Tabatha Coffey - Keynote Speaker
Author, entrepreneur and star of Bravo’s “Tabatha Takes Over”
Known for her no-nonsense approach and savvy business expertise, Tabatha Coffey has been widely credited for her ability to help struggling businesses and transform people’s lives. Drawing on her own life experiences to offer straightforward advice, Coffey not only works to save troubled businesses as the star of Bravo’s hit series “Tabatha Takes Over,” she is also busy being an author and entrepreneur. Her television show, speaking appearances, and books inspire men and women around the world to take charge of their lives, their businesses, and their futures.
Conference attendees will hear how the blunt, no-nonsense Coffey takes over various failing establishments and whips them into shape from the ground up. The charismatic business owner and Australian native will also offer her professional advice to conference-goers on what it takes to run a successful business.
Kenneth Aldridge, Jr., RN-BSN, MS-H.S.A.
Having found his niche in healthcare administration, Kenneth Aldridge, Jr. oversees the health services provided to more than 4,700 individuals at the 12,000 sq. ft. Rosen Medical Center. His many responsibilities include overseeing program development, strategic planning, community and government relations, quality assurance, compliance programs and utilization review. Additionally, he contributed to the expansion of the facility's service provision to include students of the University of Central Florida's Rosen College of Hospitality and the Orlando Culinary Academy. He is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives, the Professional Association of Healthcare Management, Medical Group Management Association, and serves as an adjunct professor at the University of Central Florida.
Claye Atcheson is the Vice President of Marriott Golf, the golf management organization of Marriott International, Inc. (NYSE:MAR) and one of the world’s largest golf resort management companies. In his role as Vice President, Claye’s responsibilities include building and reinforcing brand awareness, enhancing customer loyalty, program development and operational leadership for all golf operations under the Marriott International umbrella of lodging brands. These lodging brands include Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, Renaissance and Marriott Vacation Club.
Director of Engineering & Facilities, Rosen Hotels & Resorts
Sustainability and Green Initiatives
With a career spanning 28 years in the hospitality industry, DeeDee has worked in many different aspects of hotel management and convention center operations. But now, her biggest passion is overseeing the sustainability initiatives for the seven Rosen properties, all of which are proud members of the Florida Green Lodging and the Green Destinations Orlando programs. DeeDee currently serves on the Green Destination Orlando committee and speaks regularly to promote Rosen Hotels & Resorts sustainability efforts. She assisted with the development of the Rosen College of Hospitality’s Sustainability Program, and most recently has been involved in the efforts to achieve LEED Certification at the Rosen Medical Center.
Jan Bel Jan
Golf Course Architect, Jan Bel Jan Golf Course Design
Golf Course Operations and Retail
Jan is a Golf Course Architect and her firm is Jan Bel Jan Golf Course Design. She comes from a Pittsburgh, PA golf family. Her father, George Bel Jan, was a golf pro/superintendent; three of his five "in the golf business” brothers were peer-respected PGA professionals. From them, she learned the game and business of golf.
Jan began her design career with Tom Fazio with whom she held a senior position in golf course design, construction and project management for more than twenty years. Her experience as a registered Landscape Architect, Certified Arborist and former assistant superintendent, provide her with a unique outlook on the playability, strategy, ecology, economics and aesthetics of golf courses.
Jan was elected into the American Society of Golf Course Architects in 1990 – she represents the ASGCA as a board member of the National Alliance for Accessible Golf. Jan formed her golf course design firm in 2009 and is a managing partner in the National Women’s Golf Alliance. A long-time contributor to multiple disciplines of golf, in December 2000 and February 2005, Jan was noted in Sports Illustrated Plus lists of the "Top Ten Most Influential Women in the Game of Golf.”
Executive Director/CEO, Association of Golf Merchandisers
Golf Course Operations and Retail
Desane is the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Association of Golf Merchandisers (AGM), a not-for-profit, international organization with a mission of education. Members of the AGM include golf professionals, buyers, club owners, club managers and suppliers to the golf industry.
She joined the AGM staff in 1998 as the Deputy Director and was named Executive Director in 2003. Since that time she has successfully moved the organization forward by forging and strengthening alliances with other associations in the golf industry and by continuing to increase not only the membership of the AGM, but also the retail educational offerings to the members.
Desane, a native of Western New York, graduated from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Prior to the AGM, she was Deputy Director for Supportive Services Corporation and administered Federal, State and local grants for mature workers. She resides in Phoenix, Arizona with her husband, Robert Blaney, who serves as the District Director for the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Since 1992, Scott has been the Owner/CEO/President of The Brandon Agency, a full-service marketing, advertising, public relations, interactive and social media agency. The Brandon Agency is South Carolina’s largest privately owned marketing firm, with a client list that includes: YETI Coolers, Caledonia Golf and Fish Club, True Blue Golf Plantation, Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday, Golf Academy of America, The Haig Point Club Myrtle Beach Campground Association and Litchfield Beach & Golf Resort.
Scott is also the Founder and Principal of Intellistrand, an early innovator in the monetization of intuitive internet domain names. Intellistrand is a leader in developing sites that generates significant ROI to its advertisers. A software development subsidiary, GuestDesk, was then created to allow independent hotel and condominium-hotel operators to sell their room inventory in real-time on the Internet. GuestDesk also introduced a golf tee time booking engine and a package-booking engine, which now has over 500 installations across the US, Canada and the Caribbean.
Scott is currently the Founder and Principal of Fuel Interactive, a full-service marketing agency specializing in search engine marketing, managed website development, custom software applications and CRM. Fuel has become one of the nation’s leading search engine and web marketing agencies.
