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The RRCA is the oldest and largest organization in the US dedicated to distance running.

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Staff Bios

Jean Knaack is the Executive Director of the Road Runners Club of America where she has served in the role since 2005, bringing twenty years of nonprofit management experience to the position. She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay with a Bachelor’s of Science in Human Nutrition. She earned a Master’s of Public Administration with a concentration in nonprofit management from George Mason University. She regularly counsels running club and event leaders around the country on various topics of importance to the running community. Through her work with the RRCA she is a fitness advocate promoting running as healthy exercise and a competitive sport on a national scale. She served on the coordinating committee that developed the first National Physical Activity Plan for the United States and now serves on their board of directors. She has experience managing the financial operations of organizations ranging in size from $100,000 to $10 million. Jean has extensive skills in organizational and financial development, board and member relations, and program planning and implementation.  She has appeared on local, national and international news shows and morning talks shows to discuss running, including the CBS Morning News to discuss event safety.  She is often quoted in local, regional and national news outlets and magazines. She is an avid runner and has completed several marathons and countless road races and triathlons. She was a finisher at the inaugural Ironman Louisville race in 2007 and finished Ironman France in 2009 and Ironman Coeur D’Alene in 2010. She is the proud mother of two young children and she has been married to Jim Knaack for twenty years.

David Morgan is the Membership Manager for the RRCA. Morgan is an Annapolis, Maryland native who graduated from Millersville University in 2010 with an undergraduate degree in Communications. Before taking the Membership Coordinator position with the RRCA, David was working at a local charity that helped bring impoverished families off the streets and into new homes. An avid Washington sports fan, David tries to get to every football and hockey game that he can. Morgan is responsible for responding to all general membership and insurance inquiries from running clubs and running events.  He coordinates the day-to-day interface with RRCA members (clubs, events, individuals, coaches, and corporate supporters).  He counsels prospective members on proper membership classification, fees, insurance coverage, and benefits.  He counsels new members on how to correctly form a nonprofit organization and other membership issues that need special attention.  Morgan is responsible for maintaining the nonprofit group list with the IRS and providing members with letters verifying their exempt status. He maintains records for all members in the group by reviewing, scanning and filing bylaws and sharing copies with members as requested.  Morgan manages the annual renewal process including reviewing applications for accuracy, following-up with late payments, maintaining the online database, roster submission and initiating renewal notices.

Andy Smith is the Program Coordinator for the RRCA.  He comes to the RRCA from The Washington Post, where he served as a Community Editor, working to develop strategies and programs to improve the paper’s local internet presence. He has a strong interest in digital communications, social media, and web analytics and works hard to stay on top of the latest trends in each field.  Smith has a background in sports communications, spending four years in Media Relations for the University of Pittsburgh’s Athletic Department in his hometown, where he authored profiles on future NFL players Dorin Dickerson, LaRod Stephens-Howling and LeSean McCoy. He earned his master’s degree at Georgetown in 2009 in Communication, Culture and Technology and his undergraduate degree from Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY in American Culture.  He is responsible for coordinating all activities related to RRCA programs including Championship events, Kids Run the Nation Program, Runner Friendly Community, National Awards, RUN@WORK Day, Race Director Certification, and much more.

Erica Gminski completed her masters in Sports Industry Management at Georgetown University in 2014, and gained industry experience at a Washington, DC area sports nonprofit representing the charitable efforts of multiple professional sports teams.  She has previously held corporate marketing and retail management positions, focusing on effective communication strategies and client relations practices to improve reach and grow communities.  Erica is a Hokie through-and-through, earning bachelor’s degrees in Marketing Management and Spanish in 2005 from Virginia Tech. Erica Gminski is a middle-of-the-pack runner who has a love-hate relationship with training but desperately wants to grow her medal collection. Since embracing the sport in her late 20s, she has completed two marathons, six half marathons, and a host of 5ks to 10-milers, and a 50k relay. Breaking in new running shoes and gear, cross training at the gym, traveling for races, and encouraging others to fall in love with the sport fill her time when she isn’t enjoying a rest day.  Erica is responsible for all things Kids Run the Nation and growing the program nationally through outreach with members and through fundraising efforts.  She will be embarking on an effort to evolve the program to encompass middle and high school runners as well.

