5th Golf Innovation Symposium Speakers Federico Valdez Adame Executive Director, Mexican Golf Federation Federico Valdez Adame has been executive director of the Mexican Golf Federation since 2008. In addition to leading the national organization, Federico is a founding partner of Golfers Without Borders and an international technical delegate for the 2018 Central America and Caribbean Games, to be held in Barranquilla, Colombia. Federico was the tournament director for the golf competition during the 2014 Central America and Caribbean Games in Veracruz, Mexico, and served as executive director of the men’s and women’s World Amateur Team Championships, conducted by the International Golf Federation and held in Riviera Maya, Mexico. A native of Monterrey, Federico received a bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering from the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education and an MBA from St. John’s University – Rome. Jeffrey D. Blume President, American Society of Golf Course Architects Jeff Blume is the current president of the American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA). He began his career with GolfScapes following his graduation from Texas A&M University with a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture. During his 30-year career, Jeff also worked for von Hagge Design Associates. While with von Hagge, Jeff designed courses around the world, including several in Japan, most notably Malibu International Golf Club in Kobe. In 1997 Jeff formed his own design firm. Besides his design work, Jeff has contributed to the golf industry by being active in several organizations, including the Houston Golf Association, South Texas Golf Course Superintendents Association and the USGA, in addition to his service to the ASGCA. Jeff and his wife, Judlyn, have three children, Haleigh, Olivia and Keaton. Eric T. Brey, Ph.D. Professor, University of Wisconsin-Stout School of Hospitality Leadership Eric Brey’s work focuses on the implementation of customer-centric strategy and service design influences on organizational success. He has been recognized for innovation as an AT&T Technology Fellow and an extraordinary marketing mind by HSMAI. He also has been quoted in international media outlets including Forbes, Business Week, China Post, USA Today, New York Post, Washington Post, and CBS News. Eric has received numerous scientific awards for his research and as a teacher-scholar. Passionate about engaging with industry, Eric has had the privilege of working with the American Resort Development Association, British Virgin Islands Chamber of Commerce, Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association, Dalhoff Thomas Design Studio, Destination Marketing Association International, Empresas Bern, Intercontinental Hotels Group, Institute of Real Estate Management, Methodist Hospitals, RVC Outdoor Destinations, United States Golf Association, and the Women’s Foodservice Forum. Eric received his Ph.D. from Purdue University and currently serves as an advisor to the Chief Marketing Officer Council. Jacob Buksted Market Director, Players 1st Jacob Buksted is the market director at Players 1st, a Danish customer experience management company founded in 2012. The company provides golf clubs with actionable insights to make informed decisions to help grow their businesses. Players 1st services 10 national golf federations and multiple 1,500 clubs worldwide. This spring, Players 1st will also be integrating their specialist services across multiple sports in Denmark. Jacob’s passion for analytics has produced insights from more than 1,500,000 Players 1st surveys. He creates an excellent player experience across different player segments, develops the correlation between different club touchpoints and overall experience, and the relationship between player experience and economic metrics such as turnover. Jacob has more than 20 years of proven experience helping brands realize return on investment through great customer experiences by helping them manage methods of continued data analysis. He has worked with in various industries and sectors across Denmark and the rest of Scandinavia. Ray Cronin Founder and Chief Innovator, Club Benchmarking Ray Cronin found Club Benchmarking in 2009 after becoming involved in the governance of his club. He realized the discussions and decisions of the board and committees were driven by opinion rather than data and fact. Driven by its mission to foster healthier clubs and empower managers and board by elevating fact over opinion, Club Benchmarking has created the market for data-driven insight in the club industry by gathering financial, operational, membership and compensation data from more than 1,000 clubs in North America, Scotland and Australia. The company’s analysis of the data and accompanying insights have changed the dialogue across the industry while allowing clubs to make sound decisions. These insights range from clarifying the drivers of golf course maintenance expense to determining the key performance indicators that relate to sustainable financial success. Known in the club industry for his high-energy presentations and his thick Boston accent, Ray has gained a reputation as a top-rated speaker. He has authored numerous industry articles and was selected as Boardroom Magazine’s educator of the year in 2018. Ray is a past president of Thorny Lea Golf Club in Brockton, Mass. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and an MBA from Harvard. Mike Davis Chief Executive Officer, USGA Mike Davis has led the United States Golf Association since March 2, 2011. The seventh executive director in USGA history, he was given the title of chief executive officer in 2016. Davis directs the golf association’s multi-faceted strategic plan which includes conducting 14 national championships for men, women and juniors; governing the game globally by writing and interpreting golf’s rules; advancing the game through turfgrass research and golf course sustainability best practices; and investing in programs that support a healthy future for golf. Working closely with the USGA Executive Committee, Davis provides strategic guidance and represents the USGA’s interests within the golf community, courses and clubs, state and regional golf associations and national and international golf associations. He is also a member of the boards of the International Golf Federation, the World Golf Foundation, the World Golf Hall of Fame and the Official World Golf Ranking. Davis joined the USGA in April 1990 as assistant manager of championship relations, quickly being promoted to manager of championship relations in December 1990 and serving in that capacity until his promotion to director of championship relations nearly five years later. In 1997, he was named U.S. Open Championship director, responsible for managing the day-to-day organizational activities for the U.S. Open, and then assumed responsibilities as senior director of Rules and Competitions in 2005. As senior director of Rules and Competitions, Davis was charged with conducting the 13 national championships and two state team championships conducted by the USGA, as well as overseeing the Rules of Golf department. He was also responsible for the golf-course setup and Rules conduct of the U.S. Open, U.S. Women’s Open and U.S. Amateur championships, as well as the Walker Cup Match. In addition to his USGA championship duties, he has taught at Rules of Golf seminars and has officiated annually at many other tournaments and major championships. A native of Chambersburg, Pa., Davis was introduced to golf at age 8 by his father. He was the 1982 Pennsylvania State Junior champion and played NCAA Division I golf at Georgia Southern University. He has also played in several prominent national amateur tournaments. Davis graduated from Georgia Southern University with a bachelor’s degree in business in 1987. He and his wife, Cece, have one son, Grant, and reside in Pittstown, N.J. Kimberly S. Erusha, Ph.D. Managing Director, Green Section, USGA As managing director of the USGA’s Green Section, Kimberly Erusha oversees the association’s efforts to help golf facilities produce better playing conditions for better golf. Her responsibilities include the USGA Course Consulting Service, which provides direct assistance to golf facilities throughout North America and leads the agronomic preparations for USGA national championships. She also oversees a multimedia education and outreach program designed for golf course officials, superintendents, golfers, environmental organizations and regulatory officials. All the Green Section initiatives are supported by the USGA Turfgrass and Environmental Research Program, the world’s largest turfgrass research grants program, which has distributed $40 million to universities nationwide. Kimberly has a bachelor’s degree in horticulture from Iowa State University, and master’s and doctorate degrees in turfgrass management from the University of Nebraska. Masaharu Fujita Chairman, Hamanako Country Club Masaharu Fujita is chairman of Hamanako Country Club in Shizuoka Prefecture. The club, which has 27 holes, opened in 1961. After graduating from Kobe University School of Economics, Masahura has held numerous positions in the Shizuoka business community: vice chairman of Shizuoka Bank, chairman and representative director and chairman of Shizuoka Insurance Service Co., director of Shizuoka FM Broadcasting Corporation. In addition, he has served as president of Hamanako Tourism Development Co., Shizuoka Prefecture Western Defense Association Chairman and Shizuoka Prefecture Golf Club Association Director. Brian Horgan, Ph.D. Professor and Associate Head, Department of Horticultural Science, University of Minnesota Brian Horgan holds degrees from Michigan State University, North Carolina State University and the University of Illinois. His research interests focus on the fate and transport of pesticides and nutrients, water conservation strategies, and low-input turfgrass systems. He lectures around the world on these topics and on sustainable golf facilities. Brian