Steven D. Leach recently joined Learfield as Executive Director of Business Development where he supports the company’s core collegiate business managing multimedia rights and sponsorship initiatives for nearly 130 institutions, conferences and arenas nationwide. Prior to Learfield, Leach was an equity partner in the law firm of Jones, Skelton and Hochuli. Leach spent 30 years of practice representing corporate and public entities in Arizona on a wide variety of legal issues, although his practice over the last decade focused on representing employers on employment practices liability matters. Leach routinely spoke at national, regional and local conferences on issues relating to the management of employment practices risk.
Leach became a member of the Fiesta Bowl Committee in 2006 and was recognized as the “Rookie of the Year.” He held several leadership roles in the Fiesta Bowl Committee including being Committee Chair for the 2010-11 season. He was invited to the Fiesta Bowl Board of Directors in 2011 and became Chairman of the Board in 2017.
Leach grew up in Iowa, and he received his Bachelors of Arts from the University of Iowa in 1984 and graduated from the University of Iowa College of Law, with high distinction, in 1987. He currently resides with his family in Phoenix.
Ray Artigue is the founder of Artigue Advisors, a marketing consulting firm that he founded in 2016.
Prior to starting this firm, Artigue served for four years as Executive Director of the MBA Sports Business Program at Arizona State University, where, as a Professor of Practice, he also developed and taught numerous graduate-level courses.
For 15 seasons, Ray served as Sr. Vice President of Marketing Communications for the NBA Phoenix Suns. While there, he was credited with developing many “best practices” throughout the league and often was a trainer/consultant to various NBA franchises.
Artigue owned and operated Evans/Artigue Public Relations, a full service PR firm he founded in 1987. This “Top Five” firm was recognized by the local chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (P.R.S.A.) for their award-winning work for such clients as VISA International, Citibank (Citicorp), The Pointe Hilton Resorts and the Phoenix Suns.
Artigue is an accredited member of P.R.S.A. as well as a member of its prestigious Counselors Academy. He is a 1991 recipient of P.R.S.A.’s PERCY Award, nominated and given by professional peers to that practitioner who demonstrates excellence in their professional, personal and civic endeavors.
Artigue is a 1976 graduate of Arizona State University, earning a Bachelor of Science degree from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. In 1994, Ray received the Hall of Fame Award from the ASU College of Public Programs and in 1997, he received the Hall of Fame Award from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
He has taught numerous public relations classes in the Cronkite School and has co-authored a college textbook, Public Relations Campaigns and Tactics. He is recognized in the 1990 edition of Who’s Who in Public Relations. The Phoenix Advertising Club named him “Ad Person of the Year” in 1994 and he is a frequent lecturer on the topics of marketing, brand management and crisis communications planning.
Ray and his wife, Martha have two grown children, Jessica and Joseph, and live in Scottsdale, Arizona. His hobbies include working out, writing books and building birdhouses.
Nikki Balich is the Executive Director of the Arizona Sports and Entertainment Commission. Balich oversees the operations of the ASEC brands which include, the Grand Canyon State Games, The Lori Piestewa National Native American Games, The Arizona Sports Hall of Fame and The GCSG Annual Pickleball Tournament. Her focus is to drive the mission of the Arizona Sports & Entertainment Commission which is to represent the citizens of Arizona to bring sporting events to the state, assist in the promotion of existing events, and support youth and amateur sports programs.
Patrick Barkley is a principal with Newmark Realty Capital, the largest independently owned commercial mortgage banking firm in the western United States. Newmark sources loans through exclusive and correspondent relationships such as life insurance companies, banks, agencies, etc. The company has a Standard and Poors rated servicing department that oversees 1,200 loans totaling approximately $10 billion in assets.
Barkley has been in the commercial real estate industry for more than 20 years. His involvement in the Fiesta Bowl began in 2000 as a volunteer and committee member. Over the years, he assumed several leadership roles within the committee and game operations. In 2008, he was chosen as committee chair and led the fundraising and volunteer efforts of the Fiesta Bowl committee. In 2010, Barkley was selected to join the board of directors of the Fiesta Bowl. A native Arizonan and a graduate of the University of Arizona, he resides in Scottsdale with his wife and two sons.
