Michael Hecomovich first joined the Fiesta Bowl Organization as a volunteer in 1990. He became a member of the Yellow Jacket Committee in 1998 and was elected to the Fiesta Bowl Board of Directors in 2009. With more than 30 years of progressive business experience ranging from Fortune 100 companies to small start-up ventures, he has been involved in the start-up and growth of 11 different companies. Hecomovich was the Founder and Chairman/CEO of Global Marketing Services, the exclusive sales and marketing organization that represented IBM Printing Supplies in North and South America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) for 10 years.
Hecomovich holds a BS in engineering from the United States Naval Academy and received his MBA in International Management from the Thunderbird School of Global Management. A life member of the U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association and the Naval Academy Class of ’71 Board of Trustees, Hecomovich was honorably discharged from the United States Navy in 1976. He is a member of Honor Societies for International Studies, Modern Languages and World Business, and he serves on the Board of Trustees for the Thunderbird School of Global Management. Hecomovich was the first Chairman of the Board for American Solutions for Winning the Future. He and his wife, Sandy, reside in Paradise Valley.
Andrew McCain is the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer for Hensley Beverage Company. His responsibilities include overseeing and managing the finance, treasury, strategic planning, information technology, operations, sales and marketing functions of the company.
He also serves as Chairman, Anheuser-Busch National Wholesaler Advisory Panel; Past Chairman, Current Board and Executive Committee member of The Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce; Co-chair Hensley Employee Foundation; and Patrons Committee member of United Methodist Outreach Ministries’ New Day Centers.
McCain received his Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics in 1984, and a Masters in Business Administration, 1986, both from Vanderbilt University. He resides in Phoenix with his wife and their two children. He enjoys watching his children compete in sports, playing golf, and following the Valley’s sports teams.
Andrew Stegen is General Manager of Arizona Biltmore Resort in Phoenix. An accomplished hotelier with two decades of management experience with luxury hotels and resorts in the United States, Canada, and Europe, Stegen took the reins as General Manager of the historic Arizona Biltmore in 2007.
As the General Manager of a landmark property that is an historical anchor of the local community, Stegen believes community involvement – focused on assisting the needy and enhancing the quality of life – is one of his fundamental responsibilities. Over his years at the Biltmore, starting when he was Director of Operations, he has been very active in the community, assuming a leadership role with a number of important foundations, associations and charitable organizations. He has been involved in the Fiesta Bowl for four years and was elected to the Board in 2010. In addition to the Fiesta Bowl, Stegen’s current board service includes Arizona Hotel & Lodging Association, Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau, Biltmore Area Partnership and two charities: Ryan House and Brandon Webb’s “K” 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 swimmer, and has completed many marathons, among other races.
Ann C. Damiano has more than 20 years of experience in high-tech sales and marketing working for industry leaders. In 2005, Damiano joined Cisco Systems, the global leader in computer networking that transforms how people connect, communicate and collaborate. Prior to joining Cisco, Ms. Damiano was the Director of Marketing for Calence, a Cisco Gold Partner now part of Insight headquartered in Tempe. Her responsibilities included all company marketing functions, including corporate positioning, marketing communications, public relations, sales support and event marketing. Since 1987, she has held a variety of marketing positions in Phoenix including roles at Pegasus, Microtest and Honeywell.
Damiano is active in the Phoenix community serving on the Board of Directors of the Fiesta Bowl, Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce and the Arizona Humane Society. She holds a Bachelor’s of Business Administration in Marketing and an MBA from Boise State University.
Brett Benton serves as immediate past Committee Chair for the Fiesta Bowl. Benton joined the Fiesta Bowl Committee in 2004 and has held numerous leadership roles within the organization, including the Committee’s executive council last year. He is currently Vice President at Horizon Insurance Group. In addition to his involvement with the Fiesta Bowl Committee, Benton is the President of the Board of Directors of Waste Not, Inc.
Brian Hall serves as the Vice President of MTH Mortgage LLC, a partnership of imortgage.com, Inc. and Meritage Homes Corporation where he has executive management responsibilities for the joint venture. Hall is accountable for all aspects of the national operation. In his 30-year career he has served in corporate and executive leadership roles in commercial banks, mortgage banking companies and new home construction enterprises.
Hall graduated from the University of Missouri in 1983 with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Business Administration, with emphasis in finance, marketing and general business studies. Hall resides in Phoenix, Arizona with his wife and their two children. He is active in professional organizations and local community and charitable endeavors, most notably the Fiesta Bowl.
In nearly two decades of motorsports experience – more than half of which have been spent leading a NASCAR Sprint Cup venue – and originally hailing from the racing hotbed of Daytona Beach, Fla., it’s safe to say Phoenix International Raceway President Bryan Sperber is well-versed in the field of stock car racing. But beyond that, he is a visionary who has helped push multiple facilities into the new millennium, while also serving as a well-rounded community leader and philanthropist throughout his career.
