SFM Network

MEET OUR EXPERIENCED TEAM.

The SFM team is uniquely suited to serve our clients. Our background, experience, and culture allow us to find solutions and generate results where others may not.

SFM is built to support long term relationships with clients that produce results. Our team of over 400 professionals come from a variety of backgrounds in the sports, event management, entertainment, and hospitality industries. Our dedication to collaboration ensures our entire team and all our clients benefit from this collective expertise.

SFM account leadership is supported by departments of subject-matter experts to provide each facility with the resources needed for success. In our model, each client maintains full control of their asset and has full visibility into each portion of the operation. 

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ABOUT JASON

With the leadership of Jason, SFM has opened more successful sports tourism venues than any organization in the country. Jason is a passionate contributor to causes that positively impact families and communities. He is also an experienced advisor having provided planning, strategy, finance, and operational leadership to projects worldwide.

Prior to transitioning to his current role as CEO of SFM, Jason served for nearly 10 years as the Chief Operating Officer for SFA and SFM from their infancy to their current state as enterprise level firms. Under his leadership the firms have become globally recognized leaders focusing on transforming the health and economic vitality of communities around the world. As the Chief Executive Officer of SFM, Jason leads the strategic direction, culture, and service standards that define SFM in the public and private sector markets.

Jason retains his architecture license and began his career as a licensed architect specializing in sports complex design. He then worked in corporate real estate asset management where he oversaw the optimization and strategic oversight of major corporate real estate assets for such companies as Conoco Philips, USAA, Nokia, and other large cap corporations.

In response to market demand, Jason founded and led the launch of SFM overseeing the development of the organization products, services, and management delivery systems.

ABOUT DEV

Dev founded SFA in 2003 and is widely regarded as an industry thought-leader who has contributed to the well-being of communities around the world. Dev is a passionate social entrepreneur and innovator who has dedicated more than 25 years to the development of numerous businesses that empower and develop communities. He’s led numerous efforts to expand the youth and amateur sports in suburban, urban, and rural environments.

Dev’s passion for developing teams and for engaging kids and communities in sport led him to develop the Sports Facilities Advisory. His leadership has produced facilities that integrate traditional sports with special events, adventure sports, education, leadership-development, and amusement to turn early concepts into financeable and sustainable facilities that make a difference in communities. Dev is a sought after public speaker, leadership mentor, and advisor to public and private owners.

Under his leadership, SFA has become respected as the industry leader in strategy, program planning, and project finance; a position achieved through global brand presence and measurable impacts for communities. Dev’s expertise and thought leadership have been sought out by The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Market-Watch, CNBC, NBC, The Aspen Institute Sports & Society, The National Association of Sports Commissions, The National Recreation and Parks Association, The Sports Business Journal, Sports Travel Magazine and many others.

For more than 20 years, Dev has owned, operated, and advised a wide range of sport, adventure, education, and special events venues. Prior to the launch of SFA in 2003, Dev served as an Outward Bound Instructor, a Wilderness guide, and he founded and sold an International Eco-Tourism Company, a ten-acre corporate team development center, two specialized business-development firms, and he served as an active investor in a-number of other sport and recreation focused businesses. Dev has served on numerous Boards of Directors and has led executive team development efforts for large corporations in the sports and entertainment industries. Dev is a dedicated father and husband.

ABOUT ERIC

Eric earned his MBA in International Business and began his career as a professional soccer player. He joined SFA in 2006 and has since held nearly every operational role through SFA & SFM’s growth. Eric now leads SFA and SFM’s growth effort by designing service solutions that help our clients achieve their goals. 

Eric developed the original financial and market analysis tools that SFA is most well-known for. Eric also led the first facility opening projects in our company history that paved the way for the launch of SFM. Since joining SFA & SFM, Eric has overseen and served as an advisor to hundreds of projects including market studies, financing plans, development plans, turn-arounds, and new facility openings. His work in domestic and international markets includes projects in the U.S., Canada, Caribbean, United Kingdom, Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East. Eric currently leads SFA & SFM’s expansion efforts in our continued vision to integrate sports, fitness, education, leadership development, and adventure sports into communities around the globe.

In 2012, he was honored as a member of the Tampa Bay Business Journal’s “30 Under 30” Up and Comers class. In total, Eric has been a catalyst for SFA’s growth, leading the entire planning, funding, and grand opening of more than $500 million in sports, fitness, recreation, and entertainment facilities.

ABOUT EVAN

Evan began his career with more than 8 years in facility operations and as a Program Manager within one of the largest YMCA systems in the U.S. Evan joined SFA in 2012 as a Business Analyst, Account Executive, and today Evan serves as the COO of SFA. He oversees the company’s customer service and delivery systems as well as the team of strategic advisors, business analysts, project managers, and research specialists who produce SFA’s market research, feasibility, and financing services. Since joining, Evan has served a portfolio of over 400 projects totaling more than $4.5 billion in planned and operational sports tourism, community recreation, and large-scale, master-planned sport, recreation, wellness, and entertainment destinations.

