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Meet the Team

David Albrecht, PGA, Head Golf Professional / Senior Instructor – Riverbend

David Albrecht, PGA

Head Golf Professional / Senior Instructor – Riverbend

As the Riverbend Head Golf Professional, David Albrecht is responsible for the growth and management of member golf events, member golf instruction, member travel, assists with tee time bookings in and outside of Kohler, and serves as the lead Golf Professional for all member needs. In addition, he serves as a Senior Instructor for the Kohler Golf Academy and helps execute golf lessons and drive overall growth with the Academy.  Albrecht served as the Head Golf Professional at Blackwolf Run from 1998-2019 and was an Assistant Golf Professional from 1992-1998. Albrecht has been honored by Golf Digest as a top 10 instructor in Wisconsin. He is a Wisconsin PGA Tournament Policy Board Member and the Kohler High School Varsity Golf Coach. Outside of golf, Albrecht is actively involved with the Make a Wish Foundation, chairs the Kohler Police Athletic League, and coaches several youth sports teams.


• PGA Class “A” Member since 1998
• Lead Instructor for the Kohler Golf Academy
• 2006 Teacher of the Year, Wisconsin Golf Course Owners Association (GCOW)
• 2009-2010 Top 10 Instructors in Wisconsin by Golf Digest
• 2011-2012 Top 10 Instructors in Wisconsin by Golf Digest
• 2013-2014 Top 10 Instructors in Wisconsin by Golf Digest
• 1998 U.S. Women’s Open Committee Chair
• 2012 U.S. Women’s Open Player Services Committee Chair


Michael Aschenbach, PGA,  Head Golf Professional – Whistling Straits®

Michael Aschenbach, PGA

Head Golf Professional – Whistling Straits®

Michael Aschenbach joined the golf staff in 2004 as an Assistant Golf Professional at Whistling Straits and Blackwolf Run. He was the First Assistant Golf Professional at Whistling Straits from 2007–2015 and at Blackwolf Run from 2015–2017. As the Head Golf Professional, Aschenbach is responsible for leading the golf operations team and managing all aspects of the golf operation at Whistling Straits. Aschenbach was captain of the Whistling Straits and Blackwolf Run PGA Junior League Teams from 2014–2017. In addition, he is a lead instructor for the Kohler Golf Academy and serves in a leadership role for major championships hosted at Whistling Straits. Prior to joining Kohler Co, Aschenbach was a Caddie and Assistant Caddie Manager for Caddie Master Enterprises from 2001 – 2004.


• PGA Class “A” Member since 2012
• Lead Instructor for the Kohler Golf Academy
• PGA Junior League Captain 2014 - 2017
• 2007 U.S. Senior Open Executive Vice Chair
• 2010 PGA Championship Executive Vice Chair
• 2015 PGA Championship Executive Vice Chair
• 2020 Ryder Cup Executive Vice Chair

Matt Baur Executive Chef – Destination Kohler

Matt Bauer

Executive Chef – Destination Kohler

Chef Matt Bauer was born and raised in the Village of Kohler, Wisconsin. Matt developed his love and passion for cooking at a very young age. He gained inspiration and developed his palette while tasting, eating, and watching his mom and dad cook family dinners, as well as, other meals throughout childhood.


Matt started in the industry at age 15 as a dishwasher at Cucina, the Italian restaurant of Destination Kohler. He worked through the ranks of that kitchen to become a lead cook by the time he graduated from high school in 2002. A colleague at Cucina was a former graduate of the California Culinary Academy and encouraged Matt to apply.


During his schooling in California, Matt completed an externship at a private restaurant in Honolulu, Hawaii called 3660 On the Rise. There he learned about Pacific Rim cuisine and a true appreciation for fresh and raw seafood.


After his stint in Hawaii, Matt traveled back home to Kohler and took a position at The Immigrant Restaurant & Winery Bar. He worked under talented mentors for eight years before becoming the head chef of the restaurant in April 2011. With the goal to make The Immigrant Restaurant one of the top dining destinations in the Midwest, Matt utilized seasonal and fresh ingredients from all over the country and featured contemporary, global cuisine.


In 2013, Matt took on additional responsibility and accepted the role of Chef/Restaurant Manager for the Immigrant Restaurant. In this role, he focused on continuous improvement and maintaining five-star service standards in the Immigrant Restaurant and Winery Bar.


In February 2015, Matt was promoted to the Food and Beverage Manager at The American Club. He was responsible for overseeing the Immigrant Restaurant, Wisconsin Room, Horse & Plow, Greenhouse, and In-Room Dining at The American Club Hotel. In this role, he looked to maintain and develop all parts of the team to keep striving for innovation and excellence.


