Meet the 2019 Connect Sports Game Changers

By Connect Sports Staff, August 13, 2019

Sports tourism is, above all else, a relationship business. Event professionals drive big business to communities through innovative practices and smart networking. Few do this better than these 19 individuals. They are a perfect representation of this close-knit, diverse industry. Here, Connect Sports honors the industry’s sharpest minds with our fourth annual collection of Game Changers—the people who have elevated sports tourism through innovation and precise execution. We look forward to honoring these Game Changers at Connect Sports in Louisville, Aug. 26-28. As always, thanks to SportsPittsburgh for sponsoring this editorial initiative.

Adam AndraskoAdam Andrasko

USA Synchro
Colorado Springs


Jim Arnold, Sports Force ParksJim Arnold

Director of Business Development
Sports Force Parks
Woodstock, Georgia


Ashleigh Bachert, Durham Sports CommissionAshleigh Bachert, CSEE

Executive Director
Durham Sports Commission
Durham, North Carolina


Ginger Lively Cade, Dallas Sports CommissionGinger Lively Cade

Sales Director
Dallas Sports Commission


Josh Dill, Visit FriscoJosh Dill, CSEE

Director of Sports and Events
Visit Frisco
Frisco, Texas


Lawrence Hamm, Destination DCLawrence M. Hamm II

Senior Manager of Sports Development and Strategy
Destination DC
Washington, D.C. 


Beth Hecquet, ScrippsBeth Hecquet, CMP, CMM

Program Manager of Events
Scripps National Spelling Bee


Anthony Holman, NCAAAnthony Holman, MSS, MBA

Managing Director
Championships and Alliances – Playing Rules and Officiating, NCAA


David Killian, Gay GamesDavid Killian

Officer of Site Selection
Federation of Gay Games


Pedro Meloni, USA WeightliftingPedro Meloni

Director, Events and Sponsorship
USA Weightlifting
Colorado Springs


Rhanee Palma, Visit OaklandRhanee Palma, CMDE

Vice President of Sales and Services
Visit Oakland
Oakland, California


Michelle Perry, BCW Sport Practice – North AmericaMichelle Perry

Senior Consultant
BCW Sport Practice – North America


Nick Povalitis, RockfordNick Povalitis, CDME

Director of Sports Development
Rockford Area CVB
Rockford, Illinois


Erik Sabato, Wyndham Hotels and ResortsErik Sabato, CSEE

Senior Director, Global Sales | Specialty Team
Wyndham Hotels & Resorts
Centennial, Colorado


Megan Schmidt, Elite TournamentsMegan Schmidt

Vice President of Event Operations
Elite Tournaments
Baltimore, Maryland


R. Ron Sertz, Erie, Pa.R. Ron Sertz

Chairman, PA Sports;
Executive Consultant, Erie Sports Commission
Erie, Pennsylvania


David StephensDavid Stephens

Founder and CEO
DynaSports Group and PrimeTime Sports; CEO, Bigfoot Hoops
Frisco, Texas


Blake Thompson, Teammate BasketballBlake Thompson

Teammate Basketball
Grimsley, Tennessee


Katie Yarber, Chicago Sports CommissionKatie Yarber

Senior Manager, Events and Operations
Chicago Sports Commission