Remembering a Legacy

On this side of life, we don’t know how broadly we influence our world.  It is with sadness that we acknowledge Ray Essick’s passing. It is with respect that we honor his legacy.  Ray’s obituary points out his leadership role with USA Swimming and starting an organization that represents and fosters greatness in the aquatic field.  

There is more to Ray Essick’s story that involved a relatively short time in his life that has tremendous influence and impact in our field. In 2002, the NSPF Board of Directors decided to consolidate operations and initiate a national search for a new CEO.  Ray Essick, who was serving on the NSPF Board, agreed to take on the interim CEO role. One condition Ray required was that NSPF would relocate to his home city, Colorado Springs, CO.  In reality, Colorado Springs is an excellent location for a non-profit with numerous non-profits and sports governing bodies making staff, consultants, lawyers, accountants, with non-profit experience plentiful. In addition, Colorado is centrally located in the U.S., has ready access to a large airport hub in Denver, has a high quality of living, and has an affordable cost of living. 

On December 1, 2003, I was entrusted with the role of Chief Executive Officer serving NSPF’s mission, succeeding Ray.  I visited Colorado Springs and met Ray for the first time in the fall of 2003. Ray was a leader. Yet, I think deep down, he was a coach. He introduced me to our staff, attorney, auditor, and other key vendors. He helped me gain my bearings in those first few weeks. 

On this side of life, we don’t know how broadly we have influenced our world.  Sometimes our influence is based on the decades we invest like growing an amazing organization like USA Swimming. Sometimes our influence is based on weeks we spend helping a “new guy” find his way. Sometimes it is a moment we show someone that we care. Most know Ray Essick for his influence through USA Swimming. I appreciate Ray because he coached me and he cared.  

Rest in peace in the comfort knowing your legacy lives on,

Thomas M. Lachocki, Ph.D.
Chief Executive Officer
National Swimming Pool Foundation

From the CEO
Ray Essick
NSPF History