Board of Directors
Cameron was elected to the board of directors in January of 2015. He is an avid tennis player and serves as the Director of Business Development with SharpVue Capital. He is excited to share his love of the sport with Abilities Tennis, as well as the mission of the organization with the community. Cameron is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and received his business degree from the Kenan-Flagler Business School. He is an active member of the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce, Midtown Raleigh Alliance, Boys & Girls Club and serves as captain for several USTA teams. You can also catch him on the weekends with the 40 Love Band.
VP of Marketingsvargas@vascularwellness.com
Newly elected to the Board of Directors, Steve is a graduate of Elon University and holds a degree in Business Administration. Steve works in the medical industry with Vascular Wellness as a partner and Director of Sales. He enjoys playing tennis with his Autistic son, as the game has been a wonderful outlet and teaching tool. Abilities Tennis continues to give his son these opportunities to play competitively, make new friends and enjoy the game. Steve is excited to continue the growth and mission of the organization and reach out to the corporate community for support.
VP of Community Relations and Treasurercrarucker@aol.com
Alex is a graduate of Florida State University receiving a degree in International Business. While at FSU, he played on the varsity tennis team. After graduating he went to work at Wachovia Bank. He currently is a manager at Vision Indoor Tennis Center and is a managing member at Forsyth Holdings, LLC. Alex has held the positions of President of USTA North Carolina and President of the North Carolina Tennis Foundation, and is currently on the Board of both organizations. He, his wife Sara, and their son Charles live in Winston-Salem. The family loves to play tennis and snow ski.
VP of Eventsgohokies@nc.rr.com
Wendy joined the Board the Directors in May 2015. As an active tennis player and a mom of a daughter with intellectual disabilities, joining the board of Abilities Tennis was a natural fit.
Wendy graduated from Virginia Tech with a degree in Communications. Her career in medical equipment sales brought her to North Carolina in 1998 where she met her husband John. They have two daughters, Emma and Lily. Wendy looks forward to combining her love of tennis, the intellectually disabled community and community involvement to further the mission of Abilities Tennis.
VP of Business
Deb was elected to Board of Directors December 2014. Holding a degree in Business Administration/Marketing from Marist College, she began her career in International Marketing with Estee Lauder, where volunteerism was encouraged and expected. Deb has always been active supporting her community working with organizations such as Look Good… Feel Better, Women in Need, The Fresh Air Fund and Passage Home. She moved to Raleigh from New York over ten years ago, with her husband Matt and three children, Aly, Matt and Mitch. Though she took up the game of tennis only a few years ago she has become an avid player and devotee of the game. Deb enjoys USTA league tennis and has captained many teams.
Member at Largevxjohnrichardson@gmail.com
John was elected to the Board of Directions in 2018. John holds a Computer Science degree from the University of Maryland and works in the software technology industry. He is an avid tennis player, and plays on several Raleigh USTA teams. John has enjoyed being an Abilities Tennis Instructor for the past several years, and is excited to be expanding his role with Abilities Tennis.
Member At Largeduncan.email@example.com
Elected to the Board of Directors in March, 2018, Duncan is a graduate of the University of Evansville where he played collegiate tennis for the Purple Aces. Duncan currently works in Business Development for a healthcare data analytics company, Prognos. Duncan continues to play USTA League tennis and is also a USTA-certified tennis official. He was first exposed to Abilities Tennis while working with his sons in 2016/17 to develop a fundraising tennis tournament in honor of Rhonda Blanchard, the former men's and women's tennis coach at Middle Creek High School. He is now very excited to expand his involvement in Abilities Tennis and to help grow and improve its programs in the future
Lou Taft Welch
Lou Welch has been named Executive Director of the Abilities Tennis Association of North Carolina. Lou holds a degree in Therapeutic Recreation from East Carolina University. Her first job entailed working with special populations in the Palm Beach area. After returning to Raleigh, Lou gained experience in sales and marketing as a pharmaceutical representative. She then took time away from the work force to focus on family. Lou and her husband, Jim, have two children, Carson and Cammy, both students at St. David’s School. Lou is an avid tennis player and is very involved in the local community. She looks forward to bringing her various experiences together to benefit the growth of Abilities Tennis in North Carolina.
Wilmington Community Coordinatorbilliefitzsimons16@gmail.com
A tennis player for 50 years, Billie Fitzsimons has dedicated her spare time to teaching her favorite sport at camps, public parks and private clubs. Eight years ago, Billie began coaching athletes with intellectual disabilities in the Wilmington area. Billie’s team was having so much fun on the court that they wanted to play tennis all year long. Billie hooked up with Abilities Tennis of North Carolina and began holding tennis clinics for her team every Thursday afternoon. If you stop by Empie Park between 4:40 and 6:00, year-round, you will see anywhere from 10 to 20 athletes practicing skills, short court, and full court doubles and singles, with lots of volunteers helping out. She also hosts a yearly tournament, Swing into Spring, at Empie Park. In order to raise funds for the athletes to travel to tournaments in North Carolina and other states, she hosts a fundraiser each October, the Great Pumpkin Smash held at Holly Tree.
Greensboro Community Coordinatorjthoggard336@triad.rr.com
Jinni has been active in the tennis world, playing USTA leagues and playing at Gate City for over 15 years. She graduated Western Kentucky University with a major in Therapeutic Recreation and has worked with special needs athletes since high school. She is the Abilities Tennis and SO coach for Guilford/Greensboro area hosting clinics from August to May. She is a board member as well as merchandising chair for Racquets for a Cure (an annual tennis tournament to raise money for my local Komen Foundation). For two years she has worked diligently coordinating and promoting the fundraiser, Dancing on the Diamond, which benefits the ARC of Greensboro.
Kirstie has coached tennis athletes with special needs for 11 years. Kirstie served as Director of the Tennis Sports Development Team for Special Olympics North Carolina from 2009-2014. Kirstie's awards from the NC USTA include the 2006 Adult/Senior Tennis Council Award and the 2009 Volunteer Service Award.
Nancy started playing tennis when she was 12. She played junior tennis and she played on the high school team. I
She started teaching at the local YMCA while she was in high school. She played lacrosse in college to get the team sport experience.
She and her family moved to Raleigh from Atlanta in 2009. She started coaching for the City of Raleigh Parks and Rec in the spring of 2012. Later that fall, she was the head coach of the Endeavor Charter School Girls tennis team, a position she held for 2 years. She continued to coach for the city, and soon landed a position on the tennis teaching staff. Her years of taking lessons carried her into the position she now holds as Assistant tennis pro for the City of Raleigh. She teaches all ages and abilities in private/group/team lessons. She also works for Raleigh Tennis Association (RTA), as the expansion coordinator, as well as the Director of Tournaments. She is licensed as a cardio tennis professional.
In her spare time, she plays tennis!
She is a native of Ohio, and reside in the City of Raleigh with her husband Grant, daughter Elizabeth, son James and dog Tucker.