The past three months have seen significant staffing changes at two of the largest paddling organizations in North America. After nine years of working with Paddle Canada, Graham Ketcheson, the organization’s Executive Director, has resigned from his position. Christopher Stec has also resigned from his post as the Chief Operating Officer at the American Canoe Association.

Since joining Paddle Canada in 2010, Ketcheson led the organization through growth and change. He helped implement better membership and course registration strategies and solutions, newsletter and social media communication with members, and a partnership with Rapid Media, so all Paddle Canada members receive a complimentary subscription to Paddling Magazine or Kayak Angler. During his time with the organization, Paddle Canada aimed a media campaign at educating paddlers to be smarter on the water, reaching millions of Canadians.

“One of my realized goals was to bring financial stability and profitability to Paddle Canada and to see the organization succeed by using smarter technologies while cutting traditional operating expenses,” says Ketcheson. “The organization has seen 30 percent growth during this time, mostly in membership and course offerings, plus more than a tripling of operating budgets.”

It’s hard to say goodbye to an organization I have so much passion for

“Graham had many positive traits he brought to the team at Paddle Canada,” says Jeff Martin, current President of Paddle Canada. “He is a people person who can effectively communicate and problem solve when members had questions. Over his nearly 10 years with Paddle Canada, he was able to effectively manage staff and many vital volunteer committees and communicate the vision of the organization.”

“It’s hard to say goodbye to an organization I have so much passion for,” wrote Ketcheson following his March resignation. “Our organization is in such a better place now compared to 2010, when I first arrived in office. We are at a much more sustainable level and have an excellent mix of courses, program offerings and great brand recognition in the outdoor marketplace. We have established partnerships with outdoor manufacturers, safe boating and government partners. The future of Paddle Canada looks bright.”

Both Paddle Canada and the American Canoe Association are in the process of hiring new staff

Ketcheson has taken on a role as managing director at OWL Rafting on the Ottawa River. It’s still in the paddling world, but a big change of duties and responsibilities. Ketcheson says he is excited to “learn a lot more about the world of commercial rafting, which is brand new to me.”

Christopher Stec also announced his resignation effective March 8, 2019, from his job as Chief Operating Officer at the American Canoe Association. In his resignation letter, Stec stated he was grateful for everything accomplished by staff and members of the American Canoe Association since his beginnings with the organization, and was unavailable for further comment.

Both Paddle Canada and the American Canoe Association are in the process of hiring new staff. “In terms of filling the Executive Director’s role, we have a hiring committee in place currently and have advertised the position over the last month,” says Jeff Martin of Paddle Canada. “We have also shared the job advertisement through Paddle Canada social media platforms and through word of mouth. Graham has left some big shoes to fill.”


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