Brett Benton is serving his sixth year on the Fiesta Bowl Board of Directors. Brett joined the Fiesta Bowl Committee in 2004 and has held numerous leadership roles within the organization, including Committee Chairman in 2012. He is a Senior Vice President at Horizon Insurance Group. In addition to his involvement with the Fiesta Bowl Committee, Brett is the Past President of the Board of Directors of Waste Not, Inc. and the Independent Insurance Agents of Greater Phoenix. Brett is married to Jacqueline Benton and has two daughters, Alex and Cameron.
Judy Bernas is the Associate Dean and Chief Strategy and Communication Officer for the TCU and UNTHSC School of Medicine, a new MD school in Fort Worth, Texas. She previously was with the University of Arizona for 24 years and is a Former Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority Chairperson. Bernas was recognized as a “Top 40 Under Forty” from Inside Tucson Business and the Phoenix Business Journal and was the 2013 Woman of the Year for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Arizona. Judy received her undergraduate degree from the University of Arizona and is currently completing her Master of Public Health at the University of Arizona.
Vice President, Leader of the Reengineering Project and Director of Cardiopulmonary Services. Within the donation and transplantation community, Brown has served as the President of the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations, on the board for the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) and on the UNOS Membership and Professional Standards Committee. In the community, he has served on the board for the American Heart Association, on the Advisory Committee for United Blood Services and as the Committee Chair for the Fiesta Bowl Committee.
Born and raised in Kansas City, Brown received a Bachelor of Science degree in Respiratory Therapy from the University of Kansas and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Phoenix. He resides in Scottsdale with his wife, Cathy, and enjoys sports and spending time with his four children, their families and his grandchildren.
Dr. Cárdenas is the director of the Barrow Concussion and Brain Injury Center; an interdisciplinary clinic that is nationally recognized for comprehensive patient care. Since 2009, the Center has treated thousands of individuals suffering from traumatic brain injury due to sports, accidents, and domestic violence. He is also the director of the Barrow Concussion Network, the most comprehensive statewide concussion education, prevention, and treatment program in the United States. Dr. Cárdenas provides sideline concussion coverage for Arizona State University and the National Football League. He serves on the NFL’s Head, Neck & Spine Committee, the Sport Medical Advisory Committee of the National Federation of High Schools, is chair of the Arizona Interscholastic Association Sport Medical Advisory Committee, and member of the Arizona Governor’s Council on Spinal and Head Injuries. He was awarded Arizona State University’s Young Alumni award in 2014, the 2015 American Academy of Neurology Advocate Year, and the 2016 Chicanos por la Causa Cause for a Change award for his work in concussion prevention. Dr. Cárdenas is committed to the care, treatment, and prevention of traumatic brain and spinal cord injury in children and adolescents.
Dr. Cárdenas graduated from Arizona State University with highest honors and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education. As a special education teacher, he instructed children with traumatic brain injury and developmental disabilities. For 16 years, he volunteered for Special Olympics in Arizona. His background in special education and long history of volunteerism has guided his career, leading him to the field of child neurology. He graduated from the University of Arizona, College of Medicine with honors in Neurology. He completed a residency in pediatrics at St Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, where he was recognized for his outstanding care of infants and children. Dr. Cárdenas trained in the Department of Child Neurology at Barrow Neurological Institute where he received awards for academic presentations and leadership.
Ann Damiano is a 12-year Cisco veteran having held a variety of sales and channel sales positions. She is currently the Business Development Manager for Cisco’s West Area Territory Operation. Her responsibilities include aligning with key partners, leading Operation demand generation activities and managing business operations. Ann has over 20 years of experience in high-tech sales and marketing working for industry leaders.
Prior to joining Cisco, Ann was the Director of Marketing for Calence, a Cisco Gold Partner now part of Insight Enterprises. Her responsibilities included all company marketing functions including corporate positioning, marketing communications, public relations, sales support and event marketing. She has held a variety of marketing positions including roles at Pegasus, Microtest and Honeywell.
Ann is active in the Phoenix community serving on the Board of Directors for the Fiesta Bowl and the Arizona Humane Society. She previously served on the Board of the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce. She holds a Bachelor’s of Business Administration in Marketing and an MBA from Boise State University.
