General Manager & COO
Frank Melón, CCM, CCAM, RPA, CEM
Frank has been with The Lakes Country Club since 2016 and is a Certified Club Manager as well as Certified Community Association Manager with over 30 years of experience in the private club, HOA and hospitality industry. He has been involved with developer to membership transitions for premier community developments in the Rancho Santa Fe area, such as Fairbanks Ranch Association and SantaLuz. As prior General Manager of Bermuda Dunes Country Club, Frank managed the club during the heyday of the original Bob Hope Classic. During his eight years as General Manager of Bay Area's Moraga Country Club, he was responsible for the successful vote and construction of a new clubhouse and aquatic center. Frank is a past President of the Club Managers Association Roadrunner Chapter as well as the Moraga Chamber of Commerce.
Assistant General Manager & CFO
Ron Phipps, CCAM, PCAM, LSM
Ron joined The Lakes team in 2010. Born and raised in Southern California, he graduated with honors from the University of California, Riverside with a BA Degree in Business Administration. His career began as an auditor with Price Waterhouse, LLP combining his passion for sports and career goals. In 1998, he became the first full-time CFO of The Canyon Lake Property Owners Association, a Master Planned Community. Ron has obtained all certifications as it relates to Community Association management, both State and National level. Holding a Large Scale Community Management Certification, he is actively involved with Community Associations Institute. Ron is a member of the Club Managers Association of America. He has been an avid golfer since middle school and was captain of his high school varsity and college club golf team. Ron is happily married and they have two beautiful girls. As a family, they love to travel and enjoy relaxing by the pool.
Director of Lifestyle & Wellness
Valeria Batross
Originally from Peru, Valeria started her fitness journey at the age of 18. For the past 25 years, she has shared and implemented her expertise at renowned clubs such as Tradition Golf Club, Thunderbird, Mission Hills, Sun City Shadow Hills and Toscana Country Club, where she implemented training programs including TPI Golf Fitness, TRX Suspension Training, Power Plate Vibration Training, Corrective & Functional Strength Training and Trigger Point Release Therapy. Valeria has expanded her knowledge on Mindfulness and Wellbeing Living with the Hoffman Institute. She has trained athletes of all levels in various sports such as Water Polo, Long Distance Running, Golf, and has helped her clients achieve milestones such as complete marathons. Hobbies include dancing, reading and hiking. She is also an Amateur Natural Bikini Competitor. Valeria enjoys spending summers in Switzerland with her husband and 15-year old son. She is the proud recipient of the 2019 Desert Health Wellness Award.
Merchandise Manager & Buyer
Claudia Benjamin
Claudia joined The Lakes Country Club in 2009. She graduated from The American InterContinental University in Los Angeles with a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Fashion Marketing. After graduating, she started her buying career working at one of the most exclusive clubs in Los Angeles, Bel-Air Country Club. She relocated to the desert to continue her career working with Troon Golf, where she broadened her buying experience purchasing for a major golf resort. In Claudia’s spare time, she loves spending quality time with her husband and two children, playing golf, avid workouts, taking vacations and has a passion for fashion and shopping, of course.
Director of Golf
Mike Clifford, PGA
Mike has been with The Lakes since June 1986. Born and raised in Indianapolis, he attended Purdue Indianapolis Regional Campus. Mike won The Indianapolis Amateur in 1972 attaining PGA status in 1976 while an Assistant Golf Professional at Otter Creek Golf Course. Mike moved onto Denver Country Club where he was mentored by Head Golf Professional and former tour player, Fred Wampler. He relocated to Palm Desert in 1978 and soon became Monterey Country Club’s 1st Head Golf Professional, then holding the position of Club Manager for several years before moving to The Lakes Country Club. In 2010, he received the “Bill Strausbaugh” Award for mentoring fellow golf professionals. He has four children and four grandchildren, all of which live locally. Mike enjoys participating in the Super Senior Division of SCPGA Tournaments, golf trips with his sons, reading, exercising, gardening, hiking and most of all, spending time with his grandchildren.
Community Manager & Executive Coordinator
Teresa Falconer, CCAM, CMCA, AMS
Teresa joined The Lakes team in 2006 and is a member of the California Association of Community Managers, Certified Community Association Manager and holds the designation from the National Board of Certification for Community Association Managers. Teresa has earned the Association Management Specialist (AMS) designation from the Community Associations Institute (CAI). Prior to moving to the Coachella Valley, Teresa worked at the Walt Disney Company for the Senior VP and Executive Producer of Theme Parks in Glendale, CA working on the Disney California Adventure Theme Park project from design to build. Prior to Walt Disney Company, Teresa worked for Allied-Signal Ocean Systems in Sylmar, CA as an Executive Assistant to the CFO and Director of Finance. Teresa’s interests include spending time with her family, reading and trips to the beach.
