There are 7 open spots for the Board, and 6 extremely well qualified candidates running for those spots. Please take time to review the candidates. You are welcome to contact the candidates directly with questions — their email addresses and phone numbers are included. All of the candidates have also indicated that they can be reached through their personal social media accounts.
The election will be online this year. On Friday, you will be emailed a link to a ballot if you are a current club member (active in 2021 and beyond). The election remains open for more than 2 weeks, so you have plenty of time to evaluate the candidates before you cast your ballot. In addition, all of the candidates should be at our Club Membership Meeting on Sunday @ Water Works Park starting at 1:00 pm. Please attend to ask questions of the current board and the new candidates.
Here are the candidates in the order that they submitted their information:
Laura Hayes, KCDG# 2039, PDGA 89719
Education, University of Missouri – Columbia — Bachelor’s degree, Psychology
Contact Methods: (816) 547-9202, firstname.lastname@example.org
Disc Golf Experience: I’ve played since 2015, but began my engagement with Kansas City Disc Golf in 2017. I stepped in mid-term due to an open board position. I served my first term on the Board of Directors as Secretary. My second term brought a transition and new experience as the Vice President of Kansas. I currently serve on the Board of Directors for the Kansas Flying Disc Association, a 501c3 not-for-profit organization in the State of Kansas in 2021. I’ve taken on a secretarial role in the Rogue of Rosedale club, and have been an active member since our origin in 2016. Rogue members put in over 300 volunteer hours a year (mainly course maintenance and improvement projects).
Professional Experience: My career in consulting as a Solution Architect at Netsmart Technologies has given me the opportunity to grow my experience in public speaking, communication with executive leadership, mentorship of new employees, and a wealth of knowledge in the healthcare IT sector. My primary responsibilities include designing financial systems for medical billing and accounting needs of my clients; including setting up finance data to meet federal requirements and state billing standards, reporting needs, and integration of accounting systems utilizing our software. I architect programs spanning across multiple sectors including Behavioral Health, Public Health, I/DD, Foster Care, Addiction Management, Substance Use, and Residential facilities. My clients range from small clinics to state level Department of Health contracts nationwide. My job requires attention to detail, strong communication skills, and knowledge of accounting processes.
Platform: The board has given me a lot of opportunity to grow in many areas. I’d like to continue to do what I can to make a difference in the KCDG community and our parks in the Kansas City area.
Lupe Herrada, KCDG 2124, PDGA 88338
Education: I completed a few years of college, but have yet to graduate. I currently hold a Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt certification and a Notary Public commission in the State of Missouri.
Contact Methods:(816) 808-4815, email@example.com
Disc Golf Experience: I started playing disc golf thanks to the 2016 Kansas City Corporate Challenge. My employer’s team needed warm bodies for the Women’s Disc Golf team. A co-worker who was on the Men’s Team knew that I was already participating in other events, so he asked if I would be interested in playing disc golf since it did not interfere with my already planned events. In 2016 my team tied for 7th, but it didn’t matter because I was hooked. I started playing with the Divas and playing any tournament that offered division FA3. From 2017 – 2019, my team won either a gold or silver medal and if it wasn’t for that pesky Covid, I am positive our medaling streak would have continued. I have been lucky to have made excellent friends like Becca Kephart, who is a genius content creator, and has allowed me share my takes on the state of women’s disc golf on the “Ladies of the Chains” Podcast and be a co-host on a short lived disc review vlog titled “Lupe and Becca Throw Discs”. I am a firm believer in volunteerism and volunteer to help with at least 3-4 tournaments a year along with whatever park workdays are publicly promoted, even if they aren’t from a disc golf focused group. In 2019, I was nominated for a seat on the KCDG BOD and officially became an at-large member of the board in 2020. My first year on the board was really eye opening as it gave me firsthand view of what the board does and how they partner with local Parks & Rec departments in the KC Metro area to ensure that moves made by Parks & Rec departments keep Disc Golf in mind. During this time, I began helping with the management of incoming tournament requests and became the unofficial tournament liaison. My second year on the board came with a bit more responsibility as I transitioned into the role of Secretary. I now had the added responsibility of transcribing our Board Meetings and ensuring that the meeting minutes were readily available to our members by publishing them to our site. I continued to manage incoming tournament requests and took over the task of mailing bag tags to all members who opted for delivery. In addition to these new responsibilities, I decided to take a bit of initiative and ended up scheduling a few workdays in the run up to KCWO and am currently in the process of starting up a new recycling pilot on a few courses.
