Frank Chiappone is a former sports anchor/reporter at KOMO-TV in Seattle where he once won an Emmy for synchronized swimming although he didn’t actually synch or swim. Now at Microsoft, he helps teachers and students do great things using technology in their classrooms.
He has a wife and three kids who encourage his pickleball obsession and will occasionally play with him. Life before pickleball is a little hazy, but he vaguely remembers enjoying sports of all kind, cooking, DIY house projects and playing the ukulele.
He plays pickleball at least five times a week wherever he can, mostly in North Seattle, but has also played in Florida, Arizona, Texas, Hawaii, Utah, Idaho, Nevada, California, London and Amsterdam… but not all on the same day.
Mary Ann Benack
Mary Ann has had a distinguished 20+ year career at Microsoft during in numerous leadership positions in marketing, advertising, and customer service areas of the Company.
She has been actively involved in pickleball for several years as a regular tournament player in local, regional, national, and international tournaments. In addition, Mary Ann has organized pickleball tournaments, co-managed pickleball leagues, conducted instructional clinics, and gives group and individual pickleball lessons all around the metro area.
Mary Ann’s contributions to SMPA include her work on the Racial, Equity and Justice assessment tool to evaluate potential dedicated pickleball sites. She served on the Planning Committee for our first Annual Meeting and was an integral member of the registration services team for the 2019 Seattle Metro Pickleball Classic tournament. In 2020, Mary Ann became the sole owner of local pickleball company Smash Pickleball that offers equipment, leagues, and tournaments.
Miguel de Campos
Director | Founder
Miguel must have been a dog in one of his previous lives because when he sees a moving ball he has to go fetch it and return it to wherever it came from.
When he is not coaxing pickleballs with a paddle, you might find him kicking them with his foot or trying to trap them with his chest, both old reflexes from his soccer playing days
When no balls are around, Miguel enjoys programming computers, keeping timeforpickleball.com up to date, listening to music and visualizing achieving world peace through pickleball, a key reason he helped found the SMPA.
Miguel’s wife, who does not share his canine ancestry, prefers yoga, tai chi, and qigong to pickleball.
The moment Jessica retired in 2018, she updated her LinkedIn profile to read: “Blissfully happy retiree, pickleball addict, and movie maven.” And that about sums it up. After discovering the sport at a health resort in Mexico, pickleball has become her new “full-time job.” She plays almost every day, enjoys the occasional tournament, and takes great pleasure introducing the game to others.
Jessica believes in actively contributing to the success of the things she loves, and served on the boards of her local farmers market and arts council. She wants to bring this non-profit experience and community involvement to SMPA and help advance and grow pickleball in the metro area.
Committed to helping SMPA meet their goals, Jessica is especially keen to increase playing facilities in the greater Seattle area. Her personal dream is to see permanent pickleball courts at Luther Burbank Park on Mercer Island.
Amy was a SAP Security consultant for over 20 years. She worked at Microsoft and Boeing among other companies. She was introduced to pickleball at a SMPA newbie clinic 3 weeks after she retired. It quickly became an obsession. Not a morning person but she will wake for pickleball!
She loves to travel with her family. It was important to Amy and her husband, Wiktor, that their 3 children know their heritage. Thankful to have spent 2 summers traveling, the family visited Hong Kong and Poland before the pandemic.
Amy is determined to grow SMPA membership to have a bigger voice while advocating for dedicated pickleball courts and a large tournament venue in the Seattle metro area.
Linda is an Organizational Consultant with an expertise in creative team collaboration, and currently works in the video game industry.
Growing up in Hollywood, California, Linda has a background in the Arts, and a degree in theater from UCSD. She was also captain of her high school tennis team and played that sport throughout her life.
In 2020, she picked up Pickleball, wanting a paddle sport she could bring into her golden years. Linda is a student of the game and an avid pickleball fan. Most weekends you can find her watching pro matches on You Tube or going to tournaments, stalking her favorite players and rooting for them at an inappropriately loud volume. (Her favs Leigh and Anna Leigh Waters definitely know when Linda is in the house!)
Linda lives in West Seattle with her dog and 2 cats, none of which is named Pickles. In joining SMPA, Linda hopes to give back to the sport that gives her so much joy.
Gordon was at The Boeing Company for 34 years in Human Resources, but is very happy to say that this is his 10th Anniversary in blissful retirement.