Executive Chef
Kellen Gallatt
Kellen grew up in Peoria, IL and after high school, he moved to Pasadena, CA to attend Le Cordon Bleu School of Culinary Arts. After program completion, he began honing his craft at local Old Town Pasadena eateries such as Red White + Bluezz and Noir Food & Wine. Kellen was then given an opportunity to be part of the New York City acclaimed Michelin Star restaurant wd~50 (Ranked 81st, San Pellegrino World’s Best Restaurants). Here is where Kellen began to master his craft while learning modern techniques under James Beard Award Winning Chef Wylie Dufrense. After cooking on both coasts, Kellen and his wife moved back to his hometown of Peoria where he accepted a Sous Chef position at the Country Club of Peoria. Kellen and his family then relocated to California, where in 2016 Kellen was welcomed to The Lakes. Kellen loves to cook New American cuisine while utilizing seasonal local ingredients. When Kellen isn’t in the kitchen, he enjoys spending time with his wife and son.
Facilities Manager
Angel Gonzalez
Angel is originally from the Imperial Valley. He moved to the Desert in 2001, where he began his 14 years of experience working for Sun City Palm Desert Community Association. He worked for the Golf Course maintenance department holding various positions over the years. He became the supervisor for the Landscape Maintenance department for a few years. He then transferred to Facilities Maintenance as an Assistant Director. In 2015, he joined The Lakes Country Club Team as an Assistant Facilities Maintenance Manager. After a year of service, he moved into the Facilities Maintenance Manager position. Angel resides in the Coachella Valley with his wife and three sons. In his spare time he volunteers as a Regional Commissioner for AYSO (American Youth Soccer Organization) where his kids play soccer.
Assistant Director of Security
Miguel Gonzalez
Miguel Gonzalez has been working at The Lakes since 2012 and through his professionalism and commitment to the Security operation, being promoted to Assistant Security Director in 2019. Miguel’s previous career included assignment as a Detention Officer at the El Centro ICE Detention Center, as well as security assignments at PGA West, Trilogy and Sun City Palm Desert. Miguel enjoys providing Player Protection at the BNP Paribas Tennis Tournament and supervising security teams at Coachella and Stagecoach., Miguel is happily married and has two daughters. Miguel loves working at The Lakes because he can work with a great staff to assist our Members with a variety of challenges daily.
Golf Course Superintendent
Craig Howard
Craig began his career with The Lakes in 2015 as an Assistant Superintendent, later advancing to Superintendent. Having grown up in Nevada City, he relocated to the desert in 2004. He quickly fell in love with the game of golf and started working in the golf industry. In 2005, he began employment with Mountain View Country Club. After six years as outside service supervisor, he started on his path to becoming a superintendent as an irrigator, while going back to college to get his degree in Turf Grass Management. After obtaining his degree, he was quickly made Assistant Superintendent at Mountain View Country Club. He is involved in the HiLo Desert Golf Course Superintendents Association and teaches Advanced Turfgrass Management at College of the Desert. He lives in Indio with his wife and three sons.
Director of Security
Bill Markson, QM/PPO, DABCHS, CLSD
Bill has over 30 years of Security & Life Safety experience. He has been a Paramedic and holds an 18-year career, enhancing the Safety & Security operations for both Marriott International Hotels & Resorts and Hilton’s Waldorf-Astoria Collection. Bill’s career transitioned into the area of gated communities, as the Community Standards & Enforcement Director at Sun City Palm Desert. He has been with The Lakes since 2011, where he provided the licensed oversight required to reestablish a State approved in-house safety & security program. He remains active with the California Association of Licensed Security Agencies, Guards & Associates, as a previous board member. Bill is professionally linked with the National Sheriff’s Association Institute for Homeland Security & Public Safety as a Certified Homeland Protection Professional. As a Diplomat in Homeland Security, Bill maintains certifications in the areas of Disaster Preparedness, National Threat Assessment & Emergency Medical Response.
Director of Communications
Leslie Pike, CCAM
Leslie joined The Lakes as Director of Communications in 2016. Her career in hospitality began in 2012 with the appointed position as Office Manager/Executive Assistant to the General Manager at Toscana Country Club, which she later pioneered the position into Director of Communications/Executive Assistant to the General Manager and Vice President of the PGA of America. In 2013, she became a Notary Public, currently holding an additional title as a Notary Signing Agent. Leslie is Member of the Club Managers Association of America as well as a Certified Community Association Manager. As a native of Northern California, Leslie graduated from Simpson Universityin 2005 with a BA majoring in Business Administration and Human Resource Management.
