Compiled by Suzanne Dent, Net News Editor
Logistics. It’s a word we hear often nowadays. It’s old hat to the members of ALTA’s Executive Committee, who season after season serve up the best recreational tennis opportunities available in the United States. This all-volunteer committee, along with its impressive volunteer support system, manages a dozen leagues for year-round tennis that provide fun and exercise for thousands of players of all ages and abilities. These are the members of your 2017 Executive Committee:
Bob Fitzgerald, President
Saturdays are special to Bob Fitzgerald, especially in spring and fall when he’s at the courts playing Men’s League tennis with good friends and family.
It’s a tradition he’s kept for almost a quarter of a century. In 1991, when he moved to Atlanta from Philadelphia, he was almost immediately recruited for a neighborhood team. That most assuredly turned out to be a good thing for ALTA. Bob has been an ALTA volunteer almost from the beginning of his recreational tennis career, starting as co-captain and now serving as president of the Executive Committee. He became a coordinator in 2004 and an overall coordinator in 2010. He spent two years as Men’s League VP and one year as first vice president.
And his volunteer history with ALTA will continue. After serving as president, past presidents remain on the committee for two years and are on track to serve as chairman of the board for a year. This longevity and continuity are contributors to ALTA’s strength as an organization.
He does it to give back. “ALTA is truly an amazing organization that is special to Atlanta,” he says. Bob plays out of Creekside Oaks and proudly displays four championship plates in his trophy case. Other things he holds dear include his wife, Teresa, his grown children (Rob, Erin and Andrew) and his bulldog, Ralphie.
Joyce Vance, First Vice President
Joyce Vance has been a resident of metro Atlanta for more than 40 years. She is originally from the low country of Charleston, South Carolina. Moving to Atlanta in 1971, she was among the many newcomers to see the growth of the metropolitan area. She then moved to Decatur in 1979; the area was mostly wooded with many horse ranches.
Joyce began her tennis tenure in the late 1980s after receiving tennis lessons at Coan Park through the Coan Park Tennis Association. Her tenure with ALTA began in 1991, playing in the Sunday Women’s League at Coan Park. She has served as a captain, coordinator, overall coordinator and vice president of the Sunday Women’s League. Though neither daughter plays tennis, her grandson, Kevin Kindred Jr., caught the bug and is a member of the ALTA Junior Challenge Ladder and plays Junior League tennis.
Joyce currently plays on teams out of Sugar Creek Tennis Center and Mainstreet Tennis Center. At times, she finds herself juggling many hats since her retirement from the city of Atlanta in 2008. Along with her ALTA duties, Joyce also volunteers managing a tax site at Stonecrest Library. She is a board member for her national alumni association at Wilberforce University. She also serves on the budget/finance and audit committees with USTA Georgia.
This year during her alumni conference in Atlanta, Joyce was inducted into the Alumni Hall of Fame. Though she wears many hats, she is looking forward to an exciting year serving as ALTA’s first vice president.
Ken Schwartz, Treasurer
Ken Schwartz will be a good treasurer. How do we know? From his reply to the question: What is the first thing you would do if you won the lottery? “Find a tax shelter,” he said. Now that’s thinking like a money manager. His credentials also are a clue. He’s retired from IBM as an accountant/financial analyst.
Born and raised in New York City, Ken moved to Atlanta in 1996. During his 13 years as an ALTA member, he’s been a co-captain, captain and coordinator. He sees Saturday mornings during the ALTA season as an enjoyable way to spend time and meet nice people. And he likes being known as the guy who brings good beer.
Playing out of Butler Creek, this lefty has a decent forehand and good topspin lob, but he’d like to work on his return of serve. In addition to tennis, his hobbies include biking, hiking and drumming (as a child, he wanted to grow up to be a musician). He is married to Shireen, and they have four grown children: Lisa, Jason, Grace and Noah; and four cats: Zeena, Rosie, Theo and Horatio.
Camille Puckett, Secretary
Camille Puckett lives by a simple motto: Just love what you do. It’s clear she loves ALTA, having served as coordinator and overall coordinator for several leagues, as Senior Leagues VP and now as secretary for the Executive Committee.