Mark Fast has been a member of the Fiesta Bowl Yellow Jacket Committee since 2000 and first started as a Fiesta Bowl volunteer in 1997. A current member of the Charitable Giving Committee, Fast earned the organization’s Frank Snell Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013-14. He also served as Event Chair as a Team Liaison and for the Hole in One Challenge and has twice been a Sales Commissioner for the Yellow Jacket Committee. Fast is a Vice President of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management.
Marchelle Franklin oversees a staff of 325 employees and a $62 million budget as City of Phoenix Human Services Director. She joined the City of Phoenix in 2002 and, prior to her current role, served as director of the Phoenix Police Department Community Affairs division, deputy director for community development and government relations at Sky Harbor Airport and separate roles as chief of staff for the Mayor and City Council. Before transitioning to municipal work, Franklin spent nearly 15 years in the private sector working in human resources management. In addition to her volunteer leadership role at the Fiesta Bowl, Franklin is the Chair of the Board for the Black Chamber of Arizona.
Gary Hanson serves as Senior Director, Communications for Andeavor, a Fortune 100 company. Gary oversees all communications for the company. He previously served as Vice President, Corporate Communications of Western Refining since 2007and was responsible for all communications for Western Refining, Western Refining Logistics, and Northern Tier Energy, all publicly traded companies on the New York Stock Exchange. He was responsible for managing overall brand image of each company and directs the advertising, corporate sponsorships, internal communications, and community relations for all three companies.
Prior to joining Western Refining, Gary was the Global Marketing Director for the Manufacturing Industry Group at EDS where he was responsible for all marketing strategy and communications
Previously, Gary was Vice President, Marketing for Software Spectrum. He moved to Software Spectrum from EDS, where was Director of Marketing Communications.
Earlier, he was Vice President of Account Services at Michael & Partners Advertising, and, before that, he was on the marketing staff of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team where he developed corporate sponsor packages, and designed and implemented numerous promotional activities. Gary began his career in sales and marketing in 1980 for Eli Lilly & Company.
Gary received his BBA degree in Marketing from Texas Tech University where he served as Student Body President. He and his wife, Susan, have six children.
Jim Hatfield is executive vice president and chief financial officer for Pinnacle West Capital Corporation (PNW) and its primary subsidiary, Arizona Public Service Company (APS), Arizona’s largest electric company. The companies are headquartered in Phoenix.
Hatfield is responsible for most corporate functions, including finance and treasury, investor relations, financial planning and budgeting, investment management, accounting, tax services, enterprise risk management, corporate development, internal audit, enterprise process improvement, information technology and human resources.
Before joining Pinnacle West in 2008, Hatfield was senior vice president and chief financial officer of OGE Energy Corp. He has over 38 years of financial experience in the utility and energy business.
Hatfield is past chairman of EIM LTD, an insurance provider to the energy industry, and serves on its board of directors. He is on the board of the University of Central Missouri Foundation. Hatfield is a former football official in the Big XII Conference and Western Athletic Conference as well as the Arena Football League.
Hatfield earned a bachelor’s degree from University of Central Missouri and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Missouri -Kansas City. He has completed the INPO Reactor Technology Course for Utility Executives at MIT.
Michael Hecomovich has over thirty years of progressive business experience that ranges from Fortune 100 companies to small start-up ventures. He has had the opportunity to develop a broad base of skills in general management, sales, marketing and business development. He has been involved in the start-up and growth of eleven different companies. He also has experience in turnaround and growth ventures in positions of general management, sales, marketing and operations at all levels. As a result, he has an in-depth understanding of the issues regarding new companies, business development and leadership.
Mike was the founder and Chairman/CEO of Global Marketing Services, the exclusive sales and marketing organization the represented IBM Printing Supplies in North and South America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) for ten years. Global Marketing Services has a separate division that serves as the Oracle Tape Media Sales and Support Team in the Americas, EMEA and Asia Pacific. He is currently involved as a founder of a Big Data software solutions company.
He lived in Europe for three years and has traveled extensively. He possesses excellent cross-cultural communications skills and works well in a diverse and challenging environment. He has received language training in Italian, Portuguese and Spanish and has excellent understanding of the global marketplace.