Matt played a huge role in the development and execution of the food and beverage services at the newest hotel offering, Lodge Kohler, in Green Bay, WI. Lodge Kohler offers premier dining on the top level of the hotel at Taverne in the Sky – overlooking the legendary Lambeau Field – and main level café, Leaps & Bounds.


Following the opening of Lodge Kohler in 2017, Matt became the Executive Chef of Destination Kohler, overseeing all kitchens and back of house areas across the resort.


At Destination Kohler, the mission of contributing to a higher level of gracious living for those who are touched by our products and services lives strong and is ingrained in its people.


Jennifer Bender

Jennifer Bender

Meetings & Events Manager

Jennifer has been with Kohler Co. since 2011, after graduating from Michigan State University with honors in Hospitality Business and Communications. She completed a yearlong Management Development Program in different areas of the resort, including the Meetings & Events Department. Jennifer spent two years as Assistant Executive Housekeeper at The American Club, before coming back to the Meeting & Events team, where she has been full time since 2014. Jennifer is a leader amongst the department and plays an integral role in key projects in coordination with the sales team. She continues to create and execute everything from small boutique events to large scale corporate groups, along with assisting in coordinating some of our special events such as Food & Wine and Winter Wonderland.   


When she is not pursuing her passion of making client’s visions come to life, you can find Jennifer curling up by the fire with a book, or hanging out with her husband, dog and two cats. 

Nicolas Blouin, Executive Pastry Chef – Destination Kohler

Nicolas Blouin

Executive Pastry Chef – Destination Kohler

Raised in Toulouse, France, Chef Blouin began his pastry training when he was only 15 years old at a small bakery in his home town. He trained at the Pastry School of Muret and completed apprenticeships specializing in pastry and chocolate confections.


Chef Blouin moved to America and worked at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin resort hotel under two-time world champion pastry chef Laurent Branlard. Eager to expand his knowledge, Chef Blouin returned to Europe and worked at Michelin-starred restaurants Le Richelieu in France and Didier de Courten in Switzerland.


In 2006 Chef Blouin returned to America to work at the Bellagio in Las Vegas under renowned Chef Jean-Philippe Maury. He served as a pastry chef at the Aria Resort & Casino, where he managed two locations of the Jean-Philippe Pâtisseries. In 2011 Chef Blouin joined Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek in the role of pastry chef. In August 2017, he joined Kohler Co. as Head Pastry Chef for Destination Kohler.


With a passion for simple, strong and classic flavors, Chef Blouin strives to create desserts that encourage guests to explore exciting and unique new culinary delights. Featuring whimsical presentations, ingredients of the highest quality and bold colors, his creations offer unforgettable flavors ranging from light to decadent. His many popular desserts, including reimagined cheesecakes and soufflés, showcase his modern interpretation of classic desserts. In 2015 he won first place at the renowned Valrhona C3 Pastry Competition in New York, earning him the opportunity to represent North America in the International Chefs Congress.


“Creativity and invention are my favorite parts of the pastry industry,” said Chef Blouin. “Creating a dessert that is unique and that guests truly enjoy is the art of pastry at its best,” said Chef Blouin.


Chef Blouin continues to follow global pastry trends and French pastry chefs, including culinary icons Pierre Hermé and Christophe Michalak, who have had a profound influence on him both professionally and personally. Visionary creativity drives Chef Blouin to construct adventurous and delectable desserts for his guests at Destination Kohler.


Sam Carlson, Sales Executive – Destination Kohler

Sam Carlson

Senior Sales Executive – Destination Kohler

A graduate of Michigan State University with a degree in hospitality business, Sam joined Kohler Co. in 2014 starting as an intern followed by completing the Management Development Program. He joined Group Sales in 2015 with his sales regions including the West Coast and the South East markets. He is passionate about sports including hockey, golf and football.


Phone: 920-889-2891
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Frank D’Amato, Director of National Accounts – Destination Kohler

Frank D’Amato

Director of National Accounts – Destination Kohler

Frank, who joined Kohler Co. in 2007, is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin–Stout. Frank’s passion and determination has led to his promotions from Sales Manager to his current position as Director of National Accounts. His accounts include metro Milwaukee, the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic markets. Born and raised in the Milwaukee metro area by his 100-percent Sicilian-born Italian immigrant parents, Frank has been married for seven years and has two step-daughters. He loves to travel to play golf, dining with his wife and enjoying company with family and friends.


Phone: 920-918-5622
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Jonalee De Noble

Jonalee De Noble

Associate Director of Meetings & Events

A native of Iowa and graduate of Morningside College, Jonalee earned a degree in corporate communication and advertising. She is passionate about creating unforgettable experiences, from weddings and galas to corporate conferences; she takes pride in the small details that contribute to the overall atmosphere and experience. With each event, Jonalee thoroughly enjoys the challenge of being unique and relevant.


