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Our Staff

Meet Our Team

There are so many reasons we think CPAC is the right place for you: from the indoor tennis facilities that make it possible to play year-round to the wide variety of programs available including recreational and competitive tennis to fitness, yoga, and taekwondo. But it’s our team of professionals that really makes CPAC run. While you or your child may have a primary tennis coach, they’ll also bring in other tennis coaches or members of our strength and conditioning staff to help improve your game. Looking for other ways to compete or get healthy? Our taekwondo masters and the strength coaching team will help you reach your goals.

Management & Administrative Staff

Benj Ecker

CPAC General Manager

Benj learned to love a variety of sports from his dad, who coached high school tennis, baseball, and basketball. A four-sport athlete in high school, Benj ran track & field at North Park University in Chicago where he earned both his bachelors and masters degrees. He spent 10 years in the non-profit sector working in youth and community development, with stints in Sweden, Oregon, and Michigan.
He returned to Chicago and joined the CPAC Team in 2015 and quickly fell in love with its community and culture. Benj lives in Libertyville with his wife and two kids, where he enjoys reading, music, and exploring the area on his Harley.

Patty Lambropoulos

CPAC Tournament Director and Pro Shop Manager

For nearly 20 years at College Park, running 40+ USTA/UTR junior tennis events per year. Patty provides personalized junior tennis service to CPAC parents: explaining rules, navigating websites, scheduling, how to get a ranking and anything a parent needs to know from beginners to collegiate players. She volunteers with USTA Chicago District Tennis as a director for 25 years, and has chaired the Schedules/Sanctions Committees for USTA National and Midwest Junior Competition Committees for several years.
A mother of four, including two Division I tennis athletes, she has watched more tennis matches than you can imagine, and looks forward to watching more with eight grandchildren coming through the system.

Sally Miller

CPAC Human Resources Director

Sally played tennis at Boston College and was parents of two junior tennis players before joining the team at CPAC, where she has worn many hats. Sally directed our QuickStart Program, managed the Front Desk Team, and founded Surya Yoga, which served CPAC members for five years. She also directed the tennis program for the Recreation Department of Lake Forest, where she lived for more than 20 years.

Sally recently relocated to Denver, where she continues to teach Yoga and serve as the only remote member of our Leadership Team.

Matt Pierson

CPAC Operations and Facility Manager

Matt has served on the facility and front desk staff at CPAC since July of 2020. He graduated from Trinity International University with a bachelor’s degree in Sport and Wellness Management in 2020 and plans to graduate with a Master’s Degree in Leadership at Trinity in May 2022. He played baseball at Trinity from 2017-2021 and was a team captain for his last three seasons.

Matt is originally from San Diego, CA , but now lives in Highwood, IL. In Matt’s free time, he enjoys working out and playing golf.

Julie Schoen

CPAC Communications Manager

Julie received a B.A in Communications with a concentration on relational, group, and organizational communications from DePaul University. Throughout her professional career, Julie has had vast experience in leadership roles, account management, research, and sales/marketing. Julie’s family has been a part of the CPAC community for close to 20 years. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and loves to travel. She looks forward to learning how to learn to play pickleball!

Maureen Knipe

HUB Staff Manager

BSN-RN from Marquette University

Mo is an avid tennis player, jack of all trades, and a pro shop expert. Mo loves to spend time with her family and friends and enjoys gardening.

Tennis & Pickleball Staff

Blake Bazarnik

CPAC Junior Tennis Director, Summer Camps Director

Coach Blake is a former Illinois state high school singles champion and was ranked as high as #5 in the U.S. as a junior player. He played collegiate tennis at Vanderbilt University and the University of Illinois.

Lawson Barter

CPAC Pickleball Director

IPTPA Certified

Experienced tennis professional with over 12 years of coaching at all levels across the North Shore. Worked for 3.5 years in the Racquet division at Wilson Sporting Goods. Former D1 tennis player at Saint Francis University (PA), holds the record for most doubles wins in a single season. Graduate of Loyola Academy, where he was the top singles and doubles varsity player all four years.

Frank Chen

CPAC Juniors Tennis Advancement Program (TAP) Director

USPTA, PTR, and ITP certified

Former player and coach from the University of Arizona Tucson, Top 500 ITF Juniors, Taiwan Top 10 Juniors, Worked with world-renowned doubles team, the Chan sisters, in the Cincinnati Open and the U.S. Open. Bilingual in English and Mandarin.

Jean Erasmus

CPAC Juniors Tournament Training and Match Play Director

USPTA, PTR, and ITP certified

Former ATP ranked player and Drake University standout. Former interim head coach at University of Texas San Antonio. Current Namibian Davis Cup playing Captain.

