Nate Heinold announced today that he will run for re-election for the PDGA Board of Directors. Heinold has served on the PDGA BOD since 2017 and is the current Secretary for the organization and is the chair of the PDGA’s Majors and NT Committee. “Serving the PDGA as a volunteer Board member has been an honor the last three years. I feel like I have more to give to the organization and am excited at the prospect of continuing to serve,” said Heinold.
Over the last 3 years, Heinold has focused on Youth and Education and the Professional side of the sport, in addition to his duties as a Tournament Director for the annual Ledgestone Insurance Open, the 2019 PDGA Professional Disc Golf World Championships, the upcoming 2021 Combined PDGA Masters and Juniors Disc Golf World Championships and countless other events. The PDGA election will take place in July and two spots are open on the Board of Directors. Be on the lookout in your email for an election ballot. Here is Heinold’s biography, candidate statement, professional experience, and disc golf experience:
Biography: I have played disc golf for the last 20 years after growing up playing ball golf. I live just outside of Eureka, IL with my wife Laurie and our two children Caleb and Maxwell. Caleb has started to pick up the sport and so we enjoy playing together. Outside of disc golf, I enjoy board games, national parks, pickleball, and traveling to see new places. I am classified as a professional disc golfer, but my 970’s rating hardly qualifies as such!
Candidate Statement: When I ran for the PDGA Board of Directors originally in 2017 I wanted to focus on growing youth in our sport and also wanted to focus on our professional tour and adding a 4th consistent PDGA Pro Major. At my first Summit, I presented on both of these topics, asking the PDGA to hire someone to work in Youth and Education. I also proposed adding a 4th Major at this first Summit. Neither one of those ideas came to fruition right away, but with time my vision has started to be realized with the hiring of a full-time staff member to work in Youth and Education to help coordinate all of the efforts that are happening around the country when it comes to disc golf in our schools.
When it comes to our professional tour, I have been an ardent supporter of the DGPT and the efforts of Jeff Spring and others to grow and expand the professional tour. I advocated right away to add a 4th PDGA Pro Major. This was initially shelved in favor of other priorities, but there is more work to be done here. I hosted the 2020 PDGA Majors Summit in Peoria, IL, and much of the time at the summit was spent on this topic, and the committee came to a unanimous agreement on how to move forward with this event. The spread of COVID-19 around the world will delay those plans slightly, but I do plan on presenting this concept to the PDGA BOD sometime this year for approval, with the hope of having this Major in 2022 and beyond.
There is still more work to be done with Youth and Education and our Professional Tour. I truly believe that the best way to continue to grow the sport is for us to continue to make investments in these two avenues, along with our other priorities. As a BOD member, I cannot focus on everything; we have BOD members and staff who have focused on sustainability, leagues, marketing, technology, membership outreach, etc. My focus and expertise lie with the above two topics, and I believe if I continue to put my energy behind those ideas that the organization will benefit with increased exposure and continued growth.
As it relates to COVID-19 and the effect that has had on our organization, I have been working closely with the BOD and staff to safely reopening sanctioning. I strongly advocated for and voted in favor of our current process to allow events to be sanctioned again in regions, states, and countries where that is allowed. I believe that disc golf can be a safe activity to participate in as long as people practice social distancing and other preventive measures.
Professional Experience: For the last ten years I have worked at Ledgestone Insurance as the Vice President. I have approximately 1000 clients all over the Midwest including several disc golf organizations. I focus on commercial insurance and have a specific focus with contractors and Churches. I specialize in risk management for my clients, and my focus at the university level was in financial matters. I have an MBA from Illinois State University and have the equivalent of a Masters Degree in Insurance, the CPCU.
Disc Golf Experience: I have run the Ledgestone Insurance Open disc golf event for the last 10 years and have run over 50 other events. I was the TD for the 2019 PDGA Professional Disc Golf World Championships and will be the TD for the 2021 Combined PDGA Masters and Juniors Professional Disc Golf World Championships. I have been involved with several course projects in the Central Illinois area, ranging from funding, construction, design, etc. I have been involved in the following course projects: McNaughton Park (funding), Wildlife Prairie Park (funding), Westwood Park (funding), Original Northwood Park (construction), Northwood Gold (funding/construction/design), Washington Park (funding), Lake Eureka Temp (funding/construction/design), Kennel Lake (funding/construction/design), Eureka Permanent (funding/construction/design), Sunset Hills (funding) and others.
I am a current member of the PDGA Board of Directors, a past Treasurer of the PDGA Board of Directors, and the current secretary of the organization. I am the liaison to the Pro Tour Players Committee, am the past liaison to the PDGA Competition Committee, and am the current Chair of the PDGA Majors and NT Committee.