Swim Across America (“SAA”), the leading non-profit company in the swimming industry raising money for cancer research, prevention and treatment through swimming-related events, is proud to announce Rob Butcher as its new President and CEO. Butcher takes over January 1, 2016 for Janel Jorgensen McArdle who is stepping down as CEO to spend more time with her husband and twin boys.
Butcher, 43, has served the past seven years as Executive Director for U.S. Masters Swimming. He joined USMS in 2008 and was charged with transforming the volunteer- operated non-profit to a professionally managed organization. Under his leadership, USMS rebranded itself with an inclusive identity, developed SWIMMER magazine and usms.org as the trusted resources for Masters Swimming, partnered with Fortune 500 brands Marriott and Nationwide, developed the USMS Masters Coach Certification and Adult Learn-to-Swim instructor programs, focused the Swimming Saves Lives Foundation to provide learn-to-swim opportunities for adults, and hosted the Pan American Masters Championship. Since Butcher joined USMS, membership has increased more than 50% and revenue has tripled to $3.6 million.
Since its inception in 1987, SAA has grown from a single event in Nantucket, MA, to hundreds of events across the country, raising more than $60 million dollars for cancer research, prevention and treatment. Major research beneficiaries include the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in NYC, Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Cancer Support Team of Westchester Country, Children’s Hospital of New York-Presbyterian, the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Baylor Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center in Dallas, UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in San Francisco, Women & Infants Hospital in Rhode Island, AFLAC Cancer & Blood Disorders Center at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy in Stamford, CT, Mercy Medical Center in Long Island, Cold Spring Harbor Lab in NY, Fighting Chance in Long Island, and Children’s Hospital & Research Center in Oakland, CA. Without SAA, much of their research would be left with no monetary support.
“Janel became our CEO in 2005 when we were volunteer run,” said Hugh Curran, Chairman of SAA Board of Directors. “She brought passion, credibility and leadership that took us from four events, raising $2 million dollars to 18-open water swims and hundreds of pool events, raising almost $7 million this year. We have tremendous momentum and our beneficiaries are making progress in developing cures for cancer. We were looking for a leader who could build on the great work Janel and her team have accomplished. We wanted someone with energy and an entrepreneurial spirit, with experience leading volunteers and a passion for the SAA mission. Rob was at the top of our list and we are incredibly pleased he will be leading us.”
“I participated in my first SAA event when I was a teenager,” said McArdle, a 1988 U.S. Olympian. “The lives changed and saved through the mission of SAA is what has motivated me the past decade. My last goal before stepping down as CEO was to ensure our future success by not just finding a CEO but recruiting the very best leader who could carry us forward. We found that person in Rob.”
“My grandmother and step-mom were both cancer survivors. My mom, my hero, lost her fight to appendix cancer in 2007. Finding a cure for cancer is a cause that resonates in my soul,” said Butcher. “In addition to a mission that I wholeheartedly believe in, the opportunity to be based in Charlotte close to my family attracted me to join SAA. I am incredibly appreciative to the SAA board and especially Janel for the trust they are placing in me.”
Butcher’s selection as the CEO comes as SAA is expanding and growing. The swimming community and generations of Olympians have embraced the SAA mission, with attendance and donations increasing every year. With a business model directly impacting local markets, the proceeds are creating breakthroughs and new cures in the fight against cancer.
“USMS has been very fortunate to have Rob Butcher as our Executive Director since 2008. We truly appreciate all of his many contributions and have benefited from his outstanding leadership,” said U.S. Masters Swimming President Nadine Day. “Swim Across America is a great organization and has many ties to USMS. I would like to wish Rob and Swim Across America a very successful future.”
“I am endebted to USMS for the opportunity it provided me,” said Butcher. “It has been a privilege to lead an amazing team in the USMS national office. Their servant service attitude is what created an enviable level of success for USMS; and I know they will continue to encourage and inspire adults to swim.”
Butcher is a graduate of Georgia Southern University. He competed in the 2000 U.S. Olympic Trials. He and his wife Allison have twin boys.
See USMS President Nadine Day’s letter to the U.S. Masters Swimming House of Delegates here.
About Swim Across America
Swim Across America (“SAA”), the leading non-profit company in the swimming industry raising money for cancer research, prevention and treatment through swimming-related events. Since its inception in 1987, SAA has grown from a single event in Nantucket, MA, to hundreds of events across the country, raising more than $60 million dollars for cancer research, prevention and treatment.
Swimming news courtesy of Swim Across America.