Mike holds a BS in engineering from the United States Naval Academy. During his senior year, he was Brigade Commander, the highest-ranking midshipman at the Naval Academy. Mike started as offensive tackle for Navy’s football team for two years and later coached the offensive line for two years. He served in the Navy as a Surface Warfare Officer on the USS Green Bay and USS Joseph Strauss. He was honorably discharged from the United States Navy in 1976.
Mike received his MBA in International Management from the Thunderbird School of Global Management and is a member of Honor Societies for International Studies, Modern Languages and World Business. Mike serves as a trustee on the US Naval Academy Foundation [A&SP] Board. He is a life member of the US Naval Academy Alumni Association and also serves on the Naval Academy Class of ’71 Board of Trustees. Mike was the Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Thunderbird School of Global Management for three years. He is Chairman Emeritus of the Fiesta Bowl Board of Directors. He serves on the Barrow Neurological Institute Board of Directors.
Mike currently resides in Scottsdale, Arizona, with his wife, Sandy. They love to ski, golf and travel.
Richard Horn spent 22 years with Coopers & Lybrand (now PricewaterhouseCoopers) – twelve years as a general partner working primarily with manufacturers, early stage technology based companies, retailers and wholesale distributors. Before retiring, Horn was an executive with PETsMART, Inc. In addition to the Fiesta Bowl he currently serves on the Board of Directors of St Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center and the Westgate Medical Center in Phoenix, AZ. Horn is on the Board of Directors of Nautilus, Inc. where he serves as chair of the compensation committee and member of the audit and governance committees. In addition, he is a member of the National Association of Corporate Directors Phoenix Chapter and a graduate of the NACD Director Professionalism course. Horn is a graduate of Indiana University with a bachelor’s degree in accounting.
Steven D. Leach is a partner in the law firm of Jones, Skelton and Hochuli where he chairs the firm’s employment law practice group. Leach has spent his twenty-plus years of practice representing corporate and public entities in Arizona on a wide variety of legal issues, although his practice has focused over the last decade on representing employers on employment practices liability matters. He routinely speaks at national, regional and local conferences on issues relating to the management of employment practices risk. Leach became a member of the Fiesta Bowl Committee in 2006 and was recognized as the “Rookie of the Year.” He has held several leadership roles in the Fiesta Bowl Committee including being Committee Chair for the 2010-11 season. He was invited to the Fiesta Bowl Board of Directors in 2011.
Leach grew up in Iowa, and he received his Bachelors of Arts from the University of Iowa in 1984 and graduated from the University of Iowa College of Law, with high distinction, in 1987. He currently resides with his family in Phoenix.
Rob Longo is the Vice President and General Counsel-Western Areas for Waste Management. Previously he served as a Senior Vice President and General Counsel for Coach USA, was a partner in several law firms. Longo volunteers for the Scottsdale YMCA and is the Treasurer for the Adventure Guides Program. He received his undergraduate degree in finance from Texas Christian University and his law degree from St. Mary’s University.
Gonzalo de la Melena serves the community as the President of the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (AZHCC) & Operator of the Phoenix Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), the States leading advocate representing more than 150,000 Minority Business Enterprises. Gonzalo is also the Founder of Emerging Airport Ventures, LLC a concessions company with food, beverage and retail holdings in Phoenix – Sky Harbor International Airport.
Gonzalo has over 20 years of global management experience. He began his career in consumer products with Coca-Cola Enterprises before joining The Dial Corporation where he conducted business in more than thirty countries before the age of thirty.
Gonzalo serves as a member of The Corporate Advisory Board for JPMorgan Chase Bank of Arizona, Board of Directors – Fiesta Bowl, The Global Council of Thunderbird, The School of Global Management and as a Board Member of Valley of the Sun – United Way.
Gonzalo is recipient of the Phoenix Business Journal 40 under 40 and is a graduate of Valley Leadership.
Gonzalo received his MBA from Thunderbird, School of Global Management and earned his undergraduate degree in business from Arizona State University.
Kelly Mero has been a valley resident since 1970. He attended Sunnyslope High School and Arizona State University. Kelly’s professional career has been in publishing and information technology. Currently Kelly is the Associate Publisher/Director of Sales and Marketing for Arizona Highways Magazine and COO for Grand Canyon State Logo Signs.
Kelly is active in many charitable and community organizations and currently serves on the Fiesta Bowl Board and PANG (Phoenix Air National Guard) Patriots Board. Kelly is a past board member of the Arizona Tourism Alliance, Friends of Arizona Highways as well as a past Honorary Commander for Luke Air Force base.
