Candid Candidates Part One: Delegates Seek Seats On The AKC Board of Directors

From the December 2019 issue of ShowSight. Click to subscribe. On the photo: from left top: Michael KnightCarl Ashby, Jeffrey Ball, Dr.Carmen Battaglia.

It’s the time of year our world seems bombarded with candidates campaigning for local and national elections. Every day we have politicians traveling to our cities to speak, debate, give interviews, knock on our doors and in short, do everything within their power to share their views and agendas for whatever office they are seeking. We must know they wish they did not have to put forth those efforts!

Candidates for our AKC Board of Directors have also been named and I have invited each of them to respond to only one question this month. The purpose is for the Delegates and members of the fancy to have the opportunity to meet our candidates as they are all gathered in Orlando for the AKC Delegates Meetings and the grand events surrounding our AKC National Championship Presented by Royal Canin. For the January issue follow up questions will be published in Candid Candidates Part Two. By participating in my early questionnaires Delegates will have plenty of time to communicate with their clubs prior to the election in early March.

Our American Kennel Club is a club comprised of 590 individual Member Clubs. As of November 4, 2019, 535 Member Clubs have Delegates. Five clubs have Delegates in the review process awaiting approval in January, 2020.

The average number of Delegate attendees for quarterly Delegates’ meetings is 315. Those individuals will be the ones voting on behalf of their clubs to elect the new members of the AKC Board of Directors. It is up to us to educate ourselves about the qualifications of each person seeking office so that we may let our club’s AKC Delegate how we would wish for them to vote.

The following are the candidates for the upcoming election:


Dr. Thomas M. Davies

Springfield Kennel Club


Chose Not To Participate


Three Candidates Will Be Elected From This Group

Carl C. Ashby, III
United States Kerry Blue Terrier Club, Inc.

Jeffrey Ball
Ramapo Kennel Club

Dr. Carmen L. Battaglia
German Shepherd Dog Club of America

Dr. Michael Knight
Texas Kennel Club

Karolynne M. McAteer
Irish Setter Club of America

Did Not Respond

Carl C. Ashby

Carl Ashby: My decision to run for it AKC Board of Directors was difficult. However, as I considered the state of AKC today my background in dogs, business, and service to AKC now was
the time.

I bring eight years of Board experience plus two years as Vice Chair. This experience, coupled with my broad business and dog background, complements a Board that has a significant number of new faces as a result of the last two election cycles.

If elected I will work diligently to assure all our actions are focused on realizing first and foremost the Mission of AKC. Furthermore, to increase engagement of the dog owning public through increasing registrations giving AKC the platform to be the voice of dogs in America. Just as importantly I will work to strengthen our Clubs and revive our core events such as conformation.

Below is a recap of my experience for your consideration as your Club makes its decisions on who to support in March 2020.

I retired from AT&T as President, AT&T Custom Manufacturing Services, a $200 million business unit of AT&T which I founded within the Company. I grew the business from nothing to $200 million in less than two years.

I am currently President of Ann Crittenden, Inc. which is the third independent business I have founded. Ann Crittenden, Inc. owns and operate Hallmark Card Shops. I hold a BS in Electrical Engineering, a Master’s in Business Administration, and a certification in Strategic Planning from MIT.

My wife Jaimie and I became involved with purebred dogs first in Obedience and then Conformation. We have enjoyed success in the show ring with homebred Best in Show Kerry Blue Terriers and numerous Specialty wins. We continue an active breeding program and owner handle our Kerry’s at Specialty shows around
the country.

My past service as Delegate to AKC includes:

• Past Member- AKC Board of Directors

• Past Vice Chairman of AKC to Ron Menaker, Chair

• AKC Canine Health Foundation Board of Directors
and Executive Committee

• Vice Chair of AKC Reunite

• Chair of the AKC Political Action Committee

• Member of the Board of Managers for AKC Link.

• Past member of the All-Breed and Perspective Committees

• Founding member of AKC Detection Dog Task Force

• Current member of Delegate Advocacy
and Advancement Committee

My service to local and national dog Clubs includes:

• Member, Treasurer, Cluster Chair, and
Show Chair-Carolina Kennel Club

• Member and past Show Chair-Forsyth Kennel Club

• Founding member and Treasurer-Carolina Terrier Association

• Life Member, Treasurer, and Kerry Fest Chair-United States
Kerry Blue Terrier Club

• Chair-USKBTC Charitable Funds

I have been actively involved in my Community including many elected leadership positions. These include:

• Chair-Leadership Greensboro

• Chair-Other Voices Diversity Initiative

• Chair-Arts Greensboro

• Chair-Piedmont Triad Leadership Network

• Chair-National Conference for Community and Justice
formerly the National Conference for Christians and Jews—
a social justice organization

• Member-Board of Trustees NC A&T University—
an historically black university

• Active in local Government affairs

Share your educational and professional backgrounds that have prepared you for the decision making for an approximately 77 million dollar a year organization.