Evan holds a Master’s Degree in Sport Management from University of Florida and formerly served as Operations Director for the largest YMCA branch in the Tampa Bay region.

ABOUT TONEY

Toney is a seasoned executive with over 27 years of experience in financial services, and consulting. He brings a wealth of expertise with particular strengths in areas such as revenue cycle, policy and procedure, financial reporting systems, profit and loss reporting (P&L), and both financial strategy and long term budgetary oversight. With an abundance of revenue cycle experience, he has a strong understanding of various markets throughout North America. 

                He served as Chief Financial Officer of Empower H.M.S, where he held responsibilities for all financial and revenue operations for a multi-state corporation averaging $300M annual revenue. Under his guidance, Empower underwent a transformation from a small company to a mid-sized company with major profitable ventures.

SFM VP of Bus Dev Ashley Whittaker portrait

ABOUT ASHLEY

With seven years of experience in the sports industry, Ashley has a unique background in product design andmarketing including a patented track and field safety device (now required by the NFHS and NCAA), technical equipment support for the 2004 Track & Field Olympic Trials, brand development, trade-show coordination, and multi-media marketing for a $40- million equipment company. Previously a consulting entrepreneur, Ashley honed her marketing and brand development skills catering to the needs of small business owners. A graduate of the University of Illinois and a varsity track and field athlete, Ashley brings her love of competition and discipline to her role as the Vice President of Business Development and Marketing at SFA and SFM.

ABOUT DAVE

Dave joined SFM in August of 2018 and serves as our Chief Operating Officer, overseeing Venue development and operations.  Dave has more than 30 years of extensive experience in operations having held executive level positions in several national foot-print, multi-channel sports, and outdoor retail chains. He has proven record of achievement in strategy development and execution, results-oriented leadership, and customer satisfaction within fast-paced, rapidly growing companies. He is particularly adept in developing effective, loyal, and cohesive entrepreneurial teams.

Dave began his career in 1987 at Galyan’s Sports & Outdoors., Inc. where he worked more than 20 years, starting as a salesperson during high school, working in a variety of management positions in stores and home office, eventually being promoted to Senior Vice President – Director of Retail, where he oversaw all aspect of Retail Development and Operations. During Dave’s tenure, Galyan’s grew from 2 to 51 nationwide locations with over $750M in annual revenue, successfully migrating through several changes in ownership transaction resulting in a successful IPO. 

Dave hails from Indianapolis, Indiana where he and his wife passionately led their 5 children into various sport, outdoor, and social activities. He had a successful amateur athletic career where he participated in sports activities such as football, basketball, baseball, track, golf, tennis and cycling. Dave played football during college and has competitively cycled in the United States Cycling Federation. He is an Indiana University graduate where he studied Business Management.

SFM Network - Jack

ABOUT JACK

Jack has overseen SFM since its founding. He is responsible for operating and optimizing sports, recreation, entertainment, and special event businesses throughout the U.S. His remarkable and successful career has spanned almost twenty years of operations, marketing, and programming of complex and multiplex facilities and venues in dozens of markets.

These operations have included live entertainment including the world’s biggest names in music, dance, and theatrical & comedic performances. They have featured sports, recreation, concessions, restaurants (from high-volume to five-star dining) hotels, retail, and real estate management components. These operations have also been in privately held, publicly traded, non-profit, and government/municipal environments.

Jack’s entertainment venues were represented in Pollstar Magazine’s “Top 100 Clubs” worldwide for 10 years, including five of those years at #2. He also led one of Billboard Magazine’s “Worldwide Top 100 Nightclubs,” and has opened and overseen many of the most celebrated amateur and youth sports centers in the country. 

Jack specializes in multiple revenue center and corporate operations, programming and talent procurement, branding, marketing, PR, promotions, entertainment, forecasting, revenue and profit growth, cost control, optimization, leadership and team building, training, IT systems, risk and crisis management, planning and funding, project management and development, and new venue openings.

ABOUT JAKE

Jake has over a decade of experience in athletic facility construction. Jake earned his BS in Mechanical Engineering from University of Illinois and began his career with one of the industry leading athletic equipment manufacturers serving in several roles prior to spending time as a contractor focusing on serving athletic facilities.

Jake has successfully led engineering, estimating, and project management teams working on some of the largest athletic facilities across the nation in addition to several large international projects. Consulting and working with Architects, Contractors, and Owners; Jake has been a part of thousands of facilities of different shapes and sizes in private, college, k-12, and public markets.

SFM Account Executive Lori Moore portrait

ABOUT LORI

Lori McMahan Moore is an Account Executive on the corporate SFM team and previously the General Manager of Rocky Top Sports World in Gatlinburg, TN. With over 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry, Lori has spent her career focused on promoting world class tourism destinations and facilities, with a focus on the Great Smoky Mountains and surrounding communities. Most recently, Lori was awarded the “Most Outstanding Leader” by The Sports Facilities Management and has was also designated as a “Top 9 Women in Sports Tourism’ by Connect Sports Magazine and Collinson Media. Lori’s focus for Rocky Top Sports World is consistently improving financial performance therefore driving economic impact, creating jobs, and providing recreational opportunities for youth throughout the region.

