2020 SAAA Board of Directors
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Cathy Ballard
Chuck McClain Vice President
Erin Burr
Jessica Wilson Secretary

Cathy Ballard joined the Highland Games community in 2013, assisting in coordinating several events in recent years and previously serving on the board, she has always insisted she “is just an official hugger”. She runs the Political Science and International Relations division of the University of Southern California and hopes that her administrative skills will serve the SAAA well as the first female president, and looks forward to working with the board and athletes to grow an strengthen the organization.

Chuck joined the SAAA as the Secretary in the early 2000s and has held the position of president, and Board Member at Large. He has been competing in Highland Games since the early 2000s and is a director of the SAAA Northern Rockies group running games in Washington, Montana, Idaho, Organ, and Alaska. He is an AD, Certified SAAA and IHGF Judge, Score Keeper, and athlete. Chuck still competes in the master class every chance he gets. When not vesting time in the SAAA or Highland Games, Chuck works full time as an Electrostatic Engineer at Micron Technologies Inc. He also owns his own Electrostatic Consulting firm specializing in Software integration, Electrostatic training, and Electrostatic compliance to ISO standards.

Erin joined the SAAA as Treasurer in 2016. She has been competing in Highland Games since 2015 and is a Certified Judge. She wears a variety of hats in the SAAA and is grateful for her fellow board members that contribute their time and effort for the love of the game!

Jessica has not yet submitted a bio - stay tuned

Jesse Lee   Member at Large
Seat 1

Jesse joined the SAAA board in 2019.  He's been an active athlete since 2015 and currently throws in the Men's B class.  He is the current Athletic Director for the Seaside Highland Games in Ventura, CA.  Jesse wears many hats in his life but the one he's most proud of is being the stay at home father for his five children.  When he's not chasing kids or throwing heavy objects, he can be found outside running or hiking, soaking up the SoCal sun.

Matthew Perlowski  Member at Large
Seat 2

Matthew is the newest member of the SAAA board joining in 2020. After being a patron of the games for decades, he was persuaded to become an athlete in 2016. Since then, he has achieved #1 rank in Class C for California in 2019. Recently promoted to Class B, he looks forward to competing in various games across the state. By weekday, he is a Senior Silicone Research Chemist for NuSil Technology LLC in Carpinteria. By weekend, he heads The Seaside Highland Throwers (a Highland Games practice group) based out of Ventura County. When Matthew is not competing on the field, you can still find him at the games as a certified SAAA judge and promoter of the Highland Games.

Jim Morrison Member at Large
Seat 3

Jim has been a Board Member since 2013, and is currently serving in his fourth term. He is a Master's athlete, Certified Judge, the acting Championship Events Coordinator, past AD for the Tucson Games (2014-15), and has been the Athletic Director for Vista (San Diego) Highland Games the past 3 years. 

In 2012, Jim founded the non-profit organization, www.clanbacon.com with the purpose of promoting Scottish culture through Highland Games heavy athletics.  

Jim has been a construction project manager for the past 20+ years.

Sean Smith   Member at Large
Seat 4

Sean joined the SAAA board in 2019. A Master's and A class competitor, Sean placed 2nd and 5th at the Master's World Championships, 2016 and 2017 respectively. In his spare time, while not obsessing about throwing, Sean owns a consulting firm and is an Associate Business instructor at Mira Costa College in San Diego, CA.

Joe Miller
Member at Large
Seat 5

Joe Miller first joined the SAAA back in 2002. He is a Master's competitor now and took 3rd at the Master's World Championship and 5th in Pleasanton at the US Championships 40+ Master's in 2019.  When not lifting or throwing heavy things he enjoys spending time and sharing crazy adventures with the wifey, lifting with his son and, rockabilly, old cars and old music.  As far as a day job, Joe is an asphalt plant operator and has been doing that for over 20 years.

Message from the President

A new year, a new decade, and a new face. I am not sure whether I am more excited or humbled to be the new and first female president of the SAAA, but I know that I come to this position with some big shoes to fill and with a team of board members who are the most spectacular people we could ask for.

My goal is to continue to strengthen our organization, from the inside out, by implementing policies, opportunities, and fundraising that continue to elevate our standing in the Highland Games competitive community. The board and I seek to pursue solid corporate sponsorship opportunities that will allow us to provide better equipment and amenities to our athletes competing at our events. We seek to set higher standards for our athletes and competitions as we continue to grow, and to support our athletes on and off the field.

Additionally, we are not just a group of exceptional world class athletes, but a family. I have rarely seen the level of support and encouragement demonstrated on our fields during competitions. I personally have received a tremendous amount of love and support from this community during a difficult time. Whether it’s helping someone set a PR or beat cancer, this is a strong and loving family, and for that reason I would love to see this site used to promote what the family is doing.

Thank you for the vote of confidence in my ability to lead, thank you to those who have worked so hard to get us where we are, thank you to the board members who serve our community, and thank you to the amazing people, every one of us, who make this a great organization. I look forward to seeing most, if not all, of you at the Queen Mary games in February, Costa Mesa games in May, Vista games in June, and Ventura games in October.




The Scottish American Athletic Association is a professional sanctioning body that provides rules, regulations, standards, and implements for hosting both men’s and women’s Amateur and Professional Scottish Highland Games athletic competitions.  The SAAA is a non-profit 501 (c)(3) organization that works with local and national festivals to help promote and standardize the athletic aspect of Scottish culture, and celebrate its rich tradition.

Cathy Ballard
SAAA National President (2020)

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