Scott is a member of the Young President's Organization, a not-for-profit, global network of
young chief executives connected around the shared mission of becoming Better Leaders
Through Education and Idea Exchange. He attended Davidson College earning a Degree in Economics, and earned a Juris Doctor Degree from University of South Carolina School of Law.
Ron Carciere is the President of Golf Course Appraisal, a golf real estate valuation firm, and one of the founding partners of Golf Market Advisors, a golf property and facility operations consulting firm. Over the past 25 years, Ron has performed appraisals and consulted on hundreds of golf facilities throughout the country. Ron’s experience also includes six years of working in golf operations and management, with two years as an assistant professional.
Mike Conner came to OB Sports via the 2012 merger with Lyon Golf. As the Senior Vice President of Operations, Mike Conner provides additional operational support to OB Sports-managed facilities and directly oversees ASU Karsten Golf Club. Prior to joining OB Sports, Mike was the President and partner of Lyon Golf. During his tenure with both Lyon Golf and Resort Management of America, he directed efforts at more than a dozen high-end golf properties. Prior to that, he conceptualized, owned and operated The Eggery restaurants and served as Vice President of Charthouse, Inc., which under his direction opened and operated more than 88 Cork n’ Cleaver restaurants across the country.
Mary Cook honed her intuition for creating highly-livable interiors while working for the distinguished partnership of Jack Childs and Gene Dreyfus. Starting as an assistant-level designer, she quickly rose to become the company’s east coast vice president of sales and marketing. Inspired by her mentor Gene Dreyfus, Cook was confident that she could deliver top-quality interiors with her unique vision, and start¬ed Mary Cook Associates in 1986.
Her development of “The Art of Space” philosophy has proven to be transformative. Soon to be published in book form, it has become the foundation of her company. Mary is well known for designing spaces that deliver an emotional impact, demonstrating her unique ability to understand the demographic influences in specific markets and create exceptional interiors that cater to certain lifestyles. Her ability to anticipate client objectives and create a product that is both esthetically pleasing and functional is what drives her compa¬ny’s success.
Cook is a member of the Urban Land Institute, the National Association of Home Builders, the NAHB 50+ Senior Housing Council, the American Institute of Architects, the Home Builders Association of Illinois & Greater Chicago, the National Golf Course Owners Association, the National Rec¬reation and Parks Association and the Illinois Parks and Recreation Asso¬ciation. She is also a highly in-demand guest speaker and her most recent speaking engagements include the International Builders’ Show, Iowa Club Managers’ Association Tall Corn Chapter, Golf Inc. Conference, and the NAHB 50+ Housing Symposium.
Superintendent, Shingle Creek Golf Club
Agronomy and Golf Course Maintenance
Responsible for all phases of course maintenance and agronomic operations, Rickey takes great pride in overseeing the daily care of Shingle Creek Golf Club's turf and grounds. Prior to joining Shingle Creek, he held various positions at Grand Cypress Resort, Isleworth Golf Club, TPC Sawgrass, and Disney's Palm & Magnolia. Rickey has attained professional certification in Golf Course Operations from Lake City Community College and obtained an Associate's Degree from Central Florida Community College. He currently serves as the President of the Florida Turfgrass Association; served as a state delegate for the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America for four years; and served on the Board of Directors and as a Vice President for the Central Florida Golf Course Superintendents Association.
Henry B. DeLozier
Henry DeLozier is a Principal in Global Golf Advisors, an international consulting firm serving the investment banking, real estate development and golf asset ownership and operations business segments. He is a great friend to golf course owners having served on the NGCOA Board and as its president for two years.
Henry joined GGA after nine years as the Vice President – Golf of Pulte Homes, the largest developer of golf course communities in the US. He developed 27 new golf courses within 10 states for Pulte. During his tenure, Pulte became the largest developer of golf communities and courses in the USA having invested more than $500 million developing golf assets.
Henry is recognized for his uncommon understanding of golf and residential properties; he is a no-nonsense profit producer, an innovative marketer, and an advocate of exceptional customer service. He serves as an expert source for Business Week, CNBC-Squawk Box, Financial Times, GOLF, Golf Digest and Golf Business magazines, New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post. Mr. DeLozier is a graduate of Oklahoma State University where he was an All-American golfer.
After serving more than six years in regional golf operations for Billy Casper Golf, Elmore transitioned into the company’s CFO position in 2009. In that role, he managed financial and accounting processes, oversaw cash and treasury functions as well as banking and credit relationships. Promoted in 2012 to Chief Operating Officer, Elmore is currently responsible for day-to-day operations of Billy Casper Golf corporate and field activities. He is a graduate of The College of William and Mary, spent over 8 years in the pharmaceutical industry with GlaxoSmithKline and is a former member of the PGA of America.
When it comes to keeping associates fit and healthy, Brandy is one of Rosen Hotels and Resorts' top motivators. Drawing upon her expertise as a Certified Personal Trainer and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, she helps Rosen associates strive to achieve their best in health and fitness every day. Since joining the company in 2011, her responsibilities include coordinating fitness classes such as Pilates and Zumba, overseeing wellness programs such as Weight Watchers at Work and the Biggest Mover Rewards, and producing weekly and monthly wellness newsletters – all for the benefit of Rosen associates and visitors to the Rosen Medical Center. She holds a Bachelor's Degree from Winston-Salem State University and enjoys coaching youth sports in her spare time.