He has the honor of learning the game of pickleball at the Betsuin Buddhist Temple in Seattle from a very senior crowd. What he loves about the game is that everyone can play the game, from novices to experts. You can hit the ball as hard as you can, you can place a return shot, you can finesse an angled shot, you can catch a lob floating slowly downward; after all, you are playing with a kid’s “whiffle ball.”
He may be confused about the score; which he thinks is the most complicated aspect of the game. He gets a more thrilling rush of adrenaline from the number of rallies than the score, so tournament play is not his thing. It’s all about community. He can be found playing in the Central and South parts of Seattle and has found camaraderie every place he goes.
Kate Van Gent
Kate Van Gent served as pickleball liaison to Senator John Lovick in the successful effort to make pickleball the official sport of Washington. She is intrigued with the idea of creating a pickleball think tank and is focused on expanding pickleball facilities throughout the Puget Sound area. She is also a USA Pickleball Ambassador for Mill Creek.
Kate came back from a ruptured Achilles tendon injury in August 2020 to capture gold in women’s doubles in the Marysville City Pickleball League in fall of 2021. She plans on exploring Washington State through the pickleball tournament circuit. She has dual U.S. and Swiss citizenship but doesn’t yodel.
Kate has been a certified real estate appraiser for 30 years with a focus on analyzing properties throughout the U.S. for financial service companies and investment banks, but has recently pivoted to all things pickleball. You can usually find her at Bitter Lake, ETC Kirkland, Harbor Square or one of Everett’s many pickleball parks.
Sandra retired from Boeing to spend more time playing pickleball and volleyball. She has one son, Max.
Sandra has been playing pickleball (and volleyball) for 15 years, first starting as a way to spend more time with her 94-year old dad. There is some humor in hearing a 60-something woman yelling “Dad!” in a group of people over 55.
An SMPA founder and part of the membership committee, Sandra plays several times a week at 3 gyms in West Seattle. She continues to contribute her energy to SMPA as a volunteer for the Seattle Metro Pickleball Classic in July.
Handed her own pickleball paddle after a summer of being net hauler and line-painter for the pickleball courts on Orcas Island, Theresa got hooked on playing, too. She accompanies her avid pickleball-player wife, Kathy, to the occasional tournament, and makes certain the paddles are packed for any and all travels.
As one of the SMPA founders, she believes strongly in giving back to the sport by working to increase playing opportunities throughout the Seattle metro area. Theresa organizes pickleball play groups in Seattle, is on the courts as much as she can manage, dreams in pickleball drills, and in 2019 took home a gold medal in Women’s Doubles from the USA National Pickleball Championships. She serves as USA Pickleball Ambassador for Seattle.
Stan is a retired Seattle small businesses owner. He moved to Seattle in 1980 from his native state of Idaho, and has been here ever since, except for one year living in New Zealand.
Stan and his wife, Linda, previously lived in Ballard. He has two adult daughters and a step-son. Three years ago, Linda took Stan to a pickleball class and he was smitten. He is a founding member of SMPA and sits on the membership committee. Stan left the Board late in 2018 when he and wife Linda relocated to Port Townsend, where Stan is a regular on the local pickleball courts.
Jerry took up pickleball in the Summer of 2016 after retiring from the long-time practice of law in the Seattle area. Pickleball is his new passion. Jerry stepped down from the SMPA Board and his role as President at the end of his term in 2021.
Jerry is married to Marcia, and they have a grown married daughter, Kerry. He and Marcia play pickleball several times a week at various venues in Central and South Seattle.
He is one of the founders of the Seattle Metro Pickleball Association along with several other enthusiasts who are interested in expanding available pickleball facilities and events and introducing this fantastic game to others.
Drew retired in 2007 and currently lives in West Seattle.
He is one of the founders of Seattle Metro Pickleball Association and first played pickleball in the early 1980’s, took it up again 3 years ago and now plays mostly in West Seattle.
He previously worked as a CPA, Controller, CFO and a founder/co-owner of two small businesses.
Jimi is a retired teacher who left small-town eastern Washington life and moved to Seattle with her husband in 2000. They started playing pickleball to get acquainted with the community. They were quickly hooked and now play 4 to 5 times a week.
