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Get to Know the 4 Candidates for the PDGA Europe Board of Directors

Get to Know the 4 Candidates for the PDGA Europe Board of Directors

Three at-large positions will be elected

Friday, June 16, 2023 - 00:13

A picture of a grassy fairway lined with trees and a disc golf basket target. A superimposed graphic says "get to know the 4 candidates PDGA Europe"

Four candidates will be vying for three open positions on the PDGA Europe Board of Directors. These four self-nominated candidates all share a passion for disc golf. They have diverse backgrounds and a wide range of skillsets, both in their professional lives and within the sport.

PDGA Europe is a nonprofit organization registered in Finland. PDGA Europe's bylaws establish a Board of Directors to engage in oversight and strategic planning. In addition to holding an annual summit meeting, the PDGA Europe Board and staff conduct monthly teleconference calls and ongoing communication to accomplish required business and organizational goals. The Board’s main activities include: setting PDGA Europe policies and priorities; hiring and supervision of staff; financial management including approving the annual budget; identification of suitable future Board candidates; representing the membership’s interests; and continuing the rapid growth of disc golf in Europe.

Three at-large Board member positions will be elected this year. The election will take place throughout the entire month of July.

The three candidates who receive the most votes will serve three-year terms from September 1, 2023 to August 31, 2026. For additional information, please see the PDGA Elections page.

Here are the four candidates who are ready to help take disc golf to the next level, along with their background information and statements of intent:

2023 PDGA Europe Board Candidates

Get to know the pdga europe board of director candidates

Christer Christiansson #4591

Professional Experience: A Journey of Golf Course Management to IT Project Leadership

I am Christer, a dedicated and versatile professional excelling in two distinct industries. With over 20 years of experience as a Course Manager at a prestigious golf course, followed by a transition into the dynamic world of IT as a Project Manager, I showcase adaptability and commitment to excellence in diverse domains.

In my role as a Course Manager, I oversaw all aspects of golf course operations and ensure an exceptional experience for patrons. My unwavering dedication and expertise in managing the golfing environment played a pivotal role in establishing the course as a premier destination for enthusiasts.

I implemented innovative strategies to enhance the overall quality of the golfing experience. Collaborating closely with course staff, groundskeepers, and golf professionals, I ensured impeccable course conditions, organize tournaments and events, and foster a welcoming atmosphere for members and visitors. Building lasting relationships with patrons, I lead increased memberships and a thriving community of golf enthusiasts.

Transitioning into the IT industry as a Project Manager, I orchestrate complex projects, lead cross-functional teams, and ensure successful project outcomes. Leveraging my prior experience as a Course Manager, I seamlessly apply project management skills to the IT domain. Employing effective communication strategies, I foster collaboration among team members and stakeholders, delivering projects on time and within budget.

Under my leadership, the IT team thrives, demonstrating adaptability to evolving technologies and market trends. My comprehensive understanding of project management methodologies and meticulous attention to detail drive the successful execution of various software development and infrastructure projects.

As both a Course Manager and Project Manager, I showcase adaptability, versatility, and dedication to achieving excellence. With a deep understanding of the golfing environment and the IT landscape, I embrace new challenges and leverage a diverse skill set to drive success. My journey as a Course Manager and Project Manager stands as a testament to the power of determination, continuous learning, and the pursuit of passion in creating a fulfilling professional life.

Disc Golf Experience: A Lifelong Journey as a Disc Golfer

I am an accomplished and passionate disc golfer who has dedicated my life to the sport since 1983. With an impressive array of achievements, including national and European championship titles. Through decades of dedication and unwavering commitment, I have become a role model for aspiring disc golfers around the world.

In 1983, I discover the thrilling world of disc golf. I am drawn to the combination of skill, strategy, and camaraderie that the sport offers, and I quickly hone my throwing technique and competitive spirit. My natural talent and relentless practice pay off when, in 1986, I emerge victorious as the national champion, marking a significant milestone in my disc golf journey.

Over the years, I continue to be on the disc golf scene in my respective divisions. With a formidable presence in the Masters division, I consistently showcase my prowess and claim numerous first-place finishes in national competitions.

In 2007, I reach new heights by clinching the European Championship title in the Masters division. My performance showcases my ability to thrive under pressure, exhibiting precision throws, tactical course management, and a relentless pursuit of excellence. This landmark victory not only elevates my reputation within the disc golf community but also establishes me as a force to be reckoned with on the international stage.

