Selkirk Sport added four key executives to its leadership team to bolster its leadership position in the rapidly evolving world of pickleball. They include: Jason Dunlap as CFO, Doug Thielen as chief marketing officer, Anthony Saraceni, creative director, and Ali Carlile, as head of soft goods.  

USA Pickleball recently reported there were “13.6 million pickleball players in the U.S., an increase of 52 percent since 2022.” According to that statistic, Selkirk Sport “continues to see remarkable growth,” and has expanded the company from ten employees in 2020 to over 100 in 2024. 

“Our growth is a testament to the surging popularity of pickleball, and the decision to welcome four new executives into our leadership team is a strategic move designed to harness this momentum and steer our trajectory to even greater heights,” said Mike Barnes, co-founder and co-CEO of Selkirk Sport. 

Selkirk Sport has taken a “comprehensive approach” to the growth of pickleball, including community engagement, ambassador programs and tech innovations, including Selkirk TV and Selkirk University. The new leadership will build on this foundation, driving initiatives to elevate pickleball’s profile and accessibility.

“The ability to attract executives of such high caliber and extensive backgrounds to the pickleball industry is a clear indicator of its lasting power,” said Rob Barnes, co-founder and co-CEO of Selkirk Sport. “This movement speaks volumes about the industry’s growth, dynamism and the increasing recognition of pickleball as a significant sector within the sports world.” 

Jason Dunlap has 30 years of experience in senior financial leadership roles working for outdoor equipment and lifestyle brands, most recently as Osprey Packs, Inc.’s CFO and the VP of finance at Black Diamond Equipment. He has vast finance and accounting experience at publicly traded companies and private equity-backed firms. Throughout his experience, “Dunlap has managed strategic and capital transactions totaling over $800 million.” Outside of work, Dunlap plays pickleball, often competing in local tournaments. 

Doug Thielen has spent the past 20 years working with outdoor and lifestyle brands, where he’s led campaigns for REI, Filson, Ford Bronco, Mtn Dew, Native Eyewear, Qdoba, and Dickies. As the chief marketing officer for Selkirk Sport, Thielen will focus on shepherding “the intersection of commerce and content, as well as culture and community.” Thielen will oversee marketing, creative, e-commerce, media, public relations, and sponsored athletes.

With over 20 years of experience working in activewear and fashion, Anthony Saraceni, a creative director, played “a pivotal role in the 2019 launch of the men’s division at Fabletics” and reportedly “helped drive 500 percent growth in less than three years.” At Selkirk Sport, Saraceni aims to amplify further the brands’ “output and presence in the industry.”

Ali Carlile is a seasoned product designer with over 20 years of experience. An alumna of Brigham Young University’s product design program, Carlile has designed “hundreds of products for major corporations and startups, including Nike, New Balance, Owlet Baby Care, Adidas, and Wandrd bags.” Most recently, Carlile was active in the wearable technology space, earning three Innovation Awards at the Consumer Electronics Show in recent years, and holds a double-digit patent portfolio. Beyond her professional achievements, Carlile is an avid athlete with a passion for pickleball that sees her on the court daily. Her goal in 2024 is to climb to a 5.0 DUPR ranking.

Images courtesy Selkirk Sports