Professional Experience: I am currently responsible for the planning and overseeing of projects related to Real Estate transactions within the Franchise Network of the company I work for. I am also responsible for assessing reporting needs of a Franchise Support team and work with external teams to create and maintain channels for data gathering/sharing. Prior to taking on project management duties, managed and supported end to end issue resolution for operational and logistical issues in the Kentucky/Tennessee Franchise market (56 individual Franchisees across 135 offices). These professional experiences have been invaluable during my time on the KCDG board as they have translated incredibly well.
Platform: If elected to another term on the board, I would like to continue the work I started with focusing on the improvement of courses in the metro area. With the explosion in popularity of disc golf, we are seeing a greater need in the maintenance and upkeep of popular, high-traffic courses. In the past, there have been very few publicized workday events and even less events sponsored by the KC Disc Golf club, but I’m working hard to change that. My plan is to host at least two highly publicized workday events per quarter. With the success of our Summer workday events, I was able to see that most disc golfers are willing to give an hour or two of their time in order to improve a course, they just need ample notice. I would also like to see my recycling project (a project that I hope will alleviate the overflow of trash in highly trafficked courses) tested and permanently implemented at courses like Waterworks and Rosedale. As a female disc golfer, I would also like to continue speaking up for the continued involvement of women in leadership roles. We had multiple women’s disc golf leagues in Kansas City this year. That was all thanks to the hard work of the ladies running those leagues and I would love to continue supporting them at the Board of Directors level.
Pete Cashen, KCDG 379, PDGA 13909
Education: Graduated from Ohara High School in 1982
Contact Methods: 913) 706-9470, firstname.lastname@example.org
Disc Golf Experience: Played disc golf in the early 1980’s casually. I played professional ultimate for KC’s earliest traveling team KC Ultimate (1978-82) and then the KC Ultimatoes (1982-1988). I got back into disc golf in 1999 when my brother Dan took me to the new Downunder back 9 course. I joined the PDGA at this time. Since then I’ve been playing and travelling for disc golf activities. I’ve helped with tournaments and clinics since 2000 until now. I donate to disc golf tournaments and give back to the KC disc golf scene however I can. I’ve been with the KCFDC for several years on the board and now I sit on the KCDG board. I was the vice president of Kansas for the club dealing with the Parks departments on the Kansas side of the metro and dealing with all kinds of issues both positive and negative. I’ve made a lot of contacts while in this position and now include these folks friends of mine. We trust each other and it’s a great working relationship. I’ve stepped down and I’m now helping Laura Hayes as she has assumed the role as Kansas Vice President and is doing a better job than me!
Professional Experience: My brothers and I have had a mechanical contracting company for 32 years and we recently sold our business to our employees. We have worked with our team for years and they will take our business to the next level. I currently sit on 4 non profit board of directors and I learned years ago this is a great way to give back to our community. I’ve been asked to sit on a few more but time is limited. I helped bring Dynamic Discs KC to the metro in 2012 with the help of several people.