When she’s not creating party masterpieces, you may find Jonalee taking in a football game, hiking or traveling with her husband.

Dan Dries, Head Chef / Restaurant Manager – Whistling Straits® Restaurant

Dan Dries

Head Chef / Restaurant Manager – Whistling Straits® Restaurant

Dan began cooking at a small German-style restaurant in his hometown of Cedarburg, Wisconsin. Throughout high school, he enjoyed working at the restaurant and had his mind set on going to culinary school after graduation.


Dan attended Kendall College in Evanston, Illinois. After completing his general education requirements, he started to focus on the culinary art classes at Kendall. Dan interned at The Wisconsin Room at The American Club® in Kohler, Wisconsin, for six months. After completing another year of school, he received his associate’s degree in culinary arts.


He started working full-time for a large-scale catering and food-service company in Chicago called Food For Thought. He catered for groups of people from 2 to 5000 throughout Chicago and the North Shore.


In July 2004, Dan was hired at The American Club as the banquet chef. He was a strong contributor to special events throughout Destination Kohler, including the Kohler Festival of Beer and the Kohler Food & Wine Experience, and he facilitated many team-building cooking events, cooking demonstrations and classes. Dan has cooked for the James Beard House, Kohler KBIS tradeshows, 2004 and 2010 PGA Championships, 2007 U.S. Men’s Senior Open and the 2012 U.S. Women’s Open. In 2012, Chef Dries took his eight years of experience at The American Club and applied it to Whistling Straits Restaurant, overlooking Lake Michigan and the world-renowned Whistling Straits golf courses. In 2014, Dan took on additional responsibilities as the restaurant manager and chef at Whistling Straits, and he is preparing for the 2015 PGA Championship and 2020 Ryder Cup.


Nicole Fischer

Nicole Fischer, CMP

Senior Meetings & Events Manager

Nicole, a certified meeting professional, joined Destination Kohler in 2004. She began her career as an intern and worked her way up within the organization from banquets and group sales to her current position as Senior Meeting & Events Manager. Along with corporate events, Nicole plans weddings and provides support in coordinating special events. In addition to her work with Destination Kohler, Nicole worked with the Plymouth Chamber of Commerce for six years as a special events assistant. She has a degree in communications from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee.

Justin Gephart, Director of Sales and Conference Services – Destination Kohler

Justin Gephart

Director of Sales and Conference Services – Destination Kohler

Justin, who has a master’s degree in business administration from Marquette University and a degree in economics & finance from the University of Wisconsin–La Crosse, joined Kohler Co. in 2004 as an accountant. Justin spent seven years in various capacities including cost accounting, financial planning and analysis, mergers and acquisitions in Kohler Engines, Corporate Planning and the Interiors Group. Justin transitioned into sales in 2011 as a Senior Sales Executive and has led the team since January of 2013. Originally from Eagan, Minnesota, Justin and his wife have three daughters, and enjoy a wide variety of sporting activities together, especially golf.


Phone: 920-912-2467
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Daniel Hastreiter, PGA, Head Golf Professional – Blackwolf Run®

Daniel Hastreiter, PGA

Head Golf Professional – Blackwolf Run®

Daniel Hastreiter began his career at Blackwolf Run in 2006 as a Professional Golf Management Intern. He progressed through the Assistant Golf Professional ranks, working at both Blackwolf Run and Whistling Straits.  As Head Golf Professional, Hastreiter is responsible for managing all aspects of the Blackwolf Run golf operation and ensuring the golf business  leads the industry in terms of service levels and guest experience.  He is a graduate of Florida State University with a degree in business administration.  Hastreiter currently serves on both the Tournament Policy Board and Wisconsin Assistant Golf Professional Association Committee for the Wisconsin PGA.


• PGA Class “A” Member since 2008
• Lead Instructor for the Kohler Golf Academy
• 2018 Wisconsin PGA Assistant Professional of the Year
• 2010 PGA Championship Committee Chair 
• 2012 US Women’s Open Committee Chair
• 2015 PGA Championship Committee Chair
• 2020 Ryder Cup Executive Vice Chair


Hermann Hastreiter

Hermann Hastreiter

Senior Sales Executive – Destination Kohler

Hermann started his career at the Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain in 2009 where he was a part of the opening team. Hermann held several positions during his tenure with Dove Mountain including Loss Prevention Officer, Conference Concierge, Sales Assistant and Sales Manager.  In 2015, Hermann transferred to The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua to serve as as a Senior Sales Manager. In 2018, Hermann transferred to The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara as a Director of National Accounts handling the Midwest, Incentive Houses and Canada.

