SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (June 20) — Bill Marolt’s innovative leadership was recognized this week as the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association president and CEO was honored as a finalist for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Marolt was recognized for implementation of an innovative business plan that has led to more than doubling of funding for athletic programs, resulting in record athletic performances by U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team athletes the past two years towards the organization’s goal of being best in the world in Olympic skiing and snowboarding by 2006.

Marolt, a former Olympic skier who has led the Park City, Utah-based USSA since 1996, was one of 26 finalists covering eight different categories. He was one of four finalists selected in the ‘Community Enrichment’ category in the Utah regional competition, which was won by Utah Shakespearean Festival founder Fred C. Adams. The finalists were selected from a very competitive field of over 50 nominees.

The Utah regional winners will be considered for the national Entrepreneur of the Year Award to be presented in December. Over 1,200 Utah businessmen and women attended the June 18 presentation at the Salt Palace Convention Center, which was kicked off by an address by Governor Michael O. Leavitt.

“It was a real honor for our organization to be recognized along with some truly outstanding and innovative Utah business leaders,” said Marolt. “It’s actually very interesting for our non-profit organization, which benefits young athletes, to be considered for an entrepreneurial award. But that’s exactly what we are — entrepreneurs!

“We have developed a strong business based on planning and taking calculated risks to raise money for our athletic programs. And the results of our are work are quantified not on stock return, but on pure athletic results.”

When Marolt, a former alpine director for the U.S. Ski team, returned in 1996 he first changed the paradigm of USSA’s business so that staff, athletes and constituents now look upon USSA as an athletic organization. He also implemented a business model to support athletic programs financially through implementation of a five-year business planning process, and the willingness to take risks in raising money through general public fundraising, television and corporate sponsorships.

The results have been extraordinary, more than doubling the funding for athletic programs since 1996. The athletic results have followed suit. In 2002, USSA achieved its organizational goal of a record 10 Olympic medals — four more than ever before! And in 2003, the organization recorded its best overall season in over 20 years!

Today, USSA is regarded as one of the most progressive and successful of more than 40 U.S. Olympic sports organizations.

– Best in the World —