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Meet the Team

GOLF
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

 

GOLF
Michael Aschenbach, PGA

Assistant General Manager & 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

DINING
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.

 

SALES
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
Email: Samuel.carlson@kohler.com
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SALES
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
Email: DAmato@kohler.com
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DINING
Alexandre Dufaur

Head Baker – Destination Kohler

Hard work and discipline have always been driving forces in Alexandre Dufaur’s life. Born and raised in France, Chef Alex brings over eight years of bread making experience to Destination Kohler as Head Baker of the Midwest’s premier luxury resort.

 

At the tender age of 11, he joined the Paris Opera Ballet and at 18, he was one of the few to make it professionally into the esteemed company. His talent and discipline took him all over the world, and in 2002, he joined the Miami City Ballet where he quickly rose through the ranks as a soloist. While performing internationally with the Magic City company, Dufaur attended Florida Atlantic University, where in 2012 he obtained his Master of Arts degree. With over 15 years of an international ballet career behind him and an unfulfilled passion for food and baking, Dufaur took the plunge and pursued a career in hospitality in 2010. Soon after graduation, he was offered an assistant sommelier position at the landmark luxury hotel, The Breakers Palm Beach, under renowned Master Sommeliers Virginia Philip and Juan Gomez. Having learned the “back-of-the-house” ropes from some of the best in the business, Dufaur returned home to France, where he continued his hospitality journey. Eager to learn more about the restaurant industry, he pursued a position as Maître d’ Hotel at “Les Pres d’Eugenie,” a three-Michelin star restaurant operated by Michel Guérard, founder of la nouvelle cuisine.

 

In 2010, Dufaur met his now-wife Elodie, a gifted pastry chef. They welcomed their first child in 2014. Sharing a passion for baking, Dufaur joined the family business by taking an apprenticeship at the bakery. The owner and Elodie’s father, Bernard, was a sixth-generation bread maker who was struggling to find a new generation of bakers to pass down his secrets and techniques. Dufaur enthusiastically took on the challenge, and the baking business would prove to be the most challenging and fulfilling endeavor of his life. At the bakery, Bernard performed every aspect of the bread production process, from slow-rising to hand-shaping of the breads. He taught Dufaur the importance of working with local farmers and millers and using stone-ground organic flour to produce naturally leavened quality dough. Bernard was an old-world artisanal bread maker, and he would instill the dedication to tradition and quality in Dufaur.

 

This commitment to natural ingredients and hard work is what drives Dufaur in the kitchen today. In his continuing quest to achieve greatness, he looks to the baking legends for inspiration, such as World Champion of Chocolate Bread, Sebastien Lagrue, and world-renowned baker and Meilleur Ouvrier de France, Thomas Marie. The Meilleur Ouvrier de France, the Best Craftsman in France, is a prestigious national competition where over 200 craftspeople in over 16 industries compete for the title of the best in their industry. In early 2022, Dufaur had the opportunity to meet Marie and experience his coveted 3-Day Master Class in Rouen at the famous French National Baking and Pastry Institute, INBP. At Destination Kohler, he aspires to translate his love for naturally leavened breads and locally sourced ingredients to the bread program. He hopes his creations can help guests be more mindful of the ingredients they consume, without sacrificing flavor. In the kitchen, he’s currently focusing on laminated pastries and promotes his rustic artisan bread and viennoiseries creations on his personal social media pages.

SALES
Justin Gephart

Director of Global Sales – Hospitality & Real Estate

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
Email: Justin.gephart@kohler.com
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SALES
John Golz

Senior Sales Executive – Riverbend

John joined Kohler in 2020 having worked for five years in the Cleveland Indians and Arizona Diamondbacks minor league organizations, two years with the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League and five years as the Membership Director at Kemper Lakes Golf Club in Illinois. Born and raised on the South Side of Chicago, John graduated from Columbia College Chicago in 2008. Having grown up around private clubs his whole life, John brings a wealth of knowledge and experience from both sides of the industry. John lives with his wife and three daughters and is very passionate about live music, golf, baseball and football.

 

Phone: 920-451-2162
Email: John.Golz@kohler.com
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GOLF
Daniel Hastreiter, PGA

Assistant General Manager & 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

 

DINING
Thomas Hauck

Head Chef – Immigrant Restaurant

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 Michel Richard 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 and in 2022 he transitioned to the Head of The Immigrant Restaurant. 