Matthew closely directs all operations of MGH, which focuses on managing, advising and investing in daily fee golf courses, private country clubs as well as other private clubs – from equestrian facilities and yacht clubs to sporting clubs. Prior to forming Morningstar, Matthew was Executive Vice President of RDC Golf Group, Inc., a leading regional operator of high quality golf courses and country clubs, where he is a shareholder and co-investor of its affiliated golf courses and country clubs. Prior to RDC, Matthew served in several project management positions of increasing responsibility at American Golf Corporation. He was instrumental in the company’s growth from 47 courses to 111 courses in three years, representing investments in excess of $300 million.
Matthew also served as project co-manager under a multi-year contract with the Resolution Trust Corporation to manage more than $1.5 billion worth of resort and golf properties owned by the Resolution Trust Company prior to their eventual sale, which included notable assets such as the Palm Beach Polo and Country Club, the Kiawah Island Resort, PGA West and Mission Hills Resort. He has also been appointed as a receiver for golf courses and country clubs.
Matthew holds an MBA from Pepperdine University and a BA from the University of New Hampshire. He has also completed additional coursework in real estate finance at New York University as well as the Harvard University Graduate School of Design.
Matthew is a Director of the National Golf Course Owners Association, where he is the incoming President.
Since 1997, Lissette Gaudin has been providing exemplary service to the employees of Rosen Hotels & Resorts. She began her career at the Rosen Medical Center, and in 2004 she joined the Human Resources team. With her extensive knowledge and experience in the field of worker’s compensation and safety, she takes great pride in helping Rosen Hotels & Resorts identify and reduce employee injuries.
Aaron T. Gleason
Principal/Corporate Vice President, Walters Golf Management
Pricing & Revenue Management
Outside Sales Strategy
Aaron began his career with Walters Golf Management (WGM) in 1999 as the 1st Assistant Golf Professional at The Missouri Bluffs Golf Club and rapidly worked his way to Co-Head Golf Professional. During his tenure at The Missouri Bluffs he attained his PGA Class A Membership and spearheaded several ventures ranging from the privatization of the facility to various information technology (IT) related projects.
In 2003, Aaron moved to Gateway National Golf Links, where he assumed the role of Head Golf Professional overseeing the facility’s entire golf operation. In his 3 years at Gateway, Aaron was instrumental in improving efficiencies and increasing revenue at that property. Aaron also focused his efforts to enhance staff training and development. Aaron’s ability to manage and motivate continues to be among his greatest assets.
Aaron also recognized the need for accountability in the workplace and thus created several training and policy and procedure manuals that have since been implemented at all WGM properties. Leading the IT effort, his other responsibilities include website development, revenue management, golf shop software set-up, staff training as well as overall facility management.
In 2013 Aaron, along with his other partners, spearheaded the creation of Dynamic Revenue Services (DRS), a division of WGM. Using dynamic pricing, greens fee pricing is determined by thorough analysis of specific metrics, competition, daily utilization of tee times, day parts, weather and other factors. Dynamic pricing is also determined through online traffic analytics, website page views, online booking rates, rounds comparisons and how this all correlates to walk-in, call-in, league, outing and membership play.
Chief Business Development & Marketing Officer, Leisure Financial Group
Getting Unstuck: How to Reboot Your Course and Your Finances
Jerry has 18 years of finance and business development experience in the resort, golf, and marina industries. Prior to joining Leisure Financial Group, he worked at Textron Financial Corporation for 11 years and served as the company’s National Sales Director for their Golf and Marina Lending Division. While at Textron, Jerry was responsible for managing an international sales force for mortgage originations, lead the effort to expand markets and mortgage products, and was responsible for generating annual returns-on-equity of 15% or higher on a loan portfolio in excess of $1 billion. Under his leadership as National Sales Director, Textron Financial grew financed receivables by over 100% in less than 5 years. In addition, Jerry served as President of Textron’s wholly-owned subsidiaries, SPEGO and SPELO Holdings, LLC, which had a combined $300 million in hotel and golf assets and included 40 owned and operated golf facilities across the US and generated revenues in excess of $80 million.
Prior to joining Textron Financial Corporation, Jerry was a founding member of Debis Financial Services (Daimler-Benz Inter Services), a full-service real estate lending and servicing company, and worked for Bank of America in the Specialty Lending Group that focused on the resort and golf industries.
Jerry received a Bachelor of the Arts Degree in Political Science from University of California at Santa Barbara and a Masters Degree in Professional Studies-International Business from Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida. Jerry currently serves on the National Golf Foundation’s Board of Directors as its Treasurer.
Laurence A. Hirsh, CRE, MAI, SGA, FRICS
Larry is the President of Golf Property Analysts, a leading golf and club property consulting, appraisal and brokerage firm based in Harrisburg, PA. He has performed consulting and appraisal assignments on more than 2,500 golf & club properties in 45 US states, Canada and the Caribbean, and has previously written 2 articles on golf & club property valuation in The Appraisal Journal, and co-authored The Urban Land Institute’s Residential Golf Community Development. A founder and first president of the Society of Golf Appraisers (SGA), Hirsh has also developed a golf course and brokered more than $100 million in golf course & club properties. He is a graduate of The Pennsylvania State University.
With his vast knowledge and more than 35 years of experience in the hospitality industry, Ron proudly oversees the safety and security planning, technology, investigations, policies and procedures at Rosen Shingle Creek. Serving as an OSHA Compliance Officer, Ron has also attained certification in the Principles of Safety Management by the United States Safety Council and Florida Safety Council. He is a volunteer member of the Orange County Sheriff's Office Task Force. In 2012, he was awarded the President's Volunteer Award by the President of the United States for his outstanding service to his community and country.