is the past science editor for Turf News, associate editor for the Crop Science Journal, European Turfgrass Journal and the International Turfgrass Research Journal. Horgan was recently named the Environmental Communicator of the Year from TOCA and he received the 2016 Distinguished Outreach Award from the University of Minnesota. Nobuya “Mike” Ishizaka Chairman, GDO Sports, Inc. Mike Ishizaka founded Golf Digest Online Inc. (GDO) after earning an MBA from Harvard in May 2000. His vision to use the power of the internet to bring about change within the golf industry drove him to expand this small start-up to what is currently a global group with more than 1,000 employees. Currently listed on the 1st section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange, GDO operates Japan’s largest portal site specialized around golf, providing its 3.7 million subscribers with the latest golf news, online shopping, tee-time booking, golf instruction and more. In 2017 Mike moved his base to San Diego, and started GDO Sports, Inc (GDOS) as a subsidiary of GDO to officially enter the U.S. market. In 2018 GDOS became the majority owner of GOLFTEC, the largest golf-instruction and clubfitting chain in the world, of which Mike is now chairman. Mike is dedicated to innovation within the golf industry, as well as the pursuit of the corporate mission, which is to “link the world through golf.” Keiko Iwase Television and radio announcer Keiko Iwase is the anchorperson for Radio Japan Smart News. She as enjoyed a long career in golf broadcasting after starting her career as an announcer and on-course reporter for Fuji Television Network following her graduation from the University of the Sacred Heart. During her career, she has worked for the Golf Central Japan, Japan Golf Tour Awards Ceremony, Golf Tournament Promotion Association Annual Party, Golf Network Weekl and Golf Network PGA Tour Final. She also spent several years in New York as a reporter for Fuji Television’s FCI World Network Super Time. Rand Jerris, Ph.D. Senior Managing Director, Public Services, USGA As the USGA’s senior managing director of Public Services, Rand Jerris oversees a variety of functions, including research, science and innovation; the USGA Green Section; the USGA Golf Museum; Regional Affairs; the USGA Foundation and strategic planning. Beginning in 1988, Rand interned at the USGA Golf Museum for nine summers while completing his undergraduate and graduate studies, eventually assuming the position of librarian/historian in 1999. He then served as director of the Museum from 2002 to 2011, taking on additional duties as managing director of Communications from 2009 to 2011. He remains active in researching and promoting the history of the game, with an emphasis on the history of golf course architecture and golf art. He has authored three books: Golf’s Golden Age: Robert T. Jones Jr. and the Legendary Players of the ’10s, ’20s, and ’30s; The Game of Golf and the Printed Word: 1566-2005, with co-author Richard E. Donovan; and The Historical Dictionary of Golf, with co-author Bill Mallon. Rand has a doctorate in art and archaeology from Princeton University and bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Williams College. He currently serves on the board of the Environmental Institute for Golf, the executive board for We Are Golf, and the Board of Overseers for the Malcolm Baldrige Performance Excellence Program. Lauren Johnson Data Analyst, Research, Science and Innovation, USGA Lauren Johnson is the data analyst on the recently formed Research, Science and Innovation team at the USGA. Lauren’s work primarily focuses on improving pace of play at golf facilities for everyday play and during competitions for elite players through mathematical applications. In addition, she is currently leading research efforts to develop best practices for golf course owners and operators to provide more physical access for golfers with disabilities. Prior to joining the USGA in 2016, Lauren worked as an intern for the New York Mets in their business intelligence and analytics department. Lauren earned a BS in mathematics from Monmouth University, where she was a member of the women’s lacrosse team, and received a master’s degree in applied statistics from Villanova University. Jay L. Karen, CAE Chief Executive Officer, National Golf Course Owners Association Jay Karen has been the CEO of National Golf Course Owners Association since 2015, where he leads the golf industry’s trade association and initiatives to support the success of the golf course business. Prior to his appointment at NGCOA, Jay was CEO of Select Registry, a portfolio of over 300 premier boutique hotels, inns and B&Bs. Early in his career, Jay served several roles within the NGCOA for 10 years. Jay holds a BA from Winthrop University and an MA from the College of Charleston, and is a Certified Association Executive (CAE) by the American Society of Association Executives. Jay serves as chairman of the industry-wide advocacy coalition, We Are Golf. The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, CBS