She continues her passion for sport by supporting her kids in cheer and baseball, and by competing in mud runs and obstacle races.

SFM Account Executive Gregg Wisecarver portrait

ABOUT GREGG

Gregg has been with SFM since July 2018. He serves venues in guiding them through the pre-opening process and into full operation as well as optimizing existing venues to bring about sustainability. Gregg has worked in the sports industry for more than 30 years holding positions in programming, marketing, events, leadership development and training. Gregg held multiple positions with Upward Sports in Spartanburg, SC for over 16 years. As a member of the organization’s Leadership Team, Gregg played a key part of growing a client base from 500 partners to over 2500 in 5 years. He led the training and implementation of programs and camps at multiplex facilities in 48 states.

He led the development and implementation of the Upward Sports Nation tournament network that grew to one of the largest basketball networks in the Carolinas within three years. He has also served as Chairman of the Board for the largest volleyball club in South Carolina as they won 2 AAU National Championships.

Gregg specializes in program development and event creation and implementation. He has extensive experience in IT systems, promotions, forecasting, leadership development, training and talent acquisition.

Gregg has 4 children (2 boys and 2 girls) who are the pride and joy of his life and has the pleasure of being a sport and dance parent.

ABOUT JESSICA

Jessica Kuhl is an Account Executive for SFM venues and previously the General Manager of Myrtle Beach Sports Center. She moved to Myrtle Beach after coaching collegiate women’s basketball for over 12 years at programs such as the United States Military Academy at West Point, Furman University, Presbyterian College, and St. Andrews University. She was hired in 2015 by SFM as the Director of Operations at the Myrtle Beach Sports Center before being promoted to the General Manager in July of 2016.

A native of Cleveland, Jessica was inducted into the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame and played Division I basketball at St. Bonaventure University in Olean, NY. In addition, she holds a Masters Degree in Sport Psychology from Boston University and an MBA from St. Andrews University.

SFM Account Executive John Sparks portrait

ABOUT JOHN

After a successful 20 years serving in the US Navy, John Sparks retired honorably and began his career in sports and entertainment facility management. In 1997, Sparks was hired to be the Operations & Maintenance Manager for a CNN Center in Atlanta, Georgia. The following year he was made the Director of Operations for the Phillips Arena, where he oversaw the construction and development of the building prior to opening and operating until 2001. Sparks was selected to be the Assistant General Manager for the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas, where he once again was involved in the construction and development until opening in 2002. In 2004 Sparks was promoted to Vice President/General Manager of AT&T Center, where he oversaw operations of the building through three NBA Championships over the next 10 years. In 2011, he worked briefly on the construction and development of the Barclays Center in Brooklyn New York until opening his own consulting business “Sage in Sight” in August of 2012.

Sparks consulted with numerous groups and organizations throughout all areas of sports management, technical systems, staffing, operations and finance. In 2014 he joined the Orlando Venues Team (a division of the City of Orlando) as the Stadium Operations Assistant Division Manager of the Citrus Bowl, where he was in charge of numerous high-level, high-attendance events including: NCAA college bowl game, NFL Pro Bowl, MLS soccer, International Soccer Copa America, and numerous concerts and festivals.

Sparks is married to his wife, Gail, going on 37 years, and the happy couple have four children, William, Daniel, Katherine, and Jonathan.

ABOUT KELLY

With over twenty years of administrative experience, Kelly brings to the SFA | SFM team strong organizational, project management, event planning, and analytical skills. Her knowledge is diversified, having provided support in the fields of transportation and finance. 

After working for several years as an Executive Assistant for an LTL carrier, Kelly moved to Morgan Keegan & Co., Inc., a financial firm in Memphis, Tennessee. Obtaining her Series 7 General Securities license, she worked as a Registered Sales Associate with equity institutional traders and clients before transitioning to the position of Vice President in the Wealth Management Services department of the firm. 

After Morgan Keegan & Co., Inc. was acquired by Raymond James Financial, Kelly moved to St. Petersburg, in which she was the Executive Assistant to the Private Client Group. Kelly most recently worked for HSN, providing administrative planning and development to the Marketing, Digital, and Strategic executive teams. 

Kelly and her husband are the parents of four daughters. Avid outdoor enthusiasts and football fanatics, the family loves spending time on the beach and attending as many University of Florida games as possible.

Sand Mountain Park General Manager Patrick O'Brien portrait

ABOUT PATRICK

Patrick is currently the General Manager at Sand Mountain Park & Amphitheater (SMPA). Prior to this, Patrick was an integral member of the leadership team during the pre-opening phase of Spooky Nook Sports (SNS), which at the time was the largest indoor sports complex in North America.  SNS is a 65 acre, 700,000 sq. ft. facility who sees about 1M unique visitors per year.  He was able to consistently build high performing teams that achieved goals and provided exceptional customer service.  SNS quickly grew into one the best indoor sports complexes on the East Coast in part due to Patrick’s excellent leadership.  He also was one of the key operational liaisons to the USA Women’s National Field Hockey Team which practiced and hosted matches at SNS. 