Jeffrey Ball

Jeffrey Ball: There was a thousand plus bed county acute and long term medical facility that was about to close. This facility was vital to the community, but had become a major expense on taxpayers. I was part of a team that worked with County Freeholders, legislators, state agencies, unions and the public to prevent that facility from closing. After lengthy political hearings and negotiations, the facility was leased to an outside health care group. It is now a thriving facility. By leasing rather than closing the facility, it was upgraded, it prevented taxes from be increased, saved jobs and was there for the residents.

This vignette captures the way that I approach important and high stakes decisions.

My education in Labor Relations, career negotiating with multimillion-dollar businesses and extracurricular involvement with various non-profit organizations has taught me to make sound decisions from a new perspective. In addition, my decision-making capabilities can be seen in the success I have had in growing multiple non-profit organizations that I have been involved with over the years.

My career has given me expertise in making decisions when people’s livelihoods are on the line. In my work, I interface with large for-profit organization that gross millions of dollars a year by negotiating contracts and mediating conflicts. I have additionally drafted bills alongside elected officials. Advocating for state nursing safe staffing levels is one of the many legislative efforts that I have successfully helped turn into law.

My extensive career experience in decision-making has given me the skills to develop organizations outside of work related to
my passions.

For example, as president of the New Jersey Federation of Dog Clubs, I have had a great deal of experience working with multiple clubs and delegates. I am proud of the success we have had with the NJFDC, which has established itself as one of the best federations under the AKC. That started with transparency and education, not only with other Board members but also with the delegates. The NJFDC Board works with the delegates on regular bases to establish plans to move the organization forward. We have intelligent delegates who want and should be involved and the NJFDC takes advantage of that. AKC needs to do the same.

Over the years, I have been part of clubs that have had success and failures. When we had failures, we learned to take a new approach. Creative thinking and constant innovation are what made us an organization that keeps up with the times. We went from being a club that was about showing and breeding to a club that was more welcoming to the canine public. Adding new fundraising technique and not solely relying on show revenue. This added new life to the club, which is now involved with education, rescue, therapy and many other canine activities.

I believe in accountability and we owe that to our delegate body, which is no different from shareholders in a major company. They have a voice in the organization, which should be heard. No one person or select few should run this organization alone. We are a complex organization, which needs to empower delegates so that they take ownership of the organization. We all need to remember that we are a democratic organization and that we need to think outside of the box in order to come up with unique ideas and turn those ideas and goals into reality. I take pride in doing that.

I have the commitment and passion to protect the sport and to hold to our mission statement. I believe we need to work continually to reorganize and update ourselves or otherwise, we will fall behind as we are now. I can assist with that as well as helping build new relations with legislators. I can also help reestablish our reputation as the lead organization in the public and the fancy’s eyes when it comes to being the canine experts.

A true leader should not just sit in a boardroom, they also need to be involved by communicating with and inspiring others. I am prepared to do that.

Share your educational and professional backgrounds that have prepared you for the decision making for an approximately 77 million dollar a year organization.

Carmen L. Battaglia

Carmen Battaglia: AKC has grown and become a multi-million-dollar organization that not only registers dogs, and is the largest stud book in the world, but it fights anti-dog legislating, supports dog research, provides public outreach about canines and has more than 130,000 breeders, 5,000 clubs and 35 different kinds of competition. This $77-million-dollar enterprise needs a diverse and skilled board of directors that can help guide and direct its future.

My background, skills and experiences in and out of the dog world qualify me for the AKC Board of Directors.

