Carol Atherton – President
A long-time running fanatic, AA Sports President Carol Atherton started the company in 1988. Carol followed her instinct when many said, “triathlon was dying.” She along her husband and business partner, Jon Atherton, revolutionized the racing business by being the first to offer online race registration as well as becoming the first in the west, fifth in the nation, to offer chip timing at races. Since then, Carol continues to see the sport and her company grow.
Before AA Sports, Carol was a corporate event planner. When she helped plan her first running event, she discovered her true passion.
“The corporate events were more successful, but the running events are more fun,” Carol says.
One of Carol’s first major clients was the Hood to Coast Relay in 1990, where she continues to manage the finish line today. In 1994, she purchased the Portland Triathlon Series from long-time race director, Frank Goulard. This consisted of 10 multi-sport events, most of which, although expanded and improved, are still around today: Hagg Lake Triathlon, Blue Lake Triathlon and Mid Summer Duathlon.
When asked how she stays motivated after more than 20 years in the industry, Carol’s answer is simple, “we love what we do. I ask myself at every event if I’m still having fun and the day I say no will be the day I retire.”
Jon Atherton – Vice President of Operations
Jon Atherton is the vice president of operations at AA Sports. A former engineer, Jon joined his wife Carol at the company in 1995. At that time, he developed online registration for AA Sports events, the first in the country do so. AA Sports was also one of the first race management companies to use a computerized timing system (Chip Timing).
Aside from timing and online registration management, Jon is also responsible for equipment rental at AA Sports. He is involved with the insurance and permits necessary to manage the events.
“We love what we do,” Jon says. “There’s nothing like putting on a successful event and looking around and seeing a lot of happy people. We pour ourselves into it to achieve that.”
Brook Gardner – RaceCenter Northwest Magazine Editor, Advertising Director
“I was able to turn my passion into my job, which has been an extremely rewarding experience. I inspire, educate and inform athletes across the Northwest through the dissemination of content through the RaceCenter platform,” Brook says.
Brook grew up in Hillsboro, Oregon, and attended Oregon State University, where he studied marketing and exercise science. He started running in college, and ran his first marathon in 1997. Running led him to the sport of triathlon. He competed in Ironman Canada in 2000 and 2002.
“I consider myself more of a participant than a competitor these days, but I enjoy the diversity of my work, the challenges that come with each day and the opportunity to work in an industry full of people who were as fortunate as I was to turn my passion into my career,” Brook says.
When he isn’t working, Brook spends his time with his twin daughters, Grace and Madeline. They share their dad’s passion for sports. He says they “participate in just about every sport known to man.”
Lynne Sanders – Director of Marketing and Sales
Lynne Sanders is the Director of Sales and Marketing for AA Sports. Lynne manages sponsorship relationships, athlete public relations, vendor expos at each race, and all marketing functions. She joined the AA Sports team in September of 2012. Lynne studied Business Management at Portland State University and has a diverse background in sales and business development with a variety of organizations from Sequent Computer Systems and Tektronix to L’Oreal. Early on in her career Lynne owned a fitness franchise and returning to the sports and fitness industry is a return to her true passion!
Lynne is a native Oregonian and a full time basketball mom to her teenage son Kobie. In her spare time she’s a fitness and nutrition nut, and enjoys traveling, spending time with family and friends, and interior design. Attending tournaments year round, she is thankful for indoor sports in the winter and adores the game of basketball – but loves to get outdoors for AA Sports races! Her love of people makes interacting with the athletes, sponsors and vendors both exciting and rewarding.
Patrick Cummings – Data & IT Manager
Patrick Cummings manages the computers and network at AA Sports. This includes the AA Sports, TriNW and RegToRace websites. He also manages the TriNW membership database. In addition to this, Patrick maintains the new timing system/database and creates most of the public maps for AA Sports-owned events. He also uses his graphic design skills to assist and edit the artwork for event t-shirts and magazine ads.
A self-confessed geek, Patrick is the computer guru at AA Sports.
“As long as I’m immersed in tech and/or code, I’m happy,” he says. “I’ve always had a very strong natural gift for digital technologies. I’m completely self-taught in just about everything tech related that I do.”
Before Patrick joined AA Sports in February 2012, he worked as a web developer and designer, a network/IT administrator internal to the company and for large outdoor events, and a radio communications technician. Patrick is a licensed amateur radio operator. He has had his Technician Class license since 2003.
Kathy Curnow – Manager of Registration and Logistics
Kathy Curnow started helping her sister Carol at AA Sports races in 1997 as a weekend job, but enjoyed it so much that she joined as the manager of registration and logistics in 2007. Kathy now works both in the office and at the races to prepare registration and packets. She says she loves going to the races and meeting new people.
“It’s fun to watch happy people and know we made them happy,” Kathy says.
Kathy is from Pismo Beach, California, where she lived for 19 years. She then moved to San Jose, California, before she settled in Vancouver, Washington. Kathy is the sister of AA Sports President Carol Atherton. She enjoys the beach and outdoors, spending time with her friends and family, which include her two daughters. An animal lover, Kathy has two dogs and two cats as well.
Stephanie Fisher – Data Logistics
Stephanie downloads online registrations and processes mail-in entries in order to create the race confirmation list on the website. On race day, Stephanie enters any last-minute changes and entries into the data computer.
Dick Anderson – Timing/Programmer
Before AA Sports, Dick worked at Oregon Health Sciences University in IT and networking. His background includes writing programs for timing cross country races.
An Oregon native, Dick moved to Portland in 1972 from Madras. In his spare time, he enjoys computers, photography and motorcycles.
James Tobias – Race Logistics
James Tobias works in race logistics for AA Sports. He is responsible for the transport and set-up of event equipment, mainly at the finish line area. His favorite part about his job is seeing the participants smile at the end of a race.
James moved to Oregon from California in 2011, where he worked for the city of San Jose Parks and Recreation. He moved to the area to be closer to family.
Connie Hines – Volunteer Coordinator
Connie finds her job enjoyable, but challenging. She makes sure the volunteers are doing their assigned job on race day.
“I love my job because I get to know all of the teams,” she describes. “We bond and it makes it nice, so when they come back to work another race, they have fun and want to return.”
AA Sports is a summer job for Connie. She is also a special education teacher. Connie has been teaching for the past 28 years and says she has no plans to retire.
David Ranney – Programmer
David Ranney wrote the software that AA Sports uses to time our events. Jon and Carol purchased his software before he joined them at AA Sports over 20 years ago. Since then, David has seen and been a part of many changes.
“I had my own timing business in the Seattle area. When the Champion Chip System came into being and was being used by AA sports, I merged my timing business with them,” David describes. “At that time I also began to be the head timer and computer results person.”
While David has retired from timing races, he continues to work with AA sports as our computer programmer and writes the updates to the Computer System as needed. He also does the Triathlon Rankings that AA Sports produces each year.
Aside from his involvement with AA Sports, David enjoys working with athletes. Before AA Sports, David was a tennis instructor in California. He continues to help athletes reach their potential through teaching them specific mental techniques. David has written books on the subject, catered to tennis, baseball and basketball athletes.