He earned the prestigious President’s Circle Award in 2012 and Chairman’s Circle in 2013 and Golden Circle in 2017.  As a Sales Assistant, Hermann won Five-Star of the Quarter in 2011 and as a Senior Sales Manager in 2015.

In addition to his passion for sales, Hermann enjoys traveling, attending sporting events and music festivals.

Thomas Hauck

Thomas Hauck

Head Chef, Taverne on Woodlake

A Wisconsin native, Chef Thomas Hauck discovered his passion for cooking as a teen. His family relocated from Port Washington, Wisconsin to Georgia when he was young, where he started working in the kitchen of a local restaurant while attending school. After graduating high school, he began working in steakhouses in Roanoke, Virginia, and that’s when it clicked: he wanted to attend culinary school to continue learning the business and shaping his experience and skills into a career. He attended the Culinary Institute of America and landed an externship in Washington D.C. Upon graduation, he spent a year working in Cincinnati and then moved to France for two years of eye-opening culinary experiences. When he returned to the U.S., Hauck secured a position under the late chef Richard Michel in Washington D.C.’s Citronelle, where he honed his skills for four years. In 2010, Hauck moved back to Wisconsin where he spent a year and a half working at the historical Pfister Hotel in downtown Milwaukee while planning to open his own business. In 2012, he opened c.1880 where, as chef/owner, he helped to change the face of the Walker’s Point neighborhood. The restaurant’s menu earned him three James Beard Foundation award semifinalist nominations for Best Chef in the Midwest in 2016, 2017 and 2018 and a yearly spot among the top restaurants in the Journal Sentinel's Top 30 list. In 2016, he purchased Karl Ratzsch in downtown Milwaukee, one of the area’s oldest and last historically German restaurants. In 2018, Hauck was forced to close his beloved restaurants, but soon after earned the Culinary Director position for Lowlands Group in spring of 2018, overseeing and elevating the culinary program for eight European-style cafes in the state. In the fall of 2020, he joined Destination KOHLER as Head Chef of Taverne on Woodlake, in the Village of Kohler. When he’s not in the kitchen, Chef Thomas enjoys spending time outdoors with his wife Sara and their two young boys. An avid musician and music lover, he also tries to make time to play his growing collection of Gibson guitars.

Catherine Johnson

Catherine Johnson

Meetings & Events Manager

Catherine, who began her career in hospitality at the age of 14, graduated from the University of Wisconsin–Stout with a bachelor’s degree in Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management and a minor in business administration. She completed an internship at Kohler Co. during the 2015 PGA Championship hosted by Destination Kohler. After graduating from UW–Stout, Catherine moved to St. Paul, Minnesota, and worked for Marriott Hotels and The Saint Paul Hotel in restaurant management operations.

Christine Loose

Christine Loose

Vice President of Lodging and Wellness – Kohler Co.

Christine Loose is the Vice President of Lodging and Wellness for Kohler Co. In this role, she manages hospitality operations and growth for The American Club and the Inn on Woodlake hotels in Kohler, Wis., Riverbend private membership in Kohler, Wis., Lodge Kohler in Green Bay, Wis., and the Old Course Hotel in St Andrews, Scotland, as well as overseeing the growing wellness portfolio.


Before joining the Kohler Hospitality & Real Estate Group, Christine led Kohler Co. Customer Service and CRM department. As manager of that department, she was responsible for more than 1 million customer interactions per year. Christine identified efficiencies, improved department performance and proved herself an effective leader.


She joined the Kohler hospitality group in 2009 as Resident Manager for The American Club. Her analytical mind combined with a strong desire to serve made her uniquely suited to hospitality leadership, and management of the Inn on Woodlake was quickly added to her responsibilities.


Before taking on the role of Group Director of Lodging, Christine served as Director of Hotels. During her time in that role, The American Club earned its Forbes Five-Star rating and maintained the AAA Five-Diamond status. Also during that time, Christine worked closely with Executive Chairman Herbert V. Kohler to design the AAA Four-Diamond Lodge Kohler in Green Bay, Wisconsin that opened in July 2017.


Her Own the Now style of management led Kohler’s hospitality business to record performance levels. Christine personally trains associates on the Own the Now mission, which empowers her team to address guest needs in the moment, to recover from a complaint, then surprise and delight the guest.


She credits her success to always staying on the learning curve and not being afraid to take career risks. She has grown a team of leaders by recognizing the potential of associates and helping them grow in their careers.


Christine holds a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from St. Norbert College and a MBA from Keller Graduate School of Management. She completed the General Managers Program, Hotel Revenue Management Program and Food & Beverage Management Program at Cornell University. She serves on the Sheboygan County Chamber Board of Directors.