Maggie Craig is the Operations Assistant for the RRCA.  After graduating from East Carolina University with a double major in English and Public Relations she went on to intern with the Washington Redskins. After a summer with the Redskins, she joined AmeriCorps to serve out west working with various nonprofit organizations.  She has experience working for events including triathlons in the region.  Craig is an avid triathlete and racer in the running community where she fundraises for several different organizations that promote health and wellness.  She is currently training for her first 70.3 triathlon scheduled for summer 2016.  Maggie is responsible for many day-to-day functions at the RRCA, and she is the voice on the end of the phone when you call our national office.

Randy Accetta is an accomplished educator and runner that brings a wealth of experience to the RRCA coaching program.  He is the Communications Mentor for the top-ranked McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Arizona, where he has twice received Teacher of the Year honors.  Additionally, he has co-authored two continuing education courses on how to coach runners, and he has written running-based articles that have been published in Running Times, Runners World and the New York Times.  Randy is the current RRCA State Representative for Arizona and is the immediate past president of the Southern Arizona Roadrunners.  A former 2:19 marathoner who competed in the 1996 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, Randy has a long history of coaching runners, including as the Program Director for Craftsbury Running Camps, the Arizona Coach for Team in Training, and The Workout Group in Tucson, Arizona. A graduate of Wesleyan University (CT), Randy credits his fellow Wesleyan alumni as inspiring him.  Randy Accetta, Ph.D. has been hired as the Director of Coaching Education, tasked with updating and expanding the RRCA Coaching Certification program.  Please refer to the coaching information pages about instructions for scheduling courses.

Brent Ayer is a Coaching Certification Instructor for the RRCA’s Coaching Certification program. has been active in the sport of running for over 40 years. He served on the RRCA Board of Directors from 1987 to 1990 as Treasurer and again from 2004 to 2008 as Eastern Region Director. He was also on the Kids Run the Nation Grant Selection Committee in 2007 and was given a special President’s Award for Service in 1991 and again in 2006. He was a founding member of the Frederick Steeplechasers Running Club while still in college. He was their club president from 2000-2003. Brent is an RRCA Certified Coach and holds USATF Level I & Level II coaching certifications. For the last eight years, he has coached the Frederick Striders Youth Track & Field Club. Ten years ago, he launched the Hood College Cross Country program followed by the Track & Field team.  He has been recognized as a Maryland AAU Track Outstanding Coach in 2004 and as the Hood College Coach of the Year in 2005. Brent holds an MBA and served as Finance Administrator to seven different members of the United States House of Representatives where he has worked for over 30 years.

Bobby Gessler, MD, FACS is a Coaching Certification Instructor for the RRCA’s Coaching Certification program.  He is a graduate of the University of Maryland and obtained his medical degree from Georgetown University School of Medicine in 1983.  Following this he completed his urological surgery training at Brown University and is a Board Certified urological surgeon in a group private practice in Columbia, Maryland.  Currently he is a Clinical Associate Professor of Surgery at the University of Maryland Medical School and is a Fellow in the American College of Surgeons. Bobby has served as Chairman for the Department Of Urology of the Johns Hopkins Hospital Affiliated Howard County General Hospital for over 10 years.  Dr Gessler is an RRCA Certified Coach and Instructor and has USATF Level I and Level II coaching certifications in the endurance and combined events respectively as well as being a certified Level I Course instructor for the USATF.  For his athletes, he uses FMS studies and is an FMS certified evaluator. For the past 10 years, Bobby has been a coach of the Howard County Junior Striders program and is the Cross Country coach and assistant track coach for the Institute of Notre Dame in Baltimore City. He also serves as program coordinator for an accomplished adult running group in Howard County Maryland affectionately known as “ Bobby’s Babes and Buds.” (photo coming soon)

Cari Setzler, DVM is a Coaching Certification Instructor for the RRCA’s Coaching Certification program. She earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology at Aquinas College while earning All-American Honors 8 times and was national runner up in the indoor 1000 meters. Cari then continued on to Michigan State University where she earned her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Degree. She is also a certified level II USATF endurance coach and is certified in running mechanics through Newton Running. In 2010, she co-founded Fast Finish coaching where she has helped athletes ranging from the first time 5k runner to the Olympic trials hopeful reach their goals. Cari also directs the Health Bridge Road Runners and is the assistant girls track and field coach at Johnsburg High School. She has practiced small animal medicine at The Animal Hospital of McHenry since 2004, while managing The Running Depot in Crystal Lake, IL. Cari and her husband Chris, dog Balin, Cats Peek, Annie, and horse Cascade now live in Wonder Lake IL. In her spare time Cari enjoys using her ham radio license (N8LIG) and is a weather spotter, and continues to train and compete in the Chicago Area Runner’s Association circuit and in national level USATF and USAT events.

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