My success extends beyond national and European competitions. I display remarkable consistency and dominance by capturing multiple Swedish Tour victories in the Masters division. Additionally, my skills and expertise earn me coveted wins in the European Tour, both in the Masters and Grandmaster divisions. Through rigorous training, unwavering determination, and a deep love for the sport, I continually push the boundaries of my abilities and leave an indelible mark on the disc golf landscape.

My journey as a disc golfer stands as a testament to my passion, perseverance, and unwavering dedication. Throughout my career, I have not only amassed an impressive collection of championship titles but also inspired countless individuals to pursue their own disc golf dreams. Known for my sportsmanship, humility, and willingness to share my knowledge, I have become a respected figure within the disc golf community.

As I continue to compete at the highest level, my impact on the sport is undeniable. My legacy serves as a constant reminder that with skill, determination, and a love for the game, anything is possible.

Robert Abel #28544

Professional Experience: Over the past 20 years, I have worked for a large corporation, small businesses, a family business, and now, my own company. Through positions in management, operations, and business development, I have:

  • managed $50M+ operating budgets with a focus on improving operational efficiencies
  • led, developed, and coached large and cross-functional teams for one of the largest grocery companies in the U.S.
  • built enduring partnerships with key stakeholders, executives, vendors, and clients
  • solved delicate human resource problems, and major operational bottlenecks.

Throughout my career and life, I have regularly volunteered my time to improve my communities. I have been a Board member of the Hays Food Bank in Texas. I have done flood relief, home building, hiking trail building, and a variety of other projects through Boy Scouts (I’m an Eagle Scout), and local non-profits. While residing in Spain for the past 3 years, I have dedicated most of my time to growing the sport in Madrid (more below).

Disc Golf Experience: I am a long-time disc golfer, and enthusiastic volunteer for all things disc golf. I am also a disc golf entrepreneur, disc golf event organizer, and course designer. My experience with disc golf’s growth and success in the U.S. for the past 30 years informs my contributions to help grow the sport even more in Europe. But I am also attuned to the unique needs and complexities of growing the sport in Europe.

Disc golf has been an important part of my life since 1992 thanks to my dad. Since then, I have competed in 37 events, and played in 80 disc golf courses throughout the U.S. and Europe. One of my greatest joys in life is bringing people together around their shared love for disc golf. This is why I volunteer much of my free time to building new courses, and running leagues and C-tiers. To date, I have:

  • designed and built two disc golf courses: a par 62 disc golf course in Seneca, South Carolina (Seneca Championship) and more recently, the first disc golf course in Madrid, Spain (Complutense DGC)
  • won a grant from the Paul Mcbeth Foundation to fund the first course in Madrid
  • run 8+ leagues in South Carolina and in Madrid
  • introduced and run 8 C-tier events in Madrid
  • secured the financial commitment of the Deputy Ministry of Tourism in Cyprus to support the growth of the sport on the island
  • held a disc golf demonstration for the Greece Deputy Minister of Tourism.

Your vote will allow me to volunteer in a more official capacity, and to help in any I can to increase PDGA Europe membership with a focus on diversity and inclusion. Let’s continue to build a vibrant disc golf community together.

Additional Candidate Information, Links, etc.:

Leiv Aspén #65894

Professional Experience: I have been working with events and marketing all my life thru big music festivals and concert halls, and I’ve taken this with me into my disc golf events.

Organizing big events have always been a big part of my life, and I’ve organized several national championships and this year Im organizing Krokhol Open which is a part of Euro Tour as well.

Lastly, I am currently completing my 1st term on the PDGA Europe Board, serving as Vice President. I also serve as Norway's Country Coordinator. Thus I am well informed about the priorities and other issues facing the organization, and believe I would be a real asset to the Board in serving a 2nd term.

Disc Golf Experience: Startet playing disc golf in 2014 thru work, and was immediatly hooked. Joined the board of the local club before starting a new club as the board president. Also worked for the national disc golf federation.

I love working with my club and the progress of the sport, always trying to raise the bar for how a disc golf club should be runned.

Im also a graphic designer and have made a lot of disc golf course graphics, logos and so on.

Riikka Salmen #85244

Professional Experience: I have been sales person over 30 years and servet customers in many different way as a seller. Also in many years ago I have also been private entrepreneur and it was fun but also very rewarding. And that was the time when I grew as a person a lot.

Now in these day I have been unemployed but now I have been a time to finish high school education and also I have time to work with transcription work and I have done those about 1,5 years now.

Disc Golf Experience: I just LOVE this game. Also I have been TOLD many competitions and I have also organices our own Winter competition which called Päijät-Hämeen Talvisarja. When I was Orimattila Disc Club member I was the treasurer and for a year I was the president, secretary and member representative of the club. But now I just practice and competitions and want to be a part of something bigger.