Transcript for the NAFA® Candidate Chat November 4th, 2013

leerie.jenkinsThis is Leerie Jenkins acting as moderator this evening. Good evening and thank you all for joining us tonight for the first candidate chat for the 2013/2014 Nafa elections.
leerie.jenkinsThank you to Nominating Committee Chair Dana Hanson, and fellow Election Committee members, Kim Davis, Dana Hanson, and Emma Mak, for your work on the elections. Thank you to our Board of Directors Candidates: Steve Corona, Dirk Elber, John Hendriks, and Dave Walt for offering to serve on the Nafa Board. Executive Director (and Ed candidate) Lee Heighton sends his regrets, as he is unable to make tonight’s chat, due to his work schedule. If you have any general questions, please send a private message to the moderator.
leerie.jenkinsWe will start by taking opening remarks from the candidates.
John HendriksI Would like to thank everyone for taking time out of their busy schedules and join us on this chat
leerie.jenkinsIf you have a question for the candidates, please send them via private message to the moderator, and I will queue and present them to the candidates.
Steve CoronaThank you to everyone that has joined us this evening and to Nafa for giving us this opportunity to make ourselves known.
Dirk_ElberGood evening, and I would also like to thank everyone for joining us this evening.
leerie.jenkinsThere are 5 questions in the queue.
leerie.jenkinsQuestion from Dana Hanson: We have a nice roster of candidates. What aspects of you as a candidate are homogenous with current board or likely to promote harmony and what do you bring that is complementary to the group already assembled?
leerie.jenkinsThere are 4 questions in the queue.
John HendriksI like to be thought of as a true team player and I believe I have the ability to work with a wide variety of people.
Steve CoronaI believe that we are all passionate about this sport and want to continue to see Nafa grow and become more recognizable in the near future. I personally enjoy our sport for allowing all breeds to compete and that the safety of the dogs is first and foremost. Away from the dog sport itself, being self-employed I bring years of business experience to the table which I believe is a necessary aspect of running any type of organization.
Dirk_ElberDana I believe that all of us have already shown the willingness to put in that extra amount of work to make this sport even better and to help grow it to new levels. I think that being homogenous with the current board is not as important as being able to work with people to find new ways to continue to improve the sport for all.
leerie.jenkinsQuestion from Dana Hanson: You've been asked to prepare a Nafa report card. Provide a letter grade and identify areas of excellence and need for improvement.
leerie.jenkinsThere are 4 questions in the queue.
Steve CoronaAreas of Excellence: Devoted to the sport and promote the sport through demos, literature, etc. whenever possible. Head Judge for multiple tournaments throughout the year and outside of my home region as well. Fair and consistent with competitors and enjoy racing as well. Amicable with competitors and spectators alike. Always willing to go the extra mile or lend a hand.
John HendriksI think Nafa should get an A+ for their hosting of Canam this year . For improvement I think we could do a better job of handling the Ejs system possibly as I know they are trying to . Place a set in each region
Dirk_ElberI would agree with all that Steve just listed. But I would also add that Nafa as an organization has taken steps to take this sport to new participants with their efforts with the Akc as well as investigating new technologies to make it even more spectator friendly.
dana.hansonSteve, what I was actually asking for is a report on Nafa, although you've touched on another qualities of yourself as a candidate for which I submitted another question for all candidates.
Robyn_CoxWhat are your three overall priorities for Nafa, that in a perfect world, you would like to see accomplished during your time on the board of directors?
leerie.jenkinsRobyn, please send those to me and I'll queue them in order for the candidates.
Steve CoronaAreas of Improvement: Deeper understanding of regional customs within Nafa, understanding the checks and balances within the Bod itself, would like to see a training program for those of us wanting to get more involved with the operational side of Nafa. Overall Grade A
leerie.jenkinsSpeaking of Ejs, John...
leerie.jenkinsQuestion from Jon Bescher: Some regions are transporting the Ejs to and from the tournaments. They are trying to help save money from shipping and trying to keep the Ejss from getting damaged in transport. Should the money saved go to Nafa or somehow get distributed otherwise?
