“When a sport has an exciting product and direct fan engagement, sponsors will want to be a part of it because it will actually be valuable to their bottom line,” he explained. “Happy fans will bring happy sponsors and, as a result, create a more stable product that can be expanded to new race sites.”
Perry‘s expertise is in the areas of marketing, sponsorships, logistics, finance, IT, and strategic leadership. He spent five years as the marketing and advertising chief for the Air National Guard and managed the organization’s multiple-event marketing properties, including its partnership with H1 Unlimited in 2011 and 2012.
Now retired from the military, Perry has been a senior account manager at an advertising agency in Washington, D.C., and will continue in that position in addition to his new duties at H1 Unlimited.
Tim Austin, the chairman of the Board of Directors for H1 Unlimited, said Perry’s goal will be to expand H1 Unlimited’s financial self-sufficiency through quality sponsorships that complement host race partners and race teams and allow the sport to continue to provide professional powerboat racing to its fans.
Austin also announced that after a three-year absence from the sport, Kristine Perry will return to H1 Unlimited in a newly created position of associate executive director, where she will be responsible for the organization’s operation. She was the director of marketing and administration for H1 Unlimited in 2014 and 2015, and was partnership marketing manager from 2011 to 2014. She also held a team management position for Ellstrom Racing.
“Her vast experience with hydroplane racing plus her gameday operations with the Maryland Black Bears hockey team and the Maryland Blue Crabs baseball team make her a uniquely skilled person to assume the leadership of the organizational needs at H1Unlimited,” Austin said.
Ron Perry’s appointment as executive director marks the first time in three racing seasons that a non-boat-racer will hold the sport’s top position. He succeeds Charlie Grooms, the owner representative for Miss Madison Racing, who had overseen the sport’s operations on an interim basis since 2017. Previous chairmen have included Sam Cole, who resigned in 2015 after a 10-year tenure. He was succeeded by retired national champion driver Steve David for two seasons, then Doug Bernstein was at the reins of the sport during much of 2017 season.
Shortly after his appointment, Ron Perry agreed to be interviewed by the Unlimited NewsJournalin order to explain his plans for the sport in more detail. Here is that interview:
UNJ: Please tell us a little bit about your background, especially those experiences that will help you in running H1
Perry: After working in the military and specifically the Air National Guard for 26 years, it has given me opportunities to work deeply in multiple areas while still being connected to the real (civilian) world. Continued, click here...
After a two-year reorganization effort, H1Unlimited has hired Ron Perry to be the sport’s executive director. He started in the new position on May 1 and will
manage the business direction and day-to-day strategic management of the H1 Unlimited Racing Series. Included within his sphere of influence will be the coordination of race host partners, managing marketing partnerships, and the general supervision of the sport’s network of volunteers.
In the press release announcing his appointment, Perry said he is excited to bring the sport into the 21st century. “Top priorities on my list are to bring reliable race coverage to the fans anywhere in the world, the use of drones, and GPS and other technologies to ensure the racing is without controversy. This will
not only make the fan experience exciting, but actually cost effective.
Perhaps no better way to illustrate the sports current questionable state is last season’s opener at Guntersville. Until the final heat, the sport seemed to be showcasing everything the cynics point at as wrong with it.
To begin with, for a new race there were very few teams in attendance: seven. You would think that all the participants would want to make a splash and show new fans what the sport is all about. And of those few teams one, the Miss Rock was just going to sit on the beach on race day because of an unqualified driver. Not a good way to impress new fans.
Then early on, the 440 sustained damage and was done and the number of participants dwindled. After two boats then ran into each other, some fans probably wondered just what was so great about all of this.
But, then there was the final. The final heat die-hard fans stick around for. After weather delays and all the rest, it was five laps of for real deck-to-deck racing between Andrew Tate and Jimmy Shane that answered the question of why this sport won’t be going away anytime soon. Yeah, things like few boats can look bad on paper, but when done right it can just shut down all those critics.
One question that has been answered is who will be running the sport this year and hopefully into the future. Ron Perry has been named the sports new executive director and brings a marketing background with him. And of course, this poses even more questions like, “can he land a major corporate series sponsor?” That’s what this sport needs at the moment to make sure the race sites are on a solid financial footing.
And, there is the age-old question of can he get more boats to races and then find new places to race to expose the next generation of fans to the big boats. Will Detroit return? But to be sure, the current sites need to be marketed to get fans in
the gates and expand from there.
Of course, there is the competition, which is what every true fan is after. The season will again open in Guntersville, Ala., then off to Madison, which hosts the Gold Cup for the first time since 1980. After a short break it will be time for the Washington state swing of the Tri-Cities followed by Seattle. Then the traditional too-long break before the final race in San Diego.
The action should be fast and furious all season, as long as the teams that do participate will put on a good show. Just who is going to take that coveted championship? Who are the contenders and who are the pretenders? That requires the
Swami, who has been sorting out all the serious racing questions and is ready to boldly predict the season.
It will go as follows:
The contenders: Continued, click here...
All the information you will need
to be an informed fan for the 2019 season.
THE SWAMI SEZ:
2019: A whole lot of questions and the Swami supplies (some) of the answers.
by Brian Anderson
This season for the Unlimiteds holds more questions than answers. For
the diehard fans, the question will be, “what boats are going to show up at which races?” For the cynics, the main question will be something
to the effect of, “hasn’t that sport died yet?”
No matter which question you are asking there really aren’t a lot of
answers. For the die-hard fans, information even in this day of instant
communications, there seems to be a lack of good info flowing. Team
plans never seem to be finalized until the truck arrives in the pits. If you think the sport is dead, well the news is that, no, it hasn’t gone away yet, despite everything and it doesn’t appear to be vanishing anytime soon.
H1 Unlimited appoints Ron
Perry as executive director.