Boating law group names new president

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During its 52nd annual meeting, held Sept. 10-14 in Milwaukee, the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators elected Capt. Mike Fields, Kentucky's boating law administrator, as president of the non-profit organization for the 2011-12 year.

He succeeds James Graybeal, Delaware’s boating law administrator.

Fields grew up boating on the many lakes and rivers in Kentucky. In 1989, he went to work for the Kentucky Water Patrol on the Ohio River. Fields worked almost every major body of water in the state during his 12 years in the field as an officer and a sergeant. He was also a primary trainer for in-service and basic recruit training after the Kentucky Water Patrol merged with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife in 1994.

In 2001, Fields was assigned to Fish and Wildlife headquarters to manage boating education and other special projects within the Law Enforcement Division. He was appointed Kentucky’s boating law administrator in 2004.

Fields has held every officer position within the Southern States Boating Law Administrators Association, including president during the 2008-09 year. He has served on NASBLA’s education, law enforcement, vessel identification, registration and titling, and conference committees.

Other officers of the association serving with Fields include:

Vice president: Toby Velasquez, New Mexico State Parks Division

Treasurer: Herb Angell, Nebraska Game & Parks Commission

Member-at-large: Kevin Bergersen, Arizona Game & Fish Department

Member-at-large: Darren Rider, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency

Member-at-large: Eleanor Mariani, Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection

Immediate past president: Jim Graybeal, Delaware Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control

NASBLA presented its chief executive, John Johnson, with the William B. Garner National Boating Safety Leadership Award in recognition of his ongoing efforts to steer the national nonprofit organization.

Johnson has been with NASBLA for more than 20 years. In the early stages of his career, while working for the Center of Recreational Safety as an administrative contractor for NASBLA, he provided administrative support. As NASBLA shifted to a national organization, Johnson emerged as a leader as the group moved to a new, more directed board governance model.

In 2006, Johnson accepted the position of CEO.

“John is an exemplary example of a person who stays the course, regardless of popularity or criticism. His vision for NASBLA has thrust this association into the forefront of the highest level of respect and esteem within the recreational boating safety community,” outgoing NASBLA president James Graybeal said in a statement.