Trina Moynihan

Trina Moynihan

Senior Meetings & Events Manager

Trina, who has a degree in Communications from Aquinas College, Michigan, joined Kohler Co. in 1992 and spent the majority of her career in Events Planning for corporate and group golf events held at Whistling Straits and Blackwolf Run. She played an integral role in the coordination of championship events, from the 1998 U.S. Women’s Open to the 2010 PGA Championship. She has also provided support in coordinating special resort events, including the annual Kohler Food & Wine.

Lucas Oppeneer, Head Chef – Destination Kohler Special Events

Lucas Oppeneer

Head Chef – Destination Kohler Special Events

A graduate of the American Culinary Federation Apprenticeship Program, Chef Oppeneer has 17 years of culinary experience. He has worked in every Kohler restaurant, including The Immigrant Restaurant, Cucina, The Wisconsin Room and the Horse & Plow, and has been involved in Kohler Food & Wine Experience event each year.


During his five years at The Immigrant Restaurant, he was part of the team that moved the restaurant from a three-star rating to four-star status. While head of the culinary team at the Horse & Plow, Chef Oppeneer developed a new menu for the remodeled restaurant featuring innovative pub fare with an emphasis on fresh ingredients. He oversaw events for the 2015 PGA Championship, Kohler Festival of Beer and the 2015 and 2016 Wisconsin Sports Awards events.


Chef Oppeneer left the American Club in June 2016 to lead food and beverage operations for Holy Family Memorial Hospital in Manitowoc where he improved patient and employee dining with healthy, fresh, local produce and also lead the community health goals team to promote healthy eating/nutrition and exercise. Chef Oppeneer rejoined Destination Kohler in September 2017 as Special Events Chef just in time to lead the team through this year’s Kohler Food & Wine Experience.


Michael O’reilly, PGA, Director of Golf Operations – Destination Kohler

Michael O’Reilly, PGA

Director of Golf Operations – Destination Kohler

As Director of Golf Operations for Destination Kohler, O’Reilly is responsible for leading operations and driving growth in golf operations, on-course food and beverage and the Kohler Golf Academy. He also oversees operations at the Kohler Swing Studio and serves on the Executive Committee of the 2020 Ryder Cup. It will mark the fifth major championship that O’Reilly has supported at Kohler Co. He was the Executive Vice Chair of Player Services for the 2007 U.S. Senior Open and the PGA Championships in 2004, 2010 and 2015.


O’Reilly was the head golf professional from 2007 - 2017, overseeing operations of the Straits and Irish courses. Prior to that he served as assistant golf professional at both Blackwolf Run and Whistling Straits.


O’Reilly was honored as the 2017 Wisconsin Section PGA Golf Professional of the Year. It is his second WPGA special award, as he was also recognized for his player development efforts in 2011. Off the course, the Sheboygan resident serves his fellow PGA golf professionals as Vice President of the Wisconsin PGA. Outside of golf, O’Reilly is actively involved with Lakeshore Technical College and the Jimmy Lohr Scholarship. He is a native of Darien, Illinois and holds an undergraduate degree from Augustana College and an M.B.A. from Cardinal Stritch University.


• PGA Class “A” Member since 2004
• Wisconsin PGA Board Member - Vice President
• 2011 PGA National Professional Championship Contestant
• 2011 Wisconsin PGA Player Development Award Winner
• 2017 Wisconsin PGA Golf Professional of the Year Award Winner
• 2004 PGA Championship Executive Vice Chair
• 2007 U.S. Senior Open Executive Vice Chair
• 2010 PGA Championship Executive Vice Chair
• 2015 PGA Championship Executive Vice Chair
• 2020 Ryder Cup Executive Committee Member


Josue Reyes, PGA, Director of Retail – Destination Kohler and Destination St. Andrews

Josue Reyes, PGA

Director of Retail – Destination Kohler and Destination St. Andrews

Josue Reyes joined Kohler Co. in 2008 as the Manager – Merchandising, Blackwolf Run & Whistling Straits, to ensure the Blackwolf Run and Whistling Straits retail businesses lead the industry in terms of service levels, aesthetics, product offerings, guest experience, recognition and profitability. As Director – Retail, in addition to his responsibilities with the golf businesses, Reyes provides support to all Destination Kohler and Destination St. Andrews retail outlets, and is responsible for centralizing the retail receiving practices and growing the resort’s e-commerce presence.


A proven professional with over fifteen years’ experience in the retail industry, Reyes has noteworthy results in revenue generation, inventory management, retail business development and visual merchandising. For his past successes, Reyes has been recognized by the PGA of America as the Wisconsin Section Merchandiser of the Year seven times as well as being honored as the PGA’s National Merchandiser of the Year in 2013.


