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posted: 1/22/2018 10:00 AM

CEO explains how Kemper Lakes Golf Club turned into KemperSports

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Q: Describe your company.

A: KemperSports was started in 1979 by Steve Lesnik and Jim Kemper. The company started by developing Kemper Lakes Golf Club that ended up being the first truly public course to host a PGA Championship. KemperSports has grown to be one of largest golf management companies in the country with more than 120 properties in 22 states and Latin America. We currently manage more Top 100 courses in the United States than any other management company.

Q: What is one interesting fact about you or your company that most people may not know?

A: Many do not know that we have a sister company in Chicago, KemperLesnik, that is a public relations, sports marketing and events company that works with some great brands including Maui Jim, McDonald's, Aon, State Farm, CBS Sports, the National Football League, Whirlpool and many more.

Q: What golf courses do you manage in Illinois?

A: We manage Bolingbrook Golf Club, Bolingbrook; Boughton Ridge, Bolingbrook; Bull Valley Golf Club, Woodstock; Cantigny, Wheaton; Deerpath Golf Course, Lake Forest; Fox Lake Country Club, Fox Lake; Harborside International, Chicago; Hawthorn Woods Country Club; Hawthorn Woods; Highland Park Country Club, Highland Park; Lincolnshire Fields Country Club, Lincolnshire; Royal Melbourne Country Club, Long Grove; Stone Creek Golf Club, Urbana; The Glen Club, Glenview; Vernon Hills Golf Course, Vernon Hills and White Pines Golf Dome, Bensenville.

Q: Do you plan to hire any additional staff or make any significant capital investments in your company in the next year?

A: Yes. We continue to grow and add staff and make investments in our properties. We find that to stay on top we need to constantly reinvest in the properties and add new amenities.

Q: What will your company's main challenges be in the next year?

A: We are fundamentally in the entertainment business and we need to compete for share of the entertainment dollars of consumers. In particular, the millennial generation is becoming a larger and larger part of the economy and we need to adapt to meet their desires.

Q: What's the hottest trend in your industry?

A: For the golf business, it is TopGolf -- which is a cross between and hi-tech driving range and a fun sports pub.

We are hopeful that it will attract more people to the game of golf.

Q: Do you have a business mantra?

A: Work Hard. Have Fun.

Q: From a business outlook, whom do you look up to?

A: I most admire our staff in at the various courses who work tirelessly to serve our customers and deliver memorable experiences every day.

Q: What do you like to do in your free time?

A: Spend as much time with my wife and two kids (ages 20 and 18) as I can, hopefully some of that time is on a golf course!

Q: What book is on your nightstand?

A: "Make Your Bed," by Admiral William McCraven.

Q: What keeps you up at night?

A: The divisiveness in our country, especially in Washington, D.C. and Springfield, worries me. I feel like our system of government has completely broken down into partisan gridlock and I fear what that will mean for our kids and their kids.

Q: If you were not doing this job, what do you think you would be doing?

A: I would be doing something in sports or politics, two of my passions.

Q: What was your first paying job?

A: I was a stock boy at 7-Eleven.

Q: If you could put your company name on a sports venue, which one would you choose?

A: Soldier Field

Q: What is one funny thing that has happened to you in your career?

A: I am fortunate to work in the sports business which revolves around having fun. There have been so many memorable days and fun times, it is hard to pick one although most revolve around a golf trip.

Q: Two people to follow on Twitter and why.

A: @MattGinellaGC -- great insight into the traveling golf consumer and @darrenrovell -- reports on the business of sports and is very insightful.