2017 PDGA Europe Board of Directors Candidates Bios and Statements

This is the first ever election to select members to serve on the PDGA Europe Board of Directors. A Board is a requirement to maintain non-profit status and is mandated by PDGA bylaws. Responsibilities include attending summit meetings, conducting monthly teleconference calls and ongoing communication to accomplish required business. Some of the Board’s main activities include: setting PDGA Europe policies; hiring and supervision of a Continental Director responsible for headquarters, staff, and ongoing operations; financial management including annual budget; identification of responsible future Board members; and representing the membership’s visions for the future of the sport and the association.

The initial PDGA Europe Board will consist of four European members, as well as three members who are appointed from North America. The Board will consist of seven total members.

The four European Board members will be elected this year and will serve three-year terms from September 1, 2017 to August 31, 2020.

For additional information on the PDGA elections process please refer to www.pdga.com/elections.

2017 PDGA Europe Board Candidates

Natalie Holloköi, #4455

  • Location: Winterthur, Switzerland Born: 1977
  • Gender: Female
  • Education: Bachelor of Administrations (finishing in 2018 Master of Coaching and Management Consulting)
  • Occupation:
    • Freelancer
    • Senior Consultant Quality Assurance and Business Coaching/Change Management
  • Professional Experience:
    • Working since 24 years, last 17 years in Software Projects as Test Manager, last 2 years I work as a Freelancer/Independent
  • Disc Golf Experience:
    • Started in 1986 to play Frisbee. I say Frisbee, because in that time we played everything….disc golf, ultimate, DDC, discathon, guts, distance, accuracy, MTA, TRC. But no freestyle, I didn’t have the patience for that. Mainly I played ultimate and disc golf till 1996. Than I had a break till 2009 because of Studies, work, and life. When I restarted in 2009 I felt like coming home. And finally, my childhood dreams became true…I could play EDGC and Worlds. There is nothing better to see how a disc can dance with the wind.

Platform Statement

I have the opportunity to be part of the best sport community in the world, since I am 9 years old. Even when I had a break because of my professional carrier, my heart did not stop to beat for that flying saucer. This sport gave me so much: diligence, consistency, concentration, focus, fair play, friendships, fight, staying tuned, believing in me, passion as well as patience… just to name some keywords.

As this sport gave me so much, I would like to give something back. I think as a long term disc golf player with international experience I can do that with PDGA-Europe. I can contribute the board with as a player but also with my business skills (Quality Assurance, Coaching, Organization, Planning, Management Consulting, Moderation, Continuous Improvement Process).

This as a brief motivation, why I would like to be part of THE BOARD. Thank you.

Cheers from Switzerland!

Richard Kollar, #61991

  • Location: Bratislava, Slovakia Born: 1974
  • Gender: Male
  • Education:
    • Ph.D., 2004 – University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA
    • MSc., 1998 – Comenius University, Bratislava, Slovakia
  • Occupation:
    • Associate Professor in Mathematics
    • Department of Applied Mathematics and Statistics, Comenius University, Bratislava, Slovakia

Professional Experience:

  • 2014 –         , Associate Professor, Comenius University, Slovakia
  • 2009 – 2014, Assistant Professor, Comenius University, Slovakia
  • 2005 – 2009, Assistant Professor, University of Michigan, USA
  • 2004 – 2005, Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Minnesota, USA
  • 1999 – 2004, Graduate student, University of Maryland, USA
  • 1998 – 1999, Music Director, Radio Ragtime, Bratislava, Slovakia
  • Additional Professional Experience:
    • Multiple public lectures for high school students and general public
    • Website editor, Scientific conference organizer
    • Writer of national newspaper articles on education and science
    • Management of a research group, scientific grants (awarded both by NSF USA and European Commission), and numerous student thesis
    • Extensive international travel (personal and also management of group travel) on all world continents
  • During my university studies (1992 – 1998):
    • an organizer of multiple mathematical competitions and managed a non-profit education organization;
    • a member of the Executive Board of the Slovak Mathematical Olympiad;
    • Deputy Team Leader at multiple International Mathematical Olympiads;
    • the initiator of a competition Naboj (naboj.org); I organized the first editions of the competition that is currently a pan-European event for high-school students from hundreds of schools;
    • Prize from the Ministry of Education of Slovak Republic for long-term achievement in education.