Reyes previously served as Head PGA Golf Professional with The Ritz-Carlton Members Golf Club in Sarasota, Florida. Prior to becoming Head Professional, he served as the club’s Golf Shop Manager and was instrumental in the initial design and layout of their golf shop. Reyes' professionalism and attention to detail helped the club become the only AAA Five-Diamond Ritz-Carlton Golf Club Resort in the U.S.


• PGA Class “A” Member since 2006 
• PGA Magazine Advisory Board 
• 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2020 Wisconsin Section PGA Merchandiser of the Year for Resort Facilities 
• 2013 National PGA Merchandiser of the Year for Resort Facilities 
• 2010 PGA Championship Merchandise Executive Vice Chair 
• 2012 U.S. Women’s Open Merchandise Team Leader 
• 2015 PGA Championship Merchandise and Media Services Division Chair 
• 2020 Ryder Cup Division Chair for Merchandise and Media Services


Karen Skaggs

Karen Skaggs

Meetings & Events Manager

Karen joined Kohler Co. in 2000. She worked in purchasing and quality for Kitchen & Bath fixtures in Brownwood, Texas and then she transferred to Wisconsin to work for Global Faucets purchasing until 2003. From there she moved to the sales department at Kohler Power where she planned many customer meetings and events before pursuing her passion with Destination Kohler. Karen joined the meeting and events team in April 2017 after working with the Destination Kohler sales team for two years. 


Originally from Illinois, Karen is an avid hockey fan. When not watching her favorite sport or working, she spends a lot of her free supporting her kids in hockey, volleyball and track or planning her next family trip.

Paul Smitala, Head Chef / Restaurant Manager – Blackwolf Run® Restaurant

Paul Smitala

Head Chef / Restaurant Manager – Blackwolf Run® Restaurant

For more than a decade, Chef Paul Smitala has offered his culinary expertise to The American Club® Resort, one of only 36 hotels in the world to be both Forbes Five-Star and AAA Five Diamond. A Midwest native, Chef Smitala received his degree in hotel and restaurant management at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. After graduating with honors from The Culinary Institute of America, he joined The American Club Resort in 1996 as a banquet chef. In his tenure, Chef Smitala designed new banquet menus and dishes for groups of up to 800, serving creative dishes with only the freshest ingredients. In 1998, Chef Smitala joined the kitchen at Blackwolf Run Golf Course as head chef.


Chef Smitala has been involved in creating culinary masterpieces for numerous large-scale events including the 1998 U.S. Women’s Open, the 2004 PGA Championship, 2007 U.S. Senior Open, the 2010 PGA Championship, 2010 Champions Toast at Augusta and the 2012 U.S. Women’s Open. He has also had the honor of cooking at the James Beard House twice in New York City, and he serves as a national spokesperson for the Kitchens of Kohler.


In 2008, Chef Smitala received the Chef of the Year Salute to Excellence Award from the Wisconsin Restaurant Association, and in 2009 he earned the Milwaukee Area Technical College Civic Apprenticeship Award for his work in mentoring culinary students. Under Chef Smitala’s leadership, Blackwolf Run has been honored with the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence since 2002.


In addition to overseeing the food, beverage and special events at Blackwolf Run, Chef Smitala also spends time in The Kitchens of Kohler, located in The Shops at Woodlake Kohler, teaching guests about a variety of recipes, trends and styles of cooking.


Leonard Sorce, Head Chef – The Immigrant Restaurant

Leonard Sorce

Head Chef – The Immigrant Restaurant

Chef Sorce has spent nearly three decades creating unforgettable gastronomic experiences for guests at private homes, special events, and restaurants. He served as private chef for the Norwegian ambassador to Germany, providing daily fine dining for the ambassador and his family in Bonn and Berlin and preparing meals for heads of states, politicians, and celebrities. Chef Sorce also spent two years as the private chef for the owner of Victor International, serving meals to the family, guests, and yacht staff at a private island estate in Lake Michigan and aboard a 130-foot yacht in the British Virgin Islands.


For six years, he was the executive chef of Riverbend, the historic members-only mansion in Kohler. Chef Sorce also worked as executive chef and pastry chef of Oil Nut Bay at Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands, which was awarded Best Restaurant in the BVI by Forbes. At this luxury, 300-acre residential/resort property, he created numerous special events for discerning guests including preparing owners’ dinners for major sailing regattas: the Loro PIanan Caribbean Super Yacht Regatta & Rendezvous and the Rolex Swan Cup.


Chef Sorce has worked at the 2016 U.S. Open Golf Tournament at Oakmont Country Club in Pennsylvania, done chef demonstrations for House Beautiful in New York City, and – alongside other Destination Kohler chefs – prepared two dinners at The James Beard House. He enjoys preparing and serving meals in both casual and formal settings.