Radio, NBC News, the Golf Channel, Golf Digest and many others call upon Jay for his insights on the golf industry. Jay and his wife have been married for 18 years and have two children: a 13-year old daughter and 10-year old son. Gerard Kennedy General Manager Corporate Services, Golf Australia Gerard Kennedy, MBA, B.Comm., CPA, is Golf Australia’s general manager. With more than a decade of experience in senior executive positions within the Australian sports industry, Gerard has a proven record of designing and implementing solutions to complex business problems. In his time with Golf Australia, Gerard has led the financial growth of the business and has led major strategic initiatives that have resulted in improved golfer engagement, a significant expansion of the member database, increased revenue, and a consolidation of Australian golf’s governance structure promoting strategic alignment, realizing efficiencies and increasing the value of the association’s assets. Akihiro Konno CEO, GOLFZON Japan Akihiro Konno is CEO of GOLFZON Japan. Prior to his current role, his work experience includes stints at TaylorMade Golf, Oak Lawn Marketing and Taiheyo Bank. Erik Anders Lang Storyteller, artist, filmmaker Erik Anders Lang is a 7-handicapper and one of the fastest-growing names in golf content. Erik created “Adventures in Golf,” a show for the PGA Tour, traveling around the world finding and telling the most outrageous and unique stories in golf. His YouTube channel is focused on telling both long- and short-form stories about golf, ranging from the high-end to the absurd. His podcast, The Erik Anders Lang show, has hosted luminaries of the industry such as Gil Hanse, John Ashworth, Michelle Wie to Charley Hoffman, who entertain and enlighten through in-depth form discussions about the shifting tides in the game. Erik’s boutique agency, LANG CREATIVE, works with brands and golf’s biggest organizations to tap into rising cultural trends and alternative perspectives of the game, all the while engaging a growing audience of golf lovers who challenge paradigms and have a vision for future of the game – a vision of inclusiveness and fun, on and off the course. Tommy Lim CEO, GOLFZON America Tommy Lim is the CEO of GOLFZON America, a South Korean company established in 2000 that is the global leader in the golf simulator industry. Tommy has been involved in the golf industry for nearly 20 years, previously with Callaway Golf Korea and Nike Golf Korea before joining GOLFZON in 2010. Tommy has extensive experience in brand development and management and has been instrumental in GOLFZON’s entry into the U.S. marketplace over the last year, all the while exemplifying GOLFZON’s corporate philosophy of “making golf enjoyable for everyone.” Tommy has a bachelor’s degree in Metallurgical Engineering from Chungnam National University in Daejeon, South Korea and an MBA from Sungkyunkwan University in Seoul, South Korea, and is also Vice President of the Korean Sports Industry Association. He and his family reside in Virginia, where GOLFZON’s U.S. headquarters is located. Dana Lonn, P.E. Managing Director Emeritus, Center for Technology, Research and Innovation, Toro Company Dana Lonn joined The Toro Company in 1974 and retired in 2017. Dana was responsible for leading a corporate research and development group working to transform the way that playing surfaces are maintained. He continues to work with Toro staff on an ongoing basis, contributing to the industry in numerous ways. As part of Toro’s Center for Technology, Research and Innovation, Dana has developed leading technology in the areas of water management, alternative fuels and labor productivity. Dana has worked on a wide variety of Toro commercial, residential and irrigation products, and holds 11 U.S. patents. Dana attended the University of Minnesota, where he earned both a BS and MS in mechanical engineering. Dana serves on the mechanical engineering advisory board at the University of Minnesota, and the agriculture leadership Council at Colorado State University. Dana is active in his industry as a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Society of Automotive Engineers, American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, and the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America. Bruce Lucker President and CEO, Signature Group Bruce Lucker is widely recognized as one of the leading golf and private club industry consultants. A passionate communicator, negotiator, facilitator and branding expert, Bruce is the president and CEO of the Signature Group and heads up a talented team of professionals serving a diverse cross section of clients, including GOLFZON, National Golf Foundation, Pacific Links International and Arnold Palmer Design. Prior to starting The Signature Group, Bruce had numerous executive positions, including chief operating officer of the World Golf Hall of Fame and the World Golf Village, and senior marketing strategist for the PGA TOUR. Bruce currently serves on the advisory board