Executives Spotlight stories appeared on this website starting in 2001. Some of the executive's professional experience may have changed since they were published.
Spotlight - May 4, 2002
President, SnowSports Industries America
A fellow called me the other day demanding my resignation," David recounted to me. "Before I do," he told the caller, "I would like to ask a couple of questions." By the end of the call, the caller completely understood his feelings and backed off his complaints.
People talk about being direct. They sometimes call that "being honest." But we aren't direct. How many of us have been taught, "If you don't have something nice to say, don't say it at all?" And so those uncomfortable feelings we have for someone seep out in other ways...as whispers to our friends...which then get back to the people about whom we complain.
I gained a great deal of respect for David Ingemie many years ago. McKinsey & Co, a large, management consulting firm, had done a study in 1989 that merging the ski product trade association with the ski areas association would make perfect sense. There would be "one marketing voice" for the ski industry, and there would be economies of scale merging two organizations together. How convenient that this study was concluded when one of the association's executive directors had just retired? But, would the ski areas association mind having the Executive Director of the ski trade association, David Ingemie, as their executive director, now? The two organizations concluded there had to be a national search. David had to convince the ski areas association brass that he was the right candidate. I conducted the search.
Throughout the process, I kept looking at David, "How does it feel to have to fight to get your job back?" He'd smile. I was impressed. He had such faith.
We presented a number of good candidates, and I even made it difficult for David to "win" the job. On the interview day, I placed him in the middle of the pack. You see, social psychology tells you it's easier to win a job as the first or last interviewee, and much harder in the middle. But there was something in his style that just made him the right candidate - his directness.
David's success, he explained in his interview, in managing a board of directors or many disgruntled members always wanting far too much from a non-profit organization with limited funds was his ability to stop the complainers. That's a feat! He's an optimist with large dose of practicality. He's self-made. He works hard. He's street smart. And when he hears someone has a problem with his beliefs or comments, he picks up the phone and calls them directly. "Hi, this is David Ingemie. I understand you have a problem with me." And within minutes the matter is resolved.
It's not surprising David has held this role as head of the ski (and now snowboard) trade association for almost 25 years. And the success of the ski and snowboard manufacturers, in spite of challenging weather conditions, has a lot to do with his leadership. He's not afraid of conflict. In such a competitive industry, his directness turns conflict into cohesion.
When I think of David, I'm often reminded of a Karl Jaspers saying, "We cannot avoid conflict, conflict with society, other individuals and with oneself. Conflicts may be the sources of defeat, lost life and a limitation of our potentiality but they may also lead to greater depth of living and the birth of more far-reaching unities, which flourish in the tensions that engender them."
- Buffy Filippell
"David believes without direct communication and open communication, you can't solve anything. He's incredible."
--Ned Post, President, Smith Sport Optics
What I do...
David is responsible for over seeing a non-profit National Trade Association for the suppliers of snow sports. Membership is about 750. Major activities include an International Trade show, Research, Communications, Web sites, Public Relations, Logistics, Government Affairs, and Market Development. SIA is comprised of two non-profit entities and three for profit entities for logistics and database management. Total revenues are about seven million dollars.
HOW I GOT HERE...
SNOWSPORTS INDUSTRIES OF AMERICA; McLean, VA; 1994-present
UNITED SKI INDUSTRIES AMERICA; McLean, VA; 1990-1993
SKI INDUSTRIES OF AMERICA; Washington, DC; 1976-1990/1993-present
MT. WASHINGTON VALLEY CHAMBER COMMERCE; North Conway, NH; 1973-1976
WACHUSETT MOUNTAIN SKI AREA.; Princeton, MA; 1969-1973
Public Relations Director