Maybe Camille just loves volunteering. She also gives her time to Special Pops, a tennis program for special needs children and adults; to the BB&T Atlanta Open as team leader for security volunteers; and to others in her profession through leadership in the Georgia Chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers.
She says she just doesn’t know how to say “no,” which has been to ALTA’s long-term benefit. In 1991, Camille’s significant other, Dixon Hogg, gave her name to Celia Matthews, who was director of Dekalb Tennis Center and VP for the Business Women’s League at the time. Celia needed volunteers, and Camille agreed to help. “Ironically, Dixon died at Blackburn Tennis Center the first day of fall Thursday Women’s tennis, where he received CPR from four different women. I am sure that he passed away with a smile on his face. That Sunday was my first day as a coordinator.”
The Savannah native is a graduate of the University of Florida College of Architecture and Fine Arts. “Yes, I am an avid Gator fan. Go Gators!” she says. She is also “master” to two cats: Baylie, a 6-year-old lilac point snowshoe, and Minnie, a 2-year-old tortoiseshell that was once feral in the community.
Terry Godbold, Men’s League Vice President
ALTA tennis has been a large part of Terry Godbold’s life since he moved to Atlanta in the fall of 1990. Like so many others new to Atlanta, it did not take long for him to know that tennis was a great way to meet people and socialize. He joined an ALTA team from Horseshoe Bend in 1991 and has been active ever since playing both Men’s and Mixed Doubles and volunteering for ALTA.
He has served as captain, scorekeeper, coordinator and overall coordinator. Most recently, he served as the treasurer of ALTA for two years. As VP of the Men’s League, he will oversee more than 1,000 teams. “It is very important for me to give back to the sport and organization that has been such a large part of my family’s life for the past 26 years,” he says. Tennis is truly a family affair for Terry as wife Mary Jo plays on Thursday Women’s, Sunday Women’s, Senior Women’s and Mixed Doubles teams and has earned four City Finals plates. His son, Michael, played in the Junior Leagues and on the Junior Challenge Ladder and was Terry’s partner for several years in the Men’s League.
Retirement in 2015 has given him more time for travel and leisure: He plays golf and tennis three or four times a week “with a great group of 25-plus men.” In addition to an interest in photography, he actively supports Florida State University, where he has served as a member of the Board of Governors for the College of Business and was a member of the Alumni National Board. Terry also enjoys his growing family. His son, Michael, a physician in Knoxville, Tennessee, has a 3½-year-old son and a 1-year-old daughter. His daughter, Kimberly Meade, is a physician’s assistant at Atlanta’s Piedmont NICU and has a 1½-year-old son.
Jane Milton, Thursday Women’s League Vice President
Jane Milton has a bucket list: “I want to travel the United States in an RV and hit all the national parks.” That dream will have to wait until she’s finished with her term as Thursday Women’s League VP.
Jane was born and raised in Los Angeles, but husband Rick’s job took them around the country, finally landing in Atlanta in 1996. Her story is like that of many who play ALTA tennis; the organization was a great way to meet people in a new place. It’s the thing she still likes best about ALTA. “I love getting to meet so many wonderful ladies, many who have become special lifetime friends,” she says.
Jane has been captain, scorekeeper, coordinator and overall coordinator in addition to serving on the Executive Committee in 2010 as president’s appointee. “ALTA is an awesome organization with great volunteers who are dedicated to promoting a great sport,” she says. “A good friend got me involved, and I love all the great ladies I get to work with.”
With three grown children and one grandson, Jane is a “retired” stay-at-home mother. Deuce is her preferred side, and a short, cross-court angle volley is her preferred put-away. She enjoys gardening, outdoor activities and home improvement projects, in addition to dreaming about her bucket list travel plans.
Holly Underwood, Sunday Women’s League Vice President
Holly Underwood has a distinction that not many can claim. The Iola McCoy League (similar to ALTA) in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is named for her mother. “My mother was a huge supporter of junior tennis in south Florida,” she says. It’s no wonder Holly started playing as a youngster. “Tennis was good to me as a kid. It kept me out of trouble and gave me goals.”
