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USA Cycling Announces Four New Members on Board of Directors

By: Angelina Palermo  September 28, 2022

Hendon, Blankenship, Strong, and Cole have joined the USA Cycling Board of Directors.

USA Cycling is pleased to announce four new members have joined its Board of Directors. After an extensive selection process, the USA Cycling Foundation appointed Mike Cole to fill the vacant USA Cycling Foundation seat, and the USA Cycling Board elected Melanie Strong, Dereka Hendon, and Chad Blankenship to fill the three At-Large Director positions.

  • Dereka Hendon (New York City) - Hendon is passionate about creating space for anyone who wants to join the cycling community and dreams of being a professional cyclist. She does this through her Presidential position at the Major Taylor Iron Riders Cycling Club. She currently serves as a Project Manager for the nation's largest public school system in New York City. Supporting 1.1 million students across five boroughs, she supports programs ranging from LGBTQ+, Gender Equity, Restorative Justice and Social Emotional Learning.
  • Chad Blankenship (Colorado Springs, Colo.) – Chad is a sports media, entertainment and marketing executive currently leading business development and growth properties at Endeavor-owned Professional Bull Riders in Colorado, where he launched the league's new team-based bull riding league, its western sports streaming network, and oversaw brand marketing. Previously he served as interim CMO for the launch of Virgin Sport; led marketing for the launch of Univision-backed El Rey Network; and was a senior marketer at ESPN, NYC2012 (New York's bid for the 2012 Olympic Games), and several award-winning advertising agencies.
  • Melanie Strong (Hood River, Ore.) - Strong has spent her career building high performing teams, with a commitment to creating positive culture change through sports and health through her 17 years at Nike, and co-founding an investing firm NEXT VENTŪRES in 2019
  • Michael Cole (Ridge, N.Y.) – Cole has been cycling for almost 40 years and is a licensed Level 2 USA Cycling coach. When he stopped racing after 10-years, he became a large supporter of the USA Cycling Foundation and was encouraged to join the Board. When not on his bike, Michael has over 25 years of experience in the design, testing and operation of RF cavities and associated systems for use on particle accelerators.
President and CEO Brendan Quirk said, “Our new Board members are an ideal reflection of our mission to grow the sport of grassroots bike racing and achieve sustained international results with our National Team. Collectively they bring a wide range of strengths -- commercial know-how, community impact through local programming, and expertise in championing diversity. We ran a far-reaching and thorough process to find these four incredible individuals, and I’m excited to work with them for years to come.”