Kelly and his wife Cindy have two children, daughters Quin and Carson.
Ron Minegar is beginning his 15th season with the Cardinals after joining the organization from Disney Sports in 2000.
In his current position, the 56-year old Minegar is responsible for developing the clubs strategic plan and oversees all aspects of the Cardinals business operations. He serves as the team’s primary negotiator on all broadcast agreements, training camp agreements, concessionaire contracts, ticketing agreements and retail merchandise contracts. Additionally, he was a part of the project team during the design and construction of University of Phoenix Stadium and works closely with the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority and the stadium’s Facility Management firm on business and operational issues.
Prior to joining the Cardinals, Minegar was recruited to serve as Vice-President, Sales and Marketing for Anaheim Sports, Inc., a division of the Walt Disney Corporation. Originally hired to direct marketing and sales for the Anaheim Angels, Minegar ultimately assumed the additional responsibility of overseeing the marketing and sales efforts for the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.
A native of the Midwest, Minegar began his sports career with the La Crosse, WI franchise of the Continental Basketball Association serving as team President and representing the club’s ownership on all league issues from 1985 to 1990. From 1991-1995, he served as the Director of Corporate Sales for the Minnesota Timberwolves and Target Center. Minegar left the Timberwolves to assist in the startup of the Minnesota Moose, an expansion franchise in the International Hockey League. In his role as Vice-President of Business Operations, he developed the organizations overall business and operational plan and oversaw the launch of the wildly popular Moose logo resulting in record league merchandise and promotional sales. Upon the announcement of the NHL’s return to the Twin Cities in 1997, Minegar assisted in the relocation of the IHL franchise to Winnipeg, Manitoba, then became CEO of Diamond Sports Group and was involved in acquisition projects within minor league baseball, basketball and hockey.
He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse in 1981 and in 1984 earned a Master’s in Business Administration from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota.
Born in Pittsburgh, PA, Minegar resides in Phoenix. He and his wife Margaret have two children – daughter Jenna and a son Craig.
Randy is currently a Lead Client Service Partner with Deloitte, LLP and serves several Global Fortune-500 high-tech industry clients. He is accountable for managing the delivery of Management Consulting, Tax, Risk and Financial Advisory Services and his background includes market strategy, process and operations management with extensive experience in sales strategy, digital strategy and technology. Randy has successfully led several large-scale business transformation initiatives including: corporate and market strategy development, global trade compliance, global import / export classification solutions, enterprise IT strategy development, enterprise systems implementations and business process optimization. He is a strategic business advisor to senior-level executives and has served dozens of Fortune 500 executives to help align business strategy and technology. Prior to joining Deloitte, Randy held executive positions at JP Morgan Chase and Bank of America.
Randy received a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from The ASU W.P. Carey School of Business and dual Bachelor Degrees in Economics and Business from The University of Redlands. He also played basketball for The University of Redlands and helped lead the Bulldogs to a Conference Championship his junior year.
Mr. Norton joined the Fiesta Bowl Family in 2002 and has held numerous leadership positions including serving as The Board Treasurer, The Board Chair of the Budget and Finance Committee and The 2014 Chairman of The Fiesta Bowl Committee. Mr. Norton also served on the Branch Board of The Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Phoenix. He and his wife, Susanne Ingold, reside in Arcadia, Arizona.
Chuck O’Connor is a Vice President with Merrill Lynch in Scottsdale. He previously spent eight years with IBM Corporation in Phoenix. O’Connor has almost 30 years of experience as a volunteer and Fiesta Bowl Committee member. During this time, he has served in a number of leadership positions including chairman of the Game Operations, Statewide Support and Team Liaison committees. In 2002, Chuck was presented with the Frank Snell Lifetime Achievement Award. He was invited to the Fiesta Bowl Board of Directors in 2009. While on the Board, he has served as chairman of the Hospitality and Team Liaison Committee and as Board Secretary.
He has also served on the boards of the University of Arizona Alumni Association, the Scottsdale Boys & Girls Clubs, Brophy College Prep and the Trilateral Commission. He graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.