Her tennis pedigree is not limited to her mother’s influence. “At 8 years old, a friend asked me to take lessons with her at Holiday Park in Fort Lauderdale, where Chris Evert’s dad was a pro. I grew up with the Evert family there at that park, along with a legion of other kids who were good junior players.”
A registered nurse with 41 years of experience (31 of them at Piedmont Hospital), Holly is passionate about her hobbies. Her love of cooking and baking led her to attend (and graduate from) the culinary school at the Art Institute in Atlanta. Her love of tennis drove her to volunteer with ALTA as a coordinator and overall coordinator for 17 years. Now she will serve as VP of the Sunday Women’s League and be responsible for about 1,200 teams.
Those teams are in the hands of someone who clearly values the game of tennis. “My best vacation ever was attending the first three days of Wimbledon in 2000,” she adds. “I got choked up looking at the Rolex clock on the ivied wall, and the courts were like green carpets since little play had occurred as yet.”
Bill Price, Mixed Doubles Vice President
Bill Price began his ALTA adventure in 1992 when a new team formed in his neighborhood. He was immediately hooked, serving as captain or co-captain almost every season until becoming a coordinator for the Mixed and the Men’s leagues in 2009. In 2013, Price assumed the role of overall coordinator for the Mixed Doubles League and in 2016 became Mixed Doubles vice president.
In addition to volunteering with ALTA, Bill served three terms on the board of Camp Sunshine and a term as leader of GE Volunteers in Atlanta. Currently, he is president of Lei Lani Condo Association in Orange Beach, Alabama. “I guess it’s just something in my blood. I like to get involved and help where I can,” he says.
When not working or playing tennis, Bill and his wife like to spend time riding motorcycles in the north Georgia mountains or relaxing at the beach.
“ALTA is a very unique and special organization that has provided me with many great memories and wonderful friends,” Bill says. “It is more than just exercise or recreation; it becomes your social life, too. I am excited to return for a second year as Mixed Doubles vice president.”
Celia Sheridan, Junior Leagues Vice President
Tennis became part of family life in the ‘80s when Larry Sheridan came home one day and told his wife, Celia, he had seen women out for lunch after a match. “He said he thought I would enjoy doing that,” he recalls. “Well, that’s all the motivation I needed, and I have been playing ever since!”
In addition to playing on Thursday and Sunday Women’s teams and with her husband on Mixed Doubles teams, Celia has been coordinator and overall coordinator for the Junior Leagues since 2000. “When my children were little, and the phone would ring, they would automatically give it to me because they knew it had something to do with tennis!” She looks forward to sharing her passion for ALTA tennis this season with her youngest son, who is joining her Mixed Doubles team.
She believes tennis is a great way to teach young players etiquette, sportsmanship and overall camaraderie in a team sport. “In the Junior Leagues, it is always so refreshing to see the kids playing their matches, enjoying the social aspect of the game, but also not letting it ruin their day because they lost a match,” Celia says. “As adults, we would benefit from having such a childlike attitude.”
As Junior Leagues vice president, she will oversee as many as 350 teams, and she hopes to instill a lifelong passion for the sport so that maybe another young player will grow up to hit the courts with his mother.
Sandy Depa, Senior Leagues Vice President
Sandy Depa started volunteering with ALTA in 2000 and has coordinated for EVERY ALTA league … except Men! She enjoys playing tennis and the ALTA spirit of friendship and camaraderie.
Growing up in Michigan, moving to Oklahoma and then to Atlanta in 1994, Sandy credits ALTA with giving all residents the opportunity to meet the greatest people, some of whom will be friends forever. Upon moving here, Sandy and husband Tony joined ALTA teams, as did their three now-grown children, Katerina, Joey and Michael. She is working on getting her son-in-law, Joe, and her daughter-in-law, Erika, on the courts now.
When not working full time running her business, Sandy enjoys watching her grandchildren, Lexi and Nate, play tennis and she can’t wait for her younger grandchildren, Maddie and Anthony, to play tennis when they get older. Sandy also enjoys geocaching (a modern term for an old-fashioned scavenger hunt, but using today’s technology) with the grandchildren. The Depas also enjoy tailgating at Georgia Tech football games with family and friends, regardless of what the season brings.