  1. I first became a delegate in 1992 without a break in service.
  2. I came into the Sport as an eager and uninitiated dog owner with a puppy from an unknown breeder. With that background, I carry with me a respect for our constituency.
  3. I have been actively involved in the sport of conformation and obedience since the 1960’s. I began with one German Shepherd Dog and since then have bred, shown and finished many champions. I have also owned other breeds: Portuguese Water dog, Dachshund, Pembroke Corgi and an English Springer Spaniel. I am approved to Judge, Best-in-Show, the Herding and Working Groups, some Sporting breeds and the Chinese Shar-Pei. I am an active Breeder of Merit and continue to breed.
  4. I have twice been President of the German Shepherd Dog Club of America and for 26 years have remained its delegate to this day. I am also a member of the Atlanta and Morris and Essex Kennel Clubs, a founding member of the Lawrenceville Kennel Club and past president and longtime member of the Atlanta German Shepherd Dog Club and the North Georgia German Shepherd Dog Club.
  5. I have been lucky to serve on the AKC Board for multiple terms and in many capacities which involved: Chair of the AKC Committee for the Future, a lead role in establishing the DNA program we have today and president of CAR, now called Reunite, for 10 years during which time I expanded the mission to assist in the recovery and response when disasters occur.
  6. I have chaired countless AKC committees, and served as the AKC Board liaison to many Delegate Committees: Parent Club, Bylaws, Companion Events, Health and Herding/Earth dog. I am a current board member of AKC PAC and chair the AKC Dog Detection Task Force whose mission is to increase the supply of explosive detection dogs.
  7. I have written a number of influential books:  Genetics: Breeding Better Dogs, Breeding Better Dogs, (fifth printing), The Proper Care of German Shepherds and Breeding Dogs to Win. I authored and published more than 70 articles and reports which have appeared in the AVMA Veterinary Journal, Journal of Veterinary Behavioral Science, AKC Gazette, Canine Chronicle, Dog News, and many leading journals in Canada, Hungary, South Africa, Australia, Chile, New Zealand and Ireland. I have appeared on Animal Planet several times and chaired the study group on vicious-dog legislation in Georgia which produced model legislation for dog ordinance laws in several states.
  8. I believe the AKC is headed in the right direction. We must continue to innovate in order to remain a viable and relevant organization. Most importantly, we must do more to recognize and serve breeders, who are the backbone of the Sport. Increasing registrations and blue slip return rates have been the natural by-product of our pro-breeder philosophy.
  9. I believe AKC’s role is to nurture, recognize and serve breeders so they can be equipped to achieve their goal of preserving and improving their breeds. Quality dogs bred by dedicated, responsible breeders are what we need to foster in order to maintain a meaningful Sport. AKC’s first priority should be to these breeders and our clubs.
  10. I will continue to create and support programs that recognize breeders and our clubs and make our registration processes as efficient as possible for everyone. Additionally, I will keep breeders at the forefront of our marketing and media strategies.
  11. There are many top priorities that need to be addressed. I will mention a few which start with (a) ensuring that AKC remains financially self-sustaining, (b) defending the purebred dog and preventing legislation from crippling our sport, (c) improving the judging approval process and (d) continuing to build our audiences and expand our canine legislation efforts.
  12. Our greatest strength is our passion for purebred dogs and our sport. It’s the glue that keeps us showing, breeding, judging, participating in clubs, and continuously learning. Our biggest weakness may be our tendency to take things for granted, by making the assumption that AKC will always be able to provide the funding and expertise that it does today.
  13. In my non-dog life, the Not-for-profit world, I was Assistant Dean at Emory University, where I was responsible for student life on campus, men’s dormitory activities and fraternities. Later I was employed by the US government and promoted to the senior position of Regional Administrator for the United States Department Education with responsibilities for federal programs that involved over 350 post-secondary institutions in the eight southeastern states. This included responsibility for millions of federal dollars of aid and loans to post-secondary institutions and students. As a result of my service to these institutions and students, I was awarded many honors for my service.
  14. Because of these professional experiences, I am well versed in budget and management issues. In the For-Profit world, I owned two proprietary schools and managed large budgets with responsibilities for faculty and employee’s problems. I was also President of Atlanta Student Aid, a consulting firm which provided consulting services to colleges and universities throughout the United states.
  15. Notably, my experiences in both the for-profit and not-for-profit worlds allowed me to help put AKC on the path to financial health. With the help of staff, AKC was able to develop alternative revenue streams that increased licensing, sponsorships and affinity marketing which generated more than $100 million over fifteen years. These efforts continue to earn revenues to this day. The combination of these initiatives permitted AKC to establish financial reserves to secure our organization’s future.
  16. I want to serve on the board for a number of reasons. There are several projects that I have been directly involved with that will come to fruition in the next year or two, and there is still much work to be done. Here are four of those projects: (1) Currently I chair the AKC Dog Detection Task Force which now has over 120 breeders involved; (2) the upgrading of our DNA program will begin to take place; (3) securing more donor funds for the AKC Museum of the Dog, (4) support for AKC Canine research, (5) Increasing the AKC Juniors program. I have completed a study that involves more than 1,300 juniors and I will co-author a report with Dr. Cindy Otto of the U. Penn Working Dog Center which will be published next year. This report is only the beginning. We need to recruit young adults into AKC dog sport and encourage to breed and sell puppies to families that advocate for Juniors. Providing information about nutrition and training is not enough. We need to mentor young families at shows and help start their Juniors early in their career.
  17. We need to increase exhibitors which starts by increasing attendance. It is becoming more and more apparent that email marketing is a powerful tool that gets results. It’s not enough to create more opportunities for new dog owners to come to our events we need to tell them about these opportunities in a
    strategic fashion.
  18. We need to involve more Delegates and Delegate Committees and listen to their suggestions. My experience has been that when someone comes up with well thought out ideas, the staff and Board of Directors have been willing to listen. Many changes in our by-laws have come about as a result of these suggestions. The creation of the Committees system itself was one of their recommendations. I think the board is listening far more than
    ever before.Sport Involvement• Actively involved in the Sport for over 42 years

