Chris has been at Royal Melbourne since early 2022. With an extensive career starting in Texas in 2000, Chris has worked with Clubs around the country and has a passion for the private club industry. Chris received his undergraduate degree from the University of Connecticut and his MBA from the University of Delaware. He is a recognized, certified Professional Club Manager through the Club Manager's Association of America (CMAA) and Invited (formerly ClubCorp).
Chris has a passion for craft beer, food experiences, and professional football and has been involved in various Rescue Dog organizations for many years. Chris currently has three rescues at home, including a pit bull mix, a boxer mix, and a greyhound mix.
Michelle McKnight – Sales & Membership Director
Michelle joined Royal Melbourne in 2012 as the Director of Sales, bringing 20+ years of sales and management experience from the corporate sector. She was honored as Salesperson of the Year by KemperSports in 2013 and was recognized for her passionate spirit for delivering excellent service to our members. When Michelle isn't busy at the Club, you can find her enjoying time with her husband, two wonderful children, and their playful German Shepard puppy Echo, outdoors poolside, at a Chicago sporting event, or visiting with friends and family.
John joined the Royal Melbourne Country Club team in 2018. John manages the Club's accounting functions, including financial reporting, accounts payable, payroll, and other day-to-day accounting tasks of the Club. Before joining Royal Melbourne Country Club, John began his KemperSports career at The Glen Club in Glenview. Prior to The Glen Club, John started his accounting career at a prominent Chicago Architecture firm.
John has a bachelor's degree in economics from The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and a certificate in financial accounting from the University of Pennsylvania. John is likely to be found on the course or range hitting balls when outside the accounting office. He and his wife, Jessica, call the Northwest suburbs but love traveling the country with their Airstream.
Yadira Ramos – Membership Marketing Director
Yadira Ramos, better known to most as Yaya, has been with Royal Melbourne quite literally her whole life. Her mother, Bertha, has been with the Club since 1998. Her love for the Club is rooted in experiencing the many years of memories and meeting amazing people over the years. Yaya began working with the Club as a food and beverage employee while attending North Park University. After graduation, she was presented with the opportunity to join the leadership team and bring her creative element into what she already loved doing - creating special, fun, and meaningful events for the Membership!
Karen Sowinski – Administrative Assistant
Karen joined Royal Melbourne in 1997 as a part-time receptionist. Originally from Wisconsin, she still loves the Green Bay Packers and hot dogs, with ketchup only being her favorite food, with no exceptions.
In 2009 she was honored by KemperSports with the James S. Kemper Staffer of the Year Award for exemplary customer service and genuine concern for others. In 2011 she became a full-time Account Specialist/Receptionist because of her exceptional service to members. Twenty-five years later, she is still as passionate as she was when she walked in the door and has the title of "Mother Melbourne." During her free time, she is a grandmother to 2 beautiful girls and recently became a full-time Mom to Belle, a lab mix rescued from Alabama.
Megan Duszynski – Director of Catering
Growing up in Long Grove, Megan decided at age five that she wanted to plan events and never changed her mind. She graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in Hospitality Management. After graduating, she started her Event Planning career at Biaggi's in Deer Park. She then spent eleven years planning events and managing memberships for The Quadrangle Club at the University of Chicago. Megan joined the team in early 2022 and has loved returning home to Long Grove. Megan loves spending time with her husband, Michael, daughter Lily, and two dogs, Sheldon and Gracey.
Pascal Rochelemagne – F&B Director
Pascal was born in Lyon, France, the "Capital of Gastronomy," and it was no coincidence that the influence of his family and birthplace would lend its love of fine foods and wines to shaping his future career. Pascal grew up living in various areas along the Rhone Valley and around Avignon in Provence, the South of France, as his family moved with his father's assignments. Of course, Pascal has a special affinity for the excellent wines from that region! After college, his adventurous spirit led him to work a bit further away, first at the sunny coastal destination of St. Tropez at the Restaurant Palmire and Club 55, then on to Germany, where he honed his service skills at the Cafe Francais and local hotels in Frankfort, then the impressive and prestigious Schlosshotel Kronberg. Pascal's travels brought him to Chicago for a visit that would become his new home. He worked at Froggy's French Cafe in Highwood for about 15 years, bringing his continental flair to the charming restaurant as he acclimated to a new language and culture. Pascal expanded his hospitality responsibilities, moving back into the hotel industry for a time, directing the Food and Beverage services of the newly renovated historic boutique hotel in Lake Forest, The Deer Path Inn, for several years. He moved to a more prominent hotel for a while, overseeing all food and beverage operations at the busy Northbrook Sheraton Hotel before eventually bringing his food and wine expertise to his position at Royal Melbourne Country Club in the fall of 2005. Pascal and his wife have three children, two of who may be recognized as part-time employees here at the Club, who appreciate learning the fine skills of hospitality from their Dad. Pascal enjoys spending time with his family, sharing his knowledge and love of wine with members and friends alike, and the occasional round of golf when he finds the time.
Liliia White - Assistant F&B Director
After graduating University in Ukraine with a degree in H.R. and Management, Liliia wanted to travel the world before applying for a "real" job, which led her to move to Colorado in 2007. She has been working in the hospitality industry since then, whether for a ski resort or a golf club. In her off time, Liliia enjoys skiing and spending time with her husband and 2-year-old daughter, Eleanor.
