NAMM Board Elects New Executive Committee Members
-New committee members represent balance of commercial and retail member companies-
Echoing the long-term stability of the 117-year-old organization, the NAMM Board of Directors unanimously voted in the next slate of officers earlier today at Summer NAMM in Nashville. At the meeting, the board officially welcomed each industry leader to new roles, representing a balanced composition of retail and commercial members. The 2017 Executive Committee includes Chair Robin Walenta, Vice-Chair Chris Martin IV, Treasurer Joel Menchy and Secretary Tom Sumner.
The vote and seamless transition sees Robin Walenta, previously NAMM’s Vice Chair, move into the new role as Chair of NAMM’s Board of Directors. Walenta is President and CEO of West Music Co., a family-owned, seven-store, full-line retailer based in Coralville, Iowa founded in 1914 by Pearl West. Walenta joined West Music in 1982 and was named President and CEO of the company in 2007. In addition to the NAMM Board of Directors, Walenta is currently a board member of the National Association of School Music Dealers; a treasurer for the Iowa Alliance for Art Education; a member of the SupportMusic Coalition and offers a wealth of industry, advocacy and arts experience to the committee. Walenta is the first female chair in the history of the organization.
“I am truly honored to represent our membership as Chair and to serve our industry. As both a commercial and retail member, I look forward to sharing my perspective to address the challenges that we face today and to prepare our industry for the opportunities of the future,” said Walenta. “Through my career-long involvement with NAMM, I have learned that networking builds beneficial and productive communities; that educational opportunities provide vital catalysts for new and ongoing musical ventures; and that in today’s world, music advocacy is more important than ever. I am excited to be at the forefront of continuing diversification and broadening inclusivity in both our members and the products and services we represent.”
As part of her first official duties, Walenta welcomed Tom Sumner to the Executive Committee as Secretary. Sumner is past member of the Board of Directors and currently Senior Vice President of Yamaha Corporation of America, a full-line manufacturer of musical products and instruments based in Buena Park, California. Sumner joined the company in 1987, and is a member of the National Piano Foundation; the National Association of School Music Dealers; the Music Distributors Association; and the SupportMusic Coalition.
Of the appointment, Walenta affirmed the board’s enthusiam: “We are excited to welcome Tom to the NAMM Executive Committee. Through his leadership role at Yamaha, Tom brings to the board important skills and knowledge that will support and augment the broad spectrum of the music industry. As a recent NAMM Board member, Tom offers valuable insights into NAMM’s mission and objectives.”
Sumner echoed the sentiments, “It’s truly an honor to be elected to the NAMM Executive Committee, and I look forward to continuing to grow and serve the industry.”
Outgoing Chair Mark Goff was honored during the meeting and applauded for his eight-years of service on the Executive Committee. Reflecting, Goff offered, “It has been an incredible honor to represent my fellow NAMM members as Chair over the past two years. During my tenure,I have been privileged to see our association at work across the globe and I’m extremely proud of the positive impact we are making as we help more people make more music every day.”
Further building upon the stability of the organization, Executive Committee members Joel Menchey and Chris Martin will transition to their new roles. Menchey is is the President and owner of Menchey Music Service, a seven-location school service and keyboard music dealer headquartered in Hanover, Pennsylvania and will serve as Secretary of the Executive Committee. Chris Martin is the sixth generation owner and CEO of C.F. Martin & Co., Inc., a manufacturer of acoustic guitars and strings, based in Nazareth, Pennsylvania and now, Vice Chair of the NAMM Executive Committee.
In other NAMM board-related news, the NAMM Young Professionals welcomed Mark Despostakis of Pennsylvania-based Progressive Music as President. Despotakis succeeds Ryan West of West Music Co.
The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) is the not-for-profit association with a mission to strengthen the $17 billion music products industry. NAMM is comprised of approximately 10,300 members located in 104 countries and regions. NAMM events and members fund The NAMM Foundation's efforts to promote the pleasures and benefits of music, and advance active participation in music making across the lifespan. For more information about NAMM, please visit www.namm.org, call 800.767.NAMM (6266) or follow the organization on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.