Board President: Matt Knifton
Matt Knifton was raised in Austin and has been a partner or co-owner of Texas Rowing Center since 1999. He rowed on the University of Texas Crew from 1986 to 1990, and trained for the 1992 U.S. Olympic Rowing Team. In 2009, Matt worked with Diane McDiarmid and Randy Rosens to start Texas Rowing For All to provide rowing and paddling activities for people with physical, sensory, and intellectual disabilities. Matt has served as President of the Board for Texas Rowing For All for the past two years. He is very proud of the partnership between TRC and TRFA, and is energized by the challenge of making Austin the national leader in recreation for people with disabilities. Today, Matt still rows and has won many national championships as a masters sculler. He is also a practicing attorney, husband, and active father of two beautiful little girls.
Board Vice President: Dennis Borel
As Executive Director of the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities (CTD), Dennis is frequently called on for research, policy analysis and recommendations to the Texas Legislature and state agencies on issues surrounding disabilities. He serves on multiple advisory groups to state health and human services agencies and was appointed by Gov. Rick Perry to the State Independent Living Council and by HHSC Executive Commissioner Albert Hawkins to the Promoting Independence Advisory Council. He has successfully advocated for positive change in government policy and practice in employment, transportation, housing, health care and architectural barriers to promote the full inclusion of people with disabilities in community life. He was Project Director for CTD’s history-making Team Everest expedition, an internationally-recognized expedition by a team of people with diverse disabilities to the world’s tallest mountain. Dennis has twenty-eight years’ experience as a senior manager of nonprofit organizations, during which time his programs have received numerous state recognitions and national awards from HUD, the Points of Light Foundation, the New York Interactive Film Festival, the Peter F. Drucker Foundation for Nonprofit Management and the Barbara Jordan Media Awards. In 2006, the University of Michigan honored him with the national James Neubacher Award for creating opportunities for people with disabilities and in 2009, he received the National Advocacy Award from the National Council on Independent Living. He is a former high school teacher and served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Morocco.
Board Secretary: Vince Perez
Vincent Perez III is an experienced Marketing & Communications
Consultant. His experience includes work academia, print advertising and radio.
He specializes in promoting and selling radio features and advocating
programs. He has extensive experience planning and excuting events,
conferences, and conventions.
Vincent competes nationally as a Masters Level competitive rower, and
racing coxswain with the Austin Rowing Club Men’s Competitive crew.
Vincent holds a BAAS degree from Texas State University, San Marcos,
Board Member at Large: Diane McDiarmid
Diane McDiarmid founded and is responsible for the Program Design of Texas Rowing For All and the designation of TRFA as a Paralympic Sports Club for Austin. Diane served as Executive Director of Texas Rowing For All from it’s inception until her retirement in mid-2011. Diane has decades of experience working with people with disabilities in a variety of settings. As a former social work professor & researcher, she possesses a very strong administrative background. Diane also serves as the Liaison for the US Paralympics-United States Olympic Committee.
Diane is also a nationally and internationally known expert in the field of recovery. Her book, Pathways to Recovery has been heralded as one of the top recovery resources by the Center of Psychiatic Rehabilitation and has received international praise. Pathways to Recovery is in it’s 8th printing and has been translated into French, Spanish, Braille and is used in many settings around the world. Diane retired in 2006 from the University of Kansas where she served many years as Director of Supported Education Research and Training, and Director of Strength’s Model Training & Technical Assistance.
At the time of her retirement from academia, Diane moved to Austin, Texas to enjoy warm weather & year around opportunities to row and recreate. Little did she envision at that time, that she would develop adaptive rowing in Austin to become a nationally recognized cutting edge program. Diane has presented locally and nationally on adaptive rowing, recently as a featured speaker at the United States Olympic Committee Training Center in Colorado Springs, Co.
Diane continues her passion for rowing and can also be found racing at regional and national regattas as a competitive Masters rower and a USRowing Certified Coach (Level I & II).
Board Member at Large: Greg La Komski
In 1996, Greg was struck by a car on the side of a major Austin road, leaving his lower left leg severely crushed, and later amputated below the knee. Just a year later he competed in his first cycling road race as an amputee. In 1998 he was named to the US Disabled World Cycling Team. In 2008, Greg competed at the US Paralympic Cycling Nationals where he place 3rd in the Road Race. Greg continues to ride and race, participating in the Livestrong Challenge; the grueling Copper Triangle; and Texas State Time Trial Championship.
In 2009, after reading about Texas Rowing For All in the Austin American Statesman newspaper article, Greg became fascinated with the concept of rowing as a way to boost his strength and cross train. Little did he know, that he would become hooked on rowing! Greg began his rowing career learning to row and training with TRFA and as his rowing technique and skills quickly formed, he joined the adaptive competitive ”Air Crew” . Greg entered regional rowing regattas and always came away with a medal! In 2010 he attended the US National Rowing Team Camp in Oklahoma City. In early, 2011 Greg went on to compete at the World Indoor Rowing Championships-the CRASH-B’s in Boston where he came in 6th !
Greg has both a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and an MBA and has just completed the Certificate in Computer of Science ( equivalent to a BS Computer Science) at Texas State -San Marcos. Greg is now working on his Masters Degree in Computer Science.
Beyond his racing, training Greg is a tremedous asset as a volunteer to Texas Rowing For All organization where he serves on the TRFA Board of Directors and is one of the principals managing the design of the www.texasrowingforall.org website.
Board Treasurer: Kara Roth
Board Member at Large: Brian Ipock
Brian Ipock was one the first Wounded Warriors who learned to row in the TRFA program. Brian and a small group of military personal ventured up from the Center for the Intrepid in San Antonio to Austin weekly to enhance their rowing technique and skills. Brian enjoys competition and has raced and medaled in many regional regattas.
Board Member at Large: Roger Brannon
(Roger soon will have a photo and bio here)