Since 1993, Otto has been the General Manager of River Ridge Golf Club, a 36-Hole Municipal Golf Course built on two landfills in Oxnard, CA. This was the first course in California to introduce FootGolf. He is also the owner of High Tide & Green Grass, Inc. Otto is on the California GCOA Board of Directors, and is a very active civic member having served on the Oxnard Chamber of Commerce Board for seven years. He served in the United States Air Force from 1971 – 1992, and received his MBA from Southern Illinois University. Otto is married to Wanda Kanny and has two daughters.
As Coordinating Producer for PGA.com/Turner Sports, John is responsible for the content on various platforms in which the PGA brand interacts with consumers including all of the PGA.com social media accounts. John won the 2012 CableFax "Best of the Web Award" for Blogger/Tweeter/Social Networking Facilitator for all digital media and was named to the 2013 CableFAX "15-To-Watch" list for "rising stars in digital innovation, social media and next-generation technology."
Senior Vice President, entegra Procurement Services
Tasteful Trend Spotting
Nelson Lafayette is the Senior Vice President of National Accounts for entegra Procurement Services. In this capacity he oversees the design and implementation of customized procurement based solutions to over 1,800 golf courses across the USA. Prior to joining entegra Nelson spent over 20 years leading sales and operations in diverse business service areas including engineering, food services, hotel & restaurant management and technology. Nelson holds a BS in Engineering from Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro- Brazil and an MBA from the University Of Chicago Booth School Of Business. Nelson resides in Atlanta with his wife and two children. On his down time he enjoys reading, cycling, running and attempting to improve his golf game.
Michael G. Leemhuis, M.A. Ed., CCM, CCE
Michael started his teaching career at the famous King Edward VII School in Johannesburg where he taught Physical Education for 3 years. It was Michael’s desire for education that took him to the United States in 1979, where he studied for 2 semesters at UCLA in California. It was this experience at UCLA that drove him to complete his graduate degree at East Carolina University in 1991, where he was awarded a Master’s Degree in Education, specializing in Sport Administration and Management.
Michael’s work experience in sport includes industries such as: hotel/resort management, stadium management, athlete representation, event management and private club management. His extensive leadership and sports experience has been gained in his roles as CEO of Congressional Country Club (present); President of the Club Managers Association of America in 2009; GM/Director of Golf at the PGA TOUR; General Manager, Sport and Recreation at Sun City Resort; Tournament Director of the Nedbank Million Dollar Golf Challenge and Managing Director of Sports International. One of Mike’s career highlights has been guiding Congressional Country Club to the #1 spot in the Platinum Clubs of America. In 2011 Michael was awarded the CMAA Club Manager of the Year award for his dedication and commitment to the club industry.
Michael was born and had his initial education in South Africa. After graduating from Pretoria Boys High School, he went on to study at Wits University in Johannesburg where he graduated in 1976 with a teaching degree in Physical Education and History.
With his unique passion for identifying exposures and assisting businesses in properly protecting their assets, Brad Levine is a dually licensed Property & Casualty/Life & Health Insurance Agent. He currently holds the designation of Certified Insurance Counselor. Brad is a member of the Insurance Council for the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association and an active member of the Central Florida Hospitality & Lodging Association. Brad holds a Bachelor's Degree in Risk Management & Insurance from Florida State University. He enjoys living in Central Florida and intends to call it home for many years to come.
Doug, a Director with Deloitte FAS, leads the national golf and lifestyles advisory practice. The Deloitte team provides operation reviews, business/forensic consultation, valuation, bankruptcy, and expert witness services. Doug is a frequent speaker and has been quoted in Time Magazine, Washington Post, and The Boardroom.
President, National Golf Management
Outside Sales Strategy
An accomplished executive leader and 25-year golf industry veteran, Bob has a proven track record of leading successful golf properties, including a history of successfully managing golf facility operations, golf course construction, golf course maintenance, food & beverage, membership sales, strategic planning and brand strategies. From 2003 until 2011, Mauragas served in various golf management roles at Reynolds Plantation, located near Greensboro, Ga., most recently as its vice president of golf operations, in which he was responsible for all golf-related activities within the 16,000-acre community including its 2,400 golf members and 250 golf employees. Now, as president of National Golf Management, Mauragas is putting his experience and expertise to work for golf clubs throughout the U.S.
Curt has serves as CFO and treasurer for ClubCorp USA since 2008. Prior to that, he served as vice president of finance and controller for FedEx Office and Print Services, Inc. from March 2003 to November 2008. Curt has worked in a number of retail-oriented, multi-store companies, including Digital Generation Systems, Inc. from January 2002 to March 2003, GroceryWorks.com, LLC from May 2000 to December 2001, and Randall’s Food Markets, Inc. from March 1991 to May 2000. He currently serves on the board of managers for Avendra, LLC. Curt holds a B.S. in Accounting from Abilene Christian University and is a Certified Public Accountant.
Director of First Impressions, Rosen Shingle Creek
Sustainability & Green Initiatives
A distinguished professional in the tourism and travel industry with extensive international experience, Precious Ndebele's top priority is providing exemplary service to Rosen Shingle Creek's convention clients and guests. Hailing from the African nation of Zimbabwe, Precious has served as a conference speaker on both the national and international platform highlighting the critical role that responsible tourism plays in sustainability. A passionate volunteer through The Allied Group, National Urban League and Forward In Faith Ministries, she is currently engaged in continuous research in sustainable development programs. Precious attained a Bachelor's Degree in Hospitality & Tourism Management at University of Central Florida, Rosen College of Hospitality Management.
Kevin Neal, C.G.C.S.