Jimi enjoys helping people make connections to other people and to our pickleball community. A founding member of the SMPA, she played a key role in the SPR Pickleball Pilot Project. Jimi left the Board in early 2018 for more time with family.
Kiersten has worked in the travel industry for 10+ years and regularly played pickleball since she was in her early 20s. While a new daughter and work demands take over, Kiersten stepped down from the Board in 2021.
She has played on multiple continents, onboard ships, and is a frequent presence at many community centers, Shoreview Park, and Green Lake on weekends. Kiersten continues to help grow the sport of pickleball and increase playing opportunities around the Seattle metropolitan area in her work as an SMPA member.
She currently lives in Edmonds and works with Rick Steves’ Europe.
Tom Grubb, who left the SMPA Board in 2021, has been playing pickleball for over 20 years, and over the last four years has developed pickleball clinics for the beginning, advanced beginner and the advanced pickleball player. He is a certified pickleball level II instructor/coach through the IPTPA (International Pickleball Teaching Professional Association). He is currently an ad-hoc staff member at SeaTac and Tukwila Community Centers and has taught at the Bellevue Club, Federal Way Community Center, and Bainbridge Island. He has completed over 60 highly rated clinics. He has been teaching for over 5 years.
Tom is a certified pickleball referee and working to become a referee trainer.
He enjoys teaching and playing pickleball for the love of the sport and for his ability to engage players and prospective players in a meaningful conversation about this sport.
His personal goal is to work with pickleball organizations to promote and grow pickleball in the Northwest and worldwide. Tom is a proud lifetime member of Seattle Metro Pickleball Association.
Achievements: Huntsman World games – Gold medal in men’s singles age 50-55, and silver medal in men’s doubles 50-55. 4.5 mixed doubles SeaTac (2010). Tom’s earliest medal was a gold in 2008 and he stopped playing tournaments in 2011 to dedicate his time to teaching and refereeing.
For the past several years Jeff has been involved as a health coach working to improve the quality of individuals’ lives through physical exercise, and socialization techniques which increase neuroplasticity of the human brain and help it re-train neural pathways so as to better adjust to environmental and other factors.
Jeff and his wife, Cynthia, are self-described pickleball addicts who play several times a week. They have been playing for four years. Jeff has made many contributions to our sport and to SMPA. At the City’s request, Jeff has provided skills and drills instruction at South Park and Hiawatha community centers with other SMPA volunteers. Students in his class rave about his techniques.
Fran started playing pickleball in 1988 after having back surgery. She had no athletic background but thought pickleball would help her get into better physical shape, and it did!
Fran was a charter Board member of the USAPA and served on the USAPA Board for 8 years. She was Washington State Senior Games co-commissioner with her late husband for 9 years and also for the Greater Seattle Senior Games (8 years). She was instrumental in creating and working with her husband, Director of the first USAPA National Tournament, to run the first USA National tournament, and co-directed USAPA Nationals for the next two years. Through their online business, Pickleball Stuff, LLC, Fran and Barney were able to help spread this great game to people all over the world as the first and only online pickleball outfitter for several years.
Fran’s goal then, as now, was to make pickleball so popular that she could go anywhere and find courts and people to play with. There are still a few places that could use courts and there are still people to introduce this sport to, so she recognizes that her work is not yet done. She expressed delight that SMPA exists to keep growing this sport in her home city and hopes to add her considerable energy to that endeavor.
Sean stepped down from the SMPA Board in 2021, and has worked at Microsoft for the past 26 years as a Software Engineer, most recently on the Office team.
He and his wife, Erin, have been married for 20 years and have a daughter in high school, and a son in college.
After playing soccer for over 25 years, his body was aching for a new sport. Sean was introduced to pickleball almost a year ago, and has become infatuated with playing and promoting the sport since.
Sarah started playing pickleball after retiring a few years ago and moving to Seattle. Although she’s only been playing a short time, pickleball is her main passion in life now.
Sarah enjoyed a challenging career as a hospital pathologist, the physician who diagnoses patients so the other types of doctors know how to treat them. She spent most of her day at the microscope and also ran the clinical laboratory. Sarah has served as consultant to write and publish COVID safety guidelines for Seattle Parks and Recreation and the Better Pickleball YouTube channel.
Sarah would love to see dedicated pickleball courts in Seattle, and with SMPA hopes to expand opportunities for skills and drills and classes for beginners.