SMPA is a 120-acre venue that will focus on positively impacting the Sand Mountain Park region through health/wellness, recreation, events and economic impact.  Some features of SMPA include an outdoor Amphitheater, a two-story Fitness Center, indoor hardwood courts, outdoor turf fields, an RV park, indoor/outdoor aquatics, tennis courts, playgrounds, a walking/running trail and dog parks.  SMPA will be opening next year and will be one of the most unique venues in the U.S. because of all the amenities it will have.  Patrick sees this opportunity as a sincere honor to serve the City of Albertville and help make the SMPA dream come true.  His leadership style focuses on purpose relating to the mission, ownership, development, performance and teamwork.

Patrick’s passion is to make a positive impact on the community through sport, recreation, events and wellness!

SFA SEO Specialist Johnny Crosskey portrait

ABOUT JOHNNY

With 20 years of experience in content development, across a variety of platforms, Johnny brings a wide range of experience and best practices to SFA. Prior to joining the SFA, Johnny built content and SEO strategies for a national digital marketing agency, served as a college football writer for an Atlanta-based publication, and worked as a public relations specialist for a media relations firm serving the cycling industry. These experiences, along with detailed study of communications theory and user intent, uniquely positions Johnny to build campaigns that further amplify SFA and SFM’s thought leadership in innovative ways. Additionally, Johnny earned an MS in Communications Management from Simmons College in Boston, MA.

Away from the office, Johnny enjoys beach days with his wife and daughter. Also an avid football fan, Johnny hopes to see his beloved Tampa Bay Buccaneers make it back to the Super Bowl in his lifetime.

Myrtle Beach General Manager Dan Lyon portrait

ABOUT DAN

Prior to joining SFM Dan served 24 years in Fire Department Operations/Management becoming the last Fire Chief to serve Lakehurst Naval Air Station in New Jersey. In 2005 he was deployed to New Orleans as part of the National Response Team to assist with Hurricane Katrina & Rita efforts where he served as the Operations Director during this assignment.

Dan brings 15 years of Facilities Management experience working for various companies to include Hovnanian Industries and Tanger Outlets. He was hired in March of 2016 by SFM as the Facilities Manager at the Myrtle Beach Sports Center before being promoted to the General Manager in May of 2019.

He prides himself in providing exceptional customer service experiences, and having a positive impact on his staff, athletes, clients, and the City he serves.

Dan and his wife have been married for 37 years. They have a 26-year-old son and one granddaughter, Lily Rose who is their pride and joy.

SFM Legal Counsel Bruce Rector portrait

ABOUT BRUCE

Bruce has 26 years of law practice experience and has taught and lectured on Sports Law topics during most of that time. He has worked in professional sports for the Indianapolis Colts, collegiate athletics at the University of Kentucky and as a volunteer leader for numerous local, state and national youth sports organizations and events. He also served as the 58th president of Junior Chamber International (JCI), a 200,000-member organization of young leaders and entrepreneurs from over 100 countries.

Prior to joining SFA & SFM, Bruce was President of KBA Sports, Inc., in Lexington, Kentucky where he led a team of professionals in organizing, hosting, and managing large sports and recreation programs including regional and national championship tournaments. In his final year at KBA Sports, the organization attracted over 500,000 visitors for various tournaments and events. An inspiring speaker, trainer and author on leadership topics, Bruce is the author of Monday Morning Messages: Teaching, Inspiring and Motivating to Lead (Xephor Press 2005). He currently serves on the Board of Trustees at the University of the Cumberlands and also active in a number of non-profit organizations in the Tampa Bay area.

SFM HR Manager Tami Swanson portrait

ABOUT TAMI

With extensive experience in Operations and Human Resources, Tami has a proven track record as a skilled leader. She is passionate about training and connecting with the people she serves. She is constantly searching for new and better ways to communicate including being advanced in ASL. Tami graduated from USF in Tampa, Florida with a focus on Human Resources Management. In addition, she holds both a SPHR and SHRM-CP accreditations. Tami is a 3rd generation native Floridian and loves all things “Florida”.

Sports has always been a focus in her life. As a child, her family owned BMX track and sponsored a competitive traveling team. She takes pride in being a strong individual contributor as well as supporting her team as a whole.

SFM Project Manager Mike Mays portrait

ABOUT MIKE

Mike is an experienced professional in all operations including directing facilities, sales, and project managing construction operations. Prior to his career at Sports Facilities Management, Mike was directing facilities as large as 400,000 square feet and has managed teams of 16 or more people. Mike brings a detail-oriented management style to the Venue Planning team at SFM where he oversees as many as eight accounts.

As an athlete for most his life, Mike carries the lessons he learned from his time on the field to his every day. Mike played baseball through college at Georgia Southwestern where he pitched and earned silver and bronze medals in the junior Olympics.

