US Open Convention Presenters (2013)

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US Open Convention Presenters (2013) 

The USA Ultimate organizer's convention is now being held as part of the U.S. Open Championships.  In addition to the competition, the U.S. Open Convention will welcome Ultimate enthusiasts from around the world for an unparalleled opportunity to learn from, and interact with, the industry's best and brightest on a variety of topics.  Don't miss this opportunity to be a part of this spectacular event!   

Contact the Program Coordinator with questions:

               July 4-6, 2013
Raleigh, NC 




 US Open Presenters

We are happy to welcome the following presenters to the U.S. Open.

  Gwen Ambler 

Vice President, USA Ultimate Board of Directors


    Gwen Ambler is one of the most influential and successful female Ultimate players in the world. She started her career with Stanford University Superfly, winning one College National title as a player (2003) and another two as a coach (2005-2006). From 2001-2008, Gwen wracked up four Club National titles playing with San Francisco’s Fury, and in 2008 added a WFDF World Championship to the shelf, captaining Team USA/Fury to a gold medal in Vancouver, Canada. She then won a gold medal as co-captain of Team USA at the 2009 World Games in Taiwan. She was also honored as the Kathy Pufahl Spirit of the Game award winner in 2011. Currently, Gwen is in her fourth year of captaining Seattle Riot and in her third as the Vice President of the USA Ultimate Board of Directors. Gwen is dedicated to the promotion of women's Ultimate and is constantly organizing and advocating for its growth as much as possible.
  Dr. Heather Ann Brauer 

Vice President, Triangle Youth Ultimate League


    Heather Ann started playing ultimate as a graduate student at the University of Washington in 2004, finishing 2nd (2005) and 3rd (2008) at College Nationals.  She has qualified for Club Nationals with the mixed team D'Oh (WA, 2008) and Phoenix (NC, 2012).  Heather Ann has coached elementary through college ultimate on both coasts, this will be her 6th year coaching a YCC team.  She has served as the Atlantic Coast College Women's Regional Coordinator and is currently the Regional Youth Director for the South. 
  Dr. Tom Crawford 

CEO, USA Ultimate

    Tom joined USA Ultimate in late 2009 after a decade of founding and managing entrepreneurial ventures in New York. Prior to accepting the role as Chief Executive Officer for USA Ultimate, Dr. Crawford was a founder and Managing Partner of High Performance Associates (HPA), which provides consulting services to multiple leading international hedge funds, private equity and financial services companies, Fortune 100 companies, universities, professional sport franchises, and executives and athletes across the United States. He was also the co-founder and Chief Executive of Altheus, an award winning Health and Human Performance company headquartered in New York, with 18 program and retail center locations across the north and southeast of the U.S. which Tom helped grow from one employee (himself!) to over 250 professionals. Tom had almost 10 years as the Director of Coaching and Managing Director for high performance programs for the United States Olympic Committee (USOC). During his tenure at the USOC, Dr. Crawford led the development and management of education and performance programs for over 45 Olympic and Pan American sports, including virtually all Olympic teams and coaches. Prior to the USOC, Dr. Crawford was a founding staff member and  Senior Director of the National Institute for Fitness and Sport, where he worked collaboratively with corporations, universities, medical centers, government agencies and National Governing Bodies of Sport. In 1989, Dr. Crawford was the first graduate to receive a double-doctoral degree in Performance Psychology and Motor Development from Indiana University, where he was awarded the 2006 Distinguished Alumnus Award and served as a special advisor to the Dean of the School of Health. Previously, he received his master's degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology with an emphasis in Leadership from the Purdue University School of Science. He is a member of the American Psychological Association and The Association of Chief Executives of Sport. 
KennethDobyns HoF 2011   Kenny Dobyns 

USA Ultimate Hall of Fame, Class of 2011, Founder, DiscNY

    Coming soon... 
  Greg Downey 

Senior Director, Brand and Consumer Marketing at NASCAR; Member, USA Ulimate Board of Directors

    An attorney by training, Greg Downey began his career as a sports agent and marketer, representing professional athletes’ marketing and endorsement endeavors and league contract negotiations, including his primary client, Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly. Greg later held leadership positions in marketing, broadcasting and business development at the United States Olympic Committee. His experiences included managing the relationships with the 39 Olympic sports and working with the Olympic sports governing bodies on building revenue through sponsorship, marketing, licensing and broadcast rights. After the USOC, Greg joined NBC Universal. As NBC’s first Vice President of Branded Entertainment, Greg pioneered NBC’s Branded Entertainment endeavors -- developing, structuring and negotiating the complex arrangements that allow for the integration of corporate brands into NBC Universal television content. In 2005, Greg was recruited by The Coca-Cola Company to head its Entertainment Marketing Division, a unit that utilizes entertainment platforms such as feature films, television, music and gaming to market Coca-Cola’s brands. Greg oversaw all areas of entertainment for some of the world’s largest brands and continued to hone his expertise in the branded entertainment, marketing and brand building arenas. Greg is currently a marketing executive at NASCAR and resides in Florida with his wife, son and daughter. 
Hack Lindsey   Dr. Lindsey Hack