In March of 2002, Phoenix International Raceway announced the appointment of Mr. Sperber as President of the West’s most historic NASCAR Sprint Cup setting. In his position, Mr. Sperber is responsible for the strategic vision and operational management of Arizona’s premier motorsports venue. In addition to presiding over PIR, Mr. Sperber concurrently served as Chairman of California Speedway in the Los Angeles market from 2005 to 2007.
Prior to his arrival at PIR, Mr. Sperber served as President of Watkins Glen International in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York. Named to that position at the age of 30, Mr. Sperber became NASCAR’s youngest track president when he was promoted from his previous position as International Speedway Corporation’s Director of Sponsorships in 1997. Mr. Sperber began his career at ISC – parent company to PIR and Watkins Glen – in 1990.
Mr. Sperber is a graduate of Florida State University and is a member of the FSU Alumni Club.
Chuck O’Connor is a Vice President with Merrill Lynch in Scottsdale. He previously spent several years with IBM Corporation in Phoenix. O’Connor has more than 20 years experience as a volunteer and Fiesta Bowl Committee member. During that time, he 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. During that time, he served in a number of leadership positions including chairman of game operations,
He has served on the boards of the University of Arizona Alumni Association, the Scottsdale Boys & Girls Clubs and Brophy College Prep. He graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.
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 fifth year as a member of the Bowl’s Charitable Giving Committee, and her third season as moderator for all Fiesta Bowl and Cactus Bowl press conferences.
Derek Kerr is responsible for US Airways’ corporate finance, financial planning and analysis, accounting, information technology, purchasing and investor relations functions. He joined America West in April 1996 as senior director, planning. He was promoted to vice president financial planning and analysis in May 1998. In February 2002, Kerr was promoted to senior vice president, finance, adding responsibility for purchasing and fuel administration. He was elected senior vice president and chief financial officer in September 2002 and was promoted to executive vice president and chief financial officer in January 2009.
Kerr has won several financial management awards, including the 2007 Chief Financial Officer of the Year by the Arizona Chapter of Financial Executive International. He has a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering and a Master’s of Business Administration degree in finance from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He and his wife, Carolyn, have two children and reside in Scottsdale.
Gary Hanson has served as Vice President, Corporate Communications of Western Refining since 2007. Gary is 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 is responsible for managing overall brand image of each company and directs the advertising, corporate sponsorships, internal communications, and community relations for all three companies. Gary moved to Arizona in 2012 when Western relocated its executive offices to Tempe from El Paso, Texas.
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.
Gonzalo De la Melena serves the community as President of the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce & Operator of the Phoenix Minority Business Development Agency, the States leading advocate representing more than 100,000 Minority Business Enterprises.
Gonzalo is also the Founder of Emerging Domestic Market Ventures, LLC a small business investment company with holdings in Phoenix airport concessions – Sir Veza’s Taco Garage at Sky Harbor International.
Gonzalo has 20+ years of global brand management, business development, mergers & acquisition and Latino marketing experience gained from conducting business in more than thirty countries with consumer, retail and restaurant companies.
Gonzalo received his MBA from Thunderbird, School of Global Management and earned his undergraduate degree in business from Arizona State University.
Jim Hatfield is executive vice president and chief financial officer for Pinnacle West Capital Corporation and its primary subsidiary, Arizona Public Service Company (APS)—Arizona’s largest electric company. The companies are headquartered in Phoenix.
Hatfield’s 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 33 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 and executive committee. Additionally, he is one of two expert community members of the Arizona Board of Regents audit committee. He is also on the board of St. Joseph Hospital and Medical Center, the University of Central Missouri Foundation and the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry. 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 State, 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.
Judy Bernas is the current Associate Vice President, External Relations-Phoenix, for the University of Arizona and 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. Judy received her undergraduate degree from the University of Arizona and is currently completing her Master of Public Health at the University of Arizona.
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 Grand Canyon State Logo Signs.
Kelly is active in many charitable and community organizations and currently serves on the Fiesta Bowl Board. Kelly is a past board member of the Arizona Tourism Alliance, Friends of Arizona Highways and Monte Vista Club for the Heard Museum as well as a past Honorary Commander for Luke Air Force base.
Kelly and his wife Cindy have two children, daughters Quin and Carson.
Marcus K. Sipoltis President and Founder of TB Consulting, a Microsoft Gold Certified technology firm focused on serving the needs of mid-sized businesses in the Phoenix market. Sipolt was formerly a CPA and spent 20 years with Andersen Consulting / Accenture where he was responsible the New Mexico and Arizona state and local government practice.
Sipolt 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 2000 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, the National Football Foundation, board member of Audrey Angels and numerous other charitable and non-profit organizations in an advisory, board and participant capacity.