Mike is a Florida native and lives in Clearwater with his wife, two children, and two dogs. He enjoys exploring the local waterways and restaurant scene in Clearwater and Tampa Bay.

SFA Advisor Gary Smallshaw portrait

ABOUT GARY

Gary has more than 25 years of operational, marketing and strategic partnership experience across a diverse set of sports, fitness, performance, recreation and entertainment venues. Gary currently helps to lead SFA’s team of business analysts and researchers in assessing market opportunities, producing feasibility studies and delivering institutional-grade financial pro formas. His role is to ultimately provide the strategies and advice that improve both the fundability and financial performance of projects.

Gary has also spent time leading Sports Facilities Management’s (SFM) portfolio of elite venues, executing strategic business initiatives related to branding, advertising, digital marketing, design, sponsorship, as well as public relations.

As a founding partner of the National Sports Center Consortium (NSCC) he served as an industry expert in sponsorship and marketing, leading initiatives on benchmarking and best practices for more than 30 facilities nationally. He has successfully lead day-to-day operations and has negotiated strategic retail, entertainment and sports partnerships at a local, regional and national level with corporate partners that include; Nike, United States Olympic Committee, Pepsi, Red Bull, Snickers, AAA, McDonalds, Papa Johns, Taco Bell, Puma of North America, Eurosport and the United Way.

Originally from Johannesburg, South Africa, Gary came to the US on a soccer scholarship where he earned All-American honors three times as a standout college athlete.

ABOUT DAN

Dan began his career in facility management of an indoor sports venue in the Northeast United States. For several years, he learned the day-to-day operations of sports and recreation facilities, holding a variety of positions from Coach to Manager on Duty to Sports Program Manager. This experience equipped him for a transition to the planning and analysis of new facility developments with SFA.

Dan joined SFA in 2012 as a market research and document specialist, and today serves as a Strategic Advisor leading SFA’s team of market specialists and business analysts through the development of market studies, financial forecasts, economic impact analyses, feasibility studies, and existing facility optimization plans. His work in this area is focused on serving SFA’s clients to provide the most accurate and reliable information possible through dynamic financial and economic impact forecasting to create facility models that fulfill client goals as well as SFA’s mission to positively impact the lives of its clients and the communities they serve.

Since joining, Dan has worked on a portfolio of over 350 projects totaling more than $4 billion in planned and operational recreation, wellness, entertainment, and sports tourism assets. Dan earned a degree in Sport and Recreation Management from Temple University’s School of Tourism and Hospitality Management.

Rocky Mount GM Art Thomason portrait

ABOUT ART

Art Thomason is the General Manager of Rocky Mount Event Center in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. Thomason has been in the entertainment, event services, and management industry for over 25 years. He started his career with Davis Broadcasting, INC (Columbus, Georgia) in 1990 as part-time announcer and worked his way to Music Director and eventually Program Director in 2000. As a detailed leader and organizer, he is committed to team-building, training, and developing personnel, which focuses on motivating employees to perform to their fullest capacity. His experience includes policy and procedure development, concert and special event coordination, contract negotiations, safety and security management, and event booking management.

During his tenure as Event Services Manager, in 2017, Art represented the City of Columbus and The Columbus Civic Center as the facility opened its doors to over 600 evacuees from South Georgia due to Hurricane Irma. Art and his staff worked around the clock for seven straight days in conjunction with The Red Cross and other Civic and Social organizations.

Originally, from Roanoke, Virginia, Art moved to Columbus, GA upon leaving the military in 1989. He received his Bachelors of Science in Exercise Science at Columbus State University. He also completed The International Association of Venue Mangers – Venue Management Program and completed their Graduate (GI) Program as well. Art is currently in Year 2 of 3 in The International Association of Venue Mangers – Senior Executive Symposium Program at Cornell University.

Art is a proud parent of five children who are excelling in their education and career fields.

Pelican Bay GM Jananne Risenhoover portrait

ABOUT JANANNE

Jananne is native to Oklahoma, a mother of two, and comes with 13 years of experience in the water park and family entertainment industries. She is highly motivated, optimistic, and excited for summer! She’s passionate about family, hospitality, and giving back to her community. Oklahoma is in her blood and she wants you to have a great time this summer! Be on the look out for some great events and new features to Pelican Bay Aquatics Center thanks to Jananne and the SFM Aquatics team!

SFA Project Coordinator Richard Stiftinger portrait

ABOUT RICHARD

Prior to joining SFA, Richard has previously worked for the Tampa Bay Rays, Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa, and JPMorgan Chase & Co. Richard earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of South Florida. Additionally, Richard is a graduate from the University of South Florida’s Vinik Sport & Entertainment Management where he earned an MBA and MS in Sport & Entertainment Management. He will bring his analytical background and experiences to his current role and SFA projects.

SFA Project Manager Jared Carnes portrait

ABOUT JARED

Jared joined the SFA|SFM Team after spending several years working as a Marketing Consultant while he completed his Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Tampa. During his time working as a Marketing Consultant Jared assisted local companies in recognizing, developing, and implementing growth strategies based on the individual company’s needs and markets. Previous to working as a Marketing Consultant Jared has experience working in client service, sales, and business development for companies in the Tampa Bay Area like Catalina Marketing and Clickbooth LLC.