Tom O’Malley serves as Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel for JDM and its various assets and investments. Mr. O’Malley oversees the day-to-day management of JDM’s assets and investments, and administration of JDM’s legal affairs, including strategizing and negotiating the purchase and sale of real estate, contracts and leases, providing legal advice and guidance to all departments and employees, and facilitating all legal matters through JDM’s outside legal counsel.
Prior to joining JDM, Mr. O’Malley served as a member of a select senior management team, and as General Counsel, for all of Jerry Colangelo’s sports franchises and sports facilities, including the Phoenix Suns, Arizona Diamondbacks, US Airways Center (formerly America West Arena), Chase Field (formerly Bank One Ballpark) and Comerica Theatre in downtown Phoenix.
As a senior executive, Mr. O’Malley was directly responsible for corporate and legal decisions for all facets of management of these professional sports franchises and facilities, including the purchase, leasing, financing and management of the real estate assets owned and leased by such entities on behalf of the various sports organizations and facilities.
Mr. O’Malley negotiated the sale of the Phoenix Suns franchise in June, 2004 for a record sale price in excess of $400 million; the sale of the Arizona Rattlers franchise; the sale of a partial, yet controlling interest in the Phoenix Mercury WNBA team; and the acquisition of the Phoenix Road Runners hockey franchise.
Mr. O’Malley received his B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Kansas and his J.D. from the University of Arizona.
Jim Phillips is Vice President for Athletics & Recreation at Northwestern University. Under his leadership since 2008, the Wildcats have reached new heights academically, socially and athletically. The group compiled a record 3.32 GPA last year and established a record with 245 Academic All-Big Ten honors in 2016-17. Northwestern’s Academic Progress Rates and Graduation Success Rate rank among the best in the nation. Last year the Wildcats collection of more than than 500 young men and women totaled more than 5,500 hours of community service, the sixth consecutive year exceeding that mark.
Wildcats football has posted a pair of 10-win campaigns and two bowl victories over the last five seasons, and recently announced a contract extension for head coach Pat Fitzgerald that secures the Northwestern All-American’s future in Evanston through the 2026 season. With Phillips at the helm, the University earned its first-ever NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament appearance and victory, and has captured championships in lacrosse, softball, golf, field hockey, fencing, soccer, tennis, swimming, diving and wrestling.
Beginning this fall, Phillips will serve on the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee, Northwestern’s first representative on the committee in 50 years. In April he completed a two-year term as the inaugural chair of the NCAA Division I Council, and was the first-ever sitting athletic director to serve on the NCAA Board of Directors and Board of Governors. He is a past president of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics, and was honored as a 2016 NACDA/Under Armour Athletic Director of the Year.
Dawn Rogers brings a wealth of experience in intercollegiate athletics to her position as Deputy Athletics Director at Baylor University. At Baylor, Rogers provides oversight to the areas of Student-Athlete Excellence and Student-Athlete Health and Wellness. Rogers also leads the areas of strategic planning and initiatives, Title IX, inclusivity, gender equity and diversity. She is the sport program administrator for Baylor’s Men’s Basketball, Women’s Tennis and Women’s Golf teams.
Prior to Baylor, Rogers served as the Executive Director and CEO of the 2017 Phoenix Final Four Local Organizing Committee where she was responsible for the overall direction of the 2017 Phoenix Men’s Final Four. The 2017 Phoenix Final Four, hosted in Arizona for the first time, became the second highest attended championship weekend in the tournaments history, generating an economic impact of over $324.5 million. The Phoenix Local Organizing Committee launched a statewide Read to the Final Four Competition open to all third graders across the State of Arizona that saw more than 35,000 contestants read over 6.2 million minutes which was the largest number of participants for any NCAA literacy campaign.
Before she was hired by the Phoenix Local Organizing Committee, Rogers spent nine years at Arizona State University as Senior Associate Athletics Director and Senior Women’s Administrator. She came to the Valley from Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she served as Athletics Director.
Rogers has served on numerous NCAA cabinets and committees with a strong focus on student-athlete welfare. Rogers earned her Master’s Degree in sports management in 1987 from the University of Massachusetts after receiving her bachelor’s degree from Ithaca College, where she graduated cum laude in 1986. She was a collegiate volleyball and track and field student-athlete. Rogers and her husband Rob have two children, Owen and Hazel, and reside in Waco, Texas.
