KIRSTIN WATTS

President & CEO

As President, Kirstin is responsible for defining & articulating the vision and strategy for Center Ice Foundation of Central Ohio.  A proud hockey mom inspired by her 2 hockey-playing sons, Ian (13) and Connor (10), Kirstin is passionate about increasing the opportunities for ice-related sports in Central Ohio, specifically in the suburbs south and east of Columbus, and continuing to help Pickerington develop as a world-class community to raise young athletes.  

When she's not at the hockey rink cheering for her kids or representing the Center Ice Foundation, Kirstin works full-time in the pharmaceutical/healthcare industry as a Director of Strategic Accounts. She has served on a number of non-profit Boards of Directors: Cancer Support Community of Central Ohio, The Michael D. Sewell Memorial Foundation, The Miss Greater Columbus Scholarship Program, and the Pickerington Central Marching Tiger Alumni Association.  In her free time, Kirstin enjoys gardening, crafting, reading, traveling, and cheering for her favorite teams: the Junior Prowlers, the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Kentucky Wildcats, the Ohio Bobcats, and the Pickerington Tigers!


An alumni of Pickerington {Central} High School, The University of Kentucky, and Ohio University (B.S., Organizational Communication; Master of Health Administration), Kirstin and her husband, Chris reside in Pickerington with their 2 boys and their Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Lucy.

BOB MCELHENEY

Executive Vice President, Operations

Responsible for direct oversight of the Community Development and Athletic Development Board functions, and serving as Chairperson of the Capital Campaign to build the Columbus Southern Corridor Arena, Bob serves as Executive Vice President of Operations for the Center Ice Foundation. In this role, Bob provides leadership in building key external stakeholder relationships, as well as helping to define the vision & strategy for the Foundation. He will also serve in a leadership role during the planning and construction phases of our project.

Bob is in his 7th season as the Varsity Head Coach for the Prowler Hockey Club in Central Ohio. He is also a licensed insurance agent.

A Sylvania, Ohio native, United States Marine Corps Veteran and University of Toledo alumni, he and his wife, Maggie, live in Reynoldsburg with their 2 year old son, Bobby, and their second baby boy is due to arrive in early 2021.

CATHY HERRON

Executive Vice President, Strategy

Fueled by both a passion for growing hockey in Central Ohio and to creating & motivating collaborative and successful teams, Cathy Herron serves The Center Ice Foundation as Executive Vice President of Strategy. In this role, Cathy is responsible for leading the definition of our vision, strategy & brand, as well as overseeing large-scale projects which position us for success in development of the Columbus Southern Corridor Arena.

With nearly 20 years of experience as a Project Manager, Cathy's experience spans multiple industries, most recently technology & software.  She's a graduate of Franklin University and holds an MBA, a Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification, and a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt.

Cathy's self-described greatest accomplishment is raising her son, Alex, and being an "honorary mom" to Alex's countless hockey brothers.  Alex has played hockey for 9 years, progressing through House, Select, and Travel teams, and this year, serves as Captain of the Inaugural Junior Prowlers Hockey Club Bantam Travel Team. 

Cathy is an avid runner, having completed 17 half-marathons and 2 marathons over the past 8 years.  

A lifelong resident of Central Ohio, Cathy lives in New Albany with her son, Alex, and their 8 year-old Golden Retriever, Brody.

WENDY HUX

Vice President, Fundraising & Events

Energetic, competitive, caring & loyal.  That's how folks describe our VP of Fundraising & Events, Wendy Hux.  In her role, Wendy is responsible for providing leadership and strategic direction to the Fundraising and Grant/Public Funding Board functions, as well as resource allocation & coordination of our events.  She and her team are tasked with defining and executing the fundraising strategy for the Foundation, as well as identifying and pursuing public grants.

Wendy has been a hockey mom for over a decade, with both of her sons, Devin (21) and Brandon (18) playing Varsity hockey for the Prowler Hockey Association.  Devin is currently attending The University of Cincinnati, and Brandon is a Senior at Pickerington Central High School.

In addition to her volunteer work in youth and high school hockey, Wendy has worked on numerous community campaigns, is active in the Ohio Guardianship Association, and has served as President of her sons' school PTO.  In her free time, Wendy enjoys cheering for her favorite sports teams, the Buckeyes, Notre Dame, the Columbus Blue Jackets, and the Prowlers!

