The CsbNews.org conducted an interview with USBF President George Jacobs (United States Bridge Federation),where George explores in his aspirations for the next two years of hard work in front of the USBF.
Just a month ago the USBF, one of the WBF NBOs with more world titles under his belt, elected a new President. The USBF Board of Directors, at its meeting on January 16, 2013, unanimously elected Mr. George Jacobs. Our intention for this interview is to get you to know George better and that’s why we began this note with an anecdote that describes the man, exposing his sincerity, his willpower and his vision, all elements that he will certainly use in these two years directing the fate of the American competitive bridge.
At the age of 26, I was sleeping in cars or wherever I could. No permanent residence, no friends, no money, no place to go. I am a compulsive gambler. I spent 2 years staying with a friend and sleeping on his couch. I was estranged from my family, stole credit cards, checks and money. At the end, I would cash winning tickets at the track for strangers and accept the tax liability. 32 years ago I joined Gamblers Anonymous and have not gambled since. I have a pretty nice life today but never forget where I came from. There are meetings every week and I go regularly. Because I choose to speak about this, many bridge players and directors have gotten help for their own problems. That makes me so proud.
I n 1992, I was named Entrepreneur of the Year for Illinois. This was an Academy Award type of production and I was shocked that I won. They ask you to give a speech in front of thousands of people. I started out by saying that I had lots of experiece with speaking but it usually went like this: «My name is George J. and I am a compulsive gambler.»
Learn George´s ideas, it’s worth …
George Jacobs Interview:
1) Can you explain to the Spanish speaking players what the USBF is and what the ACBL? And what is their relationship? Does the ACBL support with money the USBF? Why and how?
The American Contract Bridge League has 200,000 members throughout the United States and is the governing body for bridge, running the NABC’s and all other functions. The United States Bridge Federation is the organization which deals with sending U.S. bridge athletes to the World events. The Acbl created the USBF, which now stands on its own, but the ACBL provides much of its funding each year. The USBF runs our Trials for Open, Women, Seniors and Juniors, as well as financially assist with travel, training, and competing.
How many members have the USBF? And how many members have the ACBL?
Of the 200,000 ACBL members, the USBF has perhaps 1,000. Most people do not join unless they compete for WBF, but support the USBF in other ways.
What are the responsibilities of the USBF President?
Put together many committees that do so much work, like the junior committee. They try to find qualified juniors to train, using mentors, online tools, tournaments. We have site committees, tournament, hospitality, sponsorship. Also, oversee the elected board, run meetings, interact with the ACBL, the WBF, deal with legal and accounting issues, help determine eligibility, bylaws, and many other functions.
In your statement about what you hope to accomplish as president you wrote: I have one main focus and that is to make sure that the USBF works in tandem with the ACBL and the WBF. Can you explain a little further these ideas?
Yes, some Board members of the ACBL do not see the need for us to compete on the World level. Others feel the USBF is too autonymous. It is my sincerest goal to find out more of what the ACBL wants and mesh the two organizations so we are moving towards the same goals, whatever they may be. I want to make sure that they know that we are an open book and totally showcase the United States Bridge Athletes and make us all proud. Our ultimate goal is to keep bridge strong in America. If we are good enough to win a World title, many more people will have an interest in playing our game.
At the end of your cycle as president … because of what accomplishments would you like to be remembered? Can you be reelected?
I cannot be reelected as I will take a mandatory leave from the Board, having served two terms. I wish to be remembered as being good for bridge.
Which are the USBF financial supports? Are you planning to expand them?
I would love to raise more funds and return them in the form of better training, hospitality and travel resources. The ACBL is our largest source with contributions from members as well as sponsors. This year, for the first time, we will be allowing naming rights of our Trials.
The NBO from Poland every year teaches its members to receive tax exemptions on their yearly taxes report if they support bridge financially. What about the USBF? If it doesn’t exist are you planning to work on this in the near future?
All donations to the USBF are non taxable as we are a 501C3 charitable organization, designated so by our IRS.
USA is almost synonymous of marketing … Why the Bridge in the U.S. and in the world in general have no sponsors as other sports? Why the bridge players who are large business owners don’t use the bridge as a marketing tool? Does the U.S. business man support financially de USBF and the bridge in general? Are you going to work in this direction?
We have sponsors and there are some worldwide, like NEC and Lavazza. Your question is valid though as we have no corporate sponsors in America. We will be working much harder to attain that goal.
Tell us about the USBF and Youth? Do you have new ideas on this topic? Are you going to work in this direction?
We have this as a huge priority as the Junior program is the future of bridge. Many other countries have superior programs which produce great players. We are working hard to achieve these results or better. In the last 10 years we have produced a crop of Juniors that will become perhaps the best of all time, but we cannot rest on that. We need to put tons of resources into these programs.
Considering the large number of Spanish speakers in USA do you plan to report in Spanish, as does the NBA, and other sports?
When we do have a better Spanish speaking program in place, we will give the credit to Csbnews.org for making it so. I want to reach out to all people who play bridge, not just those who happen to speak English. We are grateful to you for helping to spread the word.
Our 3 great Bridge organizations; the ACBL, the WBF, and the USBF are dedicated to playing, learning and teaching bridge from the beginning to the highest possible levels. I am humbled by having the opportunity to leave an imprint. There are three great Boards, all volunteers, all who care about our passion in life; bridge.
Finally to end this interview we want to share with you the main reasons why George received the 1992 Industry Award, (as President of the National Limousine Association (NLA)), ideas that certainly resonate with his role as President of the USBF:
1- He was involved with many issues that effected operators across the nation.
2- Uniting the coachbuilders to form the Limousine Industry Manufacturers Organization in order to better maintain safety standards for limousines.
3- Helping to form the Council of Limousine Associations to help local associations in their fights against local regulations, and working hard on the issue of chauffeur classification with the Internal Revenue Service
4- He was also instrumental in uniting the NLA and Limousine & Chauffeur Magazine. The two groups now work together to put on a national trade show and educational program that benefits thousands of operators each year.
5- By putting an industry supplier and coachbuilder representative on the board, Jacobs has ensured the NLA will have a broader view of the industry and be able to iron out differences with these important parts of the industry as they arise.
George thank you very much… and we hope to interview you again in a year, so you can tell everybody about your achievements that we dont doubt be many.