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Cedar Rapids Curling Leadership

2021-22 Board of Directors

The Cedar Rapids Curling Board of Directors is elected by the general membership to establish policies in order to accomplish Cedar Rapids Curling’s mission through appointed officers and committee chairs.

LynnBenkusky

Lynn Benkusky

Lynn Benkusky started curling in the fall of 2017 in anticipation of becoming an empty nester. Lynn is the secretary for the Cedar Rapids Curling Club Board and her day job is consultant for Grant Wood AEA on the PowerSchool Support Team. She considers herself a curler, golfer, Trekkie, and of course Cyclone!

Favorite curling memory: Has to be the 2019 Arena National Curling Championships. A close second is getting to curl and bonspiel with my sister Nancy regularly.

Phil Burian

Phil Burian began curling in 2013 and is the 2021-2023 Cedar Rapids Curling Board president. He is an attorney in the litigation group at Simmons Perrine Moyer Bergman PLC. When not curling, he usually is spending time with family or in his shop working on his latest project.

Favorite curling memory: On-ice, realizing the value that the sport offers to persons of all capabilities while curling with US Paralympians and a mix of others with varied skill levels at CedarSpiel. Off-ice, every bonspiel at which he did not have a Saturday 8 am draw.  

Bryan Coster

Bryan Coster started curling in 2019 and joined the Cedar Rapids Curling Board in 2021. He recently retired from General Mills, Inc. Along with curling, Bryan enjoys water skiing and spending time with his wife, four grown children, and three Yorkshire terriers.

Favorite curling memory: Curling on Olympian Debbie McCormick’s team for Cedar Spiel 2019 (see photo).

Phil Engen

Phil Engen learned to curl in middle school in Saskatchewan a few years decades ago or so and has been curling in Cedar Rapids since 2013. He currently teaches Cedar Rapids Curling’s Instructional League sessions offered in coordination with Kirkwood Community College. He has a day job as a software developer at Collins Aerospace, a hobby of playing with renewable energy sources, and he enjoys curling with his favorite skip: his wife, Gwen. 

Favorite curling memory: My favorite curling memory is sweeping hard in the final game of the 2019 CedarSpiel, then realizing that I had to stop sweeping immediately or my broom would hit the opposing team’s stone. It turns out that if you lift your broom while you’re leaning hard on it, you don’t magically pop back up onto your feet. It turns out that you start to levitate in slow motion over a field of stones in the house where you are then trying to calculate how to twist to avoid clearing the house with your body. That is the moment depicted in my photo and probably my favorite curling moment ever. 

Andrew Forman

Andrew Forman came to Cedar Rapids Curling’s first Learn to Curl and has been hooked ever since! He works as a consulting software architect/engineer for Belcan Advisory Services. Along with his wife, son, sheep, dogs, chickens, ducks, and rabbits (so far), he lives on a small ranch located south of Iowa City.

Favorite curling memory: I enjoy the exaltation of folks at a Learn to Curl who, after all their hard work, successfully get a rock down ice, and in the house!

Steve Foster

Steve Foster saw curling for the first time on TV during the 1992 Albertville Olympic Games. He always wanted to try it, but never took the opportunity until a CRC Learn to Curl night in January 2016. After broomstacking that night at the Stadium Club, he joined a league the next day and the rest is history. Steve is a tax accountant with Murken Thompson by day and is the treasurer for CRC. He lives in Iowa City with his wife, Kelly, and three daughters.

Favorite curling memory: Going to his first bonspiel—the 2016 Halloween Spiel in Madison and the nerves that went along with his first time curling on dedicated ice.

Kari Kozak

Kari Kozak started curling in 2006 at Triangle Curling in North Carolina and has been a member of the Houston Curling Club (Houston, TX) and the Waltham Curling Club (Triumph, IL) before becoming a founding member of Cedar Rapids Curling. Kari is currently the events coordinator for Cedar Rapids Curling. When not curling, she is the director of the Engineering Library at the University of Iowa.  She lives in Iowa City with her cat, Sophie. Other hobbies include reading, crocheting, hanging out with family and friends and--as someone with a meteorology degree--trying not to get too excited when severe weather occurs.  

Favorite curling memory: Participating in the 2016 WaterSpiel, where we attempted to curl on the ice on a cruise ship at 1 in the morning. Meet many wonderful people and had a great time.  
 

Emily Nelson

Emily Nelson started curling in late 2016 and is the marketing/communications coordinator for Cedar Rapids Curling. She is a writer/editor in the communication/marketing office for the University of Iowa. She lives in Iowa City with her husband, Jake, and dog, Ein. When she's not curling, you can find her on her bike, running, gardening, reading, or binge-watching far too much TV. 

Favorite curling memory: Playing in the 2019 Arena National Curling Championships in Pennsylvania with three amazing teammates and meeting awesome teams from across the country.