Bryan Stevens, Sales Executive-Golf – Destination Kohler

Bryan Stevens

Golf Sales Executive – Destination Kohler

Bryan started his career in his hometown, Orlando, FL, working for the Walt Disney Co. He moved to Wisconsin in 2007 to join the Kohler Golf Team as an assistant golf professional at Blackwolf Run, and he later transitioned to the Tournament Operations Team for both Whistling Straits and Blackwolf Run. Bryan gained membership into the PGA of America in 2013. He has served as a committee chair for the 2012 US Women’s Open and handled all the corporate hospitality golf at Blackwolf Run for the 2015 PGA Championship. For the 2020 Ryder Cup, Bryan will once again be a committee chairperson.


Part of a golfing family, Bryan has been playing the game since age 3. He enjoys traveling as much as possible with his wife, Beth, especially to Hawaii and Walt Disney World and on cruises.




Troy Unruh, Chef – The Wisconsin Room

Troy Unruh

Chef – The Wisconsin Room

Trained in the kitchens of renowned chefs Mario Batali, Eric Ripert, David Bouley, Jean George Vongrichten and Marcus Samuelson, Chef Troy Unruh has more than two decades of experience working in the top restaurants in Minneapolis and New York.


Born to a Midwestern family with agricultural roots, Chef Troy learned the value of fresh produce and the importance of conservationism while working in his mother’s garden. He began working in restaurants during high school and – after a short stint in construction – realized his passion for cooking would be his path forward. He earned a degree in culinary arts from St. Paul College while working a full-time position at the celebrated Goodfellows in Minneapolis, where he was introduced to his first fine dining experience.


After another defining experience in Minneapolis at Aquavit, working under James Beard Rising Star Chef award-winning Marcus Samuelson, Chef Troy decided to move to New York. Arriving with a short list of chefs with whom he wanted to cook, within 24 hours he was hired to work at the famed Jean-Georges. Chef Unruh has a combined 12 Michelin stars on his resume, working in some of the world’s top restaurants. Throughout his 12-year stay in New York, he also worked in the kitchens of Danube, Le Bernadin and Del Posto. 
He then moved on to become executive chef of Ellabess at the Nolitan Hotel and Zylo at the W Hotel Hoboken. While helming the stoves at Zylo, he was invited to cook “A Taste of Italy” wine dinner at the James Beard House.


Chef Troy then returned to Minneapolis, where he helped several high-profile chefs launch new restaurants and took the role of executive chef at the legendary W. A. Frost & Co. A lover of the outdoors, he began searching for a way to use his fine dining experience while enjoying a more rural lifestyle. His role of chef at The Wisconsin Room provides that unique experience, allowing him to continue the tradition of using fresh, local ingredients in a fine dining atmosphere yet quickly immerse himself in nature on days off.


Todd Wagner, Manager – Kohler Golf Academy

Todd Wagner

Manager – Kohler Golf Academy

Todd Wagner manages the daily operations of the Kohler Golf Academy, recipient of Golf Digest’s 2020 Editor’s Choice Award for Best Golf School/Academy in the Midwest. Serving as Senior Instructor, Wagner trains all Kohler Golf Academy instructors ensuring the quality of instruction and the growth of Kohler Golf Academy through lesson programs and golf schools. He began his career at Kohler as a golf professional in April 1996 and was active in the development of the Kohler Golf Academy. In 2008, he became the Manager with his primary focus on the promotion, selling and management of Kohler Golf Academy.


• 2009-2010, 2011-2012, 2017-2018, 2019-2020 Top 10 Instructors in Wisconsin by Golf Digest
• 2011 and 2012 Honorable Mention Instructors by US Kids Golf


Sandra Wassink, Head Chef / General Manager – River Wildlife

Sandra Wassink

Head Chef / General Manager – River Wildlife

Sandra Wassink, restaurant manager and head chef has been instrumental in the success of River Wildlife since its inception in 1979. Sandy, as she is known, started as a kitchen assistant in her teenage years and sharpened her culinary skills by sheer talent and listening to her many followers. Sandy insists on sourcing locally grown ingredients for her weekly changing menu such as pheasant, quail and foraged wild morels to a perennial favorite, freshly caught walleye. Using both innovative and time tested techniques, her team creates inspired comfort food that highlights the best the Midwest has to offer. Open to members and resort guests only, River Wildlife is known for its outstanding countrified gourmet cuisine and is widely accepted as one of the top dining venues in the state of Wisconsin and beyond.


Dirk Willis

Dirk Willis, PGA

Vice President of Golf, Landscape & Retail – Kohler Co.

In his current position, Dirk Willis is responsible for ensuring the global golf businesses for Kohler Company lead the industry in terms of service, guest experience, recognition and profitability. In addition, Willis’ responsibilities include driving the growth of resort-wide retail businesses and ensuring the corporate wide landscaping programs embody the Kohler ideal of “gracious living”.


