2018 #SwimBiz Presenters
Andrew Schnell, Stadium Managing Director, Corporate Development
Bob Kizer, Sienna Plantation Aquatics Head Coach
Bob is in his 2nd year as Head Coach at Sienna Plantation Aquatics after three years in the same position at COM Aquatics in Midland, TX. Prior to that, he spent 10 years at New Trier Swim Club in Illinois. Bob has been coaching since he was in college and has coached all levels from beginner to Olympian. His teams have won a number of State and Sectional Championships as well as an NCSA Junior National Championship in 2012. Bob was also a member of the 2012 USA Swimming Junior Pan-Pac coaching staff and a member of the USA Swimming National Select Camp staff in 2012.
As a swimmer, Bob was a Michigan State High School State Champion and an All-America with Ann Arbor Pioneer HS. In college, he competed at NCAAs as a member of the Allegheny College Swim Team.
Bob is married and has three grown children pursuing their own dreams across the country.
Bob is a native of Fort Washington, Pennsylvania and Bob moved to AZ in September of 2004. In the fall of 2012, Bob joined the coaching staff Scottsdale Aquatic Club. Now in his 6th year with SAC, Bob became the Director of Operations in August of 2015.
Bob attended the University of Maryland, College Park before graduating from Temple University with a Bachelor of Science in Marketing. During his time at Temple University, Bob participated in a year-long marketing internship with both General Motors and Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
As a full time college student, Bob began his swim coaching career at a small community team outside of Philadelphia before being recruiting to be an assistant coach for Germantown Academy Aquatic Club under the direction of Dick Shoulberg, widely regarded as one of the best swim clubs in the world. While an assistant coach at Germantown Academy Aquatic Club, Bob had the experience of helping to place 4 men on the 1992 USA Olympic Swim Team. In the fall of 1992 Bob began his career as a head coach at Spirit Swimming in Newtown, Pennsylvania and would remain as the head coach for the next 12 years. After the 2004 Olympic Trials, Bob moved to Arizona where he became the Senior Program Director at the Southwest Valley Family YMCA in Goodyear, AZ.
Bob’s volunteer and community involvement have included supporting such non-profits as the American Cancer Society of Philadelphia, The AIDS Fund of Philadelphia, 1n10 of Phoenix and he is currently on the Board of Directors for the Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS.
Bob currently resides in Paradise Valley, AZ.
Chris Weissman, Partner at TopRight Partners
Chris is a Marketing executive with over 25 years’ experience improving bottom line and top line results for a variety of companies including Kraft Foods, Pillsbury, LifeTime Fitness, Wal-Mart & Coca Cola. Currently, Chris is a Partner at TopRight Partners; an Atlanta based consultancy. Prior to joining TopRight, Chris served as Chief Marketing Officer for The Honey Baked Ham Company. Chris is a father to 3 grown daughters and resides in Johns Creek, GA. As a swimmer, Chris was an 8 time All American at Southern Methodist University from 1981-184 and a member of the US National Team from 1981 – 1988.
Craig Walsh, Impression Sports & Entertainment Vice President, Naming Rights & Sponsorship
Craig Walsh is Vice President, Naming Rights & Sponsorship at Impression Sports & Entertainment, a full service sponsorship agency under the FOX Sports umbrella specializing in stadium naming rights and title sponsorship sales and consulting. With 20 years of sports and sponsorship sales and management experience, Craig has developed many top-level relationships and negotiated significant partnership agreements across a wide range of properties and corporate brands.
Prior to joining Impression Sports & Entertainment, Craig worked in Corporate Partnerships for the Denver Broncos securing sponsorships for local and national brands through a mix of team assets including print, television, radio, digital, signage, on-site, hospitality and intellectual property. During his tenure with the Broncos, Craig was also responsible for Suite Sales & Service overseeing business development, client service and retention.
Previously, Craig was Director of Sales for The Bonham Group, a leading naming rights and sponsorship valuation agency. In this role, Craig assisted teams throughout the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and NCAA with market research, sponsorship valuation, stadium naming rights and title sponsorship sales and negotiation. Craig began his career as Partner and Regional Sales Manager at Athlon Sports, the largest publisher of sports annuals in the U.S. developing integrated media, merchandising and sports hospitality programs.
