2007 USJF Nationals – Tournament Director Thanks Tournament Committees


An African saying is that it takes a village to raise a child.  Our judo saying states that it takes an excellent community to put on an excellent tournament.  I am pleased to tell you that dozens of people stopped me and congratulated us on an excellent job for this tournament.    

I would like to draw attention to select people who were in the background over the last 2.5 years for some special recognition – some who were very instrumental in our success.  If I have missed someone in the thank you it is totally by accident (Kevin Watkins, I did not have your people’s e-mail addresses – please forward this to them).

First I want to focus on the administrative component of this adventure.  Our own Every-Ready-Bunny with the Drum, Dave Wertheimer, Assistant Director of Marketing and PR (and our Image Manger), drove the magic!   He worked on coordinating the Marketing and PR elements.  He oversaw and was very active in everything from our wonderful Program Guide, media packets, hospitality, and the Awards and the Ceremonies.  Dave’s managerial level included Dave Bently (who handled the PR aspects), Lisa Zuber (who handled the Hospitality aspects and in the after hours introduced several of the senior staff to Ypsi’s finest Micro Brewery), Tom Sheehan (who worked hard in both creating the glorious medals and presenting them with his team to the participants), and Demos Lorandos (who handled the vendors).  Fred Zimmer, our utility player, also worked with the Dara Watson in the area of mass media PR.  A very special thanks needs to go out to Patty and Ken Tashiro for the outstanding contributions and efforts in creation of the Program Guide, successful pursuit of sponsors, and the official role of Konan Photographer.  Their touch of class helped create the quality image we were seeking. 

Pete Catlos and Roy Mackelberg were the Operational Assistant Directors.  They were responsible for finding all the operational materials that were needed to conduct the tournament as well as the setup at the venue and host hotel.  Pete resourcefulness was great!  Their managers were Jim Starcher (the mat master!), Steve Kaufman (Mr. Security with his black T-Shirt team), Lisa Zuber for the General Transportation with her reliable driver Kevin Watkins picked up and delivered the VIP’s safely, Don Cattell (overseer of the Head Table), and Dan VanHemm (who provided the communications).  This group banned together to make the venue “the most visually appealing in years” (which was said to me by several people).

Steve DeReadt served as the Assistant Director of Technical Operations.  He worked with the United States A Level pooling team – Hanna Starcher, Jerry Hayes, and John Miller – nothing could go wrong there!  John Berra and Jim Murray were responsible for setting up and maintaining the scoring tables – great job gentlemen.  Rick Joseph headed our Medical Team.  He had Doc’s Fitsimmon and Kraynec along with Bonnie Mackelberg, Takanari Asanuma (with his new student), and Massuma (One of EMU’s PT’s).  Jerry Wee served us well handling the Coach and Coach Liaison functions.  Don Flagg as I hear it did not have one shido called on him for how he handled the Referees – there may have been one kenza but of course that did not count – overall he want by Ippon!  Dan Mitoraj, Bonnie Macklelberg, and Daniel Clinton and a few others served the in exciting role of weigh-in.  Finally, but not least, was Don Kelly (now called the paper master- they say is paper nightmares should subside soon) and Matt Irey (our ever reliable registration resource) who ensured the excellence of the registration process. 

Administratively we had tremendous guidance and support from Mr. Saito (one of Judo’s beacons of light) who patiently guided us through all the tedium required to do it right.  John Berra our event treasure (by the way he is still working on tracking the financials of the event) was extremely helpful in all the money areas. Dave Beachnau and his staff from the Detroit Metro Sports Commission, and Kaye Ceaser from the Ann Arbor Visitors & Convention Bureau worked with us from the beginning in helping identify our venue and hotels.  They both were program guide supporters.  Many thanks to Robert Fukuda, Executive Director, and Terri Waibel, USJF Office Manager (who had to read and proof the entire application several times) provided us with the information and guidance from the national aspects.  Shailesh Humbad was our Project Manager, web master, and general IT guru who helped keep us in track.

We had a camp orchestrated by Jim Murray and taught by Noriko Narazakai and Jim Pedro, Jr.  Comments were only exellent about the camp.  The comments about Mr. Saito’s Referee Clinic were great as were the comments from Mrs.’s Shepherds and Glaze workshop in Kata.  I was very pleased with the feedback from both the Kata and Referee clinics from the experienced practitioners.  All found value in their offereing.

Beyond our immediate Judo boundaries I would also like to thank the staff from the Marriott hotel who worked with us on the rooms, reservation, and set-up of the event.  Their customer friendly service staff helped set the tone and tenor for the meeting and event.  Mark Monaghan’s staff and the convocation center were wonderful to work with.  He and his staff fulfilled our needs.  EMU’s Executive Chef, Marcello Marandio, prepared meals for the volunteers and staff that still have people raving.   

All in all, we have done wonderful.  As I stated earlier something like this can only be done with a community.  I thank you all for giving so much and fulfilling your roles.


Neil Simon (Currently retired Tournament Director)