Hometown: Grosse Pointe Farms, MI
Education: Oakland University, BS Accounting and Finance; University of Michigan, MBA
1. Partner, Accenture 1980 – 2001
2. Global Process Officer, Sales Service and Marketing, General Motors Corporation 2001-2004
3. Various Consulting, Advisory and Investment Banking engagements, 2005 – 2010
4. Chief Executive Officer, Foris Solutions LLC, 2010 to Present
5. Currently Treasurer and Finance Chair with multiple not for profit organizations
Steve has made a career of innovation and has helped many organizations successfully navigate change, often sailing through treacherous waters.
1. Commodore, Grosse Pointe Yacht Club
2. IOR North American Championship
3. MORC North American Championship
4. Race Management Team Member at a wide variety of local and international events
Over forty years of offshore experience in fresh and salt water. Steve specialized in working the pointy end of large offshore boats for twenty years, in the heyday of IOR racing. With maturity and the associated awareness of his mortality, he migrated to the afterguard, calling tactics and driving, he has campaigned multiple competitive boats.
When not on the water, Steve is an expert skier, woodworker and amateur historian.
Words from Steve Freitas
“The sport of sailing is experiencing a period of rapid evolution, which impacts all aspects of participation. US Sailing must create a large tent that covers all active participants, while simultaneously championing constructive change. This requires a nimble organization that honors history and tradition, while embracing changes that will invigorate the sailing community.”
“US Sailing, as the manager of the US Sailing Team, is challenged to respond to a dramatic shift in the nature of international competition. We have access to all the resources of the world’s richest nation and we should employ the resources required to win at all levels.”
An Interview with Steve Freitas
- Why do you want to be a member of US Sailing’s Board of Directors?
I have enjoyed a 50+ year love of sailing and for over 40 years immersed myself in racing as a bowman, helmsman, tactician and owner. I have been asked to serve as Treasurer, a position that I have served in, for a variety of not-for-profit organizations. This is a three year commitment that I do not undertake lightly. US Sailing is financially strong, but faces a rapidly changing environment. I hope to serve as an enabler of innovation for US Sailing, finding ways to manage and finance the new and revised programs the Staff and the Board of US Sailing will define.
- How can community sailing centers, yacht clubs and other sailing organizations collaborate with each other more on key initiatives to grow sailing?
Collaboration is effective when it is based on a common objective and a shared set of approaches. Finding that consensus and defining the approach is the role of US Sailing. We have a diverse set of experiences and talent on the Board, supported by the talents of our US Sailing Staff. However, the challenges are large, and will require compromise, shared investments, and a willingness to leave behind our current practices and properties, in order to move forward.
– How can these organizations and other sailing industries integrate with their local communities to provide more awareness for prospective new sailors?
Awareness is by definition a marketing activity, but by itself does not achieve the implied goal of bringing more people into the sport. We must develop programs that attract young people and are aligned with what the millennials and their families value. We must develop introductory programs that are faster, more exciting, require a smaller investment in money and time, and provide a significant opportunity for social interaction.
If we design programs that deliver value to our target audience they will be easy to market and create awareness. If the underlying programs don’t align with what that audience values, awareness will only serve to drive participants away.
– What can US Sailing do to help facilitate these partnerships?
Developing a clear definition of programs that align with the values of our target audience and can be adopted by local sailing communities is an appropriate role for US sailing.
- How has US Sailing’s programs and services impacted your overall sailing experience?
It is hard to imagine sail racing without an organizing body like US Sailing. The Organization’s work provides structure and enhances skills in every aspect of the sport. The Rules that provide structure to racing, seamanship training that makes us safer, instruction to bring along the next generation of sailors, coaches, and race officials, are all part of the heritage of US Sailing, from which I have benefited. In addition, the ability to handicap disparate boats, to provide a foundation for competition, requires an organizing body that can be fair and impartial.
Lastly, we need US Sailing to organize our Olympic Program. International competition at that level requires a commitment at a national level, and US Sailing is the body recognized by the US Olympic Committee to represent sailing.
- Is it important for sailors to be members of US Sailing?
Membership is, in my view, the bare minimum anyone participating in sailing can do, to make the sport better. Dues support many aspects of sailing and directly deliver value to anyone involved in organized competition. There will always be those who want to benefit from the contributions of others and some that don’t necessarily agree with every aspect of US Sailings programs, but the value delivered is undeniable. Making sure that your membership investment is well spent, is the responsibility of the Board, and I can assure you that the Board takes that responsibility seriously.