    • President, (twice) German Shepherd Dog Club of America

    • President, (twice) German Shepherd Dog Club of Atlanta

    • Current Member, Atlanta Kennel Club

    • Current Member, Morris and Essex Kennel Club

    • Current Delegate of German Shepherd Dog Club of America

    • Former President, CAR (now REUNITE)

    • Approved to judge Best in Show; Herding and
    Working Groups, some Sporting breeds and Chinese Shar-Pei

    AKC Involvement

    • AKC Delegate from 1992 to the present

    • AKC Board member several times from 1995

    • AKC Board Liaison to: Parent Club, Bylaw, Companion Event, Health and Herding/Earth dog Delegate committees. PAC board member and also chair of the AKC Dog Detection Task Force whose mission is to increase the supply of explosive detection dogs.

    Not-for-Profit Involvement

    • Director and former President, CAR (now AKC REUNITE)

    • Current Board Member of AKC
    Political Action Committee (PAC)

    • Professional Background

    • Assistant Dean at major University with
    administrative duties regarding students and budgets

    • Owner of two Proprietary schools—involved hiring,
    recruiting, budget, purchasing, supervision, audit resolution

    • President of Atlanta Student Aid, a consulting firm that
    worked with families, students and post-secondary institutions

    • Regional Commissioner of Education,
    US Department of Education

    • Regional Administrator of Education, US Department
    of Education – responsibilities for 350 colleges and
    Universities in the eight southeastern states.

    These experiences resulted in the development of many skills that are needed on the AKC Board. Research about dogs, breeding, puppy raising, detection dogs, super dogs.

    • Subject matter expert in dog legislation matters.
    Conducted the largest study about Juniors that
    involved 1,300 juniors.

    • Published articles on early neurological stimulation, bloat,
    pedigree analysis, breeding formulas, etc.

    Share your educational and professional backgrounds that have prepared you for the decision making for an approximately 77 million dollar a year organization.

    Dr. Michael Knight

    My name is Dr. Michael Knight, a candidate for the American Kennel Club Board of Directors and dog fancier of more than 40 years. As a candidate for the AKC Board of Directors, I have been asked to share my educational and professional accomplishments that, I feel, have prepared me to serve on the Board.

    I possess degrees in Banking and Finance, Psychology and Human Resources. I own and manage my own national Staffing Firm, volunteer in my local community with different organizations, have served on the finance committee for my church and like many of you, I am still actively breeding and showing my own bred-by dogs, the Poodle.

    I have served on many different boards throughout my career including: Hospital, Museum, Philanthropic, Dallas Fine Arts, North Dallas Gentlemen’s Club, as well as Poodle Club of America, Texas Kennel Club and the Lone Star Poodle Club. The best boards possess a diverse set of skills and I feel that my personal diverse abilities would be beneficial to the American Kennel Club Board.

    In addition to actively showing dogs, I am Show Chairman for Texas Kennel Club and Treasurer for the Lone Star State Classic. I am also Second Vice President and Affiliate Club Chairman Poodle Club of America. I have also served as President of Lone Star Poodle Club. I believe one must support the efforts of our dog clubs and work in any capacity to make sure that they succeed. I will bring to the Board of the American Kennel Club my dedication and strong work ethic to support and promote our Sport, the people in our Sport and the health and well-being of our Purebred dogs.