Platform: If elected I plan to help mentor the new and existing board members. I will continue to work at the local work days and donate my time wherever I’m needed. I feel you have to lead by example or its not leading its just words. I will make 90% of the monthly board meetings so I stay engaged with what’s going on. I will stay up on the tasks that I have agreed to take on. I will continue to promote KC Disc Golf all around the country in my travels. I will continue to recruit new board members and club members through my actions and words. Thank you for your time
Michael Belancio, KCDG 2143, PDGA, 79301
Education: Juris Doctor, May 1998, Northeastern University School of Law, Boston, MA
Bachelor of Arts, Social Work; Minors in Ethnic Studies and Latin-American Studies, May 1995, West Chester University of Pennsylvania, West Chester, PA
Contact Methods: 816) 516-4644, email@example.com
Disc Golf Experience: I was introduced to disc golf late in life. I started playing at age 42 in 2015, and quickly joined the PDGA and KCDG at about the same time. I also obtained my certification. Most importantly, I survived a widow-maker heart attack at age 46 in November 2019. Playing 3-4 rounds a week from January 2020 through today has been a major point of my recovery and cardiac rehab – both physically and mentally. I spent the 2021 season as the LD for the Heritage Park Tuesday Night League. I have made so many new friends as a result. I ran for the board last year and came in 5th, so did not get one of the four open slots. A few have encouraged me to throw my name in the hat again. One of the reasons I would like to be on the board is to give something back to disc golf, where it has given me so much. With my professional experience, and service on other not-for-profit boards, I might best be over service in this manner.
Professional Experience: I am admitted to practice law in both Kansas and Missouri, and before all the federal courts that encompass the same, including the U.S. Supreme Court. As a volunteer, I have created several not-for-profit corporations, and obtained them 501(c)(3) charity status under federal law. I have served on several not-for-profit boards of directors, one of which had approximately $1 million a year budget, and have served in each officer position. I left my last board seat when my term expired on December 1, 2019.
Platform: My skills add a different value to the Board of that of an attorney with decades of experience working on not-for profit-boards; moving them from grassroots or mom-and-pop type organizations to something more, bigger and lasting. While my time disc golfing may not be as extensive as others, my professional and volunteer experience serving on not-for-profit boards could be beneficial and a potential cost savings to the club. I am open to ideas of others and am more than willing to do the leg-work to get things done. As disc golf has been essential to my physical and mental health, especially in recovery from a heart attack, I want to ensure that the sport and our extensive venues remain available for others.
Josh Egan, KCDG 2399, PDGA 149158
Education: B.S. in Chemistry from Kansas State
Contact Methods: Jegan@ksu.edu
Disc Golf Experience: I started playing in Manhattan, KS in 2007. Started playing in KC in 2011. For the last 3 years I have, as a member of Rogue of Rosedale, seen to the removal of trash from Down Under. I have participated in many of, and begun to lead some of the numerous work days that Rogue hosts at Rosedale. I have spent several hours, over the last 2 years, pulling substantial amounts of trash out of the woods at Cliff Drive. I have also volunteered for several tournaments since I started becoming active in the community.
Professional Experience: I see a task that needs doing, and I do it.
Platform: I’m selfishly altruistic. I want to play on clean courses, and I’ll put in work to ensure that happens. I’m going to continue showing up for this community, whether I get voted in, or not. You’re stuck with me, deal with it.
Cary Rivard, KCDG 2403
Education: Lee’s Summit High School; B.S. Truman State University – Agriculture and Biology Double Major; M.S. North Carolina State University – Plant Pathology; PhD North Carolina State University – Plant Pathology
Contact Methods: (785) 320-3033, firstname.lastname@example.org
Disc Golf Experience: Although I grew up in the KC metro, I began playing disc golf while in graduate school in Raleigh, NC in 2004. For me, it was a great way to get outside and socialize with friends. I fell in love with the sport in the woods of NC and traveled to places like the IDGC, Winthrop, Sontag, Charlotte (too many courses to mention), and other great courses in the southeast. In 2010, I returned to Kansas City for work and began enjoying the courses in KC, especially the Down Under, Cliff Drive, Swope Park, and others. I have never played competitively nor have I been in a league. I am not a PDGA member and the first tournament that I have ever witnessed/participated in was one that I hosted in 2019. For me, disc golf is all about “most fun wins”, and you’ll find if we play together that I have a ton of fun, but also hit a ton of trees. In 2019, I was fortunate to be able to mobilize a group of volunteers and secure permission from Kansas State University to establish the Spoon Creek Disc Golf Course. I developed the initial maps of the course and then worked with our volunteer group (aka Spoon Creek Disc Golf Club) to finalize the course design. We began cutting the fairways in February 2019; set the baskets at the end of May; and added concrete tee pads in 2020. Spoon Creek DGC continues to evolve today thanks to the hard work and buy-in from our volunteers. Club members raised funds on their own to buy the first 18 baskets and we hosted a fundraiser tournament in October 2019 that paid for tee pads on the half of the course. Donations from our club members as well as greens fees paid for the rest of the tee pads in addition to extra baskets, benches, tables, and other upgrades to the course. Course design, construction, and maintenance is complex and oftentimes requires a lot of work. My experience at the Spoon Creek DGC has been a new and fun challenge and has changed the way I look at disc golf courses now.
