We are excited to announce the addition of several new board members starting in January 2022. Tony Katzer, who has been on our board for a few years, will now be our President. Dave Pollard will be our Vice President, and Randall Hurban, will be our Secretary and Treasurer moving forward. We are grateful to have some board members continuing to serve – Chris Woodard, Shauna Estes-Taylor, and Brad Blankenship. We appreciate our new members of the board and hope you will help us welcome them. The way our program is set up and expanding into the community to grow our reach with youth from different backgrounds, we are excited to have a diverse board that mirrors the diverse communities we serve. We feel strongly that each board member brings their own personal experiences, professional contacts, and life situations with them, and this will help us to take into consideration several factors when moving forward and planning for the future of First Tee – NWA. We are also thrilled to be adding our first Honorary Board Member, former Razorback, LPGA professional, Maria Fassi. Get to know our newest board members:
Roger Vessell – Roger is a result oriented global strategic marketing business leader with broad experience in diverse competitive business settings, both domestic and international. He is known for building marketing business units from the ground up. Roger moved to NWA in 2011 and worked for Cobb-Vantress, Inc. where he created and led a comprehensive global marketing business unit. He retired from Cobb-Vantress, Inc. as the Senior Director of Global Marketing in 2021.
Noel Sosa – Noel brings with him 21 years of broadcasting experience. He is currently the general manager of Rox Radio Group, the largest independent radio provider in Northwest Arkansas. Noel has produced and hosted thousands of on air programs, as well as served as MC for hundreds of concerts and special event promotions. His main goal in his current position is is to connect with other local companies, brands and businesses to make a positive impact in the community as well as create a strong, reliable and consistent means of business.
Leslye Perna – Leslye comes to us with a Bachelor’s Degree in Diagnostic Medical Sonography from UAMS. Born in Fort Smith, she has also lived in Memphis, TN, Charleston, SC, Colombia, MO, and now resides in Bentonville, AR with her husband Mark and two kids, Greyson (9) and Lyla (7). Leslie’s family enjoys attending First Tee programs and her heart is giving back to the NWA community through volunteering.
Jimmy Prencipe – Jimmy is currently the head of People Operations at Tyson Foods. He has been with Tyson since 2017. He is accountable for the leadership of the People Operations delivery organization, driving HR excellence and leading others to achieve Tyson’s broader HR goals. Jimmy has 14 years experience in the executive search and corporate talent acquisition arena. Prior to working at Tyson, he worked with Walmart’s talent acquisition department and was a key member of Korn Ferry’s global aerospace, defense, and aviation practice.
Carlos Chicas – Carlos has nearly two decades of experience in broadcasting, and is currently serving as a sports anchor for the Spanish television station, Azteca TV. He is known to many as the “Spanish Voice of the Razorbacks.” After graduating from John Brown University with a Masters of Science in Counseling, Carlos took on a counseling role at the ALLPS School of Innovation in Fayetteville, Ark. Carlos has decades of soccer experience which culminated when he suited up in the Guatemalan professional soccer leagues. Since then, he has accumulated over 20 years of coaching experience, and holds an NSCAA Premier Diploma, a Goalkeeping Diploma and a National “Y” coaching license. Currently, Carlos enjoys coaching the U17 Bentonville (Ark.) Prodigy boy’s club and has led the squad to three consecutive Arkansas State Cup championships. Carlos and his wife, Deysi, live in Rogers with their three children, Kelly Melissa, Carley Isabel and Carlitos.
Maria Fassi (Honorary Member) – Maria is originally from Pachuca, Hidalgo, Mexico, and came to NWA to be a Razorback for the University of Arkansas. She is now an LPGA professional and recently the Maria Fassi Foundation started a new program called Fassi’s Friends which calls First Tee – NWA its home. Inspired by a cousin with special needs who grew up watching Maria play golf and wanting to learn herself, Fassi’s Friends was born. It was difficult to find a golf instructor or program that was adaptive to youth with special needs; that along with Maria’s heart for kids is where Fassi’s Friends began. Her goals align so closely with ours at First Tee, and help with programming and our facility becoming more inclusive. We are proud to have her as an honorary member on our board.