Originally from Southern California, Craig earned a BA degree from The University of Colorado at Boulder. An outdoor sports enthusiast, he enjoys fly fishing, skiing, golf, tennis and coaching youth sports. Craig has served on several non-profit boards and committees including Big Brothers Big Sisters of Colorado, Denver Zoo, Four Mile Historic Park and is a graduate of the Denver Metro Chamber’s Leadership Denver program. He currently resides in Centennial, CO with his wife and three daughters.
David Orr - Sunkist Swim Team Head Coach / CEO
David Orr is Head Coach/CEO of Sunkist Swim Team, current SC and LC champions of Mississippi Swimming. Hired by Sunkist in 2010, Coach Orr’s swimmers have achieved 25 national top ten age group times and broken 264 LSC records. An ASCA Level 5 certified coach, Coach Orr was named Age Group Coach of the Year in 2014 by the LSC. Orr serves as Age Group Chair of Mississippi Swimming and is the LSC webmaster. Orr previously worked in the entertainment business before returning to swimming. Under Orr's creative guidance, Sunkist has won five #SwimBiz awards including Marketing Club of the Year for 2015, 2016 and 2017, SwimToday Award for 2016 and Best Use of Social Media for 2015. Coach Orr believes in creative coaching with a “team first” approach that creates a fun, supportive environment for personal growth in and out of the pool
Fares Ksebati, My SwimPro Co-Founder, CEO
Fares Ksebati is the Co-Founder and CEO of MySwimPro, the #1 fitness platform for swimmers around the world. MySwimPro was named by Apple as the Best Watch App of the Year (2016) and the company's products have been featured in Sports Illustrated among other international publications. Before launching MySwimPro, Fares led digital marketing at multiple venture-backed startups. He is a graduate of the Ilitch School of Business at Wayne State University where he was most recently recognized with the prestigious Emerging Leader Award for 2017.
Fares has a decade of competitive swim coaching experience working with senior swimmers at the Grosse Pointe Gators Swim Club and coaching masters swimmers at the Detroit Athletic Club. He was a 2016-17 Fellow with the American Swim Coaches Association and is also a U.S. Masters Swimming National Champion. Fares is a board member of Detroit Swims, a non-profit organization that teaches children in Detroit how to swim. He is passionate about growing the sport of swimming and mentoring the startup ecosystem in Michigan.
Kara Raney initially joined the USA Swimming communications team as an intern in January of 2015 before transitioning into a full-time position in May that same year as the Communications Coordinator. In her role, Raney works primarily to promote club development and organizational communications including programs such as SwimToday and SwimJitsu. Raney assists club teams in their communications efforts and social media throughout the year and played a primary role in growing USA Swimming social media during 2016 Olympic Trials leading into the Olympic Games.
Prior to her role at USA Swimming, Raney was a collegiate swimmer at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock where she earned her bachelors in strategic communications. Raney took on two internships with the UALR athletic department after graduation working as a social media and athletic development intern.
Lucinda McRoberts, USA Swimming General Counsel and VP of Business Affairs
Lucinda had extensive experience working with USA Swimming as outside counsel until her appointment at USA Swimming. Prior to her re-location to Colorado Springs, she worked at a corporate law firm in St. Louis.
Mariejo Truex, USA Swimming Program & Services Director
MJ has been with USA Swimming since 2005. She spent the first quad working with USA Swimming’s National Team Division as part of the Performance Science & Technology Services Team where she worked closely with the National Team athletes and coaches. MJ moved to Club Development after the 2008 Beijing Games and served as a Sports Performance Consultant from 2008-2012. She visited numerous teams across the country delivering information to teams, coaches and athletes that directly impact performance (nutrition, technique, goal setting, etc.). In 2012 MJ became the Program Operations Manager where she took over managing Club Development camps, events, and website educational content. In 2013, she became the Programs and Services Manager and took on additional roles directly related to coach and club education. In July 2014, MJ was promoted to Director of Programs and Services, where USA Swimming’s Diversity & Inclusion efforts are based. The 2 other areas MJ directs are LSC Consulting Services along with Coach, Club and Athlete education. Before coming to USA Swimming, MJ was a head coach on the collegiate level for seven years. She has been coaching for a local club team since 2004. MJ is a graduate of New York University where she completed both her undergraduate and postgraduate work. She resides in Colorado Springs with her husband and three kids.