of the National Golf Course Owners Association and as a mentor guide in the Dedman School of Hospitality’s Mentorship Program. Bruce and his wife, Jane, live in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., and they enjoy walks on the beach with their two Havanese pups, Maxx and Mickie. Shigeki Maruyama Professional Golfer | Olympic Coach Shigeki Maruyama is one of the most prominent golfers in Japan. He has 10 victories on the Japan Golf Tour, and enjoyed success on the PGA Tour, winning three times in nine years. In addition to his successes on the PGA Tour, Shigeki holds the distinction of shooting 58 during U.S. Open Sectional Qualifying. He shot that score at Woodmont Country Club to qualify for the 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links. After coaching the Japanese golf teams during the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, he will again lead his national teams during the 2020 Games in Tokyo. Known for his ever-present smile on the course, Shigeki is known as the “Smiling Assassin.” Scott Mingay Director, Product Development, Research, Science and Innovation, USGA Scott Mingay has been working at the USGA since 2013, focusing on building products for facilities. Before coming to the USGA, Scott worked in automotive industry on the Corvette Race Program and Ford Vehicle Dynamics. He is deeply focused on helping to find solutions to the game we love. Scott graduated from Rutgers University in 2010 with a degree in mechanical engineering. When he’s not working, you will find him playing in the mountains or competing in triathlons. Shigeki Mitsuishi Sports Group Manager, Yano Research Shigeki Mitsuishi is sports group manager and senior researcher of the Consumer marketing unit of Yano Research Institute Ltd. After joining the company in 2001, he has conducted the marketing research for the sports industry, focusing on golf. He is a member of the PGA of Japan’s business strategy committee and serves on the board of the Golf Amusement Park. Koji Murofushi, Ph.D. Sports Director, Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Koji Murofushi competed at the Olympic Games in 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012 as a hammer thrower. He won the gold medal at the 2004 Athens Games and the bronze medal at the 2012 London Games. Koji also won the gold medal at the World Championships in 2011, becoming the first Japanese athlete to win gold medals at both the World Championships and the Olympic Games. In 2014, he won an unprecedented 20th consecutive Japanese title at the Japan National Championships in Athletics. His personal best throw is 84.86 meters. Born in 1974 in Shizuoka prefecture, Koji earned a Ph.D. in biomechanics. He is a professor at Tokyo Medical and Dental University, where his professional interests focus on the prevention of athletes’ injuries and the improvement in individual performance from the aspect of integration of sport science and sport medicine. After retiring from competition in 2016, Koji is currently serving as sports director for the Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Tokyo 2020). Rob Neumann Chief Technology Officer, Cisco Olympic and Global Sponsorship Programs As Chief Technology Officer of Cisco’s Olympic and Global Sponsorship Programs, Rob Neumann is focused on the architecture, deployment and support of secure Cisco technology with partners, arenas, teams, events and organizations. A 21-year Cisco veteran, Rob managed Cisco’s network deployment for multiple Olympic Games, oversaw a decade-long partnership with the NBA, and helped Live Nation with concert-venue digitization. Most recently, he is partnering with the USGA to enhance the fan experience at the 2019 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach and the 2019 U.S. Women’s Open at the Country Club of Charleston. Yoshihiro Nishi President, Hong Kong Golf Association Yoshihiro Nishi has been president of the Hong Kong Golf Association since September 2017. A six-handicapper, Yoshihiro got his start in golf administration in his native Japan when he joined the Japan Golf Association Foreign Affairs Committee in 2011. He has been a starter at the Japan Open and the U.S. Open sectional qualifier in Japan. A member of Tokyo Classic Golf Club and Hong Kong’s Discovery Bay Golf Club, Yoshihiro joined the Hong Kong Golf Association’s executive committee in 2014. Ryoichi Ohno Captain, Kasumigaseki Country Club Ryoichi Ohno is an attorney who is captain of Kasumigaseki Country Club, which is the site of the 2020 Olympics golf competition. Ryoichi attended Gakusyuin High School, where he was general manager of the school’s golf team, and is a graduate of Gakusyuin University. He is chairman of Gakusyuin University golf team’s graduates society. The winner of the Kasumigaseki C.C.’s senior championship in 2009, Ryoichi is a member of the JGA 2020 Tokyo Olympic Preparatory & Planning Committee. David Pierce Research Director, Research, Science and Innovation, USGA David Pierce is research director with the USGA’s Research, Science and