    My background in my community, I have served on the Dallas Philanthropic Board and served as the Chief Fund Raiser for 7 years for the Dallas Philanthropic Society, personally raising substantial funds for children. I served as Chairman of the Dallas Fine Arts Committee for 9 years. I served as the Treasurer of the North Dallas Gentlemen’s Society for 11 years, which has a multi-million dollar budget. These positions, at times, are very political, influential, and are highly visible positions, which require an enormous amount of tact, diplomacy, diplomatic communication, persuasion and negotiation skills. As Chairman of many committees, I have utilized my education in human resources to help guide people, especially the committee members, to speak with one voice and to unite instead of divide. My education in banking and finance, as well as my experience in fundraising and managing large sums of donated funds, provides me with a unique background which I can bring to the AKC Board of Directors.

    My Executive Staffing Firm involves managing people and situations, getting involved at a personal level, coaching others to see the bigger picture and communicating with all types of individuals. Employers have needs and people seeking new employment have different needs. The key is listening, hearing what people are really saying and negotiating the highly personal needs of each to come together for a mutually beneficial outcome. Through my experience I have acquired an aptitude for listening and talking with people to extract information and to make good matches among potential employees and employers. I have carried these people skills with me in working on the various boards that I have served.

    I feel that The American Kennel Club’s role is to always be the leader and authority as well as the voice for purebred dogs. The American Kennel Club should always work with purebred dog owners and with the general public by whatever means are available that best promotes the health, well-being and education of the purebred dogs and their owners. We must be the leader in public education and awareness of purebred dog issues and concerns, and work toward finding a solution to those concerns and issues. As most of you know, our Dog Fancy is facing challenging situations with Animal Rights Organizations and the various local and statewide legislations working against the breeders in our Sport. I will work to help in any way I can to stop the Animal Rights Organizations and the legislations prohibiting the breeding of purebred dogs by responsible dog breeders.

    The unique combination of my education, professional experience, community service as well as my many years of breeding and showing dogs gives me a diverse background that I feel has prepared me to serve on the Board of Directors for the American Kennel Club. Thank you in advance for your support.

    Thank you to the candidates who created time during this busy holiday season to respond to my one very important question sharing their qualifications with you! Let your club’s AKC Delegate know what you think!

    The halls are decked, Santa with his sleigh piled high with brightly colored boxes greet friends at my home. The manger scene is surrounded by candles as my family celebrates the true meaning of Christmas, the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

    Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, Ho Ho Ho!

I posed the following
question to each candidate:

Share your educational and
professional backgrounds that have
prepared you for the decision making
for an approximately 77 million dollar
a year organization.

  • At the age of four, Linda's love for TV's Lassie prompted her parents, Roy and Hazel Ayers to surprise her with a Collie. Her first times entering the confirmation ring began at age six. From showing her Conrad Collies in juniors, to judging, to becoming a part of an immediate family of three AKC judges, her life has evolved around the sport of purebred dogs. As a young professional just out of the University of Georgia, Linda served on the Executive Staffs of two Georgia Governors. She moved from serving at the State Capitol to assisting the Chairman of the Hyatt Hotel Corporation. As chairman and founder of a family owned Manufacturing Corporation and real estate holding company, Linda has overseen operations, acquisitions, and dispositions of considerable business holdings for over four decades. Her diverse companies have manufactured packaged goods for many household products you likely used in your homes, interior components for the automotive industry you enjoy in your cars, and industrial chemical products used in the electric utility industry. She partnered in commercial acquisitions in Washington, D.C. on a 250 million dollar level. Linda has developed significant properties delivering hundreds of home sites in Greenville, South Carolina in conjunction with NVR/Ryan Homes in addition to apartments, an IMAX theater, commercial tracts and much more. She is the proud mother of one son, Edward P. (Todd) Turner,III of Columbia, South Carolina. After retiring from many years as District Director of the Collie Club of America, Linda served for fourteen years as AKC Delegate for the Greenville Kennel Club. She is currently President of the Carolinas Judges Study Group, a Lifetime Honorary Member of the Collie Club of Georgia where she was their very first Junior Member, a Lifetime Honorary Member of the Greenville Kennel Club, and a Quarter Century Member of the Collie Club of America. Her Christian faith is exhibited in her belief that, “Time is the most important gift you can share to make someone happy or to make a difference.” Mentoring athletes from professional to high school levels has been a huge passion and blessing in Linda's life. At any given time you may find her in a locker room, on the playing field, or on the court inspiring winners. To quote her, "I would rather go to a ballgame than a ball." Linda has been on board since the inception of ShowSight

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