June 2nd, 2017 EAST BURKE, VT – The Burke Mountain Academy Board of Trustees announced the unanimous appointment of Willy Booker as next Head of School at BMA earlier today. Booker is uniquely positioned to carry on Burke Mountain Academy’s tradition as one of the leading ski academies in the USA due to his unique perspective as an alumnus, former staff member and a long-standing Trustee, combined with an impressive background as a senior executive in the ski industry. Booker will assume the position as Head of BMA on a full-time basis on July 31st, 2017 after transitioning from his current role as Executive Vice President at Marker Volkl Dalbello (MDV) and following a three-year term as Chair of the BMA Board of Trustees.
“Willy embodies Burke Mountain Academy’s values, spirit, and ambitions and we will be excited to see him apply his energetic leadership style to build on the legacy of this pioneering ski racing academy,” explained Burke Mountain Academy’s Board Vice Chair, Kenny Graham.
As Board Chair, Booker has overseen and driven a number of transformative initiatives including the successful capital raise and construction of the $3M Ronnie Berlack Center (which stands as the largest single capital project in BMA history), the designation of BMA/Burke Mtn as an official US Ski Team Development Site and High Performance Center and the imminent improvements to BMA’s training venue – including a new high speed surface lift, additional training space, snowmaking and terrain improvements – among other accomplishments as Chair.
Booker’s hiring is the conclusion of a search process that was initiated following the resignation of current Head of School Jory Macomber. “Following Jory’s resignation, we had a very specific skill set in mind that would ideally suit our school. Primary among those skills were strong leadership and a deep understanding of BMA and the racing community,” said Renny Smith, Chair of the Head of School Search Committee. “We collectively realized that the dynamic leadership that Willy had been demonstrating as Board Chair was exactly what BMA needed. His business experience and extensive involvement with BMA over 20 years made him a stand out candidate. We actively solicited him and we are all beyond thrilled that we were able to get our top candidate in place,” continued Smith.
Booker arrived at BMA in 1991 from Loveland Ski Area in Colorado, and since then, his commitment to BMA and the sport of competitive ski racing has shaped his life. After graduating from BMA, Booker captained the University of Vermont ski team earning All-American honors. He went on to a 15-year career in the ski industry working with multiple leading ski brands, which kept him close to the racers and coaches at the pinnacle of the sport. Prior to his most recent role as Executive Vice President at MDV, Booker served as Chief Executive Officer of Fischer USA and previously as President of Nordica, USA, leading US operations for both brands. He stayed active and involved with BMA as an alumnus, joining the Board of Trustees just seven years after graduating and dedicating over thirteen years – including the most recent three as Chair – to the BMA board.
“In some ways I never left BMA,” said Booker, “I could not be more honored, humbled or excited to return full time to Burke. Attending BMA was a transformative experience for me and the values that Burke instilled have greatly influenced my life. Relocating to the Northeast Kingdom is a dream come true for my wife, Christine and me. Those who know me well understand that I bring a certain intensity to my work. I simply cannot wait to get to work and focus all of my creative and competitive energy into helping BMA, the students and the staff achieve their goals.”
“Willy’s appointment as Head of School along with the recent major announcements at BMA – from the new Ronnie Berlack Center, to the US Ski Team partnership, to the anticipated new T-bar and venue improvements – ensure a very dynamic future for BMA for years to come,” added Graham, “We are all extremely excited to welcome Willy to this role.”