Fab Five

By | February 13th, 2018

The 2017 winners of the Excellence in Club Management Awards, co-sponsored by the McMahon Group and Club & Resort Business.

McMahon Group, Inc., the St. Louis-based consulting firm, and Club & Resort Business have announced the 2017 recipients of the Excellence in Club Management (ECM) Awards, established in 1997 by the McMahon Group and co-sponsored since 2005 by C&RB.

The annual awards are selected through nominations submitted on behalf of qualified candidates by other parties. Award recipients are selected solely on the basis of their achievements at the club they currently manage; “lifetime achievements” are not considered.

A Selection Committee comprised of a peer group of club managers conducts the judging for the ECM Awards; the McMahon Group and C&RB are not involved in the selection of the winners.

The Selection Committee for the 2017 Awards was chaired by Jeffrey Kreafle, General Manager/COO of Congressional Country Club, Bethesda, Md. A full listing of judges, in addition to information on past winners and on how to nominate candidates for future years’ awards, can be found at the special website for the ECM Awards, www.clubmanageraward.com.

In-depth articles detailing the achievements that led to the selection of the winners will appear in issues of C&RB throughout 2018.

Country/Golf Clubs with 600 or More Full-Privilege Members (The James H. Brewer Award)
Joseph Krenn, CCM, CCE, ECM
Chief Operating Officer/General Manager
Farmington Country Club
Charlottesville, Va.

The six Board Presidents that Joe Krenn has worked with since taking his position at Farmington CC in 2012 collectively nominated him for ECM recognition, citing achievements that have included:
• developing and obtaining membership approval for a long-range facilities plan, and implementing the plan’s first phase with a $9.5 million investment that was completed on time without imposing assessments or incurring debt;
• managing renovation of the club’s Grill, new pub, and outdoor dining patio, to generate a more than 200% increase in revenue and a 140% increase in fine-dining food-and-beverage activity;
• opening a new facility for the club’s child-watch program that brought a 200% increase in usage;
• transitioning the club for the first time to a break-even operating budget, even during years involving construction; and
• growing Farmington CC’s overall revenues from $11 million to over $19 million in five years.

Country/Golf Clubs with Fewer than 600 Full-Privilege Members (The Mead Grady Award)
Kenneth Kouril, CCM, CCE, CAM, ECM

Chief Operating Officer
The Sanctuary Golf Club
Sanibel Island, Fla.

Ken Kouril’s performance in his ten years at The Sanctuary has been “exceptional,” James Pouliot, President of the club’s Board of Governors, wrote in supporting his nomination for ECM recognition. Specific achievements cited by Pouliot included: regularly producing an annual operating surplus; having no members on the resignation list for three consecutive years; leading the club to its highest-ever ranking for overall service quality in the most recently completed season; and under-budget, ahead-of-schedule completion of several major projects.

Kouril’s nomination was also supported collectively by 11 department heads and other direct reports from The Sanctuary’s management staff. “Ken’s positive attitude and proactive approach to situations has inspired us to do the same,” the staff wrote. “All of the accolades, awards and titles that each of us individually, and as a team, have received are a result of Ken’s confidence in our abilities.”

City, Athletic or Specialty (Non-Golf) Club (The Mel Rex Award)
Mitchell Platt, MCM, CCE, ECM
General Manager
Cosmos Club
Washington, D.C.

The Cosmos Club traces its history to 1878 and its membership through the years has included three U.S. Presidents, two Vice Presidents, a dozen Supreme Court justices, and 32 Nobel Prize winners. So while the nomination of Mitchell Platt for ECM recognition included numerous mentions of accomplishments, such as the recent multimillion-dollar replacement of the main dining rooms and kitchens in the club’s historic buildings, Immediate Past President David Ford made special note of Platt’s “diplomacy and kindness toward our very demanding membership.”

“[The club’s] governance structure invites active participation by the membership, [and] I am sure there are times when Mr. Platt feels that he has 3,000 bosses, but it never shows,” Ford wrote. “He displays remarkable patience in responding optimistically to even the most difficult demands, but never compromises his standards or the best interests of the Cosmos Club. I admire him greatly for this uncommon skill.”

2017 Rising Star Award
Brian Baldwin, CCM, ECM
Assistant General Manager
Baltusrol Golf Club
Springfield, N.J.

Brian Baldwin first worked at Baltusrol GC as a waiter while pursuing his degree in Hospitality from Fairleigh Dickinson University. He then served as Baltusrol’s Assistant Clubhouse Manager for four years before leaving to be Assistant General Manager and Clubhouse Manager for Fiddler’s Elbow Country Club in Bedminster, N.J. Baldwin returned to Baltusrol to be its Clubhouse Manager in 2015, and General Manager & COO Kevin Vitale, CCM, says that he has had an “exceptional” impact at the club since his return, including helping to direct Baltusrol’s successful hosting of the 2016 U.S. Open (“Extending the Legend at Baltusrol GC,” C&RB, September 2016). In October 2017, Baldwin was promoted to become the first Assistant General Manager in Baltusrol’s 123-year history. “Brian has a passion for hospitality that is genuine, and a work ethic that does not need mentoring,” says Vitale. “I am sure that he will continue to elevate his career.”

2017 Rising Star Award
Anne Stryhn, CCM, ECM
Assistant General Manager
The Country Club of Virginia
Richmond, Va.

Anne Stryhn’s Rising Star recognition comes after 20 years where she has moved through positions of increasing responsibility at a number of prestigious clubs, including Baltimore (Md.) Country Club, Chevy Chase Club and Cherokee Town & Country Club, in addition to The Country Club of Virginia (CCV). At CCV, wrote General Manager Phil Kiester in support of her ECM recognition, Stryhn serves “an important leadership and management function” in addition to the formal duties of her position. “She is truly second in command at the club, serves as liaison to all member committees, and is understood to ‘speak with the General Manager’s voice,’“ Kiester wrote. “Almost all of the club’s most important accomplishments of the last five years have Anne’s fingerprints on them, and I am fortunate to have her as my strategic partner. She is more than a Rising Star…she is a rock star!”


A Celebration of Excellence

In addition to presentations at their individual clubs that will be held throughout the coming year, the 2017 Excellence in Club Management winners, along with those from previous years, will be recognized at an Awards Dinner to be held at The Olympic Club in San Francisco on Saturday, March 3, in conjunction with the 2018 World Conference of the Club Managers Association of America.

This year’s Awards Dinner will be sponsored by ClubCorp, Denehy Club Thinking Partners, ForeTees LLC, Preferred Club, and Yamaha Golf Car.

YamahaLogo Toro PCP Denehy Envelope Foretees-Corporate-Logo-horiz ClubCorpLogo_HI_647 copy

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