B$Z: PeopleForBikes Coalition Sponsors Fifth Executive Fly-In on Capitol Hill
The visit marked the fifth Executive Fly-In since the program was launched. Bike industry representatives who attended this quarter’s session included: Chris Speyer, CEO at Accell North America; Pat Cunnane, CEO at ASI; Ana Meuwissen, Director of Federal Government Affairs at Bosch; Claudia Wasko, Business Unit Leader for Business Sales at Bosch; Taldi Walter, Community Affairs Program Manager at REI; Alex Thompson, Vice President of Government Affairs at REI; and Jeff Young, Vice President of Sales at Shimano America.
This executive group discussed with members of Congress the state of the bicycle industry and the many ways the bike industry is helping to improve America.
“The PeopleForBikes Fly-In was a great opportunity to bring the perspective of bicycle business to the conversation around federal transportation investment,” said Chris Speyer of Accell NA. “I feel like we introduced a whole new business perspective on the importance of providing safe places to ride."
At this particular Fly-In, the group focused on their support for the upcoming multi-year federal transportation bill reauthorization. Their positioning centered on their views that the next transportation bill should reflect 21st century transportation priorities, including safe bridges and highways and also a reasonable continued investment in bike and pedestrian infrastructure.
"As a bike industry, spending time reaching out to other business and industry groups is critical. Bike suppliers and retailers are an integral part of the business fabric of this country and joining with other business minded coalitions in Congress is key,” said Pat Cunnane of ASI.
Regular meetings with senior federal elected officials are designed to build support for bicycling in the next transportation bill, position the benefits of bicycling with like-minded coalitions and the leaders of other influential businesses, and frame the business agenda in the minds of key decision makers.
“As a leading global supplier of technology and services we have a strong focus on the development of innovative mobility solutions including the electrification of bicycles. Governments are looking for sustainable mobility solutions, which e-bikes can provide. Growth in bicycling requires bicycle infrastructure improvements and a corresponding reflection in the next transportation bill,“ said Claudia Wasko of Bosch.
Executive Fly-In agendas typically include a short training session, meetings on Capitol Hill with members of Congress, other gatherings with important coalitions and think tanks, and participation in evening fundraising events (supported by BikesPAC) that connect industry leaders with members of Congress.
“PeopleForBikes has provided me and the entire industry with a seat at the government table. We all need to capitalize on the opportunity to shape our future through participation,“ said Jeff Young of Shimano.
The next Fly-In takes place April 28 – 29. Those who are interested in attending should contact Kristy Kibler at firstname.lastname@example.org.