Sports have always been a passionate part of Jared’s life; this is especially true while he was attending the University of South Florida for his Undergraduate Degree. At USF Jared played Offensive Tackle for the Bulls on teams that participated in 3 nationally televised bowl games and obtained a national ranking of number two in the country during his senior year. He was also a three-time Iron Bull award recipient, which is given to players who lead by example during the offseason. Upon completing his career at USF Jared was invited to and participated in Rookie Camp with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Within The Sports Facilities Advisory, Jared serves on the strategic planning, market feasibility, and business planning teams for a wide range of early stage developments, where his previous experiences in his career and sports will be valuable to his role on the SFA|SFM team.

Staff Accountant Sylvia Bierchen portrait

ABOUT SYLVIA

With over eight years as the Office Manager for a display, exhibit and event company, Sylvia’s skills and talents helped drive the company to the top of the field. With expertise in strategic planning and logistics execution, it allowed her to successfully facilitate projects for multiple clients simultaneously. She has serviced a list of clients including: Tradewind’s Resort on Saint Petersburg Beach, Hard Rock Casinos, and major malls throughout the Tampa Bay Area & Hawaiian Islands.

In Sylvia’s free time, she enjoys spending time with her three children, kayaking, & boating.

Senior Accountant Jeff Herman portrait

ABOUT JEFF

Jeff earned his degree in Accounting at the University of West Florida with coursework which included business management and sports marketing. Jeff has gained knowledge in diverse industries. While he has worked in both auditing and accounting for the State of Florida and corporate entities. In previous roles, Jeff has assisted with implementation of policies, procedures, and controls.

Sports and the outdoors has always been a passion for Jeff since childhood. Whether it is golf, bike rides, or anything in or on the water; he loves the outdoors and activities with his wife, family, and friends. When it is too hot outside, Jeff cools off refereeing local ice hockey which he has done for nearly 2 decades. Jeff enjoys being able to be part of a team where he will be able to help grow youth sports.

Payroll and Benefits Administrator Trista Tori portrait

ABOUT TRISTA

Trista has over 25 years of accounting experience in public accounting audit with the “Big 4 Firms” and leading local firms, internal audit, and corporate accounting. She grew up in Michigan and graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree, majoring in accounting and minoring in Japanese studies. As an exchange student, living with a Japanese family and working at IBM in Japan, she mastered the Japanese language and cultural intricacies in social and business settings. Although Florida has been home for over 20 years, she remains a loyal MSU Spartan, Detroit Lions and Tigers fan. She is excited to be part of the SFA|SFM team as she is a strong believer in their mission, to improve the health of the community’s youth.

Trista takes pride in her children’s achievements and participates with them in many sports including: karate, soccer, scuba diving, competitive sailing, swimming and diving. She achieved the rank of first-degree karate black belt at age 42. As referee and parent, she has experienced first-hand the importance of state and national sports venues with traveling teams in soccer, swimming and karate.

When the growing number of SFM venues and payroll accounts required a dedicated Payroll and Benefits Administrator, Trista’s professional development prepared her to step into the position. She recognizes the contributions of all team members, values their relationships, and strives to provide accurate and reliable account management.

Staff Accountant Gene Baker portrait

ABOUT GENE

With nearly 20 years of accounting experience, Gene brings a breadth of knowledge in the areas of policy and procedure. After earning his M.B.A. in Management and Strategy, Gene played a vital role in creating the financial strategy for a start-up company he co-owned in the active children’s gear market. Additionally, Gene devoted 10 years to teaching business concepts to secondary education students and coaching high school athletics. During his time as a teacher and coach, Gene experienced first-hand how youth sports plays a crucial role in adolescent development.

Outside of the office, Gene enjoys spending time with his wife and two kids, walking the local parks and beaches, and attending the many local festivals/events.

Regional Finance Manager Laura Kiesbye portrait

ABOUT LAURA

Laura is a Regional Finance Manager on the corporate SFM Team and previously the Finance Manager at The Sports Kingdome facility. She serves our Clients and venue Team Members by guiding them through the pre-opening process and into full operation, as well as optimizing existing venues to bring about sustainability and change.

With 20+ years of Accounting/Finance, Office Management and Human Resources experience in various industries, Laura’s passion includes mentoring and training new Finance Managers as they are hired to manage new facilities within the SFM management portfolio. She holds an Associate and Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration, as well as a Master’s Degree in Human Resources Management.

In her spare time, Laura enjoys being outdoors and spending time with her husband, Peter and son, Anthony. She loves to hike, garden, attend waterparks with her son and cruise in the family’s classic car to local car shows.

Rocky Top Sports World GM Jim Downs portrait

ABOUT JIM

Jim Downs is the General Manager at Rocky Top Sports World in Gatlinburg, TN. He started his career at the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs CO. 

