COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — USA Fencing board members, staff and others from across the fencing community are uniting this week to celebrate and thank Jack Gierhart as his successful tenure as interim CEO comes to an end.
On Aug. 16, Phil Andrews — who joins USA Fencing after nearly a decade at the helm of USA Weightlifting — begins his service as USA Fencing’s CEO.
Gierhart’s time as interim CEO began in December 2021 — a few months after a successful performance for Team USA’s senior fencers at the Tokyo Olympics (one gold medal and one bronze).
Gierhart, who had spent 10 years as CEO of US Sailing, entered during a period of transition for USA Fencing following a handful of staff departures and a charge from the board of directors to continue to grow the sport at all levels despite the ongoing challenges of the pandemic.
Under Gierhart’s leadership, USA Fencing hosted six well-attended national tournaments, laid out a new vision for fundraising and saw membership numbers rebound to pre-pandemic levels.
Board chair David Arias, who was about halfway into his four-year term when Gierhart was hired, says Gierhart’s track record speaks for itself.
“I haven’t been in board chair role very long,” Arias says, “but if I do nothing else over the next two years, one of the best contributions I made to the sport of fencing was hiring Jack as our interim CEO.”
Gierhart also worked with members of his senior leadership team to hire several new team members to join the USA Fencing staff. This included strategically filling vacancies in the communications, events, sports performance, and membership teams as well as adding two new positions: an athlete safety and compliance manager and a senior manager of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging.
Kate Reisinger was there through it all. As chief of sports performance, she witnessed firsthand Gierhart’s willingness to step in and serve.
“Jack jumped right in day one,” she says. “He was always willing to lend a hand, move initiatives forward and support the staff. He’s a great leader.”
Selina Kaing, vice president of the board of directors, agrees — citing Gierhart’s “leadership, drive, and ability to lay the groundworks for transformation and success.”
“Jack’s positive impact at USA Fencing has been profoundly felt at all levels of the organization,” she says. “We are grateful for all his contributions and while we wish him only the best in his next endeavors, Jack will always be a part of the fencing community.”