where he was the Communications and Media Relations Manager. While at USA Triathlon, Martin managed communications efforts for a variety of organizational programs and national events and served as a press officer for the London 2012 Olympic Games. Prior to joining USA Triathlon in 2010, Martin worked for six years at his alma mater, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, as a member of the athletic communications staff. He was the communications lead for four consecutive NCAA College World Series appearances for the Tar Heels’ baseball team and two NCAA College Cup trips for the men’s soccer program. Martin previously held athletic communications positions at Georgia Tech and the Big East Conference.
Valerie Oswald will be the Development Manager for the USA Swimming Foundation. In her role, Oswald will create and implement the annual fundraising plan with the Director of Development, manage the Foundation’s social media communications, oversee the Foundation’s grant process and assist with planning and coordinating of Foundation events. Oswald has over seven years of experience in the area of marketing and special events with a specialization in the non-profit sector. Previously she worked as a non-profit consultant and as the Director of Marketing & Special Events for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Virginia. She received a master’s degree in kinesiology with a concentration in sports administration from Indiana University and a bachelor’s degree in history and sociology from the University of Texas at Austin. Valerie is a former National Team member and NCAA All-American swimmer.
Wendy Peel will serve as the Local Marketing Manager at USA Swimming. She will focus on helping member clubs get involved in programs like SwimToday and Deck Pass, and also grow webcasting properties at the grassroots level. Prior to her hire, Peel worked as the USA Swimming Network Content Development Manager at iHigh.com. Peel also worked at USA Triathlon as its Sport Development Coordinator. In that role, she managed the club development program while also building marketing plans to grow the sports of duathlon, winter triathlon, off-road, aquabike and aquathlon. Peel is a graduate of Cleveland State University and lives in Castle Rock, Colo., with her fiancé.
Tommy Schield will take on the newly-created position of Organizational Communications Specialist where he will work to promote USA Swimming as an organization. He will focus on communication related to promoting its programs and executive team along with actively promoting swIMPACT athlete appearances. Schield comes to USA Swimming after spending eight months in the communications department at the United States Olympic Committee. Prior to his work with the USOC, Schield was the athletic communications graduate assistant at Angelo State University and also spent time at Conference USA. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Illinois State University and his master’s degree from Angelo State University.
George Ward joined USA Swimming as Director of Risk Management. In the newly created position, Ward will ensure USA Swimming has a comprehensive and effective risk management program, liaison with its insurance brokers and claim managers, and support the organization's Safe Sport program. He will work on insurance and indemnity-related requirements in contracts and other agreements, while helping Local Swimming Committees and member club leaders with risk-management issues through member services and club development. Ward will also be Director of United States Sports Insurance Company and the primary liaison with the captive reinsurance company and other insurance company underwriters. Prior to joining USA Swimming, Ward was Director of Risk Management at Amylin Pharmaceuticals and a board member and officer of the San Diego Chapter of the Risk and Insurance Management Society. He has held various risk management and insurance positions with VHA, Fleming Companies, AIG and USF&G. Ward graduated from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville.
All seven hires will work to enhance the overall goals of USA Swimming, which aims to grow and promote the sport of swimming in the Unites States.