Director of Operations Improvement and Southwest Area Director ValleyCrest Golf Maintenance
Staffing for Success: Your Post Recession Workforce
As Director of Operations Improvement for ValleyCrest Golf Maintenance, Kevin's responsibilities include identifying, codifying and rolling out best practices and working with courses, particularly in new start-ups, to implement ValleyCrest Golf’s practices and policies. In his role as Area Director, Southwest, Kevin supports the Superintendents at ValleyCrest contracted golf courses in the Southwest. Kevin joined ValleyCrest Golf Course Maintenance in 2005 as the Superintendent at Anaheim Hills Golf Course and Regional Golf Course Superintendent overseeing other ValleyCrest properties in Southern California.
Michael is an experienced golf industry executive with an exceptional background in golf club operations, brand management, tournament operations, coaching and program development. He is a visionary business leader with exceptional planning, leadership and team development skills. He has a proven ability to deliver exceptional member and guest service programs. Notable is his ability to compile and evaluate complex consumer, customer, market and competitor data and create actionable business plans that drive brand awareness, brand authenticity and bottom line results. He excels at business and team development, with a consistent record of establishing exceptional working environments. He is a strong communicator with international experience, strong problem solving, functional integration, leadership and operational skills. He has built and implemented PGA golf operations education programs on business planning, member service, guest relations, merchandising, brand management and operating structure.
Terrell R. Oetzel, MAI, CRE
Terry has been completing real estate appraisals and counseling since receiving his Masters Degree from Michigan State University (College of Agricultural Economics), majoring in real estate appraising. He initially started working for Donald V. Whipp, Jr., MAI, CRE, during the summer of 1963. Following graduation in June of 1964 he continued to work for Mr. Whipp. His primary responsibilities were the collection of data and the analysis of data collected for appraisals and counseling. Terrell received his MAI designation in November of 1971. Since that time he has continued to complete real estate appraisal and counseling assignments. Terrell received his CRE designation in May of 1987 and his SGA designation in June of 2000. Terrell has appraised and counseled on many types of real estate including fee simple interests, leased fee interests, and leasehold interests.
Steven J. Plummer, CGCS
General Manager, Tustin Ranch Golf Club
Outside Sales Strategies
Steven J. Plummer, CGCS has been involved in the Orange County golf industry as part of the Tustin Ranch Golf Club management team for over 25 years. He is a 1981 graduate of Kansas State University with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture specializing, in Turfgrass Management, and has been a Certified Golf Course Superintendent for over 25 years. Steven has been the General Manager at Tustin Ranch for 12 years, and is the President of Championship Golf Services, Inc. (CGSI) a Southern California golf management firm since 2007. He also manages golf services at Anaheim Hills Golf Course, Dad Miller Golf Course for the City of Anaheim, and at the Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands in Rancho Mirage.
Steven has been highly involved in the Orange County and California golf and tourism industry for the past 12 years. He is currently serving on the Board of Directors of the Anaheim/Orange County Visitor & Convention Bureau, is on the board for new chapter of The First Tee of Orange County, and is the president of the California Golf Course Owner’s Association. His goal in working with these organizations is to increase exposure for the game of golf, to promote the overall success of the golf industry and exposure for tourism in Orange County and California as great golf destinations.
President, Ratcliffe Golf Services
Pricing & Revenue Management
Del is President of Ratcliffe Golf Services, Inc. Del also serves as the President of the North Carolina Golf Course Owner’s Association and is a Class “A” member of the PGA of America and the GCSAA. Del serves as the Growth of the Game Chairman for the Carolinas PGA Section. Del is currently serving on three committees for the PGA of America. Del is a strong proponent of providing “avenues” for people that want to learn to play golf, OR simply improve their skills. He has championed Par-3 and short courses as “bunny slopes” for beginners to learn the game. Ratcliffe Golf Services, Inc. has specialized in constructing innovative courses that appeal to the natural learning curve that exists in golf. The company has constructed three “learning course” facilities, and is working on two others, as well as a renovation of a nine hole course that will serve as a key component of his “Growth of the Game” initiative.
Don Rea, PGA
Owner, Augusta Ranch Golf Club and Your Course
President of the Southwest Section of the PGA
Straight from the Source: Dealing Directly With Your Customers
Running a Range for Profit
Don is the founder of Your Course and current managing partner of Augusta Ranch Golf Club. For Your Course, he oversees operations, business development and long term strategic planning. As managing partner of Augusta Ranch, purchased in July 2008, he oversees daily operations.
Don worked as a Minor League Professional Umpire for nine years before joining the golf business in 1999 starting at Augusta Ranch Golf Club. He became a Class – A member of the PGA of America in 2002 when he transferred to the Golf Club at Eagle Mountain. Don was formerly the Senior Vice President of Operations and Business Development for Platinum Golf Properties in Scottsdale, Arizona. The Golf Club at Eagle Mountain was ranked #1 Public Golf Course in Arizona in 2006 and 2007 under his direction while achieving record breaking years of profitability. In addition, Augusta Ranch Golf Club has been rated the “Best Executive Golf Course in Arizona” by the Arizona Republic and was selected “Host Club of the Year” by the Arizona Women’s Golf Association. He is a Certified PGA Professional in General Management and serves as President for the Southwest Section PGA. Don is also Certified in Advanced Hospitality Revenue Management: Pricing and Demand Strategies through Cornell University. Don attended San Diego State University and University of Nevada, Las Vegas, studying Aerospace Engineering.
