KemperSports Brings Leaders Together at Annual Conference to Reaffirm Strategic Vision and Celebrate Passion-Driven Purpose
Company Recognizes 2021 Achievements and Top Performers from Across the Country
NORTHBROOK, Ill. – KemperSports leaders from around the country reunited in Anaheim, California, in April to celebrate recent accomplishments and reinforce the company’s strategic priorities through education and networking opportunities.
The company gathered at a time when interest in golf is at an all-time high. A record 3.2 million Americans played golf on a course for the first time in 2021, as reported by the NGF. In 2021, KemperSports recorded a strong increase in rounds played across every property category (daily fee, private clubs and destination resorts) and a 70 percent increase in lesson and clinic participation across its portfolio.
KemperSports CEO Steve Skinner reinforced the company’s mission and core values of service, loyalty, relationships, integrity, creativity and financial discipline throughout the event, while calling attention to the beliefs that drive all KemperSports clients and customer experiences. Passion was a key theme of the conference with educational programming that focused on creating must-have experiences to help customers pursue their passions. Staff engagement, revenue generation and leadership development were also highlighted topics throughout the week, giving all attendees an opportunity to share best practices and reflect on industry trends.
Together, Skinner and Executive Vice President Jeremy Goldblatt set the vision and strategic priorities for the coming year, which included a commitment to investment and growth across the portfolio with new clients and properties under management, with staff through new training and leadership development programs and with local organizations in the communities where it operates.
The conference also provided an opportunity to celebrate the organization’s longtime support of Folds of Honor, a nonprofit organization that provides educational scholarships to families of fallen or disabled service members. In 2021, KemperSports and its properties exceeded the $1 million milestone in collective fundraising efforts for Folds of Honor, which has resulted in more than 200 funded scholarships.
To take it a step further, KemperSports teamed up with sister company KemperLesnik earlier this year to connect Folds of Honor scholarship recipients with meaningful employment opportunities in the golf and hospitality industries, public relations, sports marketing and events businesses. Folds of Honor scholarship recipients who meet the job requirements now receive first preference in hiring and training opportunities across both companies. Details about the new program are listed on the KemperSports website at www.kempersports.com/folds.
The 2022 KemperSports Leadership Conference concluded with an awards dinner to recognize the company’s top achievers and facilities. Honorees recognized at this year’s event include:
- Facility of the Year: Cantigny Golf (Wheaton, IL). Cantigny celebrated a historic year in 2021. The team kicked off the year by earning status as a Top 30 In-State Facility by Golf Digest, which marked the first of many accolades that included the National Golf Course Owners Association Player Development Award, Golf Range Association of America Top 50 Facility Award and an Illinois PGA Player Development Award.
- James R. Seeley General Manager of the Year: Marc Guiseppi, Golden Horseshoe Golf Club (Williamsburg, VA). Recognized for his incredible leadership and unwavering support of his staff, both personally and professionally, Guiseppi kept his team solutions-focused in the face of ongoing challenges presented by COVID-19 to deliver a record year in 2021.
- James S. Kemper Staffer of the Year: Rachel Burke, Village Club of Sands Point (Sands Point, NY). Throughout 2021, Burke personified the core values of TrueService™ while assuming bigger roles and responsibilities throughout the club. In addition to leading all membership communications and social media efforts, she took over the food and beverage operations at the club’s pool complex and led 25 private fall events.
- Mady Lesnik Home Office Staffer of the Year: Brendan McCarthy, National Director of Sales, Marketing & Revenue Management. A long-time staffer, McCarthy played an integral role in countless company initiatives and projects that have delivered outstanding customer service and impressive results. With an eye toward providing best-in-class service for all properties, McCarthy has proven to be a trusted resource for his team in marketing and revenue-generation strategies.
- Emil Esposito Golf Professional of the Year: Daryl Parenteau, Rancho Solano Golf Course (Fairfield, CA). A mainstay in the community for more than 30 years, Parenteau was instrumental in the launch of a new golf academy that created more opportunities for juniors while also growing ladies programming.
- Retailer of the Year: Golden Horseshoe Golf Club (Williamsburg, VA). Standing out in a crowded field, the team at Golden Horseshoe experienced record sales and increased profits in 2021 while also launching a creative new program to support golf sales.
- Salesperson of the Year: Michael Koenig, The Glen Club (Glenview, IL). Koenig was recognized for his outstanding sales performance in 2021, which included a club-record of new members in a single year, and his adaptability to address a variety of club needs.
- Superintendent of the Year: Chris Bien, Desert Willow Golf Resort (Palm Desert, CA). A respected leader in agronomy across the region, Bien enhanced summer course conditions tremendously, which helped Desert Willow achieve record-high green fee revenue. He also led technological advances to improve the consistency of playing conditions year-round while helping to plan for major renovation projects.
- Hospitality Professional of the Year: Janine Stepanich, Galloping Hill Golf Course (Kenilworth, NJ). Over the course of two years, Stepanich highlighted her dedication to KemperSports and her skill as a hospitality professional by navigating staffing challenges, lack of product and full turnover of leadership to deliver outstanding business results.
- Green to a Tee Facility of the Year: Sand Valley (Nekoosa, WI). Selected for its commitment to environmental stewardship and long-term sustainability, Sand Valley earned Green to a Tee Level II certification in 2021. The team achieved this status with a compelling playbook of practices that included an energy efficient irrigation system, LED lighting throughout the entire property and commitment to the Sand Valley Restoration Trust to restore land that offers a safe environment for animals and butterflies.
- Safety National Facility of the Year: Bolingbrook Golf Club (Bolingbrook, IL). For the seventh consecutive year, Bolingbrook Golf Club took home this award, which recognizes efforts to ensure that overall property and workplace safety are front of mind for all staff members daily.
- Safety National Most Improved: Buffalo Creek Golf Club (Rockwall, TX). In 2021, the team at Buffalo Creek was recognized for its ability to make significant safety improvements throughout the facility in the areas of electrical safety, golf cart usage and personal protective equipment.
- Daily Fee, True Service Champion: Skyway Golf Course at Lincoln Park West (Jersey City, NJ). Each year, KemperSports recognizes the property with the highest True Review Net Promoter Score as the True Service Champion. Skyway Golf Course at Lincoln Park West received an outstanding NPS score of 94.2 during an incredibly challenging year.
- Private Club, True Service Champion: Country Club of St. Albans (St. Albans, MO). KemperSports is also proud to honor the property that received the highest net promoter score in its Annual Member Survey. The Country Club of St. Albans received this honor for the second year in a row.
“We are incredibly proud of our team’s accomplishments over the past year,” said KemperSports CEO Steve Skinner. “In a year with great demand, staffing challenges and supply chain disruptions, it was inspiring to recount the stories of determination, passion and commitment of our deserving award-winners and celebrate their success together in person. We congratulate our award winners and look forward to carrying the great momentum from our leadership conference into the 2022 season.”
Northbrook, Ill.-based KemperSports builds, owns, leases and manages golf courses, resorts, athletic clubs and lodging venues across the U.S. and Caribbean. The company manages an award-winning portfolio including nationally-ranked courses, private clubs, municipal courses and tournament venues such as Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, named the No. 1 Golf Resort in North America by Golf Digest and GOLF Magazine; Streamsong Resort; The Glen Club; Desert Willow Golf Resort; Chambers Bay, host of the 2015 U.S. Open. For more information about KemperSports, please visit www.kempersports.com.
Megan Godfrey, KemperSports
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