Innovation (RSI) group. RSI’s newest member, Dave is the program manager for Distance Insights project, a joint project with the R&A. Prior to joining the USGA in early 2018, Dave worked for Dow Chemical as a new business development director as well as serving several different roles in research and development leadership. Dave earned both a BS and MS in chemical engineering from Drexel University as well as an MBA from Temple University. An avid golfer, Dave is married with two daughters. Matthew Pringle, Ph.D. Sr. Director, Research, Science & Innovation, USGA Matt Pringle has been with the USGA since 2000 after completing his doctoral thesis at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Matt’s contributions include the invention of the pendulum test for spring effect in drivers, the USGA TruFirm measurement system used at all USGA championships as well as during PGA Tour event and major golf championships, and the USGA’s GrooveScan portable groove measurement system. Matt launched a new group at the USGA called Research, Science, & Innovation (RSI) in 2016. The group’s mission is to apply innovation to creating new tools and data to help facilities improve the golfer experience and manage the consumption of key resources. Matt graduated from Queen’s University (1993) in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. He is married to a process control expert, and they have two young daughters. Forrest Richardson, ASGCA Forrest Richardson & Associates Forrest Richardson, ASGCA, is a golf course architect based in Phoenix. His work covers 30 years, 20 states and eight countries. He has created new courses for resorts, private clubs, daily fee and municipal clients. He has also carved a reputation for thoughtful restoration of classic courses. He led a restoration of Mira Vista Country Club in El Cerrito, Calif., which remains the only solo design of Robert Hunter who later went on to handle work across California for Alister MacKenzie. His work has earned several honors including citations from Golf Digest, Golf Magazine, Golfweek and Golf Inc. Two of his courses are included on Golfweek’s Top 25 Municipal Courses in the U.S. Forrest is the author of four books on golf course architecture, including Routing the Golf Course and Bunkers, Pits & Other Hazards. He is an avid collector of golf writing and memorabilia, and serves on the USGA Museum Committee. Edwin Roald Founder, Eureka Golf Born and raised in Iceland, a country blessed with an amazing number of 65 golf courses despite the tiny population of 340,000, Edwin Roald is a golf architect, master planner and consultant focusing on responsible land and resource use. For almost two decades, he has independently designed and consulted in nine countries on both sides of the Atlantic. Clients include governments, golf industry associations, environmental groups, golf course developers and operators. Edwin is the author of innovative land-use concepts, such as the SmartRange and Why18holes.com, where he has since 2008 discussed and encouraged the reconsideration of the 18-hole principle. His firm, Eureka Golf, relies on science – including its own research – to facilitate better-informed decisions in golf course design and management. Edwin also serves as a Council member of the European Institute of Golf Course Architect and chairs its Sustainability Committee. Robert Roussille CEO & Founder, Golf Up Robert Roussile is CEO & Founder of Golf Up, a golf facility located at Grimaud, 10 km from Saint-Tropez, South of France. His aim to introduce golf to the larger public. With a focus on customers, Golf Up is one of the leaders in France’s new short courses market. Opened in 2017, Golf Up is the first golf in Europe to be entirely covered with artificial grass, while offering the players an ultra-connected experience through its practice area and driving range. Previously, Robert played on profession golf tours in Europe and in the U.S. At the same time, he became a certified teaching pro and taught at some of the finest clubs in the South of France more 15 years. His expertise in golf industry and his vision for “golf for all” led him to fund Golf Up, a new kind of golf facility. John Sanford American Society of Golf Course Architects John Sanford is the immediate past president of the American Society of Golf Course Architects. With more than over 30 years of experience in golf course design, John has completed more than 80 new designs and renovations in his career. John is a graduate of Louisiana State University (1981) with a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture. He spent five years practicing landscape architecture before landing his first golf course design in 1986. This experience allows him to integrate the course into the surrounding land uses while maintaining the natural character of the site. John has traveled the globe, working in Japan, the Caribbean, the Middle East and throughout the United States. Designing courses on sites throughout the world with diverse conditions has given John experience and perspective