With a common passion for travel and the destinations they visit, our leadership team has an eye for identifying and leveraging assets that draw sports tourism. Years of expertise in destination marketing combined with a practical understanding of how to develop and recruit sports events equip our team with the tools communities need to leverage sports for economic development.
There wouldn’t seem to be a straight line from social work to sports tourism, but Sports Strategies Principal, Fonda Johnson, found that path. After earning a degree in behavioral sciences from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Fonda began working with communities through social work, lobbying local leaders to enact programming that better served the community. Early, grass roots work formed her perspective on the importance of local economic development initiatives. She is still engaged locally through volunteerism, but her career has extended beyond her own community to promote other cities, counties, states, provinces and countries seeking investments that will grow their economies.
The common theme in her work is helping destinations grow to better serve their community. Over the last two decades she has founded two companies focused on destination marketing and helped hundreds of organizations promote their destinations. It was the first of those companies, Due North Consulting, an economic development-focused media company that she co-founded, where she witnessed the growth of the sports tourism market and saw endless opportunities for destinations to engage. This motivated her to direct her skills and expertise to sports tourism, leaving the media industry and focusing on Sports Strategies. She and her team now concentrate on helping communities use sports for economic development.
When she isn’t working, you can find Fonda at the barn, with her horse or traveling and spending time with family.
Vice President of Event Strategy and Operations
Before embarking on a career in sports event management, Sports Strategies Vice President of Event Strategy and Operations, Micah Rice, experienced competition firsthand. Initially it was from the seat of his bicycle as a professional cyclist, and then, from the driver’s seat of a team car, as director of the upstart professional cycling team, Jittery Joe’s. After stepping away from professional competition and receiving a degree in Education from the University of Georgia, Micah left his home in Athens for the high altitude of Colorado Springs, where he joined USA Cycling to lead the National Events program.
As VP of National Events, Micah oversaw over 100 National Championship events, in addition to Olympic Trials and World Championship events. Following his tenure at USA Cycling, he joined OC Sport to oversee North American operations for Haute Route, the world’s most prestigious multi-day amateur cycling events. Drawing on his experience of managing world class events, Micah now channels his passion and knowledge to the clients of Sports Strategies. His hands-on experience is a vital part of the team’s work with cities and regions that want to identify their sports tourism assets and create legacy events that promote economic development. It is in this role to develop and deliver events, that he also serves as Executive Director of the Pikes Peak APEX, the largest mountain bike event on Colorado’s front range.
Micah believes outdoor destinations are some of our greatest resources, and he tries to find time each day to enjoy them. When he isn’t working, you can find Micah riding his bike or hiking with his dog, Cocoa. He also enjoys camping and skiing with his family.
Vice President of Community and Strategy and Development
Somewhere along the backroads around Killington, Vermont, Randy came to the reality that a bike racing career would not be in his future. So, he packed up his gear and moved back to his home state of Georgia. His desire to stay involved in the sport led him to begin promoting bike races in his newly adopted hometown of Augusta. Drawing on his experience as a cycling promoter, he was able to secure a position working with the cycling events of the 1996 Olympic Games in his hometown of Atlanta, Georgia. It was through his work with the 1996 Olympics that Randy found his calling and followed his passion into what would become known as sports tourism.
In the ensuing years he has managed a former Olympic venue, overseen development for the Augusta Sports Council, and served as executive director of a convention and visitors bureau. When he works with the community partners and clients of Sports Strategies, Randy draws on a degree in recreation management from Georgia State University and nearly 30 years of sports experience recruiting and overseeing national championships, Ironman triathlons, and World Cup events. His insight and perspective help the team identify sports tourism assets from traditional venues to trails and waterways, and leverage them for economic development.
In his spare time, Randy enjoys traveling with his family or finding new dirt roads to enjoy on his gravel bike.