Donna Marks

Junior Development Program Co-Director

USPTA certified

Physical education teacher and certified USPTA professional. 35 years of experience as a player and as coordinator of traveling teams and leagues

Chris Nowak

Junior Super Excellence Director and High School Camp Director

Former collegiate tennis player at Middle Tennessee University. Standout high school tennis player at Glenbrook South, Chris has competed on the pro tour and previously served as director of CPAC’s Quickstart program.

Mark Roberts

CPAC Adult Membership Director, Adult Tennis Director

B.A. Communication Studies, New Mexico State University
M.S. Sports and Leisure Services Management, University of Nevada Las Vegas

Former professional and NCAA Division 1 collegiate tennis player. 19 years coaching/directing experience with all levels including professional, D1 college, adults, and children.

Rachael White

Junior Development Program Co-Director

NCAA Tennis All-American

Former Illinois state tennis champion from Deerfield High School and All-American at the University of Illinois, USTA Orange Ball EDC coach and recipient of USPTA Midwest Division U30 Award. Rachael has experience coaching all levels, and previously worked at IMG Academy, Five Seasons Sports Club, and Northmoor Country Club.

Kevin Aquino

Future Stars Camp Director

Four-year varsity athlete at Michael J. Petrides School and East Stroudsburg North High School. Played Division I tennis at Saint Joseph’s University and Division III tennis at the University of Mary Washington. Has been teaching tennis professionally in the Chicago area for more than eight years.

Seymour Rifkind

CPAC Pickleball Program Director

Rif is a three-time medalist at the US Open Pickleball Championships at the age and 5.0 skill level. He is also the founder and current President of three not-for-profit organizations: the International Pickleball Teaching Professional Association (IPTPA), the Pickleball Hall of Fame, and the World Pickleball Federation (WPF), the international governing body of pickleball.

Isriz Balase

Isriz (Izzy) is USPTA Certified and is the current head coach for boys varsity tennis at Stevenson High School. He played high school tennis at Schaumburg, collegiately at Judson University, and served as the men’s and women’s graduate assistant coach at North Central College. He’s been teaching all ages and levels professionally for nine years.  

Brian Bellew

Brian brings more than 40 years of teaching experience in the Chicago area for players of all ages and levels. He is the head tennis director at Twin Orchard Country Club, and coaches several competitive CITA women’s teams.

Rob Budacsek

Head of Coach and Player Development

USTPA certified for 20 years
2013 USTPA Coach of the Year
1997 Israel Coach of the Year

Former ATP singles and doubles player. Has coached more than 31 USTA, ITF, ATP, and WTAP players and 257 collegiate athletes since 1996 and has been coaching Chicago’s top juniors since 2000. CDTA B18s Team Cup winning coach 2018.

Alan Fijalkowski

A standout player at Lewis University and former high school and junior high training director at Glenbrook Racquet Club, Alan grew up in Poland and has competed in international tournaments.

Patti Jilek

USPTR certified tennis professional

Patti brings more than 20 years of experience teaching adults and children at numerous tennis clubs on the North Shore.

Matt Kacyn

B.S. Psychology and Education, Lake Forest College

A Deerfield native and DHS grad, Matt is a two-time Illinois high school All State doubles player, and spent two seasons as a top-ranked doubles player at Lake Forest College.

Rich Koukol

With more than 20 years experience teaching tennis at various clubs on the North Shore, Rich also serves as Deerfield High School girls varsity tennis coach and Lake Forest High School boys junior varsity tennis coach.

Kevin Lai

High School CITA captain and Winter Camp Director

University of Kentucky

A former top-four junior player in Taiwan, and former NCAA Division 1 fourth-ranked doubles player at University of Kentucky, ranked #113 in ITF. Coach Kevin is an elite-level USPTA coach and has trained top junior players in Taiwan. He speaks Mandarin, Taiwanese, and English.

Corky Leighton

A third-generation teacher with nearly 50 years teaching and coaching experience, former head pro and director of tennis at several tennis clubs. When he’s away from CPAC, Coach Corky serves as head boys varsity tennis coach at Lake Forest High School.

Wendy Revak

USPTA P1 Certified Tennis Pro
ISSA Certified Personal Trainer

Coach Wendy works with aspiring high school players and nationally ranked juniors. She is current manager of a former WTA #1 ranked doubles player and the #8 singles player in the world, and former assistant coach at the University of Michigan. As a player, she earned top 25 USTA nationally ranked for Class A, Michigan state champion at #1 singles and University of Wisconsin #1 singles and #1 doubles.