Maggie Vail, USA Swimming Safe Sport Education Specialist
Maggie Vail has served as the Safe Sport Education Specialist at USA Swimming since 2014. In this role, Maggie coordinates abuse prevention education efforts for volunteers, clubs, and LSCs, as well as the Safe Sport Fellowship Program and online education. A proud Wolverine, Maggie earned her MSW at the University of Michigan and previously worked as a counselor for victims of sexual assault. She also coaches novice swimmers with Colorado Springs Swim Team
Mark Bernheimer, MediaWorks Resource Group Founder and Principal
Mark Bernheimer is a former broadcast journalist and the founder of MediaWorks Resource Group, a national media communications training agency. His expertise lies in helping clients anticipate reporter behavior, create effective media messaging, and learn to deliver those messages as effectively as possible during news interviews.
Bernheimer calls upon 16 years of journalism experience as the bedrock of his training approach. He spent the latter part of his reporting career as a national correspondent for CNN, assigned to the Los Angeles Bureau.
Reporting for CNN, Bernheimer covered many of the major news events of our time, including the Monica Lewinsky scandal and subsequent impeachment of President Bill Clinton, the JonBenet Ramsey murder investigation, the Columbine school shooting, and the Oklahoma City bombing trials of Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols. Bernheimer was one of only a handful of reporters inside the courtroom when O.J. Simpson took the stand during his wrongful death civil trial. And during the late ‘90s, Bernheimer weathered five hurricanes on live national television.
Beyond CNN, Bernheimer was a reporter for KCAL Channel 9 in Los Angeles, a freelance contributor to the Orange County Register, and an anchor at the Orange County NewsChannel. As a freelance correspondent for the National Geographic Channel, he introduced viewers to an ancient ocean of fossils unearthed by the Los Angeles subway construction project.
Bernheimer’s clients include athletes, celebrities, politicians, and corporate executives representing every sector.
Mark Frank, Triangle Aquatics Event and Marketing Director
Mark has been a part of the TAC TITANS and the Triangle Aquatic Center (TAC) since 2012 and employed since 2016. He is currently the TITANS primary representative with NC Swimming and is the Events and Marketing Director at TAC. HE also directs and manages all of the Sponsor Relations with the TITANS and TAC. He has extensive marketing experience and has owned and worked for a variety of companies including Write More Education Resources, DMR Networks, VideoSite, Inc., and Muzak, LLC. His professional experience includes all levels of management, marketing, training, network services, web design, private television networks, and restaurant operations. Mark is also a NCS/USAS Certified Official with over twelve years of experience. He has been a Meet Referee for six years and has run over 50 meets, including the majority of the meets for the Titans.
Mark has a degree in Marketing from Robert Morris University and Management from Penn State. He has been married to his wife Sharon, who is the Controller for the NC Museum of Art Foundation, and has two daughters; Lauren and Jessica. Mark is a native of Pittsburgh, PA and he and his family currently live in North Raleigh.
Matt Farrell is the Chief Marketing Officer at USA Swimming. He oversees all aspects of the USA Swimming Business Development Division including revenue generation, sponsor sales & servicing, promotions, marketing, public relations, social media, creative services and media properties such as the organization’s web site and magazine.
Farrell joined USA Swimming in 2005 as the Managing Director of Business Development before being promoted in 2009 to the position of CMO. He previously worked at USA Swimming from 1993-97 as the Communications Coordinator.
Farrell worked for the U.S. Olympic Committee for a total of seven years, most recently as the Associate Director of Broadcast Properties. There he worked on managing business development and new media marketing initiatives for the U.S. Olympic Team. He spearheaded the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame project, including sponsor sales, budget and marketing. Also at the USOC, Farrell secured first-time partnerships with such properties as NBCOlympics.com, Yahoo! and eBay. He also implemented first-time database marketing, wireless and online fundraising programs to support the U.S. Olympic Team. Farrell came back to the USOC after previously working in a similar role from 1997-1999.
