Evolution of a Bicycle Advocacy Organization

Back in 2013, I became involved in the reformation of Omaha Bikes, an advocacy organization serving the Omaha metropolitan area. As a member of that organizing committee, I worked with several fine folks: at the offset, we numbered around 15, but that dwindled to six, with a couple of specialists (legal and PR) that we could call on as needed. For over a year, we hammered out a plan, formed a non-profit corporation, elected our first board, and applied for (and were granted) 501c(3) status. We were officially in business.

To say I sometimes had doubts about the group would be an understatement, particularly after the election of the board. What was once a group that invited input and welcomed initiative started to feel more like a top driven business, with the board wresting away work under the guise of “responsibility” from those who had already laid the groundwork. After feeling victim to just such a circumstance, I parted ways with the group but continued to wish them well.

This year, the organization has found the means to hire an Executive Director, Pell Duvall. Pell was the initial board chair, but stepped down from that position to the ED role. While his attention to minutia can be a bit aggravating, it may be exactly what the organization needs to further their goals. The selection of Ben Turner as chair to replace Pell will further strengthen the team.

So where do I stand now? After some soul-searching and more than a little self-examination, I’ve decided that the mission of the organization is more important than my own ego. After I found that Omaha Bikes was looking for software to streamline their Bike Valet service, I started helping to clarify the needs and desires and put together a specifications document. Now I’m looking for developer(s) who would like to do a little pro-bono work for a great cause. Know anyone? Let me know. I’d sure like to talk to them.


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