The Professional Paddlesports Association has lunched a new business consulting program dubbed, ‘PaddlePro Business Evaluation Programs.’ The organization describes it as an exclusive, onsite peer evaluation program for members desiring to improve the efficiency and profitability of their business.

With over 40 years of experience in recreation business management, PPA past-president Bruce Kerfoot will lead a two-person team of experts to review business operations from head to toe and offer recommendations on all aspects of a business including operations, risk management, and financial controls.

The program is currently targeted to PPA’s outfitter and rental membership, and the organization plans to add retail business evaluations in 2006.

In related News the PPA confirmed new and continuing board members for 2005 during its membership meeting on December 2, 2004, in Savannah, Georgia.

Mike Prom, owner of Voyageur Canoe Outfitters, Grand Marais, Minnesota, is the new PPA President for 2005 and continues to serve as the Northcentral Regional Director for the association. Prom follows Ed Councill of Canoe Kentucky, Frankfort, Kentucky, who now serves as Past President and Director at Large.

Mike Cichanowski, CEO of We-no-nah Canoe and Current Designs Kayak of Winona, Minnesota, now serves as the associations’ Vice President, and continues as the vendor representative to the board. Former Vice President, Esther Sanborn of Adventures Unlimited Outdoor Center, Milton, Florida, moves to the position of PPA Treasurer and continues as a Director at Large.

Josh Gray of Mohican Adventures Canoe & Fun Center of Loudonville, Ohio, is the newly elected Mid-Central Region Director, replacing Jeff Blue, owner of Blues Canoe Livery, Columbus, Indiana. Greg Knight of kayak retail and instruction center Aqua Adventures, San Diego, California, is the newly elected West Region Director, replacing Robert “Bear” Bass, owner of Ozark Outdoors, Leasburg, Missouri. Additionally, Rick Egedi, owner of Sheltowee Trace Outfitters, Whitley City, Kentucky, was re-elected as Director-at-Large.

Additionally, the PPA presented several members with industry awards honoring their service, support and environmental excellence during the InSites 2004 Parks & Paddles conference.

The PPA Environmental Excellence Award was presented to Julie Heenan, Manager of Thaxton’s Licking River Canoe Rental in recognition of her efforts to protect the Licking River Watershed. An active member of Licking River Water Watch, Julie participated in the 2004 Clean Water Relay while receiving treatment for cancer. In addition, she has been active in environmental education and promoting the preservation of 40 different species of mussels on the Licking and its tributaries.

The Ralph Stevens Vendor Partnership Award, honoring exemplary service to PPA and the paddlesports industry, was presented to Holly Anderson, owner of Vanguard Inflatables and the 2004 President’s Award was presented to Pat and Denise Gattuso of Gattuso Distributing Company for their exemplary support to members of the PPA.

The Frank A. Jones Outstanding Member Award, the highest honor for a PPA member, was awarded to Richard Mikell of Adventure Carolina for his strong, on-going support of the association and the industry. Along with supporting the expansion of PPA’s professional development programs, Mikell also leads the South Carolina Professional Paddlesports Association, and works with South Carolina state government to promote paddling business.

Scott Teuber of Wisconsin River Outings received the Anthony R. Gusic Good Sport Award for contributions and good spirit during the conference. The PPA also honored over 50 members that have been active with the organization for 10, 20 and 25 years.