Steve CoronaDana, my apologies for misinterpreting the question
leerie.jenkinsThere are 4 questions in the queue.
dana.hansonNo problem. Your response still provide information relevant to you as a candidate.
Dirk_ElberFirst it has been really nice to have the Ejs camped out in the local region and knowing who would be responsible for delivering them to the next site. In regards to Jons question, I think this is money that should be used for some other uses. Whether it is technological improvements such as purchasing heat counters sets to go with each Ejs or supporting software developments that allow tournament organizors to use the data available for stats for each participating club. (stat keeper type programs)
Steve CoronaIn my opinion the money saved should go to Nafa to continue to improve the technology and used for other advances that will promote a fair playing field for all competitors. The Ejs systems is an expensive part of our sport and everything that can be done to minimize damage should be considered.
John HendriksAs a cost the shipping and repair of the Ejs is one of the makor expenses to Nafa. I would suggest anty savings be kept in Nafa and used in other areas ie technology 'training videos and possibly new awards
leerie.jenkinsQuestion from Dana Hanson: We all have things we enjoy working on more than others -- "pet projects" perhaps. Is there an area of Nafa and the sport of flyball other than racing that you feel passionate about?
leerie.jenkinsThere are 3 questions in the queue.
John HendriksPersonally I love the training aspect. I have been working with 2 new clubs in Region 12 all with brand new dogs and handlers. Watching these teams get closer to racing is probably the best reward I could get. I also bvrought the idea of the new Multi Breed titles trying to get more involvement in this class of racing
Steve CoronaI'm passionate about my involvement with the organization as a whole and would like to see Nafa offer some type of training program for those of us that want increase our involvement within Nafa outside of racing. An assistant Rd, interns to the Bod, etc. are just a couple of examples that I can provide that would allow this to happen.
Dirk_Elberbesides continuing to learn how to be a better trainer,the one project I would really like to be a part of is putting together the history of Nafa flyball. I think the effort to put all these stories together is one that needs to be completed in the next few years so that people have a chance to see how far this sport has come in just about 30 years.
leerie.jenkinsQuestion from Dana Hanson: Three qualities you possess -- things others have said or might say about you -- that you believe would be helpful as a Nafa board member.
leerie.jenkinsThere are 2 questions in the queue.
Steve Corona1. Fair & Consistent in my duties as a judge. 2. I care for the safety and well being of the dogs both in and out of the ring. 3. I possess a solid business mind.
John HendriksGood people skills Team player . Always try to be the guy who helps in every situation
Dirk_Elber1) ability to take on a difficult job and making sure it gets done 2) willingness to help new people into the sport and 3) always willing to help out where needed.
leerie.jenkinsQuestion from Chris Vanwert: Currently, Nafa has no awards above the Hobbes at the 100,000 point level. A substantial number of competitors are in favor of creating awards above 100,000 points. Do you favor creating awards above 100,000 and why should voters who favor higher awards vote for you?
leerie.jenkinsThere are 2 questions in the queue.
John HendriksBefore Hobbes there was no Hobbes award. I bekieve we should keep an open mind and create new awards as dogs achievements dictate
Dirk_ElberI am personally not in favor of having any higher title awards for reasons that people will continue to push dogs harder and longer for just obtaining a title. I have seen a few dogs that have made their Hobbes titles, and still had plenty left to give to the sport. But I have seen some others that fell short that were running long after I thought they should be retired, and doing so only for the goal of this titel. If Nafa were to add another level beyond 100k, I think the latter might become even more common place. I would not object to the idea of a life time award to mark the level they obtain after they retire.
Chris.VanWertJohn, I am unclear where your position is. Do you favor creating higher awards? If not, why not?
Steve CoronaI have no issue with an award being created above 100,000 points however the safety and physical condition of the dog reaching such a milestone should be considered at every turn. With dogs reaching record times and points being accumulated more quickly than ever before the physical and mental stress placed on a dog should be foremost. Whether limiting to "x" number of tournaments per month or some other safeguard can certainly be discussed.
leerie.jenkinsQuestion from Robyn Cox: What are your three overall priorities for Nafa, that in a perfect world, you would like to see accomplished during your time on the board of directors?
mikemollydoggyanyone know where I can get a flyball box?