The entire Depa family is dedicated to supporting CURE Childhood Cancer of Atlanta in the fight against childhood leukemia in memory of their 3-year-old granddaughter, Melissa, by holding fundraisers that specifically finance research for AML Leukemia.
Henry Vincent, Junior Challenge Ladder Vice President
Henry Vincent was born in New Orleans. He played basketball on scholarship for Minnesota State University. Tennis is his favorite sport and his real passion. He’s only played tennis for 10 years and has won two ALTA City Championships — one on a Men’s team and the other with his wife on a Mixed Doubles team.
After college, he moved to Atlanta, which is where he met his wife of 22 years, Ieda, who is a native of Atlanta. They have two children, Hiram, 17, and Imani, 15. He, his wife and children have played on many ALTA teams. They have gone to ALTA City Finals a few times and the family trophy case has a total of seven plates, which include five dinner plates and two salad plates. The kids are very involved in tennis. They are tournament players, are active in academies and receive private coaching as well. The Vincents are affectionately known as “The Tennis Family.”
Henry volunteered as an ALTA Junior Challenge Ladder manager for three years and is now serving his second year as Junior Challenge Ladder vice president. He thoroughly enjoys getting to know the kids and is well known for offering positive encouragement. He says he would love to build Atlanta’s first public indoor tennis facility, complete with 24 courts, pingpong tables, a happy hour sports grill and a juice bar.
He has an IT background and his hobbies include music, songwriting and painting. He is a New Orleans Saints NFL fan and his wife, of course, is a Falcons fan.
Didi Chapdelaine, Media Vice President
Didi Chapdelaine begins her first year at Media VP after serving two years as Juniors VP. Although she dabbled in tennis in her native Connecticut, it wasn’t until she moved to Atlanta in 1992 that she really caught the bug. “I remember our real estate agent talking about ALTA and using it as a selling point,” she says. “I had no idea what she was talking about or what a huge part of my life ALTA was about to become!”
That agent ultimately sold them a house in Windward, a large tennis community in Alpharetta, where Didi says people ask, “Do you play tennis?” before they ask your name. Tennis quickly became a family sport and, with four young children, she managed countless Junior ALTA teams over the years. Once the kids were grown, the natural thing to do was to volunteer as a coordinator. That was 10 years ago.
Junior ALTA has changed a lot since her kids played — all for the better, she says. Her favorite part of being an ALTA volunteer is watching the young player at City Finals. “I really enjoy watching these kids play,” Didi says. “Every season I am reminded that the future of ALTA is pretty bright if this is who we are sending up to the adult leagues!”
As Media VP, Didi will focus her volunteer efforts on spreading the word about ALTA all over the metropolitan area. She also will be in charge of ALTA’s presence at the BB&T Atlanta Open.
If you don’t find her on the tennis court, you are likely to find Didi on the paddle tennis court, biking or walking her two golden retrievers, Dixie and Redford. When the summer gets too hot, she and her husband, Rob, head up to the coast of Maine where they vacation for much of the summer.
Chris Cole, Special Programs Vice President
Chris Cole grew up in Augusta and attended the University of Georgia. He has always been a big sports fan and returned to tennis after moving back to Atlanta in the early ’90s. He started playing ALTA (Men’s and Mixed Doubles) in 1994 and began working as a volunteer with the Atlanta Open Wheelchair Tournament in 1995.
He has participated as a volunteer at the tennis venue of the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens, Greece, and more recently worked as part of the media team for the International Paralympic Committee at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
He has been a committed volunteer with the ALTA Wheelchair League and The ALTA Foundation-sponsored clinic at Blackburn Tennis Center for the several years.
On a professional level, he has worked in the Atlanta area in the recruiting field for 17 years.
Marla Michalewicz, 2016 Past President
As past president, Marla Michalewicz will remain a voting member of the Executive Committee and Board of Directors. Originally from Texas, the Michalewicz family moved to Atlanta in 1994. “I was delighted to discover this vibrant tennis community,” she says. “I couldn’t wait to find a team.” She has been playing ever since.