Jim served as the 36th President of the PGA of America from 2009-2010 and completed his term of office as Honorary President in November of 2012. Remy was the first New England PGA Section member to ascend to the Association’s highest office. He holds the distinction of having served in virtually every capacity within the areas of PGA governance, including an unprecedented six-and-a-half year term on the PGA Board of Control, which reviews and rules on membership issues.
During Remy’s term of office he served on many industry boards including the Folds of Honor Foundation, PGA Tour Policy Board and the USGA Equipment Standards Board.
Remy has also served in almost every capacity within the New England PGA Section, including as the Section's president from 1995-97. Among various awards, he was named the 1997 New England PGA Golf Professional of the Year and was inducted into the New England PGA Section Hall of Fame in 2008. Additionally, Remy was inducted into the PGA of America National Hall of Fame in 2010.
A PGA member since 1984, Remy is the vice president and general manager of the Okemo Golf Division at the Okemo Mountain Resort in Ludlow, VT which operates the Okemo Valley Golf Club in Ludlow, VT and the Tater Hill Golf Club in Windham, VT. In addition Remy is a Nike Golf Staff member, and brand ambassador for Back 9 Network as well as GreatBlue Research.
From providing risk management services to ProvInsure clients to helping Rosen Hotels & Resorts remain a safe destination and workplace, Jonathan is passionate about nurturing a safe environment for guests, clients and employees. In his position, Jonathan develops, implements and monitors loss-prevention programs, and investigates incidents ranging from injuries to criminal activities. Jonathan is a Certified Occupational Safety Specialist and an Intelligence Liaison Officer with the Central Florida Intelligence Exchange. He studied business management at DeVry University and hospitality management at the University of Central Florida. In his personal time, Jonathan enjoys spending time with his family and servicing his church as an Associate Pastor.
Will Robins, PGA
CEO, Robins Golf Logistics Inc. (RGX)
Running a Range for Profit
Will Robins is a certified PGA professional and CEO of Robins Golf Logistics Inc. (RGX) Will works with golf professionals all over the country to successfully set up and grow their own coaching programs to record profitability. Will started his journey of Coaching Golf in 2005, while recovering from injuries incurred while on his honeymoon in the 2004 Asian Tsunami. Unable to continue competing, Will started teaching at Empire Ranch Golf Club in Folsom, California. Over the past five years Will was able to grow the junior program from zero to over 300 juniors per year, guarantee 10 shots in 10 weeks for adult players, build an Elite High school coaching program guiding juniors to college golf, and opened a second location at Turkey Creek Golf Course in Lincoln, California.
RGX executes its mission by helping golf professionals set up their individually branded programs and providing critical back end support coupled with ongoing mentoring that allows professionals to maintain focus on helping players achieve results. RGX clients report they have increased revenue for their golf club and perhaps most importantly, have made the business of golf fun again. Will has been a guest speaker all over the country sharing his journey from tragedy to triumph and his great sense of social responsibility by helping others grow the game with his innovative methods.
Owner, Juday Creek Golf Course
Tasteful Trend Spotting
Linda is the owner and operator of Juday Creek Golf Course in Granger, Indiana which is in its 25th season. Linda and her husband Mike built the course as well as the surrounding housing development. Linda has been very active in the NGCOA and currently serves as the Board President and was one of the founding members of the Indiana Golf Course Owners Association, serving as its first President. As a member of the INGCOA, Linda was proactive in lobbying to bring Daylight Savings Time to the state as well as property tax reform for golf courses in Indiana. The Rogers also own a high-end custom home business that builds homes in Michigan and Indiana. Linda recently finished a 2-year term as the President of the St. Joseph Valley Homebuilders Association and is now State Treasurer for the Indiana Builders Association. Prior to venturing into the golf business, the Rogers owned and operated 5 restaurants. Mike and Linda’s only child, Michelle Wittig works closely with the couple in their businesses and is the General Manager of Juday Creek.
Jim is the President and CEO of the Alamo City Golf Trail (ACGT) in San Antonio, Texas. The ACGT is a non-profit management company that manages seven golf facilities in Texas. Roschek has forty-four years of golf course operating experience in Michigan and Texas operating private, privately owned public, and municipal golf courses.
In his current position, Roschek is tasked with the upgrade, renovation, and restoration of seven City of San Antonio’s golf facilities. Specifically, Roschek has been asked to give his insight on the restoration of the Brackenridge Park Golf course, a 1916 A.W. Tillignhast creation which was the site of the Texas Open for forty two years and is currently the home of the Texas Golf Hall of Fame. Brackenridge Park was recently ranked number eighteen in Golfweeks Best: Municipal Golf Courses 2013.
Roschek is married to wife Ann Marie, has five grown children, and four grandchildren. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan and a member of the PGA of America. He has served as the President of the Michigan PGA and is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the Texas Golf Hall of Fame.
Harris Rosen is president and CEO of Rosen Hotels & Resorts and is Florida’s largest independent hotelier. Founded in 1974, Rosen Hotels & Resorts currently features a collection of seven Central Florida hotels offering a total of more than 6,300 guest rooms. On September 13, 1991, the 800-room Rosen Plaza opened its doors as the first convention hotel within the Rosen Hotels & Resorts family and in October 1995, Rosen opened its second convention hotel, the 1,334-room Rosen Centre. Both hotels bookend the West Building of the Orange County Convention Center. Approximately nine years ago, Rosen acquired 250 acres directly east of the 1.5-million sq. ft. expansion of the Orange County Convention Center. On this site he developed his newest property, the 1,500-room Shingle Creek which opened in September 2006. A true philanthropist, Rosen donated a 20-acre site at the foot of Rosen Shingle Creek and $10 million to the University of Central Florida in 2002 to develop the Rosen College of Hospitality Management at UCF.
