From left, Secretary Tom Sumner, Treasurer Joel Menchy, Chair Robin Walenta, Vice-Chair Chris Martin IV and NAMM President and CEO Joe Lamond.

NAMM Elects First Female Chair, New Committee Members

The NAMM Board of Directors unanimously voted in the next slate of officers at Summer NAMM in Nashville, Tennessee.

At the meeting, the board officially welcomed each industry leader to new roles, representing a balanced composition of retail and commercial members. The 2017 Executive Committee includes Chair Robin Walenta, Vice-Chair Chris Martin IV, Treasurer Joel Menchy and Secretary Tom Sumner.

The vote and transition sees Robin Walenta, previously NAMM's vice chair, move into the new role as chair of NAMM's Board of Directors. Walenta is President and CEO of West Music, a family-owned, seven-store, full-line retailer based in Coralville, Iowa, founded in 1914 by Pearl West. Walenta joined West Music in 1982 and was named President and CEO of the company in 2007. In addition to the NAMM Board of Directors, Walenta is currently a board member of the National Association of School Music Dealers; a treasurer for the Iowa Alliance for Art Education; a member of the SupportMusic Coalition and offers a wealth of industry, advocacy and arts experience to the committee. Walenta is the first female chair in the history of the organization.

"I am truly honored to represent our membership as Chair and to serve our industry," Walenta said. "As both a commercial and retail member, I look forward to sharing my perspective to address the challenges that we face today and to prepare our industry for the opportunities of the future. Through my career-long involvement with NAMM, I have learned that networking builds beneficial and productive communities; that educational opportunities provide vital catalysts for new and ongoing musical ventures; and that in today's world, music advocacy is more important than ever. I am excited to be at the forefront of continuing diversification and broadening inclusivity in both our members and the products and services we represent."

As part of her first official duties, Walenta welcomed Tom Sumner to the Executive Committee as secretary. Sumner is past member of the Board of Directors and currently senior vice president of Yamaha Corporation of America, a full-line manufacturer of musical products and instruments based in Buena Park, California. Sumner joined the company in 1987 and is a member of the National Piano Foundation, the National Association of School Music Dealers, the Music Distributors Association, and the SupportMusic Coalition.

"It's truly an honor to be elected to the NAMM Executive Committee, and I look forward to continuing to grow and serve the industry," Sumner said.

Outgoing Chair Mark Goff was honored during the meeting and applauded for his eight years of service on the Executive Committee.

"It has been an incredible honor to represent my fellow NAMM members as Chair over the past two years," Goff said. "During my tenure, I have been privileged to see our association at work across the globe and I'm extremely proud of the positive impact we are making as we help more people make more music every day."

Executive Committee members Joel Menchey and Chris Martin will transition to their new roles. Menchey is the president and owner of Menchey Music Service, a seven-location school service and keyboard music dealer headquartered in Hanover, Pennsylvania, and will serve as secretary of the Executive Committee. Chris Martin is the sixth-generation owner and CEO of C.F. Martin & Co., a manufacturer of acoustic guitars and strings, based in Nazareth, Pennsylvania, and now, vice chair of the NAMM Executive Committee.