Francisco Villada – Banquet Manager
Francisco is the middle child of three, born and raised in Oaxaca, Mexico, where you can find the best mezcal and delicious gastronomy. He met his wife, Veronica, during High School in Mexico, and they have now been together for 30 years and married 23 years ago. They have a family of three kids. Francisco's oldest daughter got her degree at DePaul University, making her the first in the family to graduate college. His middle son is working in the fashion field, where he is currently working on creating his clothing line. Finally, Francisco's youngest daughter is starting her first year of college at CLC, studying architecture. Francisco loves to spend time with the family and do various activities, like catching a White Sox game, attending concerts, and spending time with his granddaughter, Blu.
Francisco has worked for over thirty years in the food and beverage industry as a bartender and server. In the early '90s, he worked at the Marriott Hotel in Somerset, NJ. He then moved to Chicago in 1994 and started working for TGI Fridays and The Wyndham Hotel for twenty years. In June 2014, Francisco started working at Royal Melbourne Country Club as a Bartender in the men's grill bar. In 2020 he was promoted to F&B Supervisor, and by 2022, he was promoted to a Banquet Manager. Being a part of the RMCC family is an honor and a privilege to Francisco, and he is looking forward to continuing to grow and making more memories.
Vlad Olvera – Executive Sous Chef
Vlad has been the Executive Sous Chef at Royal Melbourne Country Club since July 2022. He enjoys using his skills to learn about and cook many different types of cuisines. Vlad has had the privilege to work in various restaurants and country clubs with his passion for working in the kitchen. Vlad looks to bring a positive attitude and high energy to be a vital part of the success of the Club's food & beverage operations. Outside of work, Vlad likes to play golf and ride his Indian motorcycle during the summer.
Billy Knilans, PGA, Director of Instruction
Billy has 25+ years of PGA membership under his belt. He is an Alumni of the renowned Professional Golf Management program at Ferris State University. Known for his history of private lesson success, Billy will be focusing golf education this year on growing the game through hosting beginner families, couples, juniors, and short game programs for the betterment of the entire membership. He looks forward to meeting and playing golf with you around the campus this year.
Steve Krehbiel, PGA – Head Golf Professional
Steve is a native of the Cincinnati area and a graduate of The Ohio State University. Steve has over 20 years of experience at private clubs most recently as 1st Assistant at Two Rivers Country Club in Williamsburg, Virginia. He has extensive knowledge of Caddie Programs, Tournament Operations, and Retail Buying. Areas of focus at RMCC will be Member Engagement, PGA Junior League Coach, Caddie Management, Instruction, and Tournament Management.
Mallory Carr – 1st Assistant Golf Professional
Mallory is a local to the Chicago area and a graduate of North Central College with a focus on Sports Management. She also holds a Masters Degree from Lewis University in Organizational Leadership. Mallory has worked at a number of local clubs including White Eagle, Ruth Lake, and as the Director of Logistics for Golftini. She was also the Assistant Men’s and Women’s Golf Coach at Lewis University. Areas of focus at RMCC will be Ladies League Liaison, PGA Junior League, Instruction, and Merchandising.
Dave Groelle – Certified Golf Course Superintendent & Regional Agronomist
Dave began his career at Royal Melbourne in 2000. He is one of our longest-tenured staff members at the Club. Dave has been with KemperSports for 25 years and is also a Regional Agronomist for the company. Dave is married to his wife, Brooke, and they have two sons, Chase and Dylan. Dave spent much of his free time over the years coaching his boys, but now that they are in high school, he has become an avid runner, beekeeper, and backyard BBQ connoisseur. Dave and his family recently adopted a dog, Tito, into the family. On any given day, you can find Tito running the course chasing as many geese away as possible!
Steve Unruh - Golf Course Superintendent
Steve began his time at Royal Melbourne in 2020 after 36 years as the Golf Course Superintendent at Terrace Hill Golf Course in Algonquin. Steve built and maintained Terrace Hill until it closed in 2019 to become a housing development. Royal Melbourne is extremely fortunate to have such a knowledgeable superintendent to help maintain our course. Steve resides in Algonquin with his wife, Julie. He has six children and three grandchildren who all live in the area, which keeps him and Julie busy. Steve and Julie enjoy spending time at their quiet lakeside cabin in Northern Wisconsin when they can get away.
Nicco Miyuskovich – Assistant Golf Course Superintendent
Nicco joined the turf team at Royal Melbourne in January of 2023. He is a recent graduate of Iowa State University with a B.S. in Forestry. Nicco decided to pursue a career in golf course management and is eager to learn all he can about the industry. Nicco grew up in Cary and played football at Cary High School. In his free time, he enjoys snowboarding, golf, and any outdoor activity.
Mike Lardino – Director of Racquet Sports
Mike is now in his 18th year as the Director of Racquet Sports at the Royal Melbourne Country Club. A native of suburban Chicago, he is a United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) Elite Level Certified Professional. This high distinction can only be obtained by scoring in the 90th percentile of the writing, playing, and teaching sections of the USPTA examinations. Before coming to Royal Melbourne, he taught tennis, paddle tennis, and squash for many years at the prestigious Round Hill Club (Greenwich, CT) and Innis Arden Golf Club (Old Greenwich, CT). He is also a PPTA (Professional Platform Tennis Association) certified professional, a U.S. Squash member, and teaches pickleball, as well.
On the tennis court, Mike was an NJCAA All-American at the College of DuPage (Glen Ellyn, IL) in doubles and qualified for Nationals twice in singles. He also played NCAA Division 2 varsity tennis at Ferris State University, where he graduated with a B.S. in Marketing/Professional Tennis Management. Mike enjoys traveling the world and studying foreign languages and is an aviation enthusiast. He is married to his wife, Lesley, and they have two children who also enjoy hitting the courts.