Disc Golf Experience:

  • 2014 –    , Director of the Disc Golf Commission of the Slovak Association of Frisbee (SAF)
  • 2013 –   , PDGA Europe Country Coordinator for Slovakia
  • 2016 – , initiator of the Central European Disc Golf Championships and the tournament director of the first edition in 2016 in Smolenice, currently Head of the Rules Commission of the annual event
  • 2013 –          , PDGA Member
  • 2012 – 2016, Financial Auditor of European Ultimate Federation
  • 2009 – 2016, official representative of Slovakia with WFDF
  • 2009 – 2015, Director of the Executive Board of SAF (with intermittent leaves)
  • 2010 – 2015, representative of Slovakia in Central European Ultimate Frisbee Committee
  • Additional Disc Golf Related Experience
    • 2012 –, Tournament Director of the traditional PDGA international disc golf tournaments Smolenice Open, Budmerice Spring Fling, Makov Open with a long tradition, and also of a new series of tournaments BTS Urban Mayday in Bratislava (5th edition in 2017), and many other smaller tournaments;
    • 2009 –, Author of multiple documents for PDGA Europe (new PDGA Europe Player of the Year Rules, Internal Voting Rules) and for SAF (multiple editions of the bylaws, Competition Manuals in Disc Golf and in Ultimate, etc.);
    • 2013, I was managing an acceptation process of disc sports as a recognized sport by the Ministry of Education of Slovak Republic from which SAF is receiving annual contributions as every other recognized sport;
    • 2016. I have assisted to an inclusion of SAF into the Slovak Olympic Committee;
    • 2013 –, designer and builder of a disc golf course in Bratislava on University Campus that I maintain and on which I teach an official disc golf class for university students.
  • As a player
    • Slovak Disc Golf MPO Champion (2012) and Slovak MPM Disc Golf Champion;
    • I have participated at two editions of EDGC (2014, 2016) , finished 11th in the MPM in 2016;
    • in 2016 I have participated at the PDGA Pro Worlds;
    • in the recent years I have travelled over the world to play disc golf and visit the local disc golf community (USA, Finland, New Zealand, Australia, Germany, Denmark, etc.);
    • in 2017 my disc golf plans as a player include World Team Disc Golf Championship, European Open, Vibram Open, Green Mountain Championship, Estonian Open, Kyy Open, Konopiste Open, Central European Championship, and multiple regional tournaments;
    • in ultimate I have participated at WUCC 2010, WUCC 2014, EUC 2011 and multiple EUCF tournaments; in 2010 I was a manager of the Open team Mor ho! at WUCC 2010; 
    • I was also a head coach of the Slovak U20 junior teams at European Junior Ultimate Championship in 2014.

Platform Statement

Over the last few years both PDGA and PDGA Europe went through some big changes with many of the new challenges in front of us. I want to use my experience and skills to make it better and stronger than ever, particularly through in three main areas – good policy making, innovation and representation of smaller disc golf countries.

PDGA Europe Transition and Policy Making

The fast growth of disc golf all over the world we observe right now requires more professional governance and also more initiative from the organization leaders. Therefore after a year of observation as a new member of the PDGA Europe Country Coordinators Committee that I joined in 2013 I have pushed for changes in regard of multiple outdated policies in PDGA Europe that were either nonexistent or originally designed for a small scale organization and a handful of players but were not keeping up with the pace of disc golf growth in Europe. Although I succeeded in multiple ways, the new challenge we are facing is a completely new structure of PDGA Europe as a stand-alone entity. It requires a large amount of work in formulation of the policies that will guide PDGA Europe through the transition. I do have a lot of experience with such processes as I have worked in sport and education related NGOs over the last two decades and I authored many such documents and policies, and I also performed yearly financial audits for the European Ultimate Federation. I want to use my experience to make PDGA Europe strong, modern, and attractive for the players.

Representation of the Countries with Smaller Number of Disc Golf Players

One of the new features of the transition of PDGA Europe is a big shift in the decision making. While European disc golfers will get more power over the sport on our continent, the power will be also more concentrated. Right now PDGA Europe is governed by a board of country coordinators in which every country has a representative with a right to vote. The new structure will give more power to the elected Board of Directors in which 4 elected members will serve along with three American members representing PDGA USA (during the transition). The role of the current PDGA Europe Country Coordinator Committee will shrink and furthermore, the voting rules will change in favor of countries with a large population of PDGA members. Thus, the voice of countries with moderate or small number of PDGA members may completely disappear in the new governance structure. If elected I will represent the voice of these countries as I will consult every issue particularly relevant for them with their representatives thus representing in the BoD not only my personal or my national opinion but also opinions of the other country representatives.

Innovation and Progress

Through my life, I was always trying to make the organizations I worked for more up-to-date with the development of the society and to shape them to better serve their members, whether it was a university, NGOs, a national sport association, or a sport club. I have started multiple successful international projects as the Central European Disc Golf Championship and I will strongly support new promising projects in the new PDGA Europe. Furthermore, I hope to bring a progressive mood into the work of elected Board of Directors, as I see PDGA Europe transition as a big chance to improve the organization policies and communication means. While it is impossible for European disc golf players to significantly influence the global policies of PDGA, we can make changes on our continental level to account for European diversity. Such changes are higher official communication standards, a tiered PDGA Competition Manual narrowing down the requirements for competitions across Europe on all levels, a change of the nomination key for European Disc Golf Championship offering direct spots for the highest ranked European players in all divisions (this change will need to be negotiated with the European Disc Golf Federation), or a creation of a bi-annual invitation only European Major – an equivalent of the USDGC for the qualified players who earn their spots through their performance during at the top European tournaments over the year or will qualify through regional qualifiers.

