Ken Jacobs

LBRA Board of Directors Election
Candidate Statement
Ken Jacobs
Office Nominated For: Vice President




Hello Fellow LBRA Rowers

I am honored to be have been nominated for the position of Vice President on the LBRA Board of Directors.

Many thanks to MK for taking the initiative to post each candidates’ qualifications for the office and ideas for the club’s improvements over the next 12 months.


Here’s a quick bullet point overview. For those who are interested in more details, you can see the expanded version below.

Rowing Experience: 44 years of competitive rowing. 4 years rowing on the Varsity Lightweight Crew at UCLA. Cofounder of CYC rowing. Rowed for NYAC, NAC and SDRC. Currently for LBRA for the past 3 years.

How I can make a difference: I would like to build on the accomplishments of the current BoD. There has been a vast improvement in the governance of the club. I would like to focus on the on-the-water activities of the club.

  • Improve organization and coordination of all recreational and racing activities
    • Develop a year long “road map” for formulation and execution of new club improvement programs
      • Goal of enhanced rowing experience of all members, from novice to experienced
    • Implement improved marketing and communications program
      • Improve recruitment and retention of new rowers
        • Develop a Mentor Program for each new member
          • From novice to elite
          • Mentor provides the “ins-and-outs” of the club activities and equipment
        • Establish more safety guidelines and publicize
        • Publicize races for more participation and sponsors
          • Provide sponsorship opportunities to create more profit centers
          • Use modern digital marketing techniques
            • Publicize on website and social media
            • Develop drip email campaigns to encourage more participation in regattas and club special events
          • Improve communications and awareness
            • More timely monthly emails to all members
          • Provide more support for current coaches
            • Implement all-club video technique program for continuous filming and stoke analysis of each club member
            • Provide “how-to” programs
              • Loading the trailer
              • Rigging
              • Racing (from warm-up to warm down)
              • Safety
            • Improved support (addressing technical and equipment needs) of each rowing sub-group.
              • Masters Women – Novice Thru Intermediate
                • Determine and plan for equipment needs
              • Masters Men – Novice Through Intermediate
                • Determine and plan for equipment needs
              • Scullers-Men and Women
                • Recondition existing small boats to provide a competitive pathway for experienced scullers
              • Masters Women’s Elite Sweep
                • Continue support
              • Masters Men’s Elite Sweep
                • Recruitment of new members
                • Advancement of rowers from existing programs
              • Develop programs to attract and retain new rowing members to our “weak spots.”
                • Men’s Elite Masters Sweep
                  • Recruitment of members from local clubs
                  • Recruitment of rowers unaffiliated with local clubs
                  • Start with recreational and move into racing
                • Young Adult Sweep and Sculling
                  • Under 23 Summer Camp
                  • Attract local college rowers for summer rowing
                  • Retain them for life


A Little Information About My Rowing Background and My Life Outside Rowing:

I have been running my own advertising and marketing agency for the past 18 years. Before that, I worked for global advertising agencies where I have managed large teams of ad people and multi-million dollar budgets. My forte involves taking a creative, innovative approach to all the projects on work on, and finding innovative, lucrative ways to help my clients improve their profitability and stay relevant in an ever changing marketing environment.

I am also a member of the Long Beach Rotary Club, which has over 300 members including CEOs of small and mid-sized business, numerous employees of CSULB, and local government officials including the current Mayor of Long Beach.

Now to the Rowing.

Rowing Qualifications:

Number of years of rowing: 45

Raced in over 35 Club and Masters National Championships.

Club/School History:

UCLA Varsity Lightweight Crew: 4 years. Elected Captain in senior year.

California Yacht Club Rowing: 10 years. I was a co-founder of the club in 1977 and helped grow the club to become a preeminent small club.

New York Athletic Club: Rowed for this nationally ranked East Coast rowing club for 4 years. Won numerous national championships. Experienced a traditional large club environment, while rowing in 8’s, 4’s, quads, doubles and single.

Newport Aquatic Center: 5 non-consecutive years. Observed the effect that a lack of overall club cohesiveness can have on competitive rowing programs.

San Diego Rowing Club: 15 years. Part of many national champion boats. Helped club to win over national points trophies at Master’s nationals.

LBRA: 4 non-consecutive years. Led the renewed interest in participation in Master’s nationals. Organized the men’s heavyweight boats for San Diego Crew Classic for the past 2 years, per John Nunn’s request.


Here are the main themes that I would like to see developed over the next year:

A Stronger Connection To The Water

The club has grown considerably over the past few year. In order to keep up with the new energy, we need board members who are more connected to the day-to-day activities of the club. Specifically, being on the water.  There is a lot of activity on the water with the different teams – Masters Women, Masters Men, Recreation Rowers, Training Groups. Now, we need to roll out specific, overall programs that can benefit everyone. An investment in one program can be designed to benefit everyone.