Director of Membership
Alisa Ramirez, CCAM, LS, CMP
Alisa joined The Lakes as Membership Assistant in August 2009. In June 2013, she was promoted to Membership Administrator and then to Director of Membership in 2017. Her career background is in the hospitality industry where she worked as an area director for an audio visual company for 10+ years. She was part of the sales marketing task force established to grow sales revenue. Her track record shows her turning business centers into profitable entities. Alisa is a member of the California Association of Community Managers and earned her certification for CCAM in 2015. She holds a Professional Club Marketing Association membership and earned her Certified Membership Professional Certificate in January 2020. She loves spending time with her family and friends. Alisa and her two younger daughters have a passion for soccer and can be found on soccer fields throughout SoCal. She enjoys the beach, traveling, music, dancing, planning events, decorating, crafts, golf and life.
Food & Beverage Manager
Emilcar Rosas
Emilcar "Emi" has been an asset to The Lakes since 2011. He began his hospitality journey in 2005 at Desert Willow working in the food & beverage department. Emi and his team have coordinated and executed various club and Member events. He is dedicated to providing a food & beverage service that exceeds expectations. In his spare time, Emi enjoys spending time with his wife and their little girl.
Director of Sports
Marcin Rozpedski
Marcin was born in Warsaw, Poland coming to United States as a young boy. He spent most of his tennis training at the Van Der Meer Tennis Academy in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. At the age of 18, he won the Polish National Championship and became number one in Poland. In 1994 and 1995, he played in the Davis Cup for Poland as well as all major tennis tournaments around the World. In 1995, his professional career came to halt when he fell ill with malaria. Marcin settled in the desert while playing college tennis at College of the Desert and UCLA, which commenced his teaching career. His vast accomplishments include the 2016 US Open and National Pickleball Champion, Head Tennis Pro at The Ritz Carlton Hotel, Indian Ridge Country Club, Head Tennis Coach for College of the Desert, traveling with Ana Ivanovic as she won the French Open Championship, serving as the hitting partner for Victoria Azarenka as she became number one in the World.
Director of Operations
Jim Schmid
Jim has been with The Lakes since 2011. Originally from New York State, he graduated from the State University of New York at Binghamton with a BA Degree in Economics. After returning to school to study turf, Jim moved to the desert in 2006 to take a job at PGA West. He directed the preparations of the Palmer Course at PGA West for the Bob Hope Classic from 2009-2011. He lives in Palm Desert with his family and has been active in the industry and community teaching golf course management classes at the College of the Desert. Jim is involved in several industry groups; sitting on the board of the HiLo Desert Golf Course Superintendents Association, is a member of the Coachella Valley Golf and Water Task Force and is a part of the SCGA volunteer program.
Director of Human Resources
Sheila Valentine
Sheila began her career at the Lakes Country Club in October 1986 when she was hired as a food server in the main dining room, later named as The Mountain View Dining Room. She spent the next few years working in the restaurant as well as in the Santa Fe Grill. In 1993, she transferred to the clerical side of the Food & Beverage Department where she began working as the Dining Room Supervisor and Administrative Assistant. In 1998, she moved to the administration office working for a short time as the Administrative Office Receptionist before she was promoted to the Personnel/Human Resources Administrator position in November 1999. This is where you can find her today! In her spare time, Sheila loves to read, eat out and golf with friends.
Clubhouse Manager
Eric Wadlund, CEC
Eric was born and raised in Wisconsin. His career began with Darlington Country Club, then moving to the highly regarded The Madison Club. He brings over 20 years of hospitality management at some of the country’s best private country clubs, restaurants and hotels. He has held positions at The Occidental restaurant in Washington DC, Lowe’s Coronado Bay Resort, Rattlesnake Club at Trump 29 Casino, Azur by Le Bernardin, Beefsteak, Spencer’s & Palm Springs Tennis Club, Toscana Country Club, Spanish Hills Country Club and Wildest. Eric co-authored Palm Springs Flavor from Westcliffe Publishers and was a columnist for The Desert Sun. He also was the national spokesman for Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board & California Date Commission. He is a multi-award-winning Certified Executive Chef through the ACF and is a member of the CMAA. Eric has lived in the Coachella Valley for the past 18 years with his wife where they raised their three boys. They enjoy the outdoors, travel and time with friends.