Director of Golf, Shingle Creek Golf Club
Golf Course Operations and Retail
With more than 10 years experience overseeing all facets of golf operations at the championship Shingle Creek Golf Club, David is passionate about providing a five-diamond experience for its guests. In his 20-year career, David has held various management and golf professional positions at many other prestigious Florida courses, including MetroWest Golf Club, Falcon's Fire, The Dunes Club at Seville and Arnold Palmer's Bay Hill Club. Since 1995, he has been a PGA Member affiliated with the North Florida Section, and previously served as a North Florida PGA East Central Chapter Tournament Director. David obtained his Bachelor's Degree of Finance at Stetson University.
Chuck Simikian, SPHR
Director of Human Resources, Nickelodeon Suites and Resort
Staffing for Success: Your Post Recession Workforce
Chuck has served as the Director of Human Resource for Nickelodeon Suites Resort in Orlando, FL. since 2008. A theme park veteran having stints at both Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando, Chuck has enjoyed working within the Central Florida hospitality community for the past 28 years primarily as a Human Resources professional. In addition to the two large theme parks in town, Chuck has been an HR representative in the timeshare, communications, mortgage, and real estate development industries. Not always on the “HR” side of the business, Chuck knows what it is like for front-line managers to balance both the employee experience along with following the myriad of required company policies and procedures. Chuck is originally from Pittsburgh, PA and graduated from Penn State University. He lives in Winter Garden, FL with his 3 children.
Jeffrey C. Smith
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Walters Golf Management
Pricing & Revenue Management
Jeff began his career with McDonnell Douglas Corporation where he had the opportunity to develop his skills in marketing, financial planning/analysis, and strategic planning within a Fortune 500 company. An opportunity from a PGA club professional led him to the PGA of America as the Executive Director of the Association's Gateway Section. During his ten years with the PGA, this not-for-profit organization increased its revenue ten-fold through aggressive marketing of programs.
In 1993, Jeff began working on a proposal for an upscale 18-hole public golf course with his long-time friend, Dennis Walters. This project, now known as The Missouri Bluffs Golf Club in St. Charles, Missouri, served as the foundation for what is now Walters Golf Management. Since that time, the management company has grown beyond their expectations, currently responsible for the management of fourteen golf properties and over 850 employees. The portfolio of facilities has grown from what were then nine to today’s family of fourteen facilities. Developing a business with a family-like atmosphere has been the goal and the key to success at Walters Golf Management, where they believe that personal attention and teamwork are two of the most important aspects in both a family and a business.
Jeff's ability to recognize the needs of the customer, the trends of the golf course and housing industry, and the pulse of the economy, has enabled the WGM team to provide their properties with sound advice regarding both long and short-term financing, and realistic goals in regards to return on investment and cash management.
Raspberry Golf Management, under the direction of LaMott Smith, operates four courses and is in marketing/consulting partnership with eight others which collectively make up the “Raspberry Golf Trail.” The company provides services ranging from accounting services, HR services, membership planning, business and marketing plans and overall golf course operations and maintenance consultation.
Prior to founding Raspberry Golf Management, LaMott served as Director of Business Development for Forewinds Hospitality, specializing in the acquisition and revitalization of premier golf and hospitality destinations with focus on revenue development initiatives.
Lamott’s background also includes his founding of Golf Profit Builders and bringing this company under the umbrella of RDC Golf, golf management firm. Smith also served as Regional Vice President for the Mid Atlantic Region of Meadowbrook Golf, as well as Regional Director, Mid Atlantic Region, for American Golf Corporation.
Thomas Smith is Social Media Director at Disney Destinations, overseeing the U.S. teams that manage content and engagement for the popular Disney Parks Blog, the flagship Twitter accounts @DisneyParks,@WaltDisneyWorld and @Disneyland as well as content appearing daily on several of the company's other highly-trafficked channels, including Facebook and YouTube. Thomas believes strongly in the power of story to engage consumers. Before joining Disney, Thomas was an award-winning news journalist. He led a top-rated newsroom as a news director in Louisiana and has been nationally recognized for his investigative reporting and online storytelling. Thomas also earned several first-place Associated Press awards and created, launched and operated one of the nation's most-viewed TV news websites during his 18 years in the news business.
Charlie Staples has dedicated more than 24 years of his 41 years in the golf business to acquiring, positioning, developing and operating all types of golf facilities throughout the United States. Prior to his work in the golf course management business, Charlie had 14 years of experience as a Golf Professional at various championship golf courses, and went on to be responsible for the acquisition, development and operation of over 60 golf facilities throughout the United States in his position at The Fairways Group/ KSL Recreation/ Meadowbrook Golf/ CNL. Charlie began another investment company in 2000, Fore Golf Partners, LLC which was organized and developed to acquire properties in Florida. Throughout Charlie’s 24-year career, golf facilities under his control have achieved the best operating results in the industry. Service at the facilities, condition of the facilities and operating margins have been second to none.
CEO, Executive Women’s Golf Association (EWGA)
Golf Course Operations and Retail
Ms. Swensen is the “face” of the EWGA to the golf industry. The EWGA is the national trend-setting organization which enables current and aspiring business and professional women to learn, connect and play -- through golf – and is using the power of its 14,000+ members and their $66M impact on the game to create new opportunities for existing members and welcome new ones!
As the CEO, Ms. Swensen oversees the coast-to-coast administration of 125 EWGA Chapters in nearly every U.S. major market. EWGA provides affordable, organized golf, networking, business and success insights from accomplished executives, travel and equipment discounts and a wide range of local and national events and benefits.