More Communications

Overall, we should have a much more detailed communications pathway. In the world of marketing, we call that a sales funnel. For instance, just one email sent out for an upcoming regatta doesn’t do much. But a series of emails is much more effective. This type of email campaign would be for each major event. And the email list would be segmented in categories to include LBRA members, local club rowers, previous regatta participants and key leaders of those clubs. The results could have a big payoff for the club with higher attendance, which translates specifically to more income. This would extend beyond just regattas. A monthly newsletter would provide club members with a better view of what’s happening before it happens (for instance, Stadium closures due to scheduled events.  A more buttoned up communications pipeline to both members and participating rowing clubs builds better credibility for LBRA (and more entries.)

I also see the development of a “living” club member manual, to be hosted on the club website. This would be a comprehensive guide for rowers at LBRA with important information, such as “what to do in a water emergency in the morning” and “how to use an ergometer”  and “specific traffic areas in the Marine Stadium that you need to be really careful navigating.”  This would be the go-to source that will benefit everyone, from novice to experienced rowers. This living club member manual would be updated on a consistent basis and would also contain fresh links to worthwhile online articles about rowing.

More CENTRALIZED Technical Rowing Support For The Entire Club

We need to have everyone using the same universal style. This would make it easier to supply coaching for everyone and ease the movement of rowers from one group to another.

Video Coaching:

Since we have “sub-groups” of club members, it’s hard to provide technical coaching for everyone unless we have a specific program that can be designed to service everyone with one investment in planning and organization.  We should look for more opportunities that will improve the rowing experience for everyone at once. For instance, technique videos of individuals and teams are a great coaching tool. We do this on an occasional basis individually.  We can take video documentation to a new level by designating a few days for videos to be taken of all the rowing groups.  By scheduling a “club video technique day” for all the teams and groups, we can take videos of everyone all in one day. A video crew would set up in a coaching launch and follow each group on a Saturday. This video crew would shoot the women’s 8, men’s 8, fours, scullers, during the whole morning. Then the footage can be distributed to the sub group coaches for review with the rowers. These video technique days would be a great way to standardize a rowing technique to be used by all club members. This would improve the overall technical level of club member rowing and give more opportunities for rowers advance into more skilled groups of rowers.

The Big Plan: We Need A Roadmap

I believe that LBRA has been enjoying a Renaissance of active rowers participating in all levels of rowing. From novice to seasoned racers, I have been amazed by the growth and dedication to the sport of rowing shown here in Long Beach.

We have also had our share of challenges. Rowers move away from the area. Their commitments to family and careers change. They grow old and develop health issues. Or they simply retired

We are at a critical crossroads for the club. For many years, we enjoyed the commitment and energy from the old guard of rowers. Now, as they begin to retire, we are seeing the emergence of a new wave of rowers. Some are novices. Some are coming back to the sport after years of concentrating on family and careers. Others have never left.


It is essential to restructure the club for the next decade for this new wave of rowers. A documented roadmap, developed by a group of selected club members including the coaches and captains, is essential. This roadmap starts with identifying the needs for the key rowing groups here at LBRA. Here are my key thoughts for that:

  • Novice Masters Women: There is no denying that the emergence of women’s masters rowing is one of the biggest growth factors for rowing clubs today. This is one of the hottest growing segments of rowing worldwide. At Masters Nationals, the growth of women’s events has been spectacular. Our novice team, coached by Katrin, has made great strides. Their commitment and enthusiasm is stellar. They need more technical education about specific facets of rowing (races, boat maintenance, rigging, club support, etc.) We should leverage our technical expertise from more experienced club member and guest coaches. Additional viewpoints are essential for rowers to improve.
  • Elite Masters Women: Our elite women rowers have made a national impact with gold metal performances at the Crew Classic and the Head of the Charles. By counting on an experienced local base, and tapping into global talent, they produce very fast boats. Even though we are going outside the club to fill out the ranks, the club still benefits from the big wins by drawing even more rowers as permanent members and from equipment manufacturers as prime clubs for demo boats use.
  • Carlos and Renn’s Groups: The groups lead by Renn and Carlos groups keep growing and improving. They have also given me an idea of how to duplicate this natural occurrence and apply it to other rowers. The additional of more steps to the process will help. Perhaps another tier of rowers in between novice and intermediate. See more below.The club has done a great job of supporting all these groups with top notch rowing equipment – shells and ergs. We can help to further the growth by providing more technique rowing clinics (how to rig, how to use the approved LBRA style of rowing,) for all rowing levels, and augmenting our inventory for sweep and sculling oars, since many of the oars we have become antiquated.All of our groups would benefit from a higher level of boat rigging for all levels, with education and hands on support. And of course, we need to provide more support and organization for regattas with on-site expertise to guide and advise rowers before, during and after the races.
  • A Mentor Program For New Rowers: Novice, recreational and solo rowers keep trickling in. Support for the recreational and novice rowers is important, as the time they lose interest is when they are left alone. A mentor program with help to address this problem. By providing the new and existing rowers direction and support of scheduled periods of time, we can keep the enthusiasm up and head off any potential drop-off issue. Part of this program would be a “mentor-guide” that can be utilized by mentors throughout the year.The Mentor Guide can also include a new “How To Row At LBRA” manual. It’s time to update body of knowledge and make it a sustained, actual document. This would be for not only Novices and Recreational rowers, but also experienced rowers. Issues such a how to deal with swimmers, paddlers and other boaters in Alamitos Bay is in dire need of formalization and distribution.This program would be very helpful for new rowers coming through the “ergo” funnel. As the erg becomes more widespread for the general fitness population as well as cross fit enthusiasts, I can see an offshoot of the program addressed specifically towards turning dry land rowers into on-the-water enthusiasts.
  • Intermediate Men’s Masters: The growth of a new men’s team, coached by Anna and lead by Sasha and Martin. This group has been performing well at local, national and international regattas. I have been impressed by how they have supplemented their ranks with experienced sweep rowers from Los Angeles This is a great example of how LBRA offers some distinct advantages in equipment, support, coaching and location. Other clubs within the LA / Orange county area can’t offer this.The biggest issue coming up for this group will be equipment. As they are primarily rowing in 8’s, the club would be wise in developing a game plan to accommodate the need for training equipment as well as racing.
  • Senior and Elite Rowers: The decline of our elite masters men’s sweep program program is a substantial challenge and will continue to be so. Our supply of top-notch club and international rowers has been eroding considerably and we have been resorting to creative recruiting techniques to field 8’s for major regattas.To counter this, we have a few options. First, like Anna’s group, we have been able to enlist high-end rowers from Los Angeles, with the significant lure of providing them a seat in a Crew Classic boat. We should continue this approach, and devise a way to deal with the club affiliation issue that always comes up. Part of this effort should be the continued identification and recruitment of competitive, experienced rowers that are outside of the Los Angeles area. Good prospects have been found and recruited from smaller clubs that may not have enough rowers for team boats.Ideally, I would like to see the development of local, homegrown rowers. The best source would be from recent college graduates who have rowed in their college programs and would be ecstatic about continuing their rowing careers. Many of these college rowers are unaware of the vast universe of after-college rowing. Whether it’s Club, Elite or Masters, LBRA should have a program that encourages the continuation of their rowing careers. Is would be comprised of multiple efforts, including a out-reach program to coaches and college rowers (BIG NOTE: MEN AND WOMEN!) to educate them about the after college rowing career. Next, we would need to start a pre-Elite / Elite program at LBRA to be run during college breaks (summer, winter aimed at those still in school. Year round for graduates.) We should start off small and build up to sending crews to Club Nationals and Canadian Henley. This would build our supply of future long-term members as well as our reputation as a current contender in this class.
  • Senior and Elite Masters Sculling: On the other hand, the scullers group headed up by Sherri Klein is doing great. We’ve had a lot of participation in our Sunday morning sprints in the Marine Stadium. Up to 15 scullers doing battle for every inch of water. My thoughts turn to next year’s Masters Nationals. Will we have the same participation level in Grand Rapids, Michigan? If so, we should start to plan and build excitement for participation.Regarding equipment needs for this sculling group, I can foresee the need of building a small fleet of race quality singles. These can be reconditioned singles that would be race restricted. This would serve two needs. First, it would help new scullers to transition to singles racing faster. The Peinert trainers are great, but limited. If an experienced sweep rower wants to participate in our workouts and be competition, using the heavier Peinerts is a handicap that they don’t need. Also, we can attract more LA and Orange county individual rowers. This year, most of them car-topped their singles to the practices, if they had them. By having some club boats they can use, we can make joining LBRA more attractive.


Well, this has to stop somewhere. In this platform, I have advanced a boatload of thoughts that need further discussion and development.

Such as:

How to market our current regattas to increase our return on investment.

How to better utilize our current boat inventory through an extensive boat repair and reverberation program.

How to increase participation in our regattas and make a better R.O.I. for the club.

How to standardize rowing technique in all levels of the club.

How to utilize our website to draw and retain new and experienced rowers.

How to encourage more participation for on the water practices.

How to effectively fill empty seats for on-the-water practices.

How to encourage and improve cross communications between our segmented rowing groups.

But if you have taken the time to read this vision statement to the end, you will get a taste of what I have in mind and what else I can come up with.

After talking with fellow club members who are on the board and running for a board seat, I can tell you that these ideas have gained traction. It’s a lot of work, but for LBRA is in a unique position to spearhead the growth and improvement of rowing in Southern California over the next ten years.

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