From 1999-2000, he was the Director of Internet Marketing for Warner Bros., in Burbank, Calif. He handled the consumer DVD marketing for properties such as The Matrix, Humphrey Bogart, Stanley Kubrick, The Wizard of Oz, Pokemon, Scooby-Doo and more.
He earned a degree in journalism from the University of Arkansas in 1992, and is married to Michelle Dusserre, a gymnastics silver medalist at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. They have two daughters – Abigail and Zoe.
Matt Whewell, US Speedskating Communications Director
Matt Whewell is currently the Communications Director of US Speedskating (USS), the National Governing Body for the sport of speed skating in the United States. In his role, he is responsible for the organization’s overall communication strategy across all platforms including social and digital media, and oversees all marketing and foundation programs/activities.
Whewell joined USS after serving as the Communications Manager for the Colorado Rockies from 2013-15. Prior to his time in Denver, he was the Public Relations and Digital Communications Coordinator for USA Swimming from 2011-13, serving as a press officer for the U.S. Olympic Swim Team in London. Additionally, he has worked with USA Table Tennis as their press officer during the Rio Olympic Games, the Cleveland Indians (2009-11), Atlanta Braves (2008) and the Cleveland Browns (2007).
Miranda Abney, MilkPep Senior Marketing Director
Communication Guru and Branding Specialist with 12+ years of experience and an established track record of developing powerful campaigns that yield measurable results. Current passion projects include the repositioning of Chocolate Milk from a kids’ treat to a sports recovery beverage via a fully integrated marketing campaign, Built with Chocolate Milk and a brand-new campaign – specifically for tween-aged kids – called Milk It!
Recognized as one of DMN's 40 Under 40 in 2016. The awards celebrate exceptional achievement in marketing before the age of 40— young marketers who have helped significantly grow their companies, wowed their clients with creative or strategic plans, and influenced the industry in numerous ways.
Nailah Ellis Timberlake, USA Swimming Director of USA Swimming Productions
Nailah Ellis Timberlake is the Director of USA Swimming Productions where she is responsible for the creation of original content across all divisions for distribution across all of USA Swimming’s platforms. In this newly created role, Nailah manages the organization's external NBC products and is responsible for producing shoulder programming for air during national and international swimming competitions. Nailah is a graduate of Spelman College and has a Masters in Sports Management from Columbia University and an Executive Certification in Sports Philanthropy from George Washington University. Nailah sits on the National Board of Directors for Play Like A Girl, a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the health and empowerment of women and girls through sport and physical activity.
Paris Jacobs, Machine Aquatics Owner / Director of Operations
Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, Paris grew up recreationally swimming for Dynamo Swim Club. She began her coaching career in Atlanta at her summer league pool as an assistant coach. She moved to the Northern Virginia area in 1993 attending boarding school. She attended George Mason University studying Business.
In 2000, Paris began her Northern Virginia USA Swimming Coaching career at York swim club where she coached for 2 seasons.
In 2001, Paris started Machine Aquatics, with her husband, Dan Jacobs. She served as team manager and age group coach until 2009 when she stepped off the deck as a full time Machine coach to run the team operations.
Since its inception in 2001, Machine Aquatics has grown into Machine Brands which encompasses four divisions, a nationally ranked USA Swimming competitive team with seven training sites and 1000+ members, a large swim school, a recently completed 22,000 sq ft. performance center for swim & fitness, and a high performance youth triathlon team. Paris serves as CEO of Machine Brands overseeing the business operation and development. She is also very active in USA Swimming, The American Swim Coaches Association (ASCA) and currently serves on the USA Swimming Foundation Board of Directors.
Rebekah Stevens, Nielsen Sports & Entertainment Vice President Global Brand and Sponsorship Consulting
Rebekah Stevens co-leads the North America Consulting practice for Nielsen Sports and Entertainment. She is responsible for helping brands develop their sponsorship marketing programs to deliver against business objectives and supporting sports and entertainment rights holders in growing their businesses.
Rebekah’s projects and clients at Nielsen have included sponsorship strategy development, portfolio optimization, sponsorship management, and evaluation for Fortune 500 brands. She also has worked with numerous rights holders across Sports, eSports, Music and other entertainment platforms on their commercial programs to drive fan engagement and revenue growth.