She signed up as a volunteer in 2006, came up through the Thursday Women’s League, and became first vice president in 2015. The last year as president was very busy with committee meetings, mediating disputes, rule interpretations and much more. “I have learned so much this past year, and I look forward to doing whatever I can to assist Bob in 2017.”
Now, her sons have families of their own. With the presidency behind her, there will be more time to dote on her two 2-year-old grandsons. Marla reminds us they will be eligible to join ALTA in 2021, but “I am not in a rush. Having toddlers around is so much fun.” When not playing tennis or with grandbabies, Marla enjoys quilting and needlepoint.
Larry Waters, 2015 Past President
Many ALTA volunteers sing Larry Waters’ praises as a mentor. In fact, he is this year’s recipient of the President’s Award for that very quality. And he will continue to be a valuable resource to the committee for some time. As a past president, Larry Waters will remain a voting member of the Executive Committee this year and then be on track to serve as chairman of the Board of Directors in 2018. It is this progression that gives ALTA its long-term stability.
He came to ALTA like many: A friend invited him to join a team. From there, he’s moved up in the ranks, from captain to scorekeeper, coordinator, overall coordinator, VP Men’s League and first vice president.
“ALTA is an amazing organization that brings people of similar playing ability together for competitive matches,” he says. “I like giving back to a great organization that does so much for tennis in Atlanta, especially in support of younger players.”
A native of Savannah, Larry is a graduate of Georgia Tech and worked for years as an engineer. When he retired, it was to ALTA’s delight. The extra time allowed him to be full-time volunteer, attending several ALTA functions, including the BB&T Atlanta Open, many charitable efforts funded by The ALTA Foundation, not to mention numerous City Finals.
He and wife Carolyn, also an active ALTA member who plays on several teams, have one grown son, Jonathan, and two golden retrievers: Quinten and Taz. His go-to shot on the courts? “Short cross court to the alley, when it works,” he jokes.
Mike Mosshart, President’s Appointee
Mike Mosshart has set a goal for himself: Win the lottery. He’s got plans for that money: Donate it to a church … and take tennis lessons. He’d also retire and play more tennis and golf with his lovely wife, Charlene.
Mike, who grew up in south Florida, has moved to and from Atlanta many times over the years. He has played ALTA tennis for 20 years on Men’s, Mixed, Senior Men’s and Senior Mixed teams. He’s volunteered numerous seasons as captain and eight seasons as coordinator because he knows that’s what fuels ALTA. “It’s a volunteer organization. Everyone has to help,” says Mike.
He loves the camaraderie of ALTA tennis and the competitive spirit of league play. “I never stop going after a ball until it bounces twice!” he says, adding that his competitive spirit also led to victory in an Amazing Race competition at work. “Losing is not an option.”
That’s a quality sure to be important to teammates, almost as important as Mike’s usual contribution to the tennis fare. As a beer consultant, it should come as no surprise that he supplies the “Coors Light on ice” for home matches.
Other hobbies include mountain biking and hiking and keeping up with grown children Eric, Catherine and Colby. He and Charlene survived the death of a fourth child. It was the biggest challenge he has ever faced. “Losing my youngest son and dealing with the pain makes me appreciate every day,” he adds.
Diane Barker, The ALTA Foundation Representative
Diane Barker has been described as “ALTA’s best cheerleader.” She has certainly done her part to tell the ALTA story. The energetic leader served as 2015 chairman of the Board of Directors and attended many events in 2015 as ALTA’s ambassador. A good portion of those events were projects funded by The ALTA Foundation, which gave her an even greater appreciation for ALTA’s charitable efforts. She has channeled her ALTA energy into being a champion of the foundation by serving as its representative to the Executive Committee.
Diane calls ALTA “her Welcome Wagon” because it helped her find friends when she moved here from upstate New York in 1989. She does not play as much tennis these days, but that doesn’t stop her from being involved and active with all of her teams at Berkeley Hills Country Club. “I wouldn’t miss a match for anything,” she says.
She has been an ALTA volunteer for more than a decade, starting as coordinator and moving up and up and up until her term as chairman. She also manages husband Jim’s dry cleaning repair business and is a member of The Rotary Club of Peachtree Corners.