President and Founder, Triangle Youth Ultimate League

    Lindsey Hack started playing ultimate as a junior at Michigan State University in 2002, finished out her eligibility at UNC-CH, and earned all region honors in 2005 and 2006.  She has played for several elite women’s club teams including Clutch (MI), Backhoe (NC), and Phoenix (NC).  She has qualified for Club Nationals every year since 2002 and has finished in the finals (1x), semifinals (2x), and quarterfinals (5x). In addition, Hack has coached the UNC-CH women’s team for the past seven years with five college national championships appearances, finishing in quarters twice and earning AC Coach of the Year honors twice. Finally, Lindsey is the founder and President of the Triangle Youth Ultimate League, has been a regional coordinator in the college division, a regional director in the youth division, a member of USAU's Youth Advisory Council, directed many tournaments, and assisted with selecting the USA U-20 Girls Team.
Harris Katy   Katy Harris, MSPH, CSCS

Lifestyle Educator, Sona Med Spa

    Katy has a background in psychology and biology and a master's degree in Public Health from UNC in Health Policy and Management.  Prior to graduate school, Katy worked as a personal trainer for a health and wellness studio in Durham for over 7 years, was also certified as a Nutrition Specialist from the American Dietetics Association from 2007-2009, took classes at UNC in exercise physiology and sports psychology, and completed continuing education courses in general and sports nutrition.  Most recently, Katy received a strength coach certification (CSCS) from the NSCA (National Strength and Conditioning Association) in 2011, and she has attended NSCA personal training conferences, a sports-specific conference, a youth training symposium, and the annual coaches conference in early 2013. Katy has been working with ultimate Frisbee athletes for several seasons to help them improve their strength, flexibility, speed, power, and agility, and has coached at various levels. Katy currently uses her nutrition knowledge and health background as a weight loss counselor for Sona Med Spa, the largest medical spa in the nation.
Kaczmarek Nick   Nick Kaczmarek 

Coach, University of Pittsburgh Men's Team

    Nick Kaczmarek is the head coach of the University of Pittsburgh Men's Ultimate team. He has coached or played in six of Pitt's nine College Championship appearances and was honored as All-Region in 2009 and Coach of the Year in 2012 and 2013. He is also the head coach of Pittsburgh's U-19 team (Impulse) and Pittsburgh's first middle school champions (The Environmental Charter School). His work with players and coaches around Pittsburgh is centered around fostering excellence in ability and leadership. In his non-Ultimate life, he is an English teacher that encourages young people to find ways to powerfully express their thoughts and ideas.
  Andy Lee

Director-Communications USA Ultimate

    As Director of Marketing & Communications, Andy Lee brings 17 years of professional and Olympic sports marketing experience to USA Ultimate from both a national governing body and agency perspective. Prior to his arrival at USA Ultimate in 2010, Andy served as the Director of Marketing & Communications at USA Cycling where he oversaw the organization’s sponsorship, marketing, public relations and communications departments throughout the national governing body’s most significant period of growth to date. Andy also has several years of experience representing professional and action sports properties, teams and athletes, having served as a director at Team Sports, Inc. a Wisconsin-based boutique sports marketing firm. Andy received his undergraduate degree in exercise and physiology with an emphasis in sports management from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse in 1997. Today, Andy oversees the marketing & communications departments at USA Ultimate, including sponsorship, licensing, television, media & public relations and internal and external publications. 
Meister Emily   Emily Meister 

Columbus Ultimate Disc Association, a USA Ultimate Affiliate

    Emily is here representing the Columbus Ultimate Disc Association (CUDA). She has been involved with CUDA and its leagues for 10 years both as a player and an organizer. She is currently the Vice President of the executive board and has either played in or helped to organize all of CUDA's leagues. She has coached in the youth league and has worked on a team of summer league organizers for 4 years. She has also served as CUDA's liaison to USAU through the affiliation process.
Morrill Tim   Tim Morrill, M.A., CSCS 

Owner/Founder Morrill Performance

    Tim Morrill is a speed, strength and conditioning coach specializing in functional training; bridging the gap between performance training and rehab. Tim has extensive experience working with field sport (Soccer, Lacrosse and Ultimate) and female athletes, each of which are at a higher risk of ACL injuries compared to court sports and male athletes alike. Some examples of teams Tim has worked with include UNI Women’s Soccer, Boston Ironside, Brute Squad, Seattle Riot and Seattle Sockeye. Tim is the owner of Morrill Performance where he and his team develop and teach performance enhancement curriculum around the globe. Tim recently authored his first book entitled The Foundation.
  Baker Pratt 

Manager-Competition and Athlete Programs, USA Ultimate

    Baker Pratt is the Manager of Competition and Athlete programs at USA Ultimate and is responsible for managing and expanding competitive playing opportunities for youth athletes in Ultimate. With experience as an educator and a co-founder of the Triangle Youth Ultimate League, he has had success in working with coaches, parents, athletes, and administrators to promote and develop the sport.
Raabe Dan   Dan Raabe 

