Jul 22, 2014
The American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation (ABSF) has appointed Allan Serrano as its new Director of Race Operations. Serrano will replace Shellie Milford—who served in various capacities for 13 years and then Director of Race Operations for the past 15 years—announced her retirement earlier this year. Serrano and his family will be relocating from New Paltz, NY. He assumes the ABSF position on September 15, 2014, and will work with Milford until her departure in March of 2015.
“Allan comes to the Birkie with a wealth of knowledge of Nordic ski racing. As we continue the tradition of excellence that the Birkie is known for, Allan’s skills will be put to good use immediately. We look forward to welcoming Allan and his family to our community,” said Sue Scheer, Board President, American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation.
Serrano brings to the American Birkebeiner his experience in leadership and management needed to be a successful Race Director. “I have a sense of the pride and ownership embodied in the greater community surrounding the Birkie. The brand is successful due to the diligent work of staff and volunteers over the years. I see the critical mission of this position is working with the Chiefs and volunteers to uphold the tradition and values, as well as developing changes to keep the experience current for all of the constituent groups,” Serrano said.
Previously, Serrano has served as an International Ski Federation (FIS) Technical Delegate which has created opportunities for him to work with race organizers and regional event staff. Serrano’s technical, communication, and organizational skills have grown to the point where he has been involved at the highest international level as a technical delegate and homologation inspector, working with organizers in Asia, Europe, and North America.” Serrano was appointed as the TD for the 2014 American Birkebeiner.
Originally from Anoka, MN, Serrano said, “I bring the passion and attention to detail that I had applied in many years of coaching to event organization. I regularly work collaboratively with a variety of organizers, focusing on operations from the point of view of the key constituent groups: participants, organization staff, spectators, and sponsors. I have worked with many historic events, applying an outsider’s perspective that I believe is critical in creating opportunities for positive growth.”
Serrano’s background consists of a Bachelors of Science in Forestry from the University of Vermont School of Natural Resources. He added that he “could provide trail development and design, to assist ABSF Trail Manager, Chris Campbell, and his crew with trail maintenance or issues pertaining to the homologation and the trail’s integrity. The Birkie trails are fantastic. It is the greatest race course; challenging with all the hills. It’s tough to improve on that. ”
“I’m really excited to have Allan joining the Birkie team,” commented Ben Popp, Executive Director of the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation. “His wealth of international experience, along with his passion for the sport will be great for the Birkie’s future.” Of his newly acquired position, Serrano said, “It is an honor and a privilege to be a part of this historic, significant event. My experience and skills will help keep up the tradition, yet make it relevant with the times.”
Allan, his wife, Natalie Cartwright—former ski contender for the Olympics in 1994 and 1998, and currently a mathematics professor—and their three daughters are looking forward to their new Wisconsin adventure. “My family and I are excited to transition into the ski lifestyle and become part of the community.”