that is unique in the field of golf course design. Kris Schoonover, Ph.D. Associate Professor, University of Wisconsin-Stout School of Hospitality Leadership Kris Schoonover teaches and conducts research in the areas of customer experience management, human capital development, and training practices for the golf industry. Kris works closely with the National Golf Course Owners Association and the Wisconsin Golf Course Owners Association. She is particularly prominent as a strong advocate of smaller golf courses in the development of best practices for owners to maximize revenues, retain great staff and stay current with the golf industry’s best practices. Kris is a practitioner as well, having served more than 25 years in the golf industry through coaching, teaching, and working in golf operations. In 2007 Kris started working at Erin Hills, where she is director of operations/assistant competition director. She has worked closely with the USGA in hosting three national championships at Erin Hills: the 2008 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links, the 2011 U.S. Amateur and the 2017 U.S. Open. Kiichi Sorimachi Vice President, Golf Business Commerce, Rakuten Kiichi Sorimachi grew up in Gunma, where his parents operated a driving range. After starting his career in internet ad sales, Kiichi worked in several additional positions, include sales manager, branch manager and media business director. Kiichi joined Rakuten’s golf business a market director in 2006, and he has been in his current position since 2016. An enthusiastic golfer, Kiichi started playing golf at the age of 10. Currently a 5 handicap, he has played more than 400 courses around the world. Tsunetada Takeda Chairman, Japan Golf Association Tsunetada Takeda has been Chairman of the Japan Golf Association since 2015. Tsunetada worked for the Mitsubishi Corporation for nearly four decades and has been involved in leadership positions in golf since 2009, when he became chairman of Tokyo Golf Club. Prior to his current role serving the Japan Golf Association, Tsunetada was president of the Kanto Golf Association and a trustee of the Japan Olympic Committee. His youngest brother, Tsunekau, is currently chairman of the Japan Olympic Committee. In addition to playing golf with a 16.9 Handicap Index, Tsunetada enjoys skiing. He is a member of Tokyo golf Club, Hodogaya Country Club and Karuizawa Golf Club.” Sho Tobari Television Commentator, President, Random Associates Chairman, JGA Public Relations Committee Sho Tobari was born in Tokyo in October 1945. The son of a top amateur golfer, he played on the golf teams at Keio High School and Keio University. After graduating in 1968 with a business degree, Sho worked for Sumitomo Rubber Industries. Several years later, he was assigned to Sumitomo’s subsidiary company Dunlop Sports Enterprises, the first golf tournament management firm. Over the years, Sho has been a tournament director, tournament producer and a television commentator. In addition to being as a commentator for nearly 10 events in Japan every year, Sho worked at the U.S. Open, U.S. Women’s Open, U.S. Senior Open and the British Open. In 1986 Sho established Random Associates to realize his golf philosophy, which reconsiders the original concept of the golf game and its future. Benjamin Warren Shaper and Golf Course Architect, Artisan Golf Design Benjamin Warren grew up in North Berwick, Scotland, where golf has been central to the community for hundreds of years. Now part of the semi-nomadic tribe of design and build architects, he has contributed to notable projects in Africa, Europe, Asia and the Americas. Benjamin learned the minimalist construction philosophy and honed his beliefs about golf course design by working on build teams for leading modern architects, including Tom Doak and Gil Hanse. Through a long-term role with the GEO Foundation in Scotland early in his career, Benjamin worked with clubs, national federations and professional golf tours to build evidence about what the game actually contributes to nature and communities, with a specific personal focus on golf’s role in the city environment. Hiroshi (Andy) Yamanaka Executive Director & COO, Japan Golf Association Hiroshi (Andy) Yamanaka has been the executive director and COO of the Japan Golf Association (JGA) since 2015. Prior to joining the JGA, he was executive director of the Japan Golf Tour Organization (JGTO) and also worked for Dunlop Sports Enterprises. An accomplished golfer, Andy won the Japan Junior Championship and the East Japan Junior Championship, represented Japan in the Junior World Championship, and was vice captain of the golf team at Meiji University, where he earned a law degree. In addition to leading the JGA, Andy serves on the boards of the JGTO, PGA of Japan, Japan Professional Golf Hall of Fame and the Japan High School Golf Association. Andy has served as a referee and nearly every major worldwide golf event, including the U.S. Open, Masters, PGA Championship, Players Championship, Presidents Cup and the Open Championship.