SAUGERTIES, NY - HITS, Inc. is pleased to announce the appointment of Eric L. Straus as Senior Vice President. He will succeed Tony Hitchcock, who is retiring after a remarkable 25 year career with the company in the Fall of 2014. Mr. Straus will officially take up the post at HITS’ home base in Saugerties, New York, October 1, 2014.
Straus has 45 years of national and international equestrian experience, with proven business expertise in both for-profit and nonprofit environments. His knowledge of the Equine industry is extensive, from officiating major competitions and events to effectively growing sport horse foundations and overseeing facilities.
“HITS is a dynamic organization, the most successful of its kind in the United States and continues to grow and progress,” said Straus. “Tom [Struzzieri, HITS CEO and President] is building a bigger, stronger brand of HITS for exhibitors, spectators, sponsors--I’m very excited to be a part of it.”
Struzzieri noted, “Tony Hitchcock has been involved with HITS for over 25 years and Eric’s substantial equine background helps fill that huge vacancy. I will count on Eric to maintain our positive relationship with the Federation...We both served on the Board and Executive Committee and he truly understands the mechanics of the organization,” he added.
“Horses have remained an integral part of my life and horse sports opened many doors for me,” said Straus. This is reflected in his contributions to the equestrian world;
Trustee and Executive Committee Member of the American Horse Council (D.C.), National Horse Show Board of Directors and United States Equestrian Team (USET) Foundation’s Secretary and Executive Committee member; Member of the United States Hunter & Jumper Association (USHJA) Stewards and former member of Zone 1 Jumper Nominating Committee; “R” United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) judge and Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) Show Jumping Steward; FEI Chief Steward at the 2010, 2006 and 2002 World Equestrian Games, Jerez, Spain; Executive Director of the U. S. Equestrian Federation in 1996-1997; Chief Judge for Modern Pentathlon 1996 Olympic Games and 1987 Pan American Games. President and CEO of Equine Sports Group.
I’ve always admired Tom and what he has done in a creative sense with his shows,” said Straus. “He has a keen sense of timing and is very inventive, and I really like those qualities. It has proven to serve him and the horse show community, well.”
Straus is also a seasoned corporate and philanthropic board member. He was Senior Vice President for The Clark Estates, Inc., New York, New York, whose clients include the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Fenimore Art Museum, Farmers’ Museum, Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital and Otesaga Hotel and Resort, among others.
"I have learned invaluable lessons working in the equine industry, met interesting people, experienced highs and lows of the sport, and apply the lessons I’ve learned daily. I’m also blessed with an understanding wife whose non-equine background helps me maintain a healthy perspective on it all,” Straus observed.
He graduated from Colorado College with a BA in History and will reside in the Hudson Valley with his wife. He has two children, both in their 20s.