Mark McDermott will retire June 1 after 35 years as executive secretary of the Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association.
“Mark has been here almost since the inception of the program and has seen the organization through many dramatic changes,” said president Brian Sanfratello.
McDermott’s tenure is the longest of any executive in a Thoroughbred breeders’ organization in the United States.
Former PHBA president Russell B. Jones, Jr., who was in office at the time of McDermott’s hiring, saluted his protege. “I am truly proud that our selection 35 years ago has born such wonderful fruit,” Jones said. “Mark has seen us through the institution of full card simulcasting, telephone wagering, internet wagering, the advent of slot machines, and most recently, table games. In each instance his leadership has been invaluable.”
Rick Abbott, another former PHBA president, praised McDermott’s work ethic and sense of humor. “Representing the PHBA in Harrisburg, at the racetracks, and around the country requires long hours and constant attention to the needs of the membership and to our other constituents: the legislature, the racing commission, the Department of Agriculture, the racetracks, and their horsemen. Mark is everywhere we need him and always has a smile on his face. I, for one, will really miss him.”
Sanfratello has appointed a search committee which, with McDermott’s guidance, will begin the process of recommending his replacement to the board of directors. The committee consists of Sanfratello, Jones, Abbott, PHBA treasurer and Dale Schilling, and board member Connie Nesteruk.