Justin Mathre
PSA Director of Business Operations


By Terri Milner Tarquini


December 1, 2017
36
   In The Loop Extended Articles

Now the Director of Business Operations for PSA, Justin Mathre emerged from the association’s recent reorganization with a new title - and even more responsibilities.

After three years as Finance Coordinator of PSA, Mathre’s duties continue to include the day-to-day accounting, invoicing, bill paying, purchasing, budget constructing, capital planning, revenue planning and analysis that all keep the PSA up and running. In addition, he now also handles membership and insurance services, as well as human resources.

“As with any small association, when you’re the financial controller, you do a little of everything,” Mathre said, laughing. “And sometimes you also do a lot of everything.”

Mathre, who has a Bachelor’s degree from Augsburg University in Minnesota, previously worked in healthcare IT support, public accounting as a non-profit auditor, and for a large regional bank.

“I had a feeling that the non-profit sector was where I wanted to go,” he said. “I saw the job for the PSA pop up and it was exactly the opportunity I was looking for.”

The fact that the opportunity came in a very foreign landscape didn’t slow Mathre down at all.

“I have learned a lot in a short period of time about skating,” he said, “but I think my perspective has also been appreciated as someone who can possibly provide new ideas or put a fresh spin on things. I have no skating bias and I’m not set in my ways, which gives me the unique ability to ask, ‘Have we tried this?’ We need to keep refreshing ourselves so we can continue to improve and provide the very best services to our members.”

But Mathre isn’t as sports disconnected as it seems at first blush. Married to his wife, Becky, for 12 years, both of their daughters, Hattie, 9, and Silja, 6, are competitive gymnasts. And, apparently, their coaches owe a certain debt of gratitude to the PSA.

“I feel I’m more educated now that I work in an organization that supports coaches,” Mathre said. “It has allowed me to be a parent that doesn’t hover and second-guess everything. My viewpoint has definitely changed. I know more about what goes into coaching and how important it is that we, as parents, don’t meddle and we let the coaches do what they’re trained to do.”

Mathre also keeps his hand in on his own athletic background. Having played football and basketball in high school, he has officiated for both sports at the high school level for 10 years and for three years with football at the collegiate level. He also mentors officials in the Rochester area who are just starting out.

“It can be really hard in the beginning, but every game matters to someone - no matter what level,” he said. “If I can help teach new officials the ropes that help them succeed, it’s just another way that I can continue to give back.”

Speaking of giving back, Mathre’s mind is turning on an idea that might have an impact on the PSA that is somewhat outside of his current job role.

“I have a very analytical mind and I keep thinking that there has to be a way that sabermetrics can be brought to figure skating,” said Mathre of the analysis used in baseball statistics that measures in-game activity. “It seems like there can be an actual program within the IJS system, that, say, takes what these 10 competitors have done in the last five competitions and breaks down each thing and analyzes it.”

To relate the concept to skating, if, for instance, a skater has only landed a certain triple-double jump 30 percent of the time, but the skater has a lesser but more consistent jump that is completed 80 percent of the time, the analysis could then stack up that information against what the other skaters are performing at what percentage success to determine which jump would be the best to put in the program.

“I am sure there are coaches that already think that way, but wouldn’t it be great if there was some way to make this accessible to all coaches?” Mathre said. “Of course, you can never take all the variables out of a program since what happens is ultimately up to the skater. But there has to be a way to apply math and statistics to figure skating to create the perfect program - at least on paper.”

It’s an intriguing prospect, especially for someone who obviously sticks to a challenge, having just completed a 75-mile hike of northern Minnesota along Lake Superior with his wife. For five days, they took in nature with about 45 pounds of gear and food on their backs.

“Hiking, biking, camping, boating - we love to do all of that stuff as a family whenever we can,” Mathre said. “Competitive sports take up a lot of our time, but whenever we get a chance, we like to be outside.”