Feeling the “event itch,” he moved to Los Angeles starting work on the US Olympic Festivals in LA, San Antonio and St. Louis. In each of these events he served as Logistics Director responsible for the ordering, acquisition, delivery and recovery of all the materials needed to run these 27 sport, 5000 athlete events.

Downs’ has been noted as an exceptional leader. One of his greatest strengths is his ability to draw out the best in others and encourage his team to make calculated decisions. Downs’ thoughtful processes result in breaking down seemingly overwhelming situations to a manageable, granular level.

SFA Business Development Manager Justine Nicholson portrait

ABOUT JUSTINE

Justine is an accomplished Sports Management graduate from the University of Tampa with a strong background in client relations. Her experience in multiple facets of the sports industry including sports wellness, parks and recreation, and youth sports operations add valuable skills and knowledge to the SFA|SFM Business Development team. She is the first point of contact for anyone wanting more information on our firms and looks forward to speaking with you!

Outside of work she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, spoiling her dog – Cal, and trying new restaurants around Tampa Bay.

HR Administrative Assistant Theresa Maturo portrait

ABOUT THERESA

Theresa was born and raised in New York City and began her career on Wall Street operations for Bear Stearns & Co., then for Oppenheimer & Co., specifically in the Stock Loan area. Theresa attended Stonybrook University in Stonybrook, NY. She and her family recently moved to Florida from Austin to pursue her career in Human Resources.

Theresa and her three daughters are enjoying Florida and love to go to the beach. Theresa also loves to cook, kayak, and read. Theresa has a great passion for baseball and hockey but enjoys any live sporting event.

ABOUT J.D.

Wood joined the SFM team in 2018 as the General Manager of Panama City Beach Sports Complex. He is an experienced sports tourism industry leader who has had the privilege of working with prestigious sports organizations including the Dallas Sports Commission, National Senior Games and Texas A&M Athletics. J.D. Wood was most recently, the Tourism Manager for the City of College Station. He was responsible for recruiting, coordinating and managing the tourism based athletic and special events that take place in College Station. 

Wood is enthusiastic about his new role at the complex, stating: “I am excited and appreciative of the opportunity to be named the General Manager of the brand-new Panama City Beach Sports Complex. The opportunity to join the SFM family and be a part of a great team in an amazing destination is something that I could not pass up! I look forward to adding to the tourism landscape in Panama City Beach and helping establish it as year-round sports tourism destination.”

ABOUT TRACY

With over six years of experience in marketing and advertising management as well as event planning, Tracy brings in-depth knowledge of marketing best practices and project management to SFM. Her educational background includes a B.B.A in Marketing from the University of Texas at San Antonio, where she was an intern for the company managing marketing initiatives for all NCAA sports with the university. In this unique role, she was able to assist the sports marketing company with UTSA’s inaugural football season and gained invaluable experience working in the sports marketing industry. Since 2012, she has been a freelance marketing and social media advertising consultant working with a variety of clients and projects across multiple industries. In recent years, Tracy worked for a large social media company where she led a team in Austin, Texas, and Dublin, Ireland, in advertising campaign management while also completing her MBA with Concordia University Texas.

In her free time, Tracy is an avid tennis player and practices hot yoga. Some of her hobbies include frequenting nearby Florida beaches with her dog, cooking Italian food, and traveling as often as she can.

ABOUT ARIEL

With six years of marketing and advertising project management, Ariel brings a disciplined, organized, strategic mindset to her accounts at SFM. With a BFA in Photography from the College of Arts at the University of South Florida, Ariel has an eye for design and imagery. Ariel began her career in the university setting, marketing large student events and school branding campaigns. After graduation, she quickly transitioned into a career in non-profit marketing at a Tampa based $26 million non-profit organization. In this unique role, she was able to learn the foundational marketing best-practices in traditional marketing as well as assisting on digital initiatives – executing campaigns for three brands. Ariel also handled media relations while in this role, expanding her skills in communication and business development.

Ariel is serving on the board of directors for the Tampa Bay Chapter of the American Marketing Association. Here she and her 13 fellow board members create the essential community for marketing in Tampa Bay.

In her free time, Ariel enjoys spending time with her pets, going to community events, and spending time in nature. Ariel and her husband try to travel as much as they can and have their eyes set on Europe next. Ariel still enjoys photography as well as baking, thrifting, and interior decorating.

ABOUT SANDRA

Weingart is the General Manager of Apex Sports and Events in Hillsborough, New Jersey. She is an experienced, service-oriented leader with a rich background in nonprofit systems, sports & fitness organizations, and start-up and renovation projects. Her stronger skill sets speak to facility operations, program creation and management, youth development, grant writing, community engagement, branding, and a strong sales acumen. She is a passionate and driven professional with roots in journalism, education, coaching, and social service. Her career is marked by a reputation of successfully building or re-designing organizations, start-ups, or individual departments – in large part due to a unique focus on setting positive culture, policy creation, attention to detail, team building, work ethic, and a passion for innovation and selling.