Seamus Scanlon, #11756

  • Location: North Berwick, United Kingdom Born: 1968
  • Gender: Male
  • Education: Worcester State College, Worcester Massachusetts, USA
  • Occupation: Business Owner

Professional experience:

My professional experience spans 34 years in the service industry, mostly as Chef or restaurant owner with a few short stints as a salesman and consultant. I have lived and worked in various parts of USA at high season resort areas but spent the majority of my career on Marthas Vineyard as a restaurant owner. In my last employed position I was the Executive Chef for the DCU Center in Worcester Ma. organising all food and beverage in 21,000 square meters of convention space as well as a 15,000 seat arena hosting various events.

Disc Golf Experience:

I currently own ReBoot Disc Golf in Scotland, in the last 4+ years we have establish/re-established over 80 disc golf holes in the country. We have reintroduced our sport to the country in everyway possible and we can now boast a 12 event National Tour (Quaich Tour) with over 100+ different players to date in 2017.

I first played disc golf while living in Breckenridge Colorado in 1991 and joined the Pdga in 1996. I have since seen the sport explode at a grass roots level twice, (once in Breckenridge, once on Marthas Vineyard) and at a high level once, watching the Marshall Street Disc Golf Championships evolve into The Vibram Open.  From the launch of The VO I assisted the TD by organising all the Food and Beverage for the event until moving to Scotland in December 2012. I was the founding chairman of The Martha’s Vineyard Disc Golf Club (’97-’05) and a proud member of the New England Flying Disc Association (Nefa), Member #535, Gold Member #0.

We established our first disc golf course in Dunbar Scotland in the Spring of 2013 and I awake everyday since thinking and working on how to grow the sport. My accomplishments since moving to Scotland have been hosting various C-tiers throughout the country as well as two B-tiers and two A-tiers at our course in Dunbar, Bluebell Woods. We have hosted a Euro Tour event for an unprecedented 3 straight years in the UK. Our Quaich Tour has grown from 12 people in 2013 to 170 players by the end on 2016. The Scottish Disc Golf Development Fund I initiated has assisted many courses with funding for baskets as well as tournament prizes in grass roots events.  In 2015 we hosted over 800 Primary school pupils in 8 weeks at Bluebell Woods to a 9-hole challenge, awarding prizes to the top schools in the series. In May ’17 alone we hosted 300 Primary students at our course for demonstrations, games and golf. We have also received a Marco Polo grant from the PDGA in ‘13, which helped us install baskets at two local schools.

Platform Statement

Please vote for me to be on the PDGA Europe Board of Directors and I will work hard and use my experience to ensure the sport grows at all levels. As I approach Grand Masters in 2018 I cannot think of a better way to give back to the sport than to be on the PDGA Europe Board.

Thank You,

Seamus Scanlon

Kajsa Wickström, #57521

  • Location: Oulu, Finland Born: 1980
  • Gender: Female
  • Education: Master of Arts, with a degree in Nordic Languages. PhD researcher.
  • Occupation: Entrepreneur

Professional Experience

Freelance translator and interpreter 2001-2010, Export Assistant at Polar Electro Oy 2004-2005, International Communications Coordinator at Symnego International LTD 2007-2008, entrepreneur at Kwick Oy since 2010. Languages and communication has been the common thread in my professional experiences.

Disc Golf Experience

As a player

  • I have been playing recreationally since 2007 and I attended my first PDGA Event in 2012. I have been a PDGA member and a Certified Official since 2013. I have played 38 PDGA events to date with a total of 12 career wins and a 2nd place in the FA1 division at the Finnish Junior and Amateur Championships 2015. I play all year round and in addition to the PDGA events I play weeklies and other smaller local events, just for fun.

As an influencer

  • I was chairman of the board of our local club Oulun frisbeeseura ry 2013-2016. At the moment I am a member of the board with focus on communication and social media combining two of my passions: discgolf and communications.
  • I was a member of the board of the Finnish Disc Golf Association in 2013.

As an organizer

  • I have been the tournament director for 5 PDGA events and assistant TD for 13 events during 2013-2017. I was the assistant TD for the Finnish Nationals in 2014 held here in Oulu. The city of Oulu and Oulun frisbeeseura ry hosted EDGC 2016 and I was a key member of the organizing committee being responsible for the initial meetings with the city. During the EDGC my responsibility was the info tent and being the hostess and a friendly face for the foreign players helping them with any and all questions and practical matters.
  • As an organizer one of my aims is growing the sport and getting more women involved in the sport. That is why I have been involved in arranging the PDGA Womens Global Event in 2014 and 2016. I have also been the TD for low-threshold events for women interested in the sport or just starting out playing.
  • During the years I have also arranged a bunch of low-threshold mixed doubles events, which by the way is a great way of getting more women interested in competitive play.

Platform Statement

Disc golf is good health exercise, great way of having fun with friends while enjoying the outdoors, but disc golf is also truly a sport that requires practise and skills. If elected I will do my best to help disc golf evolve and become widely respected and seen as a real sport, and not only as an enjoyable pastime. This will benefit both recreational players and players who aim at making disc golf their profession.

Candidate Video

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