Wendy is a graduate of Wright State University (B.A., Social Work) and is a licensed social worker in the State of Ohio.  She currently works as a Case Manager for the Central Ohio Area Agency on Aging.

A native of Paulding & Coldwater, Ohio, Wendy and her husband, Nate, have lived in Pickerington since 1995, where Nate owns the Pickerington Community Pharmacy and Freedom Pharmacy.

SABRINA HECKATHORNE

Secretary & VP, Marketing

In her dual role as Secretary & VP of Marketing, Sabrina is responsible for planning & reporting the board meeting agendas, facilitating board meetings, and collecting & maintaining our records, as well as executing our marketing & branding strategy through collaborative internal and external efforts.

An alumni of University of Akron, Sabrina currently works as a Senior Claims Examiner for American Electric Power.

Sabrina is no stranger to non-profits, having served for three years on the Board of Directors for the Easton Youth Hockey Association.  She and her husband Steve live in Reynoldsburg with their twin sons, Sam & Stuart, who play for the Junior Prowlers Travel Hockey Club.

ANDREA MAKSIM

Treasurer & VP, Corporate Sponsorships & Endowments

When the Center Ice Foundation was in need of someone to manage our money, Andrea Maksim answered the call!  As Treasurer, Andrea is responsible for expense management and fiduciary accountability (audit, taxes, and other un-fun things).  In her role as VP, Corporate Sponsorships & Endowments, she provides direct oversight of the large corporate & individual investor/donor functions within the Foundation.  

A graduate of Ohio Northern University (B.S., Pharmacy), Andrea has over 10 years of experience as a hospital pharmacist, most recently working at Fairfield Medical Center in Lancaster.  She and her husband, Nick, live in Lithopolis with their son, Drew (13) and daughter, Ellie (10).  Hockey is a family sport in their house - both Drew & Ellie play travel hockey for the Junior Prowlers and CAHA respectively, Nick serves as a Coach for both the JRP and CAHA, and Andrea plays in the women's adult hockey league.

Andrea also serves on the Board of Directors for the Central Ohio Girls' Hockey program, and when she's not freezing at an ice rink, she enjoys attending Blue Jackets games (more freezing at the rink!), traveling, reading, and fitness. 

JAMIE LEESEBERG

VP, Government & Community Relations

Jamie joined The Center Ice Foundation of Central Ohio with the vision and drive to help us achieve our mission of bringing more ice to Central Ohio. Currently serving as City Council President for Gahanna, Ohio, Jamie is no stranger to economic development, having been an integral part of the development of the Creekside project.

In addition to his work for the City of Gahanna, Jamie works as a Site Project Manager for Moody Engineering, having both a BS and MS in Civil Engineering from The University of Toledo.

Originally from Columbia Station, Ohio, Jamie and his wife, Angi, reside in Gahanna with their daughter, Emily (15), and their son, Matthew (13).  Both of their children are avid athletes: Emily is a champion wrestler, and Matthew runs cross country and plays hockey for the Junior Prowlers.  In addition to cultivating his kids' athletic prowess, Jamie enjoys boating, skiing, playing "beer league" hockey, and cheering for his favorite teams: the Browns, Indians, and Red Wings (but we won't hold that against him!)

WILLIAM LEHMAN

VP, Business Development

Bringing over 2 decades of sales, business development, and supply chain leadership experience to our organization, Bill joins the team as VP, Business Development.  In this role, Bill is responsible for identifying and building key relationships with potential sponsors, as well as contributing to our marketing & branding strategy. Bill is an alumni of Muskingum University, where he played collegiate athletics. 

A native of Lancaster, Ohio, Bill serves as a Head Coach for the Gahanna Travel Baseball program, as well as Registrar for the Junior Prowlers Hockey Club. Bill and his wife, Kelly, reside in Gahanna, with their sons, Nolan (13) and Nathan (10).

BRIANNE HIRSCH

Director of Fundraising

Our Director of Fundraising, Brianne Hirsh, comes to the Foundation with ideas, passion, and an uncanny ability to get things done!


A native of Toledo, Ohio, Brianne graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Special Education from Old Dominion University in Virginia, while living a military wife's life; her husband David served in the US Air Force.