 

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.

SALES
Andrea Havlik

Wedding Sales Executive – Destination Kohler

Andrea is an Air Force veteran and graduate of Concordia University with a degree in Human Resources.

 

She joined Kohler Hospitality in 2016 as one of the Vice President’s executive secretaries and through this position, she gained a love of all the Kohler properties.

 

Before coming to Kohler Andrea had experience in the restaurant industry as well as door-to-door sales.  She is excited to be a part of the sales team and help each couple create their amazing wedding day experience with Kohler.

 

Phone: 920-917-5046
Email: Andrea.Havlik@kohler.com
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SALES
Starr Hayden

Sales Executive – Wellness & Leisure – Destination Kohler

Starr has over 15+ years of sales experience in the salon professional industry, with a bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Business Education. She started her wellness journey in 2017 as a certified (RYT) Registered Yoga Teacher with Yoga Alliance, teaching both Yoga and Yoga Sculpt formats. Starr has her Certificate in Health and Nutrition from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. Starr brings her passion, creativity, and expertise to her role to continually innovate, develop, and execute our wellness strategy and program offerings to you. Starr lives in the Village of Kohler with her husband, two girls, and a fur baby.

SALES
Aubrey Lockwood

Sales Executive – Destination Kohler

In 2021, Aubrey went on a vacation to Kohler, WI, and found herself falling in love with the charming, snowglobe-esque village. She decided to stay and began working in various wellness businesses in the area. In 2022, Aubrey transitioned to sales and is now the face of the Wisconsin/Midwest market. Before her move, Aubrey worked as an Early Childhood Educator in Florida and Japan, focusing on student social-emotional development and well-being. She is thrilled to share her passion for Kohler and its offerings with others. Aubrey enjoys traveling, immersing herself in nature, and writing in her spare time.

Phone: 312-806-5089
Email: Aubrey.Lockwood@kohler.com
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GOLF
Michael O’Reilly, PGA

General Manager – Whistling Straits & Blackwolf Run

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

 

DINING
Paul Smitala

Head Chef – 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.

 

DINING
Crystal Thomas

Head Chocolatier – KOHLER Original Recipe Chocolates

An honors graduate in culinary and pastries science from Johnson & Wales University, Crystal Thomas trained under chefs from around the world and worked in all areas of the kitchen. During college, she worked at the Charleston Grille, one of the top restaurants in South Carolina at the time.

 

Crystal became pastry chef in Portmeirion in North Wales, United Kingdom, and received her teaching degree in culinary and pastry arts in Wales. She loves working with chocolate. “It has a way of telling me what it wants to be, I listen to it.” Guided by the best ingredients and her own creative vision, she is always excited to create something new.

 

Since joining KOHLER Original Recipe Chocolates in 2018, she’s felt encouraged to continually innovate and challenged to believe anything is possible. She’s most proud of the Peppermint Crunch Terrapins, a holiday favorite, which she fine-tuned after 81 attempts.

DINING
Troy Unruh

Head 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.

 

GOLF
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

 

DINING
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.

 

GOLF
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.

SALES
Sherry Wolff

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
Email: Sherry.wolff@kohler.com
View LinkedIn

 

GOLF
Chris Zugel

Director – Agronomy & Landscape Hospitality & Real Estate Group

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

 

EVENTS
Jennifer Bender

Team Manager – Corporate Events

Jennifer has been with Kohler Co. since 2011, after graduating from Michigan State University with honors in Hospitality Business and Communications. She completed a year-long 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.

EVENTS
Katie Zak

Team Manager – Social Events

Katie graduated from UW-Stevens Point with a Bachelor’s in American Business Studies. Following college, she started her own event-planning business, 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. For the past 8 seasons, Katie’s core focus was specialty events at our Destination Kohler golf courses including the 2015 PGA Championship and has since broadened our resorts design teams offerings, cultivating memorable events across the Destination Kohler campus.

 

When not planning extraordinary resort celebrations, you will likely find Katie cheering on her beloved Green Bay Packers or enjoying some time outside in the great outdoors with her husband and young son.