Professional Experience: I am a horticulturalist by training and have spent most of my life working with and around plants. My family owned a small garden center business in South Kansas City where I grew up working in greenhouses, landscaping, large-scale gardening, etc. I attended Truman State University for my BS and spent about 18 months as the head brewer of a new micro-brewery before leaving for grad school. As a graduate student, I studied Plant Pathology, which is the science of plant diseases. In addition to Plant Pathology, my academic training has been in sustainable agriculture, which was a theme throughout my education and still continues today. While a student, I also worked part-time as a landscaper and general caretaker of an 8-acre, approximately $6 million residence. I did everything that the “mowers” didn’t do, which included planting and maintaining all of the gardens, landscapes and ponds, as well as tree maintenance and pruning of large and small shrubs. I also designed irrigation systems and hardscaping, and ran a small greenhouse where we raised annual flowers and vegetables. Currently I work as an extension specialist for Kansas State University and have been in this position since 2011. Extension is a unique profession that is oftentimes difficult to describe,, but there are a few things that I currently do: 1) Conduct applied research in fruit and vegetable crops and run a research farm in western Olathe (Olathe Horticulture Center), 2) Conduct training and support produce farmers and others working in the food system to support farming in Kansas, 3) Assist with the delivery of the Urban Food Systems MS program at K-State Olathe. Although my experience sounds atypical for a role on the KCDG BOD, I believe it actually fits very well. As the Director of a research station, I need to know about infrastructure, landscape and ecosystem management, and especially project execution. My job is to oversee a 350-acre research farm and that includes everything from organizing storage barns to designing prototype greenhouses. It has also given me perspective on the challenges that parks departments and other municipalities face when trying to maintain their landscapes. As an Extension Specialist, I have done a lot of event planning and regularly lead or assist in the delivery of conferences that host 100-400 participants. We also host workshops and field days at the research station and have had as many as 700 people at the farm for our public field days. I also have a fair bit of experience with communications and marketing as those skills are required for this role. Lastly, my job has given me the opportunity to work a lot with non-for-profits in the area and I have held leadership roles on several BODs for farming-based organizations including: Cultivate Kansas City, Johnson County Community College Sustainable Ag, the KC Food Policy Coalition, Growing Growers Kansas City, and the Kansas Specialty Crop Growers Association. Some specific skills that I could bring: landscape management and planning, horticulture, volunteer coordination, organizational and non-for-profit management, stakeholder engagement, grant-writing, fund-raising, public event planning, education and training, communications and marketing, etc.
Platform: In short, I’d like to learn and I’d like to help. I believe I can help out the organization with my experience working on non-for-profit boards and in/around volunteer organizations. I’d be happy to consult (along with other BoD members) with the parks departments and others to talk about building infrastructure and maintaining courses to benefit the community while keeping a sense of environmental sustainability. The growth of disc golf in our city is awesome, but the traffic on the courses can cause problems with erosion, compaction, and other issues. As an ag/hort extension person, I think that I could help communicate to parks departments (and others within government) why it is important to support sustainable growth of the sport. Although I don’t (currently) have the ability to organize volunteer workdays on other courses, I do think that I could be a great resource for others that are trying to do the same. I’m also very interested to learn more about how “organized” disc golf happens in Kansas City, which is another reason that I am applying for the BoD, and it is my hope that I can contribute in a meaningful way towards the disc golf community in my hometown.