 

Jeremy Parrish

Jeremy Parrish started curling in 2017 and proudly serves on the board for Cedar Rapids Curling. At the University of Iowa, he teaches in the Sport and Recreation Management program and works for the Iowa Athletics Department. He also serves on the Parks and Recreation Commission for the City of North Liberty where he resides with his wife, Ashley, and their two sons.

Favorite Curling memory: Watching the 2018 “Miracurl on Ice” live on TV in the middle of the night, where the USA won its first-ever gold medal in curling.

Lon Peper

Lon Peper first learned about curling in 1996 while living in Toronto, but it wasn't until 2010 that he started curling when he lived in Greenville, S.C. He is one of the co-founding members of Cedar Rapids Curling and the first president of the club. He now serves as vice president and co-head ice tech for Cedar Rapids Curling. He is also the club’s representative for the Midwest Curling Association. Lon is a Level 1 Instructor, Level 2 Official, and a Level 1 Ice Tech. He supports his curling habit as a software engineer for Ohio National Financial Services. When he's not curling, he enjoys bowling, softball and traveling (usually to another curling club for a bonspiel).

Favorite curling memories: Scoring an 8-ender at the 2020 Big Spiel and being on the ice crew for the 2018 World Men's Curling Championship in Las Vegas.

Drew Powell

Drew Powell has been curling since 2015. He is currently an attorney at Simmons Perrine Moyer Bergman. He lives in Cedar Rapids with his partner, Ben, and their two dogs, Lola and Griffin. When he is not curling, he enjoys strategy board games, triathlons, and playing minecraft.

Favorite curling memory: Curling with a cape as Birdperson, from the show “Rick and Morty,” for the Halloween bonspiel in Madison. 

Greg Schmitt

Greg Schmitt joined Cedar Rapids Curling in August 2018. His passion for curling began after a billboard in Cedar Rapids sparked his curiosity. Since he participated in a learn to curl event, he has made it a priority to dedicate time in his life to the sport.

Favorite curling memory: Winning his first league with Adrian, Andy, and Collin.

 

Cedar Rapids Curling Offices

President (Phil Burian)

The principal executive officer of Cedar Rapids Curling with general supervision over all of business and affairs. Must be a member of the Board.

Vice-President (Lon Peper)

Performs those functions of the President that are expressly delegated by the Board or that are immediately necessary in the president’s absence.

Secretary (Lynn Benkusky)

Keeps the minutes of Board meetings, manages Cedar Rapid Curling’s documents retention, and is the Cedar Rapids Curling historian by ensuring that all media coverage, awards, and matters of noteworthy importance are preserved in a single location for future marketing and historical reference.

Treasurer (Steve Foster)

Comptroller of all Cedar Rapids Curling funds. Submits financial reports to the Board, and is responsible for tracking and collecting member dues and Cedar Rapids Curling funds, and filing taxes.

Events Coordinator (Kari Kozak)

Coordinates and oversees annual and special events throughout the year, including CedarSpiel and Olympic cycle events, annual general meeting of members, learn-to-curl events, and corporate/group events. Appoints leaders and committees as necessary for ad hoc events. Works with ImOn Ice Arena to schedule and develop contracts for such events. Identifies, schedules, and promotes bonspiels and friendlies to Cedar Rapids Curling members. Serves as the single point of contact for recruitment, coordination, and tracking of volunteers for all events.

Ice Coordinator (Lon Peper and Murray Marple)

Ensures that Cedar Rapids Curling’s ice volunteers are trained in ice set-up and supervised to guarantee a positive curling experience for all. The four main factors regarding the ice are: consistent curl, consistent keenness, cleanliness, and safety of the ice surface.

Instructional League Coordinator (Phil Engen)

Serves as a liaison with Kirkwood Community College to schedule and manage instructional league, in tandem with the League Coordinator. Develops weekly curriculum and ensures instructors are prepared to teach each night’s skills lessons. Recruits and schedules instructors for each week.

League Coordinator (Cale Tesch)

Schedules and manages all regular league play and team formation, including playdowns when needed.

Marketing/Communications Coordinator (Emily Nelson)

Develops and manages content for internal and external Cedar Rapids Curling marketing and communication strategies for ongoing operations as well as special events, including internal communication including e-newsletters, CRC website, social media (public-facing and virtual warm room), promotional materials, media pitches, and merchandise. Ensures all content aligns with the Cedar Rapids Curling brand. Serves as a liaison between media representatives and community event organizers.

Membership Development Coordinator (Bryan Coster)

Grows membership by communicating with and walking prospective curlers from learn-to-curls or corporate events to instructional league to full membership. Cultivates a fun, welcoming, and informational experience at all types of instructional events. Educates prospective and current members about membership perks, including friendlies and bonspiels.

Technology Coordinator (Andrew Forman)

Manages the website and public and private Facebook site. Provides technical support to Cedar Rapids Curling internet-based activities and ensures that authorized individuals are equipped and trained to directly post material to Cedar Rapids Curling internet platforms to maintain its marketing, membership, and volunteer missions.


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