 

Weingart grew up partially in the New Brunswick, NJ area and partially in upstate New York near Ithaca. In her youth, she excelled in a variety of sports – basketball, soccer, baseball, track & field, and was a Junior Olympic qualifying swimmer. She played NCAA D1 soccer in college in Tennessee and a year of semi-pro in Portland, Oregon.

ABOUT TRISTAN

Tristan is a skilled illustrator and graphic designer having completed a BFA in Media Arts and Digital Technologies from Alberta College of Art and Design and having attended the prestigious Animation program at Sheridan College. After spending several years traveling and teaching wakeboarding, Tristan moved to Florida from Canada to joining the SFA | SFM team. Here he puts his keen eye and varied skills towards brand imagery and deliverable for various facilities in the SFA & SFM portfolio. Tristan has a vast software and design tool knowledge; and can create a large variety of different work.

He remains passionate about wakeboarding and helping others to learn and improve their own riding, and frequents the wake parks in Florida.

ABOUT GABBY

Sports have made a big impact on Gabby’s life from a very young age. She played many sports growing up including travel softball and volleyball and eventually that led to her playing collegiate Volleyball for Florida Southern College. Her passion for sports and people brought her to SFA her junior year of college as an intern for the Business Development Team. Graduating with an undergraduate degree in Sports Management and Business Administration she was hired full time to SFA. She is now pursuing a career and gaining leadership, employee relations, and administrative experience.

Outside of work Gabby enjoys going to the beach, fishing and boating, or spending time with her family, friends, and dog, Marlin.

ABOUT DYLAN

Dylan graduated from Florida State University in 2018 with a degree in Business Management and a certificate in Health Informatics. Dylan gained valuable experience in project management by working with Tallahassee Memorial Hospital as an intern from 2016-2018. There he assisted with large scoped projects that incorporates a variety of vendors and contractors in a fast-paced healthcare environment.

Upon graduation, Dylan took a position with RAN Enterprises LLC as a Junior Project Manager. There he became familiar with the construction side of project management and how to navigate worksites. He worked with RAN Enterprises for several months before accepting his offer with SFM as a Project Coordinator, finally merging his passion for sports with his passion for project management.

Outside of work, Dylan enjoys coaching lacrosse and being on the water fishing whenever he can. While at Florida State, Dylan participated on the FSU Lacrosse team from 2014-2018 earning several awards along the way. He was also elected to the Board of Directors in 2018 as the teams Risk and Travel officer. Dylan has three brothers, two of whom are located in Tampa, Florida.

ABOUT ERIN

Erin is a Kansas native who recently moved to Florida with her daughter for the sun, sand, and amusement parks. She is looking forward to putting her over 20 years of experience in legal and accounting assistance and customer service to use in this new career path.

Erin enjoys staying active in the community attending events from vintage markets to live concerts and sporting events. She is a people person who loves meeting new people in any setting be it in the elevator at work or in the roller coaster lines at her favorite amusement park.

ABOUT KEN

Prior to taking on his role as the General Manager of the Community First Champion Center, Ken was involved in several other new construction projects. After retiring with 21 years of active duty with the United States Navy in 2003, Ken began to serve in numerous leadership capacities with federal, tribal, and local government recreation organizations, as well as two national non-profit entities.

Ken’s background in leading and opening facilities is accomplished. Ken served as Executive Director of the Jack Link’s Aquatic & Activity Center in Minong, WI, in various capacities with The Salvation Army of Brown County in Green Bay during the construction of the Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center and was also involved in two major building renovations as Director of Operations with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sheboygan County. Ken also returned to work with the military on two different occasions as the Sports and Recreation Director at Camp Doha, Kuwait and as a Recreation Specialist at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

Ken and his wife, Christel, have two sons; Jack and Drew.  The Weinaug’s are a hockey family; Ken has officiated for 20 years and has coached for many years in several different locations, Jack is currently a second-year PeeWee player, and Drew is currently working on passing his Learn-to-Skate levels. All of them are fans of the Chicago Blackhawks.

ABOUT LAUREN

Lauren is a member of the SFA team and a recent graduate from the University of Tampa with a Bachelors in Psychology with a focus on research in perfectionism. Lauren was also a college athlete and played Division 2 NCAA softball for 4 years. Previous to that, she played year-round travel softball and field hockey since youth. Using her research knowledge and passion for sports, Lauren hopes to continue the mission of SFA|SFM to improve communities through sports.

Lauren is a certified lifeguard and has been for 5 years. She has completed CITI Training in order to perform ethical and compliant research in the social science category. Outside of work, Lauren enjoys going to the beach, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.

ABOUT TODD

Todd Yancey is the General Manager of the Elizabethtown (Etown) Sports Park in Kentucky. He oversees the management of the park, sets the environment for the Elizabethtown Sports Park team to deliver a lifetime experience to all of the guests. His favorite thing about the Sports Park is, “The perfect feel of our field.” Yancey worked most recently at Ballparks of America where he was the General Manager of their facility in Branson, Missouri. When Yancey isn’t at the Etown Sports Park you can find him spending quality time with his wife, two sons and their pets.

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Champion Center Guide 2

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Community First Champion Center Guide