EVENTS
Katie Patterson

Meeting & Events Manager

Katie, an Indiana native, graduated in 2017 from Indiana University - Indianapolis with a degree in Tourism, Convention, and Event Management. While in school, she focused her studies on special event management and sports tourism. After graduation and before joining Kohler, Katie worked out of the NCAA Headquarters then moved on to a position with a travel management organization. Both allowed her to organize events and travel for the NCAA Annual Convention and large sporting events, like the Super Bowl and Final Four, as well as working with schools such as, the University of Notre Dame and Auburn University. In February of 2020, she joined the Meeting and Events team at Destination Kohler. Her favorite part of planning is the relationship she gets to build with each client.

 

While she’s away from work, Katie loves to be outside exploring her new home and spending time with her family.

EVENTS
Catherine St. Louis

Meeting & Events Manager

Originally from Iron Mountain, Michigan, Catherine is a graduate from Lakeland University with a Bachelor’s degree in Resort Management. She began her hospitality career at Custer State Park Resort in Custer, South Dakota, with an internship at State Game Lodge. After graduation, Catherine gained further experience through Hilton Hotels in Milwaukee and The Osthoff Resort, both in Wisconsin.  In 2021, Catherine joined the team at Destination Kohler and is excited to learn and grow her career with the talented Meeting and Events team.

 

In her spare time, Catherine loves to bake and decorate sugar cookies, enjoys the outdoors with her husband, and cheering on the Green Bay Packers & Michigan State!

EVENTS
Cassie Holden

Meeting & Events Coordinator

Cassie's hospitality career started at the age of 15 when she served at a small family restaurant. She then joined the Food and Beverage team at Lodge Kohler before moving to Manitowoc and joining The Wisconsin Room team at The American Club as an In-Room Dining Attendant. Her dedication and hard work led to promotions as Dining Room Supervisor and Dining Floor Manager, all driven by her passion to explore different areas of hospitality.

 

In the summer of 2022, Cassie's passion for learning led her to join the Meeting and Events team, where she finds joy in the initial call with new clients and the satisfaction of seeing everything come together on the day of the event. When Cassie is not working, she enjoys planning hiking trips to the Adirondacks and spending time with loved ones.

EVENTS
Emma Lehr

Meeting & Events Coordinator

Emma graduated from Lakeland University with a Bachelor's degree in Hospitality Management. During her time in college, she gained valuable experience in various areas of hospitality, including meetings and events. After graduation, Emma continued to expand her event planning expertise at SentryWorld in Central Wisconsin. In the fall of 2022, she joined the Meeting and Events team at Destination Kohler. Her favorite part of planning events is creating unforgettable experiences for each client.

 

Outside of work, Emma enjoys playing basketball with her family and friends, spending time outdoors with her puppy, and cheering on Marquette and Wisconsin sports teams!

EVENTS
Taylar Miller

Meeting & Events Coordinator

Taylar graduated from Lakeland University with a Bachelor's degree in Marketing and Business Administration. Throughout her college years, Taylar gained experience in event planning through her internship at the Paddock Shop in Road America, as well as in the marketing department. After graduation, she joined Kohler's Management Development Program and worked at Whistling Straits, Special Events, and Meeting and Events.

 

Taylar has a passion for event planning and enjoys making connections with people from around the world. When she's not working, you can find her outdoors, kayaking, baking, or coaching youth fastpitch softball!

EVENTS
Lori Smitala

Meeting & Events Coordinator

Lori joined Kohler Company in 1996, starting her career in Hospitality in food and beverage before transitioning to the Kohler Waters Spa in 2002. Over the years, Lori has played various roles within the company and most recently served as the spa's Group Coordinator, where she planned spa events and took care of all spa groups as part of the spa operations team. In 2021, following her passion for events, she joined the Destination Kohler Meeting and Events team. One of the things Lori enjoys most about her job is building relationships with clients and seeing their programs come to life.

 

With her husband as a chef, Lori is an avid foodie and amateur wine connoisseur (the Kohler Food and Wine Experience is her favorite event).  Outside of work, she likes catching up on the latest shows with her two daughters and they consider themselves historians of Bravo's The Real Housewives. Most of all, she enjoys spending time with her family and tries to keep up with her exuberant grandson.

EVENTS
Malorie Wilkins

Meeting & Events Coordinator

Malorie, a Wisconsin native, earned her Bachelor's degree in Marketing from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. Her passion for hospitality led her to study global wine tourism, event management, event marketing, and entrepreneurship during a semester-long program in Sydney, Australia. Prior to joining Kohler Co., she spent several years in event planning and banquet management at various restaurants and event venues in the Milwaukee area.