Brianne and David moved to Pickerington (David's hometown) 4 years ago, and Brianne currently works as an elementary school educator in Pickerington Local School District.  Their son, David (10), is a Goalie for the EYHA Ice Dragons Squirt Travel Team, and a Black Belt in TaeKwonDo, and she & her husband just welcomed a newborn daughter, Jane.

When she's not at the rink or the dojo, Brianne is an avid crafter, and she and her family love to cheer for the Buckeye Hockey Team!

CRAIG BUSH

Director, Athletic Development

Bridging the gap between group and athletic stakeholder organizations, Craig serves as Director of Athletic Development for the Center Ice Foundation.  In this role, Craig serves as a liaison between the Foundation and key groups such as local youth & adult hockey leagues, figure skating, sled hockey, curling, and the school districts, as well as Pickerington Parks & Recreation.

A native of Lancaster, Ohio, Craig is no stranger to athletics, having been drafted by the Boston Red Sox as a pitcher.  Currently, Craig provides private baseball instruction and serves as a Coach of the Junior Prowlers Hockey Club.  He & his wife, Gwyneth reside in Pickerington with their daughter, Elizabeth (15), a swimmer, and son, Ethan (13), also a swimmer and a member of the Junior Prowlers Hockey Club.

MATT "MATTY" SEXTON

Director of Media Relations

Matt "Matty" Sexton joins The Center Ice Foundation as Director of Media & Public Relations. In this role, Matt oversees our social media content.  An entrepreneur & branding aficionado, Matty is known locally as the DJ for the Columbus Blue Jackets.  He owns a successful entertainment business, serving a myriad of clients in the sports & music industries.

An alumni of THE Ohio State University, Matty enjoys cheering for his favorite sports teams (in order): the Buckeyes, Cincinnati Reds, Columbus Blue Jackets, Notre Dame Irish, and Nashville Predators.  In his spare time, he also enjoys fitness & cooking.

Matty was brought to our organization by a strong desire to give back to the community, as well as a passion about helping to grow the sport of hockey in Central Ohio.

Originally from Newark, Ohio, Matty & his trusty sidekick Pitbull, Gage the Bully currently split their time between Dublin, OH, and Nashville, TN.

CASSANDRA PEARSON

Director of Grants & Public Funding

Although she's new to Central Ohio, Cassandra is no stranger to the non-profit world.  With over a decade of experience in non-profit leadership, Cassandra identifies and pursues opportunities for public funding & grants on behalf of the Foundation.  

A native of Nevada and a graduate of University of Nevada - Reno (B.A., Social Work; MBA), Cassandra is a passionate advocate for mental health and serving at-risk populations, as well as grassroots community development.

Cassandra and her husband, Travis, spend their free time hiking, camping, and cheering for the Blue Jackets! They're also raising a future hockey-playing daughter and can't wait to see her take the ice in Pickerington!

VICTOR PAINI

Board Member-At-Large

Victor Paini, brings to the Center Ice Foundation deep subject matter expertise in public service, having served on both the Canal Winchester City Council and as a Madison Township Trustee.

A graduate of Pickerington High School and Ohio University (B.S. Communications Systems), Victor is a lifelong resident of the southeast side, and has spent his adult live giving back to the communities he loves.  In addition to his role with the Center Ice Foundation, Victor serves on the boards for the BrockStrong Foundation and the Motts Military Museum, and he is the Founder & president of the Canal Winchester Youth Lacrosse Association.  In 2012, Victor was honored as a recipient of the Columbus 40 Under Forty Award.

Brought to our group by his passion for smart economic development on the southeast side, what really excites Victor about our project is the potential for his son, a youth hockey player, to have a "home rink" close to home.  

Victor's career spans 2 decades as a technology executive.  He and his wife, Tiffani, live in Canal Winchester with their two children, Wesley (12) and Julia (10).

KURT FANSLER

Board Member-At-Large

Kurt earned his BS in Mechanical Engineering from Youngstown State University, and he currently works as a Project Manager for Heapy Engineering.  Kurt also serves as the League Commissioner for the Canal Winchester Youth Football League, and his favorite title is "Goalie Dad" to his hockey-playing son, Dylan.  

Originally from the Toledo area, Kurt and his wife, Kim, live in Canal Winchester with their sons Ryan (22) and Dylan (12).

 
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