After more than a year since their last Executive Director resigned, Cascade Bicycle Club and its sister organization Washington Bikes have selected their new leader. Lee Lambert will take the reigns of one of the largest statewide bicycling organizations in the nation starting September 12.
Lambert has been the Executive Director of City Year Seattle/King County, a non-profit AmeriCorps organization working to help local students. Before that, he was the Director of the Washington STEM Network, founder of the Washington College Access Network and a staffer for Senator Maria Cantwell and Representative Adam Smith.
He grew up in Tacoma and has been biking his entire life, according to the Cascade press release. He will be the first Black Executive Director in the organization’s history.
Lambert takes over an organization that is rebounding from a year in which the pandemic forced them to cancel nearly all their major events and furlough a lot of staff members. Interim Executive Director Christopher Shainin has led the club through this time, which is still not over. The club’s biggest events like the Seattle to Portland Classic, the Ride from Seattle to Vancouver and Party, and the Emerald Ride will not happen in 2021.
Hopefully, Lambert will be able to oversee a 2022 in which the organization can finally get back to full-speed (though that may rely more on the state of the pandemic than on Lambert).
More details from the Cascade press release:
A lifelong lover of bikes for transportation, recreation, and fitness, and a four-time finisher of Cascade’s iconic Seattle to Portland ride, Lambert officially begins on Sunday, Sept. 12. Cascade members are invited to meet him that day during the Pedaling On BBQ fundraiser at the organization’s Magnuson Park headquarters, starting at 5 p.m. PT.
“As an active bicyclist and follower of state and local government, I have seen the impact that Cascade and Washington Bikes have made in Seattle, the Puget Sound region, and Washington state, where the amount of bicycling infrastructure continues to expand and where more people of all races, ages, genders, and backgrounds are riding bikes than ever before,” Lambert says.
“Washington consistently ranks as one of the most bike friendly states in the nation thanks in large part to Cascade and Washington Bikes’ hard work uniting people to experience the joy of bicycling,” says Lambert. “As we emerge from the pandemic and press forward with efforts to make bicycling and society at large more equitable, we have a tremendous opportunity to use our collective pedal power to drive progress–and use bikes as tools to improve our region’s health, safety, sustainability, and economy.”
Board President Tamara Kim Schmautz lauded Lambert’s experience and commitment to Cascade’s mission of bringing people together to experience the joy of bicycling through transportation, recreation, and friendship. “We are extremely excited and proud to find someone of Lee’s caliber to lead our organization, and help us chart a new path forward for the next 50 years,” she says. “Lee is a lifelong resident of our region who has devoted his career to public service and nonprofit leadership that is uplifting, collaborative, and unifying. We all look forward to pedaling alongside Lee as he begins this new journey.”
Lambert is the first Black Executive Director to lead Cascade in its 51-year history. He joins Cascade following a year in which the organization adopted a new Mission, Vision, and Values that reflects a stronger commitment to racial equity, as well as a Commitment to Anti-Racism.
As the executive director of City Year Seattle/King County since 2018, Lambert led a team of 25 staffers and 88 Americorps members while overseeing a budget of $5 million. Prior to City Year, Lambert served as director of the Washington STEM Network, managing a $2 million grant portfolio and advancing efforts to increase educational and career opportunities for systemically underserved students.
Lambert also served as the founding Director of the Washington College Access Network, while working for the College Success Foundation. Prior to his nonprofit career, Lambert worked for U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell as the Washington state special projects manager and grants coordinator. He previously worked for U.S. Rep. Adam Smith as a constituent services representative.
Lambert has a masters degree in public administration from Seattle University and a BA in political science from Washington State University. He lives in Shoreline with his wife and two teenage children, and he owns three bikes–including a tandem upon which he and his wife rode STP twice. Lambert learned to ride bikes in a church parking lot. He grew up in Tacoma, where he began exploring the region by bicycle, thanks to the mentorship of an uncle, Andrew Lambert. He has ridden bikes throughout his life for transportation, commuting, recreation, and fitness.