Rachel Sacco first joined Experience Scottsdale in 1986 and has served the leading hospitality organization as its only president and CEO. A recognized innovator within the tourism industry, she has been a major supporter of the Fiesta Bowl and has partnered with the organization on initiatives to host events in the city of Scottsdale. Sacco is a member of the Board of Directors for the U.S. Travel Association as well as the Arizona Lodging and Tourism Association Board. She also was inducted into Scottsdale’s History Hall of Fame in 2016 and received the Drinkwater Leadership Award from Scottsdale Leadership in 2011.
Bringing a diverse background to her role, Denise Seomin joined The Phoenician in August 2007 as Director of Public Relations and Marketing Communications. In this position, she is responsible for overseeing the daily publicity efforts for the AAA Five Diamond luxury resort, and its boutique hotel, The Canyon Suites, while managing promotions, sponsorships, charitable giving and internal communications.
Within the hospitality industry, Seomin has also served as Consumer Media Relations Director at Best Western International, and Public Relations Manager at Princess Cruises. She began her career in sports, working as Assistant Athletic Media Relations Director at Iowa State University, before being named Media Relations Director at FOX Sports Net.
A native of Cincinnati, Seomin received her bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in sports management from The Ohio State University. She joined the Fiesta Bowl Committee in 2009-2010, when she was named the Rookie of the Year. She went on to serve as Media Operations Chair in 2013-2014, while working on various other committees over the years. Seomin is currently in her sixth year as a member of the Bowl’s Charitable Giving Committee, and her fourth season as moderator for all Fiesta Bowl and Cactus Bowl game-week press conferences.
Marcus is the President and lead consultant for Blind Side, which expedites service business’s performance and owner accountability. Blind Side helps owners from pre-net revenue to owner sales and management transition stages. Prior to Blind Side, Marcus was President and Founder of TB Consulting, a 90+ professional service team focused on providing managed services to midsized organizations. Marcus was formerly a CPA and spent 20 years with Andersen Consulting / Accenture where he was responsible for the New Mexico and Arizona state and local government practice.
Marcus holds an undergraduate degree in accounting from Western Illinois University and his MBA from the Arizona State University W.P. Carey School of Business. He has been recognized as the WIU Alumni Achievement Award Recipient and the 2001 Distinguished Alumnus College of Business and Technology. He is an active participant with WIU as part of the President’s Advisory Council, ASU College of Education Dean’s Advisory Council, a member of the Catholic Charities Community Organization Board and sits on a number of other local boards and foundations.
For nearly 30 years, Bryan R. Sperber has been an integral part of the motorsports and entertainment industry at its highest levels, consistently spearheading change and innovation from coast to coast. Currently the President of Phoenix Raceway, Bryan has guided the strategic and operational vision for one of the most popular venues in the sport, for both fans and drivers alike.
Throughout his 15 years as president of Phoenix Raceway, Bryan has guided the track through significant capital expansion, overseen the addition of a second Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race, as well as helped secure the return of the Verizon IndyCar Series to the Raceway. The jewel of his tenure at Phoenix Raceway is the current $178 million modernization project – the Phoenix Raceway Project Powered by DC Solar – which will create a best-in-class facility in Phoenix that will serve as a destination for motorsports fans everywhere.
An active and connected leader in the Phoenix and Arizona business communities, Bryan has been cited as a “Power Broker” by Arizona Sports & Leisure Magazine four times during his decade and a half at Phoenix Raceway. He also was named to the Phoenix Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” in 2006 – after only four years as track president. While serving as president at Phoenix Raceway, Bryan also was Chairman of Auto Club Speedway near Los Angeles from 2005-07, overseeing the facility’s day-to-day operations, while helping lead the transition team for new leadership.
Prior to arriving at Phoenix Raceway, Bryan was the president of Watkins Glen International, where he was the youngest track president in NASCAR, being elevated at age 30 from the Director of Sponsorships at International Speedway Corporation (ISC). Bryan has spent his entire career, beginning in 1990, under the ISC umbrella – parent company of Phoenix Raceway, Watkins Glen International, and Auto Club Speedway – establishing himself as one of the key influencers in motorsports.
Away from the track, Bryan has been an involved member of the Phoenix community through a number of local organizations, and is a member of the Arizona chapter of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO). He is president of the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame, and is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Fiesta Bowl, one of college football’s most iconic bowl games.