For the past 30 years, Kohler Company has been the driving force behind Wisconsin becoming a global golf destination as well as a significant player in hosting major golf championships. During his career with Kohler Company, Willis has been involved with the planning of 11 televised professional tournaments and has seen Kohler’s golf portfolio expand to five courses on two continents. Willis originally joined Kohler Company in 1994 after a brief career in hotel management. Willis has served in several management capacities with Kohler Company including Head Golf Professional at Whistling Straits and PGA Director of Golf Operations for Destination Kohler. Prior to returning to Kohler Company in 2017, Willis was Vice President of Golf & Retail for Irvine Company Resort Properties in Newport Beach, California.


Willis has served on the Executive Committee for the 2004, 2010 and 2015 PGA Championships, 2007 U. S. Senior Open, and 2012 U. S. Women’s Open. In addition, Willis was the Corporate Patron Tournament Events Coordinator for the 1995, 1996 and 1997 Andersen Consulting World Championships, Chairperson of Corporate Patron Golf Events for the 1998 U. S. Women’s Open, and Championship Director for the 1999 PGA National Club Professional Championship. Willis is a member of the Executive Committee for the 2020 Ryder Cup that will be hosted at Whistling Straits.

A PGA Class “A” Member since 1999, Willis was recognized as the PGA’s Merchandiser of the Year for resort facilities in 2007 and received numerous Wisconsin PGA Section Awards for merchandising and junior golf development. Willis was the Kohler High School golf coach for 12 years where he led his team to six WIAA state tournament appearances including a state title in 2011. He is also a past president of the Golf Coaches Association of Wisconsin (GCAW) and currently serves on the following boards: GCAW Board of Directors and Wisconsin State Golf Association (WSGA) Board of Directors.


Willis holds an M.B.A. from Marquette University as well as certificates in executive management from Northwestern University – Kellogg School of Management and hospitality management from Cornell University.

Sherry Wolf, Senior Sales Executive – Wisconsin

Sherry Wolf

Senior Sales Executive – Wisconsin

A Wisconsin native, Sherry graduated from Marian University in Fond du Lac with a BSBA in marketing and sport and recreational management. After college, she worked in the fashion industry, allowing her to travel the country, which sparked her interest in hospitality. She made the transition to hospitality in 2010, and has been a Senior Sales Executive with Destination Kohler since 2014, working with companies from Wisconsin, Minnesota, Kansas and Missouri.


Phone: 920-912-7125
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Katie Zak

Katie Zak

Meetings & Events Manager

Katie graduated from UW-Stevens Point with a bachelor’s in American Studies. While in school in Stevens Point, Katie worked in the floral industry and was a member of WUMFA (Wisconsin and Upper Michigan Florist Association). She also was a decorator for the Wausau Tour of Homes Holiday Showcase.  From there she started her own event-planning business in 2006, specializing in one-of-a-kind weddings at venues that included Lambeau Field, Miller Park and the St. James Inn (Redwing, Minn.), while also working in the hospitality industry in hotel management at the Hilton Hotels & Resorts.

Chris Zugel, Director of Golf Course Maintenance – Destination Kohler

Chris Zugel

Director of Golf Course Maintenance – Destination Kohler

Chris Zugel joined Kohler Co. as an intern on the Irish Course in 2000. Following graduation and some professional experience, he returned to Whistling Straits in 2002. Over the past 18 years, Chris has steadily advanced in positions of increasing responsibility between Whistling Straits and Blackwolf Run, including his most recent role as Certified Superintendent – Whistling Straits. During that time, he led the highly acclaimed golf course preparations for the 2010 and 2015 PGA Championships as the host superintendent of the Straits Course.


In his current position, Chris oversees Destination Kohler golf course maintenance facilities, programs and superintendents for Whistling Straits and Blackwolf Run. He is responsible for ongoing course maintenance, enhancements and planning, as well as partnerships with industry and local organizations. He is also leading the golf course preparations and maintenance program for the 2020 Ryder Cup including golf course pre- and daily event preparation, maintenance volunteer program, vendor management, and the primary contact for golf course maintenance inquires.


Chris holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Landscape Horticulture from Colorado State University with an emphasis in Turf Management, and his professional experience includes Assistant Superintendent-TPC Eagle Trace and Manager-Grounds for the Milwaukee Brewers.


• GCSAA Member since 1999
• Certified Golf Course Superintendent since 2012 
• 2007 U.S. Senior Open Senior Assistant Superintendent
• 2010 PGA Championship Host Golf Course Superintendent
• 2015 PGA Championship Host Golf Course Superintendent
• 2020 Ryder Cup Committee Chair-Grounds