Memorial High School Coach and Teacher

    I began playing in 1987 at Colgate University. Over the years I have played for a number of different teams and participated in a wide range of tournaments and leagues. In 1997 I was hired to teach at James Madison Memorial High School and began a club ultimate team which I have been coaching for the past 16 years. Over that time I have coached teams that have finished as high as third in the nation, we have won numerous state championships, and have had many players go on to have success at every level of Ultimate. I have also assisted USA Ultimate in the creation of the coaching certification curriculum and have taught certification classes for almost ten years.
Rauch Robert   Robert "Nob" Rauch 

President, World Flying Disc Federation

    Robert "Nob" Rauch has been involved in positions of leadership with the World Flying Disc Federation since 1988, including six years as president of the federation (1992-94, 2011- present) and as Chair of its Ultimate Committee from 1988 to 1992. He was the Executive Director of USA Ultimate (USAU, formerly the Ultimate Players Association) from 1987 to 1990, was chairman of USAU’s Executive Committee from 1991 to 1993, and is currently a member of the USAU Investment Committee and Hall of Fame Committee. As an athlete playing on Ultimate Frisbee teams in Chicago, Boston, and New York, he won six US National Championships and five World Championships, and he was elected to the Ultimate Hall of Fame in 2006. He also was a contributing writer for the book "Ultimate: The First Four Decades" published in December 2005. Rauch has a 33 year career in international finance and is currently a partner and portfolio manager of Gramercy Financial Group, a US $3.5 billion investment firm specializing in corporate and sovereign debt investments in global emerging markets. He received his bachelor’s degree in political economy from Williams College and master’s degree in finance and international business from the Kellogg School of Northwestern University.
Roca Andrew   Andrew Roca 

Coach, University of Central Florida Men's Team

    Andrew was born in Brooklyn, NY. He moved to Port Charlotte, FL and went to Charlotte High School. He later attended UCF in 2006, played 5 years for the UCF Dogs of War until 2010 (captained from 2008-2010), and graduated with BS in Hospitality Management with focus in Tourism Marketing. Andrew’s first year of coaching was 2011 and he has been coaching for 3 years. He was honored with the 2012 Skyd All-American COTY and Southeast Region COTY in 2011, 2012, and 2013. He has also played elite ultimate in Florida for 5 years and currently plays for Florida United, a Florida combo team. His daytime job is a Sales Director for an Orlando Custom T-Shirt Printing Shop. 
Stukes Mick   Mick Stukes

Youth Director, Charlotte Ultimate

    A triathlete and cyclist in college, Mick Stukes didn't become involved with ultimate until moving to Charlotte, NC in 2008. Due to his athleticism, he learned the sport quickly, moving up the ranks to become a defensive team captain for Queen City Thunder, Charlottes open club team, and the vice president of Charlotte Ultimate, a nonprofit that provides playing opportunities in the area. As a high school math teacher, Mick has spent the last four years building an ultimate program at Countryside Montessori School, as well as formalizing the city's first high school ultimate conference. Mick also acts at the Youth Coordinator for Charlotte Ultimate, through which he created the areas first recreational youth summer league. Mick currently serves on USA Ultimates youth eligibility committee and is the creative mind behind the Play Better Ultimate video series, which breaks down key fundamental aspects of ultimate, using slow motion video techniques.
VanHeuvelen Ben   Ben Van Heuvelen

Three-Time U19 National Team Coach

    Ben Van Heuvelen has played for and captained top club teams in New York, Boston, and Washington, DC for the past 11 years. He has also coached high school and college teams, and has won three world championships and one Spirit of the Game award as the head coach of the USA junior national team. Outside of ultimate, he is a journalist who reports on Iraq, Middle East energy politics, and U.S. foreign policy.
Witmer Melissa   Melissa Witmer

Founder, Ultimate Results

    Melissa founded Ultimate Results in 2010 with the mission of providing players and coaches with the information they need to make the most out of their practices and training. She has a Masters degree in Kinesiology from the University of Illinois and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. Melissa is the author of The Ultimate Athlete Handbook and creator of The Ultimate Athlete Project. She has traveled all over Colombia and Europe giving ultimate fitness clinics to players of all levels. When not playing ultimate, Melissa loves traveling, reading, and hiking.
Woodings Tina   Tina Woodings

Ultimate Players League of Austin and Showdown Team Member

    Realizing the potential for bringing Ultimate into a high visibility sport in Austin, Tina Woodings played a key role in the creation of the Ultimate Players League of Austin (UPLA, pronounced "you play"), now affiliated with USA Ultimate. She started her ultimate career at the University of Texas at Austin and played for Melee from 2003-2006. She was heavily involved with the program and made a College Nationals semifinals appearance in 2005. Tina has played for the Texas women's club team Showdown since the team's inception in 2006, and she captained the team for two years, leading the team to Worlds in Prague. Tina is a Level 1 coach trainer and coached the University of Texas Women’s team to a College Nationals quarterfinals finish in 2012. She is also the South Regional Club Women’s Coordinator. Her devotion the promoting Ultimate spirit has been acknowledged by her being nominated for the prestigious Kathy Pufahl award twice. When she is not playing ultimate, Tina promotes Green Building and sustainability as an engineer.