Rebekah holds an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business and BA from the University of Pennsylvania.
Ryan Zundell, Marietta Marlins Head Coach
Ryan Zundell is the Director of Creative Services at Marietta College, Volunteer Head Coach of the Marietta Marlins of Marietta, Ohio and the Marketing Chair of the West Virginia LSC. As the Director of Creative Services for Marietta College Ryan has won over 20 CoSIDA (College Sports Information Directors of America) awards for his collegiate sports marketing designs. Ryan has taught graphic design and social media marketing courses at Marietta College and brought that knowledge to the Marietta Marlins. In 2017 the Marlins won their first #SwimBiz Crystal Kickboards for the Best Use of Social Media Award and the Marketing Club of the Year Award for a (1-150 size club) for their “Be a Marlin” marketing campaign. For the 2017-18 season the focus of Coach Zundell has been on capitalizing on the family atmosphere of swimming and using the hashtag #fishfamily as the center of this season’s marketing campaign.
Tim Hinchey, USA Swimming President / CEO
Tim Hinchey became the CEO of USA Swimming in July of 2017. Over the course of his career as a sports business executive, Hinchey has held leadership positions in the United States and the United Kingdom for organizations such as Major League Soccer, English Premier League, National Basketball Association, National Hockey League and junior and minor league hockey franchises.
In his role as President of the Colorado Rapids, Hinchey led the club to both on- and off-field success. In 2016, he was named Major League Soccer’s Executive of the Year.
Hinchey’s international experience includes a three-year term as the Vice President of Commercial and Chief Marketing Officer for English football club Derby County FC.
Before heading overseas, Hinchey served in executive positions for the NBA Charlotte Bobcats and the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets, as well as serving as Director of Strategic Alliances for Maloof Sports & Entertainment, the parent company of the Sacramento Kings.
His start in professional sports began with the Los Angeles Kings in 1991 and continued with sales and marketing roles with the Tri-City Americans junior hockey club and the IHL Utah Grizzlies. Hinchey went on to serve as Director of Strategic Alliances for Maloof Sports & Entertainment, where he developed strategic plans for all corporate partnerships integral to the NBA Sacramento Kings, WNBA Sacramento Monarchs, WISL Sacramento Knights, ARCO Arena and Senior PGA Tour Gold Rush Classic.
Hinchey volunteers as an assistant swim coach for the Special Olympics Aurora Waves swim team and served on the Community Leadership Board of the American Diabetes Association of Colorado from 2013-16. He is a Board member of the Industry Advisor Committee for Insight Centre for Data Analytics based in Ireland, Arsenal Broadband Media in London and FanCompass in San Francisco.
A native of Danville, California, Hinchey went on to earn a B.A. in Economics while a four-year letterman swimmer at UC Irvine and went on to serve as a graduate assistant swim coach at the school. Hinchey and his wife Mia are the proud parents of six children.
Tom Avischious, USA Swimming Senior Director of Field Services, Programs and Services
Tom is in his 23rd year with USA Swimming. During that time, he has helped develop numerous programs to help clubs and coaches become more successful. Some of the ones that you may be familiar with are the Club Recognition Program, the Club Leadership & Business Management School, the Virtual Club Championships and the Club Excellence Program.
Wendy Bartlett, USA Swimming Membership Marketing Manager
Wendy Bartlett serves as the Membership Marketing Manager at USA Swimming. Her focus is on helping member clubs get involved in programs like #SwimBiz, SwimToday and Deck Pass, and also manage the Athlete Partnership Program. Prior to her hire, Bartlett worked as the USA Swimming Network Content Development Manager at iHigh.com. Bartlett has also worked at USA Triathlon as its Sport Development Coordinator. In that role, she managed the club development program while also building marketing plans to grow the sports of duathlon, winter triathlon, off-road, aquabike and aquathlon.
Bartlett has been involved with the sport of swimming for over 20 years. She assists with the Colorado Springs Swim Team as a coach for their silver program. Bartlett is a graduate of Cleveland State University and lives in Castle Rock, Colo., with her husband, Philip and their son, William.