Matthew F. Winter is a corporate and commercial attorney with the law firm Sacks Tierney, P.A. in Scottsdale, Arizona, and has been practicing law for more than 23 years. Prior to joining Sacks Tierney, Winter was the founding member of Winter Law Group, and previously he was a member in the Phoenix firm of Jennings, Strouss and Salmon. Winter was elected to the Board of Directors of the Fiesta Bowl in 2006, after having served as a member of the Fiesta Bowl Committee since 1997. He has held the Secretary and Chair-Elect positions on the Executive Committee, and served as chairman of the team selection committee. While a Fiesta Bowl Committee member, he chaired several event committees, including Fiesta Bowl and Cactus Bowl game operations, NCAA Youth Football Clinic, Fiesta Futures and the Duck Race. Winter has served as Board Liaison to the Game Operations Committees for Cactus Bowl, Fiesta Bowl and BCS National Championship games. Winter also serves on the Board of Directors of the Arizona Organizing Committee for the 2016 College Football Playoff National Championship Game.
Born and raised in Arizona, Winter graduated from the University of Arizona, where he played football, and received his JD from Arizona State University. He is committed to serving youth through various organizations, serving as Chairman of the Board of Ryan House and coaching youth baseball and football teams. He resides in central Phoenix with his wife Julia and their two sons.
Michael R. Wilcox, founder of Wilcox Financial and Wilcox Sports Management, is a rare breed among financial advisors. Knowledgeable and trustworthy, personable and passionate, Mr. Wilcox provides high-level specialized financial advice for his diversified clientele. Wilcox Financial is a diversified 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. As a Registered Investment Advisor, he leads a specialized team of financial advisors and long-term investment experts serving more than 2,500 corporations and executives, closely held family business owners and high-net-worth individuals.
Mr. Wilcox is a financial advisor with authenticity, borrowing from his experience as a three-time All-American athlete in recognizing uncultivated opportunities for his clients. He founded Wilcox Sports Management in 2001 to deliver financial, investment, tax and estate planning advice to over 250 football and basketball coaches, university presidents, athletic directors and conference commissioners throughout the country. His personal athletic accomplishments in lacrosse, hockey and football are recognized in the Ohio Lacrosse Hall of Fame, and the Athletic Halls of Fame of Bowling Green State University, the Peddie School and Ithaca High School.
Mr. Wilcox is not only a widely respected authority in the financial sector, but also a successful entrepreneur who owns several other companies in Toledo, OH. 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 Services Coordinator for IMG College, Columbus, Ohio.
Nikki Balich is President of PCN Janitorial, a company which she founded in 1995. PCN is a small commercial building service that is uniquely designed for an exception level of personal customer services. Built around the motto “Lasting Quality” Balich has maintained an exceptional level of personal service. PCN maintains a small number of clients at all times to ensure that each client receives the utmost service.
Balich has been involved with the Fiesta Bowl since 1983. She has served on 23 Committees, served in Committee Leadership for seven years, served as the Committee Chairman during the first “double hosting” model before joining the Board 2010. She also currently serves on the National Football Foundation, Valley of the Sun Chapter Board as Vice President, and the Board of the Phoenix Sports Commission. Balich attended the University of Arizona. She resides in Scottsdale, Arizona with her husband and three children.
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 800 loans totaling over $5 billion in assets.
Barkley has been in the commercial real estate industry for more than 16 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. In his spare time he coaches his son’s Little League baseball teams.
Ramey Peru holds directorship at UniSource Energy Corporation and WellPoint, Inc. UniSource’s primary subsidiaries include Tucson Electric Power, which serves more than 385,000 customers in Southern Arizona and Unisource Energy Services, a utility that delivers natural gas and electric service to more than 224,000 customers across Arizona. Ramey also is a member of the finance, audit and compensation committees. At WellPoint, one of the nation’s leading health benefits company serving the needs of approximately 34 million medical members nationwide, Ramey is on the audit and compensation committee.
Peru’s career began at Phelps Dodge Corporation where he spent nearly 28 years. He held many positions within the organization including executive vice president and chief financial officer. In this position he was responsible for corporate communications, investor relations, risk management, financial functions and corporate air services among others. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Arizona. Peru’s interests include fresh-water fishing, golf, outdoor activities and reading. He has two children and two grandchildren.
Randal Norton serves as a Regional Director at Deloitte, a global professional services firm, and is responsible for serving regionally-based fortune 500 companies. He is accountable for managing the delivery of Management Consulting, Tax, Risk and Financial Advisory Services to his clients.
Norton joined the Fiesta Bowl Family in 2002 and has held numerous leadership positions, most recently serving as the 2014 Chairman of the Fiesta Bowl Committee. He and his wife, Susanne Ingold, reside in Arcadia, Arizona.
Ray Artigue is currently president of The Artigue Agency, a full-service marketing communications agency that he founded in 2010.
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, Ariz. His hobbies include working out, writing books and building birdhouses.
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. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for various organizations. Horn is chair of the governance committee and member of the audit and compensation committees for Nautilus, Inc. In addition, he is a member of the National Association of Corporate Directors Phoenix Chapter and a graduate of the Director Professionalism course. Horn is a graduate of Indiana University with a bachelor’s degree in accounting.
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.
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.
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.