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.
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.
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.
Dawn Rogers brings a wealth of experience in intercollegiate athletics to her position as Executive Director and CEO of the 2017 Phoenix Final Four. Before she was hired by the Phoenix Local Organizing Committee, which is hosting the 2017 Phoenix Final Four, 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 Phoenix.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Tim Brown has served as the President and Chief Executive Officer for Donor Network of Arizona for more than 13 years. Prior to joining DNA, Brown spent 17 years at University Medical Center in Tucson, where he served as a 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.
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.