 

In January 2023, Malorie joined the Meeting and Events team at Destination Kohler, driven by the resort's established reputation and endless event opportunities. She enjoys working with both social events and weddings, as well as corporate groups and programs. Whether the event is large or small, Malorie is dedicated to using her passion and expertise to create unforgettable experiences for clients.

EVENTS
Liz Schmidt

Meeting & Events Coordinator

Liz's passion for hospitality has been a part of her life since childhood, when she would dash around her mother's restaurant. Eager to dive into the food service industry, she embarked on her journey at the young age of 14, right when she became legally eligible to work. Her path led her to earn a Communications degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and gain over a decade's worth of experience in the food service sector.

 

With an unwavering commitment to delivering exceptional experiences for her guests, Liz transitioned into event coordination, drawn by her innate desire to exceed expectations. This calling was solidified during a summer internship in 2022 when she thrived as a special events coordinator at John Michael Kohler Arts Center. The exposure to the world of events ignited a passion that would shape her future.

 

Liz recognizes that her dedicated work ethic and knack for cultivating meaningful connections naturally align with the demands of event planning. Spring of 2023 marked the beginning of her event coordinating journey at Destination Kohler, where she continues to translate her passion into unforgettable experiences.

 

Beyond her professional pursuits, Liz embraces an active lifestyle at the Sports Core, takes leisurely walks with her dog, and finds joy in cooking for friends and family.

FLORAL
Diane McCusker

Floral Manager

Diane has been in the floral industry for over 45 years and never tires of “playing with the flowers”. Her love of wedding design and the details that go into events and décor, keep her current with trends, sharing her knowledge, and inspiring her team. Diane has traveled in Asia to factories designing Santas, Angels, bells, balls, bows and all things Christmas, developing a new appreciation for the art of holiday design from a manufacturer’s perspective. It’s no wonder her heart is full at holiday time.  Diane is a native New Yorker but has relocated to Wisconsin to follow her grandchildren. When she’s not designing or decorating you can find her crafting with her grandchildren or playing catch with her lab, Potter.

FLORAL
Rhonda Graf

Floral Designer

Rhonda loves nature and all the beauty that surrounds it. Soaring into the apex of flowers which led her to becoming a florist for the past 37 years, it became her game and her passion. She loves learning and growing within the industry. In her free time, you will find her playing in the dirt with her own garden and enjoying time with her family and friends and all the good things that come with it.

FLORAL
Jessica Lemberg

Floral Coordinator

Jessica is a Wisconsin native, art educator turned floral designer.  Graduated with a Bachelor’s degree from UW-Milwaukee and a Master’s degree from Mount Mary in Waldorf Education. Currently working her dream job at The American Club in the Kohler Floral and Design Department.  She loves to tackle DIY projects and use power tools. Her favorite tasks at Kohler include floral event installs on wedding day and decorating the hotels for the holidays. In her off time, you can find her, her husband and their two children running the trails with their dog Wesley.

WELLNESS
Ashley Kohler

Director of Wellness – Destination Kohler

Ashley is a 10 + year certified (E-RYT) Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher with Yoga Alliance. She has a passion for music, vibrational, and spiritual flow. Ashley incorporates a fusion of Vinyasa, Kundalini, and Pranayama into many of her classes. She is certified in Advanced Power Vinyasa, Yin Yoga, Hot Power Fusion, Yoga Sculpt, SCW Ballet Barre, and Real Ryder Indoor Cycling. Ashley is the Director of Wellness for Destination Kohler and oversees Yoga on the Lake, Bold Cycle, and Sports Core. Ashley is the Yoga on the Lake school director for the 200-Hour Yoga Alliance Vinyasa and Hot Yoga Fusion Teacher Trainings.

WELLNESS
Nikki Miller

Director – Kohler Waters Spa

A firm believer that beauty starts from within, Nikki Miller has been in the wellness industry for 20+ years. Nikki started her wellness journey in 1997 when she finished her medical esthetic license and later was oncology-trained and certified in reflexology, hydrotherapy, and lash artistry. Nikki’s passion is educating on overall health and wellness starting from within and finishing with daily rituals that will aid in a better you. Nikki is the Director of Kohler Waters Spa, including five locations globally, and continues to share her knowledge and passion with everyone she touches.