With this “power of the purse” influence, Ms. Swensen represents EWGA on several industry committees to “grow the game” and advocates for issues that will make the women’s golf experience more welcoming. In 2012 and 2013, she was recognized as one of the top 10 female CEO’s leading a not-for-profit business in Florida by The Commonwealth Institute.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Skidmore College (Saratoga Springs, N.Y.) and a Masters of Science in Communications from Boston University (Boston, Mass.)
Van A. Tengberg is a partner with Foley & Lardner LLP, where he is a member of the firm’s national Management Committee, is the managing partner of the San Diego and Del Mar offices, and co-chair of the Hospitality, Resort & Golf Industry Team. Van's practice centers on real estate acquisition and development, with a primary focus on golf course and resort facilities, shopping centers, hotels, office complexes and industrial business parks. Van is highly skilled and experienced in all phases of golf course and resort acquisition, financing, development and disposition. He also has substantial experience in structuring golf course and resort projects in a manner to maximize the tax benefits to be derived from such investments.
Through her company, Lift Team Coaching, Lyne Tumlinson “lifts” golf owners and managers frustrated with balancing expectations with resources, engaging their team with the business vision, and motivating those whose job description has changed from what originally drew them to golf. Lyne draws on her experience as a GCSAA director, CMAA presenter and studies in psychology and professional coach training to guide leadership and team development.
Lyne pursued leadership coaching and founded Lift Team Coaching after witnessing golf facility teams “stuck” without vision (often focused on a “weak link” within the leading team) and managers struggling with organizational change.
Through team programs co-created with golf industry leaders, Lyne combines energetic content delivery with intuitive coaching to facilitate the group’s understanding of each other and organizational goals/vision. Following a recent project with Lyne, a client noted that team members treated each other with “new openness and positivity and were ready to take their organization to the next level of action throughout staff levels.” Lyne’s multi-faceted interests and formal knowledge in personality, and leadership development are the perfect storm of preparation for her calling to coach work teams. She earned a Master’s Degree from the University of Kansas and has studied Psychology, Business, and Russian studies. She holds Certifications from the American Society of Association Executives, Coach Training Institute, Reach Personal Branding and is a member of the International Coach Federation.
DJ Van Keuren
DJ is the majority Owner/President of Sunset Ridge Golf Club in Marcellus New York. With over 20 years experience in finance, investment banking, and real estate, DJ’s has worked in capital markets for both domestic and international real estate development companies. DJ was Managing Director & Partner at Hudson Commercial Capital, a commercial finance company where he was responsible for the strategic direction and long-term planning of the firm, the management of the company fund, and the implementation of the Company's overall marketing and investment strategy and COO for ONYX Capital.
Internationally, DJ co-developed the largest premium coffee company in Vietnam, Highlands Coffee, where today there are over seventy five (75) retail locations throughout the country. Highlands Coffee has been featured in such media as Newsweek, NBC, MSNBC, the New York Times, and the Economist. DJ’s responsibility included: business development, retail development, marketing, brand development and sales activities including the development of a national 300 person sales organization.
DJ is a member of the Urban Land Institute, the Harvard Alumni Association and the Harvard Club of NYC. He is the Past President and Board Member for the Harvard Real Estate Alumni Organization (HREAO) and a Board Member of the Alumni Advisory Board for the Real Estate Academic Initiative at Harvard (REAI). DJ received his B.A. from Ball State University, attended graduate studies in Real Estate from the NYU Schack Real Estate Institute, and received his Masters Degree from Harvard University in Management and Finance.
President and Founder of Golf for Cause® LLC
Golf Course Operations and Retail
Debbie Waitkus, speaker, author and business/golf networking consultant is the President and Founder of Golf for Cause. She is passionate about helping others Turn Golf into Gold®, enriching their lives both personally and professionally.
A successful businesswoman who was a latecomer to the sport of golf, she quickly recognized how perfectly business and golf fit together. Debbie credits the success of her business golf events to addressing and delivering what the customers’ want. A true advocate of the sport, she is a co-founder and partner of the National Women's Golf Alliance — evaluating and certifying golf facilities for how well they "Roll Out the Green Carpet™" for women, and a past-president of Women in the Golf Industry. Debbie donates a portion of the proceeds of her book Get Your Golf On!Your Guide to Getting in the Game to the Marilynn Smith Scholarship Fund, advancing the opportunity for girls to play golf in college.
A thought leader who speaks regularly at golf industry functions, Debbie appears in numerous media. She is the recipient of the 2012 YWCA Sports Leader Award, 2012 Eller School of Management Entrepreneurship Award and a 2005 finalist for the Athena Award.
Prior to founding Golf for Cause, LLC, Debbie was president of a 37-year-old, $130 million private mortgage banking firm, where she attributed golf as one of her keys to success. Mother of two, she sits on a number of community and professional boards and, with her husband, Jack, owns Video West, Inc., a 30+ year-old audio, video, lighting rental and staging company.
Executive Vice President, National Golf Management
Pricing & Revenue Management
Jim brings more than 20 years of retail management experience with some of the nation's leading department stores prior to joining National Golf Management. With buying, divisional level merchandising and multi-store management experiences, Jim has brought many unique perspectives to the area's golf industry. Guiding the marketing and operations of one of the nation's leading golf course ownership groups for the past 19 years, Jim and his staff have established a philosophy and marketing savvy that have consistently met and exceeded rounds and revenue goals, even during tough times. Through his understanding and use of the Internet, Jim has effectively harnessed technology to strengthen customer relations while building a large database of golfers who travel to play golf.