John HendriksI am in favour of new awards but as Dirk pointed out not at the risk of injuryng the dog
leerie.jenkinsWe have Robyn's question on the table, and 2 more in the queue...i think that should be about right.
Steve Corona1. The continued growth and exposure of flyball to the general public. 2. A intern program for participants wanting to be more involved in Nafa. 3. Expand the junior handler program to put the future of our sport more in the spotlight.
Dirk_Elber1) marketing strategy for continued growth, especially in regions that currently have very limited participation. 2) continued advancements in technology that can be rolled out to all tournaments; 3) next round of training videos and documentations that will get new clubs interested in hosting tournaments.
leerie.jenkinsQuestion from Dana Nichols: What committees would you like to serve on & why?
leerie.jenkinsWe have one final question after Dana Nichols', and then closing remarks.
Dirk_ElberAs as Nafa Approved judge, I would definitely like to continue working on the Judges Committee (where I have served as a non-board member for the past 3 years). In addition I think I would be very useful on Rules and Marketing Committee. And given my interest in the pet project I would definitely like to serve the special Nafa/flyball History Committee.
Steve CoronaThe judges or rules committee would be a natural step as a first time board member given my current status as a Nafa judge. I would enjoy being a part of a committee that sets the standards for our world class judges as well as being responsible for providing safe racing guidelines for the dogs in our care. I would also like to serve on the marketing committee to promote the sport as I have stated earlier in my comments.
John Hendriks. I believe i would be able to assist in both the rules and disciplanry committees as Rd I have heard many concerns and suggestions from competitors.
leerie.jenkinsAnd our last question:
leerie.jenkinsQuestion from Chris Vanwert: Harmony and working well with others are admirable qualities but, Nafa is modeled as a democracy which encourages differences in opinion. If everyone is thinking along the same lines, how do fresh and perhaps, unpopular ideas/concepts get fair consideration? Why should minority opinions vote for you?
John HendriksThere is nothing to say minority opinions are the wrong opinions.everyones opinion should be wayed on their own merit
Steve CoronaSometimes the least popular ideas lead to the greatest changes or provide a catalyst for examining long held beliefs. To me it boils down to: does it make sense? is it safe? what is the major benefit? how will the public perceive this? can it be implemented fairly and cost effectively?
Dirk_ElberI believe that the current method of allowing all Nafa participants to email their ideas to the committees for review is working. It is not easy to get any ideas through, but ones that have solid and well defended arguments should be reviewed and not just set aside due to the perception that they have no chance at making it into the sport.
leerie.jenkinsThanks all! While the candidates are preparing their closing remarks, I’d like to remind everyone of two things regarding the election:
leerie.jenkins1. Please go through the verification process to verify your email address and the vote counts you will have this election, and 2. Please vote!
leerie.jenkinsThose eligible to vote include: club owners, regional directors, approved and supervising judges, and board members.
leerie.jenkinsStep 1 – go to, input your name and email address. Once you are found in the database, you’ll be sent a confirmation email. step 2 – after you receive the confirmation email, click on the link and make sure that your address has been verified. if anyone has any issues with the process, please email, and we will help you get confirmed.
leerie.jenkinsAnd if anyone needs to update their contact data, please email changes to
Dirk_Elberagain I would like to thank everyone for joining in on the chat this evening. This has been one of the most well attended candidate chats I have taken part in and definitely a great variety of questions.
Steve CoronaThank you to all who submitted questions for this evening's chat and to Nafa for hosting this discussion. Thank you also to my fellow nominees for their thoughtful answers and their committment to this sport over the years. I look forward to our future chats and hope to serve Nafa to the utmost of my abilities if elected.
Neil.FloodIt would be great if I can make this Jan work in conjunction with a work trip. We'll be at both Osr tournments this year and keep June 14-15 open and head out to our summer tournment - it is going to be a fun one.
John HendriksI would like to thank everyone for joining us tonight. I believe Nafa is a strong organization and would like to see it grow in all aspects. Thank you for all your questions it shows a true interest in the sport.
leerie.jenkinsThanks again candidates, election committee members, and thanks to all the Nafa participants who attended the chat, and/or who will read the transcript. Good night all.
leerie.jenkins[END Transcript]