Name: Ralph Davis
Nominated for: Treasurer
Response to Questions
Why are you interested in this position and why do you believe you would be a good candidate?
I am interested in this position because of my love for Masters swimming and my desire to serve USMS in a capacity that I am professionally qualified.
I am a senior finance executive with over 30 years experience in accounting and financial management. My scope of career experience ranges from working for a large multinational corporation to company start-ups and business consulting. I have managed domestic and international financial operations coupled with developing local and worldwide strategies for their performance. I have served on Boards of Directors of various corporations, both domestic and international, combining diverse cultural and differing traditions to achieve corporate objectives.
I believe I can provide a fresh and unique perspective to the Treasurer position. My Board experience should complement the responsibilities of the position's requirements. I'm confident I can add value to USMS and look forward to the opportunity to serve as its Treasurer.
I have served on the Finance Committee for 10 years, the last 1 1/2 as the Chairman. Consequently, I am well versed with the financial operations of USMS.
My current career status enables great flexibility to serve USMS. I have a passion to volunteer my time at this stage of my life to give something back for all that I have obtained. I feel fortunate to have received a gift of life when I acquired my transplanted heart in February 2006.
- Master of Business Administration, Western Michigan University, 1970
- Bachelor of Business Administration, Western Michigan University, 1969
What do you consider to be the major issues facing USMS now and in the future. As a person holding an elected position within USMS, how would you address these issues?
- Organization structure for the guidance of the new USMS. We have embarked on a new era for USMS. We are in the process of transitioning USMS from an all-volunteer organization to a professionally paid organization. We must structure the new organization so that it still capitalizes on the wealth of talent of our volunteers that have been the lifeblood of USMS. We must maintain the spirit of those volunteers as they give up some of their past duties, but still retain their involvement in the organization. In this process we must develop the proper infrastructure for USMS to grow. This major issue will only be addressed if the Board of Directors works collectively on the new organization structure of USMS.
- Engage new volunteers and develop new leaders for USMS. We must determine how we are going to get new volunteers involved in the organization and develop them to become the future leadership. We need to develop a program specific to local LMSCs that encourages new members to attend the national convention and become more willingly involved in our organization. We may need to assist certain LMSCs with funding, but we need to somehow have a precise USMS program that supports getting new faces to our convention. If we avoid setting a proactive agenda to this issue, I believe it may become increasingly difficult to acquire adequate leadership for the future success of USMS.
- New investment policy for USMS. We need to develop a new Investment Policy that will increase financial stability, and the means to provide financial support towards the program goals of the organization.
My first goal as the Treasurer is to work with the Board of Directors, Executive Officers and Finance Committee to develop and implement a new Investment Policy. Our current policy invests all funds in basically certificates of deposit and money market funds. I believe that we need a blend of short-term and long-term investments. USMS needs to maintain two distinct investment policies; one that governs the funds primarily invested for future generations (Long-Term Pool) and a second that governs the funds geared to support current program and operational activities (Short Term Pool). The Short Term Pool Funds must be a dollar amount equal to our reserve requirement with the remaining funds being invested in our Long-Term Pool.
Please list USMS committees on which you have served. Include the dates you were on the committees and the names of the committee chairs under whom you served:
Overall, I have served on the Finance Committee since 2000. My Committee chairs have been Doug Church, Tom Boak, and Jeff Moxie. I was Vice-Chair under Tom Boak. I have been Chairman of the Finance Committee since the 2007 convention.
Please list any other experience that relates to your qualifications for the position.
I have enjoyed two careers; my first as finance executive of Federal-Mogul (23 years) with direct responsibility for all financial activities of diverse manufacturing businesses in the United States and 12 foreign countries generating $600 million in sales. I possess extensive experience in managing global financial staffs, analyzing and monitoring individual unit performance, developing local and worldwide strategies, organizing joint venture/licensing agreements, managing foreign exchange exposure, directing treasury function at international locations and counseling the Group President as well as the location General Managers. I recruited and trained highly successful Directors of Finance for eight foreign subsidiaries.
My second and current career involves administering a management and financial consulting company of which I have co-ownership.
Please list any other information you would like included.
Age 62, excellent health, new heart, married 43 years, three children, and five grandchildren.
Hobbies: competitive swimming, golf, and financial advising.
Treasurer, Michigan LMSC, 1997 to 2007
Vice-Chair, Michigan LMSC, 2007 to 2009
Chair, Michigan LMSC, 2009