Executive Director Hired + Head Coach Named
Wave Aquatics announced today that it has hired Jonathan Alford as its Executive Director, and named Chad Winkle as its Swim Team Head Coach. Alford’s hiring reflects Wave’s adoption of a full-time Executive Director leadership model in order to manage its continued growth in aquatics programs for Eastside Seattle-King County residents.
“We are delighted to have Jonathan’s leadership in this new chapter for Wave Aquatics,” said Wave’s Board President Ann Meverden. “The need for improved and expanded aquatics facilities and programs on the Eastside has never been more critical. We are eager to work with our public sector partners to tackle this challenge.” Wave has steadily served an increasing number of Eastside residents through its public programs at the Juanita Aquatics Center, Redmond’s Hartman Pool, and Willows Preparatory School Pool.
Alford brings extensive experience in strategic development as CEO and CFO of consumer travel and sustainability-focused startups, a management consultant, and a member of the Executive Operations Group for the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics. He has volunteered for several years in the local aquatics community, most recently as President of the Midlakes Swim League of 4,300 summer swimmers, water polo players, and divers.
Intimately aware of our region’s unmet demand for additional and safe capacity for competitive, learning, and therapeutic aquatics and the need to replace severely-aged facilities, Alford has also recently developed strategic visions for Eastside aquatics and community centers with the SplashForward advocacy group. He has a BA from the University of Virginia, an MBA from Cornell University, and replaces Interim Executive Director Matt Eldridge, who has led the organization since June.
“I'm honored to have the opportunity to help Wave Aquatics build on the growth and impact it has on the Eastside,” remarked Alford. “Thousands of Redmond, Kirkland and neighboring residents utilize our swim school and competitive swimming and other aquatics programs. I am excited to help enhance our customer experiences, services, and facilities we manage.”
Winkle takes on the Swim Team Head Coach position after serving since late September as Interim Head Coach. He has coached for the swim team for the last four years, and brings 15 years of coaching experience, including several head coach positions from Alaska to Ohio. In addition, Winkle was the head coach for the Pacific Northwest Swimming (PNS) All-Stars team last year and the head coach of the PNS Age Group Zones team for the past two years.
“Since taking on the Interim Head Coach role two months ago, Chad has demonstrated exceptional abilities as a strategic leader, proactive communicator and effective manager,” commented Eldridge. “As we considered the qualities needed in the permanent Head Coach, it was clear that we already had an outstanding candidate in place. What’s more, the outpouring of support from Swim Team parents for Chad convinced us that he was the best person to lead the team.”
“I am pleased to take on the role of Head Coach for the Wave Aquatics Swim Team,” said Winkle. “I enjoyed leading the Age Group program over the past four years and am thrilled now to lead the entire team. We will continue to develop well-rounded athletes who reflect our core values of Respect, Belief, and Excellence.”
ABOUT WAVE AQUATICS
Wave Aquatics is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides a range of public aquatics programs and facilities management services that enhance the health, fitness, safety and quality of life of Seattle’s Eastside residents. Founded in 1987 as the merger of three swim teams, Wave today manages operations and programs at the Juanita Aquatics Center, Redmond’s Hartman Pool and the Willows Preparatory School Pool. It serves nearly 2,000 Eastside residents monthly through its swim school, competitive swimming and other aquatics programs. With Eastside pool capacity rapidly falling behind population growth, Wave is the proven leader in aquatics management poised to partner with local governments to solve this problem by refurbishing and expanding facilities. Wave has more than 100 employees and an annual budget of approximately $2.5 million. For more information, visit www.waveaquatics.org.