After a two-year reorganization effort, H1 Unlimited, the governing body for powerboat racing’s most prestigious class of hydroplane racing, announced they have hired Ron Perry as the sport’s executive director.
H1 Unlimited is the sanctioning body for the unlimited hydroplanes that will race on Guntersville Lake June 28-30.
With areas of expertise in marketing, sponsorships, logistics, finance, IT and strategic leadership, Perry will manage the business direction and day-to-day strategic management of the power boat racing series, including race host partners, marketing partnerships and general supervision of the sport’s network of volunteers.
“I’m excited to bring the sport into the 21st century”, noted Perry. “Top priorities on my list are to bring reliable race coverage to the fans anywhere in the world, the use of drones, GPS and other technologies to ensure the racing is without controversy. This will not only make the fan experience exciting, but actually cost effective.”
He went on, “When a sport has an exciting product and direct fan engagement, sponsors will want to be a part of it because it will actually be valuable to their bottom line. Happy fans will bring happy sponsors and as a result, create a more stable product that can be expanded to new race sites.”
This is the first time in three racing seasons that a non-boat racer will fill the sport’s top position.
Perry succeeds Charlie Grooms, owners’ representative for Miss Madison Racing and their Miss HomeStreet hydroplanes, which oversaw the sport’s operations last season on an interim basis.
Doug Bernstein was at the reins in 2017 and retired national champion driver, Steve David, led the organization from 2015 and 2016 after Sam Cole resigned after a ten-year tenure.
Chairman of the Board Tim Austin said, “Ron’s goal will be to expand H1 Unlimited’s financial self sufficiency through quality sponsorships that complement our host race partners and race teams, allowing us to continue to provide professional power boat racing to our fans.”
Perry spent five years as the Air National Guard’s marketing and advertising chief, managing the ANG’s multiple event marketing properties including: NASCAR, Motorcross, Spartan Races, the Air Guard 400 as well as the H1 Unlimited partnership in 2011 and 2012.
Now retired from the military, Perry will continue as a senior account manager at a Washington D.C. advertising agency.
Austin also announced that after a three-year absence from the sport, Kristine Perry will return to H1 Unlimited in the newly created position of associate executive director, responsible for the organization’s operations.
Kristine previously held the position of director of marketing and administration for H1 Unlimited from 2014-15 and partnership marketing manager from 2011-13. She also held a team management position for Ellstrom Racing. In 2018, she earned her master's degree in sports management from George Washington University.
"Her vast experience with hydroplane racing plus her game day operations with the Maryland Black Bears hockey team and Maryland Blue Crabs baseball team make her a uniquely skilled person to assume the leadership of the organizational needs at H1 Unlimited," Austin said.
H1 Unlimited hydroplanes are the fastest racing boats in the world and the American Power Boat Association, doing business as H1 Unlimited, sanctions races. The 116 year-old sport ‘s majority of hydroplanes are powered by turbine-engines that produce 3,000 horsepower, allowing the power boats to reach speeds of nearly 200 mph, producing a 60-foot tall, 300-foot long wall of water behind them called a roostertail.