Who We Are

Margot Zalkind, Executive Director

has had a leadership role in the sport of rowing for more than 25 years. A highly decorated rower herself, she served USRowing as the director of marketing, director of the Masters Rowing Program, and chair of the Safety Committee for more than 20 years. She has written three books on rowing safety, and writes a monthly column on rowing safety for Rowing News Magazine.

She is a founding member of Potomac River Safety Committee in Washington DC and started Potomac BC women’s Masters Sweep program in 1992. She has served as regatta organizer, dockmaster, and has logged thousands of miles pulling a boat trailer. Margot worked to create National Learn to Row Day with Concept 2.  On the water, she has medaled several times, at Head of the Charles Regatta, Head of the Schuylkill Regatta, World Masters Games and USRowing Masters Nationals. Margot has worked as marketing director and graphic designer on national advertising campaigns at NY ad agencies.

Matthew Lacey has over 20 years in executive and strategic leadership within the rowing community. He is the former executive director of the George Pocock Rowing Foundation, which ran the country‚Äôs largest outreach program in history connecting over 50,000 youth to the sport of rowing. He has served on the USRowing Strategic Planning Committee and currently serves on the USRowing Safety Committee. Lacey is the chief executive of the Rowing Industry Trade Association.

Willis Black worked for USRowing for 23 years, serving as staff liaison on safety, director of coaching education, broadcast producer, and national team manager. He has coached rowing at Yale and Princeton universities. In addition to his extensive knowledge of the sport and his particular expertise in coaching education, he has be He has created several videos on rowing, including the USRowing Safety video.

Jeff Friedrichs has spent his whole life on the water, from sailing and canoeing to rowing and kayaking all over the country. A fatal rowing accident in 1983 impressed on him the dangers of the sport, and he has worked towards greater safety in the sport ever since. He is a masters rower and has been coach for a high school crew. He worked for years as Web programmer for RegattaCentral, the leading software used by rowing clubs. Friedrichs has been with the Foundation for Rowing Education since its inception. He is the former treasurer of the Rowing Industry Trade Association (RITA). He has also promoted safety as a member of the National Ski Patrol for 38 years.

Gary Caldwell has been a rowing coach and director of rowing at Trinity College and Northeastern and Tufts universities. He has been director of rowing for the Eastern College Athletic Conference and a commissioner of Intercollegiate Rowing Association, giving him broad knowledge of all levels of the sport. He has also worked as an insurance agent for many years, educating him on risks and considerations. Gary brings a strong viewpoint to safety with his years of working with collegiate programs.

Tom Fuller has a strong background in project management and banking, bringing his solid financial and budgetary skills to the team. He is a USRowing referee, has been chair of the referee committee, and has worked at regattas all over the world.

Joe Sullivan has worked in computer technology for more than 20 years, creating websites, managing systems, and analyzing and creating reports.

Melissa Baern, Director of Advancement

Over many years of non-profit development work, Melissa has developed a broad range of skills including fundraising, communications, strategic planning, and project management. She has particular expertise in proposal development and grant writing, and has directed institutional giving programs raising several million dollars annually from government, foundation, and corporate funding sources.

Organizations she has worked with range from Metcalf and Eddy, an environmental engineering company, to CAST, an educational software research and development firm, to the Opera Company of Philadelphia. She is now working for NEADS.

Employment Practices and Diversity


The Foundation for Rowing Education, Inc believes that diversity in our staff is critical to our success as an organization, and we seek to recruit, develop and retain the most talented people from a diverse candidate pool. We are fully committed to equal employment opportunity and compliance with the full range of fair employment practices and nondiscrimination laws. In addition, retaliation against individuals for raising claims of discrimination is prohibited.

Harassment and Intimidation

The Foundation prohibits sexual or any other kind of harassment or intimidation, whether committed by or against a workshop student, staff member, Board Member or observer. Harassment has no place in our community, whether based on a person’s race, sex, color, creed, religion, national/ethnic origin, age, handicap, sexual orientation or disabled veteran/Vietnam-era veteran status.

Safety in the Workshop and on site.

The safety of people in the workshop and in the Boathouse is a primary concern of the Foundation. The Foundation will conduct its activities with all of the necessary permits, approvals, and controls, especially in regards to the hands-on aspects of any clinic. All employees and individuals representing the Foundation who work with or around these workshops will be familiar with all rules, regulations, and policies that apply to them.