Michael Reyes

B.A. Leisure Studies, Northeastern Illinois University
U.S. Professional Tennis Registry, Level 1 Certified
U.S. Tennis Academy Certified
Former Tennis Professional with Peter Burwash International

43 years teaching experience, certified in three teaching systems (USPTR, USTA, and PBI). He has taught tennis on three continents and as a player held national rankings in swimming, ultra-distance cycle racing, triathalon, and tennis, where he ranked #13 in men’s 35 doubles. Personal coach to the royal family of Qatar, and continues to serve as national advisor to national/olympic tennis team of Qatar.

Melton Russell

49 years teaching experience with adults and juniors, 34 in the Chicagoland area. Several of his students have gone on to play at the national and professional levels.

Chris Thomas

CPAC Junior High Performance Director and Elite Camp Director

Eastern Illinois University

Currently head coach for boys varsity tennis at Highland Park High School, Chris played high school tennis at New Trier and collegiate Division 1 tennis at Eastern Illinois University. He was graduate assistant coach for two years at Western Illinois University for both men’s and women’s teams and served for seven years as high performance director at Glenbrook Racquet Club prior to joining the CPAC coaching staff.

Strength & Conditioning Staff

Corbin Gaines

CPAC Strength & Conditioning Director

B.S. Health & Fitness, University of Oklahoma
M.S. Strength and Conditioning, Concordia University
NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist
Certified Functional Strength Coach
Certified Functional Movement Systems, Level 1

For the last eight years, Corbin has been coaching and training professional, collegiate, high school, and youth athletes in a variety of sports including football, hockey, soccer, baseball, tennis, and power lifting.

Jared Cruz

B.S. Kinesiology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

As an elite competitive powerlifter, Jared has spent his time learning about the strength and conditioning field. Over the last four years he has worked with and coached professional, collegiate and high school athletes maximize their athletic abilities in training and during competition.

Brett Robinson

B.A. Sports Wellness & Management, M.A. Leadership, Trinity International University
NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist
Certified Functional Movement Systems, Level II
United States Soccer Federation Coach, Level D

Brett has a passion for all things sports and athletics. He has competed at the collegiate level in soccer and as a professional on the Ultimate Frisbee circuit. As a personal trainer and a coach for junior tennis off-court strength, he coaches athletes to achieve their best with an emphasis on interpersonal relationships.

Andrea Lopez

Student at the University of Illinois Chicago B.S Business Management in the process of minoring in kinesiology. ISSA-certified personal trainer, health coach, Nutritionist, and strength and conditioning coach.

I have a passion for health and wellness, and I devote my life to learning more about the matter and helping others in improving their quality of life through exercise and lifestyle habits.

Nathan Ku

Studied Kinesiology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Nathan has grown up playing basketball and volleyball throughout high school and has a love for sports and fitness. He has recently picked up the hobby of running and has been training for a half-marathon and future full marathon.He understands the importance of strength training and areas of sports and fitness, especially from a young age. It is essential to strengthen specific areas of the body in order to create a better balance in the body, help reduce injuries, and improve overall athletic performance!

Laura Lohrmann

B.S. Exercise Science, University of Kansas
Certified Muscle Activation Techniques (MAT) Specialist
ACE Certified Personal Trainer

Retired professional wakeboarder and X Games athlete turned personal trainer, Laura focuses on correcting muscle imbalance. In searching for a correction to old injuries, pain, and joint problems, Laura found Muscle Activation Technique and became a practitioner in 2010. As a MAT specialist, she helps people become pain-free while continuing to do the activities they love to do.

Gail Thomas

MS, UW- LaCrosse, Cardiac Rehab/Adult Fitness, BS. WIU, Dietetics

Life is better in a strong, confident body and Gail challenges all to have it. Her career includes the Shape Up Chicago TV Show, establishing herself as one of the Chicago Tribune’s Top 3 Fitness Instructors, and building an impressive clientele of celebrities and politicians in both NYC and Chicago. She is an exercise physiologist who keeps up with exercise science research and trends.

Taekwondo Staff

Mary Alindongan

CPAC Billing Manager, Taekwondo Coach

Master Mary has 21 years of teaching experience as well as a rich competitive history. She competed at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, earned a bronze medal at the Asian Championships and a Silver at the Southeast Asian Games.

Roman Orgotsov

Director, CPAC Taekwondo

Master Roman has more than 23 years teaching experience, and has competed at the highest level, winning at local and international tournaments including the U.S. Open.