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Games Organizing Committee GOCVolunteer of the Year Award Recipient

Special Olympics Pennsylvania (SOPA) is proud to announce its second annual Games Organizing Committee Volunteer of the Year Award recipient, Mike Suman – VP & Chief Technology Officer at Applied Training Solutions LLC.

Special Olympics competitions provide the stage for our athletes to shine. Without the support of volunteers that make up our Games Organizing Committees (GOC), we would not be able to provide this opportunity to our athletes. Therefore, our GOC Volunteer of the Year Award recognizes a volunteer from the Eastern, Western or Central part of the state who has made an exceptional contribution to our athletes by helping us to create memorable events. The GOC Award recipient is honored for providing at least two years of service to Special Olympics, having a deep understanding of and commitment to our mission, and implementing new ideas that positively impact our athlete and/or volunteer experience.

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Mike Suman has been the Alpine Sports Director for many years, and is an integral part of our Winter Games Organizing Committee. As the Sports Director, he manages the training sites at Seven Springs Mountain Resort and Hidden Valley Resort for the western Special Olympics programs in advance of Winter Games. In 2015, he took on an even greater role as the Co-Chair of Winter Games during our first season holding a majority of our competitions at Seven Springs Mountain Resort. Suman developed the initial plan for the Winter Games Opening Ceremonies and reimagined the process to include commencement with the entrance of the Special Olympics flag and a climatic culmination with the “Flame of Hope” being transported down the mountain on skis.

“There are many deserving candidates for the GOC Volunteer of the Year, but Mike really goes above and beyond for SOPA. He is invaluable to the success of the Winter Games,” said Mike Ermer, Western Competition Director. “Mike is a great supporter of the Special Olympics movement and I consider myself fortunate to work with him and call him a friend.”

In addition to his role as a committee leader, Suman commissioned his company to develop a mobile application for the Winter Games that was later adapted for use during our Summer Games at no cost to our organization. He also took the initiative to have a professional film crew attend Winter Games in 2018 to produce a mini-documentary and brief highlight video of the Games.

Suman’s volunteer involvement doesn’t stop with Winter Games, however. He has also served on the evaluation team at Summer Games and has expressed an interest in doing the same for Fall Festival. He is a huge asset for any organization, and has proven his ability to deliver results in a multitude of capacities.

The winner of the GOC Volunteer of the Year Award was selected by a panel of professionals from across the state from applications submitted by committee members.