A graduate of Florida State University, he and his wife Lara, live in Phoenix with their son, Aaron.
Andrew Stegen is working for the Wyndham Hotel Group, and is currently the General Manager of Westward Look Resort (a Wyndham Grand Resort) in Tucson. An accomplished hotelier with three decades of management experience with luxury hotels and resorts in the United States, Canada, and Europe, Stegen has held positions in many hotels, including Fairmont’s Banff Springs Hotel, Fairmont’s Le Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City, and as General Manager of the historic Arizona Biltmore (a Waldorf-Astoria hotel).
At Westward Look, as the General Manager of a landmark property that is an historical anchor of the local Tucson community, Stegen believes community involvement – focused on assisting the less fortunate and enhancing the quality of life – is one of his fundamental responsibilities. He has always been very active in the community, assuming a leadership role with a number of important foundations, associations and charitable organizations, such as Ryan’s House, and the Phoenix CVB. He has been involved in the Fiesta Bowl for 12 years and was elected to the Board in 2010. In addition to the Fiesta Bowl, Stegen’s current board service includes President of the MVP Foundation, and Executive Board member for David Johnson’s Mission 31 Foundation.
Born and raised in Canada, he graduated from Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. An avid sports fan, in his youth Stegen played hockey and football, was a collegiate swimmer, and has completed many marathons, half-marathons, and other races.
Michael R. Wilcox is Chairman and CEO of Wilcox Financial and Wilcox Sports Management and provides high-level specialized financial advice for his diversified clientele. Wilcox Financial is a boutique financial services and consulting company with a long tradition of excellence and growth.
Since founding Wilcox Financial in 1982, Mr. Wilcox has directly served his clients in 39 states and 12 countries. A Registered Investment Advisor, he leads a specialized team of Financial Advisors and investment experts serving more than 2,500 corporations and executives, closely held family business owners and high-net-worth individuals.
Wilcox Sports Management, founded in 2001, represents over 400 football and basketball coaches, athletic directors, university presidents, conference commissioners and broadcasters throughout the country in all areas of finance and planning.
Mr. Wilcox is a Financial Advisor with authenticity, borrowing from his experience as a three-time All-American athlete in recognizing innovative planning opportunities for his clients. His personal athletic and business accomplishments have recognized him in 5 Athletic Hall of Fames as well as the Bowling Green State University Entrepreneurial Hall of Fame. In 2010, he was named as one of Bowling Green’s top 100 Alumni in the past 100 years.
Mr. Wilcox is not only a widely respected authority in the financial sector, but also a highly sought after speaker. He and his wife, Jan, have a son, Ben, a Financial Advisor at Wilcox Financial and Wilcox Sports Management, and a daughter, Sarah, a Partner Service Coordinator, for IMG College in Columbus, Ohio.
Glenn M. Wong is an attorney, professor, arbitrator and author. He joined Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law as a Distinguished Professor of Practice in 2015. In 2017, he was named Executive Director of ASU’s Sports Law & Business Program. In 2018, ASU’s JD program added a specialization in Sports Law & Business. ASU’s Veterans Sports Law & Business Program–a hybrid online/on-ground master’s degree program for former servicemen and women interested in working in the sports industry–also welcomed its first class in 2018. Wong has worked with various organizations, including the National Football League, Major League Baseball, the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the American Arbitration Association, and PGA of America.
Wong spent 36 years as a professor at the University of Massachusetts in various roles, including: 10 years as Department Head of the Mark H. McCormack Department of Sport Management (1987-92; 1993-98); Interim Athletic Director (1992-93); Faculty member in the Isenberg School of Management (2003-15); Acting Dean of the School of Physical Education (1992-93); and Faculty Athletics Representative to the NCAA (1993-2013). He has served on the Board of Directors of several non-profit organizations, including the U.S. Tennis Association New England and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Wong is a Past President of the Sports Lawyers Association (SLA) and has been a board member since 1998. He has authored or co-authored several books and over 100 articles, including the first sports law casebook (Law and Business of the Sports Industries (1986), with Robert C. Berry), the Essentials of Sports Law, 4th Edition (2010) and The Comprehensive Guide to Careers in Sports, 2nd Edition (2012).