Our Team

WPF Board

Seymour Rifkind

Seymour Rifkind (rif) is the President and Founder of International Pickleball Teaching Professional Association (IPTPA). He also serves as President of the Pickleball Hall of Fame. Prior to his involvement in pickleball, he served as President of the Interface Group, a marketing communication firm with offices in Illinois and California. He’s a best selling author, and after retiring in 2005 spent a number of years on the speaking tour doing workshops on peak performance worldwide. Rif is a 5.0 rated player with multiple medals at the US Open, as well as other regional & national tournaments.

Steve Kuhn

Current President and co-founder of the ASK charitable foundation. Prior to his involvement in his many charitable foundations, Steve was a Partner and Portfolio Manager at Pine River Capital, where he focused on seeking new opportunities for the firm. Steve served on both the Executive Committee and on the Charitable Initiatives Committee. Prior to joining Pine River in 2008, Steve was a Portfolio Manager at Goldman Sachs. Based in New York and Beijing from 2002 to 2007, he was part of the mortgage portfolio management team. From 1999 to 2002, Steve was a Japanese convertible bond trader at Citadel Investment Group in Chicago. Prior to that, he was head of mortgage backed securities trading at Cargill. Steve received an AB cum laude in Economics from Harvard University in 1991. In addition to his business experience, Steve is a 5.0 pickleball player and recently hosted two charitable pickleball events where Andre Agassi and Andy Roddick played against our top pickleball pro’s.

John Costas

John P. Costas is the Managing Member of Costas Holdings, LLC, a private equity firm, since July 2012. Mr. Costas was Chairman of PrinceRidge LLC, a financial services firm, from 2009 to July 2012. Mr. Costas was with UBS, a financial services firm, from 1996 to 2007. During his tenure at UBS, Mr. Costas held various positions, including Deputy CEO of UBS A.G., Chairman and CEO of the UBS Investment Bank and Chairman and CEO of Dillon Read Capital Management LLC. Mr. Costas was a member of the UBS Group Executive Management Committee from 2001 to 2005. Prior to joining UBS, Mr. Costas was with CS First Boston Corporation from 1981 to 1996. While at CS First Boston Corporation, Mr. Costas held several positions, including Co-Global Head of the Fixed Income Division. Mr. Costas also previously served as a member of the NYSE advisory board. Mr. Costas has a B.A. from the University of Delaware and an MBA from the Tuck School at Dartmouth College In addition to his vast business experience, John is an avid 4.0 pickleball player who is addicted to the game.

Qingmin Wang

Qingmin is a very popular and well known fine artist in China. He is an academician and art consultant of the Chinese federation of culture and art and has been since June of 2014. Qingmin brought picklkeball to China in 2010 after first being introduced to the game on a visit to the pacific northwest. In May of 2012, he organized a 46 day tour in more than a dozen cities with the assistance of some of his pickleball friends from Oregon. He’s been a trailblazer and leader in developing the game in China as is evidenced by his many positions. He’s been the executive chairman, global Chinese pickleball federation since March of 2016. He’s president of global Chinese pickleball China federation and president of the Guangzhou branch. In addition, this past year, he served as chairman, international pickleball academy (Asia Pacific)

Karen Mitchell

Karen retired early in 2014 following a successful 35 year career with American Express. Her background is in Marketing & Communications, New Product Development and Business Development. She was part of the Senior Management Committee for her business organization and has led large global teams.

Karen took up pickleball in 2015 and introduced her husband Chris to the game later that year. Karen & Chris started Pickleball in Eastbourne (PIE) in 2016. They now have 3 drop in sessions a week. In early 2018 they both got Level 1 IPTPA Certification so that they could reassure new players they were qualified to teach them how to play. Karen & Chris are both regular attendees at European Tournaments and look forward to playing in the USA and Asia in the future. Karen and Frank Arico established a new federation, pickleball England in 2018. Their first tournament will be the English OPEN scheduled for August 2019.

Lai Chien-Hao

Hogan is the Chairman of the Chinese Tapei Pickleball Association. He’s been Chairman of Vision Sports Enterprise Co., Ltd since 1990 and is Chairman of B-Mart Sports Marketing Co., Ltd as well. Hogan has a great deal of experience developing sports in Taiwan. From 2014-2016 he was Chairman of Chinese Hope Badminton Association. His vast experience in sports and dedication to pickleball has made him one of the leaders at WPF. Hogan is a 4.0 pickleball player.

Jim Cohen

 

Jim Cohen (known as “Jimbo”) is the Founder & President of Spirit of the Hummingbird, a multifaceted, Minnesota-based corporation dedicated to building the sport of Pickleball through various consulting, management, promotion, player development, coaching and facility design efforts. Prior to his retirement in 2014, Jim pursued a legal career in both the private and public sectors—first as a litigator with the international law firm of Covington and Burling; and, thereafter, for more than four decades, primarily as a public interest advocate & certified mediator focused upon providing quality and affordable legal assistance to low- and moderate-income working families of limited means. Among other major positions, he has served as: a Deputy Assistant Director of the Federal Trade Commission; the Founder & Executive Director of the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund (Wash. D.C. Office); and as the Founder & Executive Director of Access Justice PSC, a non-profit law firm and public charity. He has served on several other nonprofit and corporate boards of directors.

 

Jim was an Honors graduate of both Cornell University and Michigan Law School, thereafter serving a stint as a Ford Foundation fellow in Germany. Upon his retirement, he took up Pickleball with a passion and in three years has become a 4.0-4.5 USAPA rated player and frequent medalist in local, state, regional and national tournaments; an IPTPA Certified Coach, Referee (USAPA Certification Evaluation Pending) & Entrepreneur.Jimbo currently runs a respected coaching clinic in accordance with IPTPA guidelines for both adults and youths, highlighting his knowledge and love for the sport.

Gabi Plumm

Four years ago, my son Morgan Evans, a US Champion and Professional coach, taught me to dink. A short lesson which ended with me suggesting we should be playing the crazy game with the silly name in Australia. Morgan said it was too windy, I said not ‘it’s not windy indoors.’ When I got back to OZ, I found somewhere to play and a couple of brave souls to play with, imported some equipment and watched heaps of YouTube videos to try and learn the scoring! Now four years later, with an IPTPA Instructor’s Certificate proudly framed on my office wall, the presidency of the Pickleball Association of Australia keeping me run off my feet, we have hundreds of players pickling and paddling with glee in five Australian states, our first National tournament under our belt, and all geared up for the next one, and … well… what can I say, pickleball is here to stay. My working life: I am officially retired now but am busier than ever. It includes five years working as a tour guide in Far North Queensland, three years in Real Estate, Team tennis for Club Pennants in Western Australia, plus my full time work now is as an Editor of novels, articles, website texts and school year-books. Pickleball takes up a good chunk of my day however and I am gratified that the game is growing so dynamically in Australia. My two sons work as Professional tennis and pickleball instructors in California, and I try to get to the US at least once a year to see and play with them.