Cyber Report #1,012

E-dition No. 1,012 • Friday, July 20, 2018

Editor: Bob Johnson (bjibob@aol.com)

 

 

Stremmel Returns to Bowling With New Job at Kegel

 

There aren’t a great many jobs in the bowling industry for people who do what Neil Stremmel does.

 

So, when Stremmel left his position at the United States Bowling Congress, many figured it was a farewell not only to USBC, but also to bowling.

 

But as the old saying goes, never say never. Stremmel is back in bowling as the new Director of KBT (Kegel Bowling Technologies) and Sport Research.

 

Stremmel will relocate to Florida and officially begin his job at Kegel next month. He will work alongside Dennis Sheirs, Vice President of Chemical Product Development and Support, to oversee KBT, which includes the company’s line of lane conditioners, lane cleaners and other chemical products. In addition, Stremmel will focus on a variety of research projects intended to enhance the understanding of the sport and influence future products.

 

“One of the things that made Kegel great and has been one of the real secrets to our success is relentless curiosity for the environment and for the sport,” said Kegel CEO Chris Chartrand in a phone interview with BJI Editor Gianmarc Manzione. “Just always trying to figure things out and learn. Ever since we lost [company founder] John [Davis], it has been a challenge of mine to make sure that as a company we didn’t cease to have that same curiosity.

 

“That is one thing I am excited about Neil being able to help us with,” Chartrand added. “I am not asking him to be John Davis; nobody is John. But I am asking him to be curious about what’s happening in different tests and areas. Lots of our staff members have been focused on product research and development, and they have not had enough time to ask questions that are sort of on the periphery, things related to the next oil or next kind of machine. We need to ask inquisitive questions about what’s going on. I told Neil, ‘I want you to think, be curious, and ask what’s going on with the sport.’ I think he is a perfect person to do that.”

 

Added Chartrand: “If you are in my shoes, thinking about finding people who can do that kind of work, they don’t grow on trees.”

 

Stremmel has been involved with bowling since he was a child, when his parents owned a center in Stillman Valley, Ill. In March of 2000, he began working at Bowling Headquarters, first as Director of Research and later as Technical Director. Later, with the United States Bowling Congress, he was named Managing Director of the National Governing Body.

 

While working for USBC, Stremmel oversaw teams including Coaching, Equipment Specifications, Team USA and Rules. He also was a spokesperson for USBC concerning technical issues facing the sport. Testing and research were major focuses, and Stremmel also oversaw the design and construction of the International Training and Research Center, the ball motion study and a variety of other research projects. As an advocate for education, he and his team authored many publications about their research and experience in the bowling environment.

 

Stremmel served on the World Bowling Technical Committee, the Executive Board of the Pan American Bowling Confederation, the American Zone Technical Committee, and was a resource to the Hong Kong Sports Institute for the design of its Bowling Training Center. He also had heavy involvement in championship tournaments as a technical delegate, tournament manager and tournament director.

 

Then, after 16 years, he departed to work for the Acoustical Society of America as its Standards Manager.

 

“My job at ASA was very good,” Stremmel told BJI. “The company is very good — even an old-fashioned pension plan. But I didn’t have the passion for it as I did in bowling. And once you work at a job you love, and lose that, I think you’ve spoiled yourself and you always want it back.”

 

Chartrand said that he had been “dancing” with Stremmel for a while.

 

“I have a lot of respect for him,” Chartrand said. “To say you’re going to hire someone of Neil’s caliber just to do research is difficult because he is not an entry-level type person. We had a shift on our end, a need in our chemical division. That is such an integral part of our business, a pretty significant part of our revenue, that we had a need for a strong executive to lead that portion of the business. That gave me the solid financial justification to go after someone like Neil. And I do think that as time has passed for Neil, the itch to get back into bowling got greater for him. I think that was part of it for him.”

 

Stremmel’s dual roles, Chartrand said, will be to lead the chemical division and provide plenty of creative thinking.

 

“You need someone smart who has the educational background, engineering, those kinds of skills,” Chartrand said, “To have the amount of nuanced knowledge required to really dig into this sport, you have to have been in it your whole life. It is hard to bring someone in off the street who doesn’t understand the subtleties about bowling, and just plug in engineering expertise and have them figure it all out. You have to have someone like Neil who has that much knowledge, widespread as it is, diverse as it is — in things like pins and oils and balls and all the rest. I can count on one hand the number of people who have that kind of knowledge.”

 

Added Stremmel: “I am very excited to be joining the Kegel team. Over the years, I have worked with many of the individuals at Kegel, and I am humbled to be working amongst them. They truly are a great group of curious bowlers, and I hope to help answer some questions with them.”

 

 

Gary Smith Joins Mik Oca at US Design Lab

 

After their successful showing at International Bowl Expo in Las Vegas, it’s now official: Industry veteran Gary Smith has become a partner with Michele “Mik” Oca at US Design Lab.

 

Smith recently retired from Brunswick Bowling after a successful career that spanned 27 years, while Oca founded US Design Lab five years ago after owning and operating the primary marketing company used by Qubica, then QubicaAMF, for more than 15 years.

 

US Design Lab specializes in a phased approach, helping investors develop new centers and existing proprietors with brand development, facility planning, renovation and design, as well as marketing.

 

You can contact the company at: info@usdesignlab.com.

 

 

Former Buffalo Proprietor Glenn Voelker Dies

 

Veteran Buffalo, N.Y., proprietor Glenn Voelker passed away while vacationing in Baltimore. He was 69.

 

Voelker had worked at Voelker’s Bowling Center while he was growing up. In the late 1970s, he and his brother Mark took over operation of the center from their parents, Edward and Frances Voelker.

 

The family bowling business dates back to 1941, when Edward and Frances installed lanes in a former hotel and tavern that Edward’s father had established after immigrating from Germany. In 1979, the family acquired their closest competitor, Kenmore Lanes.

 

Mark Voelker passed away in 2006. Glenn retired two years later, but continued to work there part-time for his daughter, Krista Voelker-Burt.

 

“It was his life,” Voelker-Burt said of her father’s involvement in bowling.

 

 

Integration Set for Specto and Clutch Systems

 

Specto Bowling and Clutch Bowling have agreed to offer exclusive features and graphic integration to users who own both Specto and Clutch Bowling systems.

 

Clutch Bowling is a company that offers dynamic effects and interactive elements projected directly onto bowling lanes. Using the same lidar sensor as Kegel’s Specto system, they can offer pinpoint accuracy in their games to engage both casual and competitive bowlers in an immersive bowling experience.

 

Specto is a tracking system for centers, bowlers and coaches. It records information about bowlers’ shots using a high-power sensor and displays it to them on an easy-to-use app.

 

The sharing of hardware between the systems enables centers to install them for a lower price. This will be helpful for centers that cater to both serious and casual bowlers, and desire innovative systems that will meet needs for both major segments of their business.

 

The teams at Clutch and Specto have worked together to develop special features that will be exclusive to proprietors who own both systems. These features will enhance both systems, offering more entertainment options as well as games that will improve bowling skill, the companies said.

 

Kegel also will field test the system at its Kegel Training Center in Lake Wales, Fla.

 

 

Tenpin No. 44 Scheduled to Debut Next Friday

 

One of the United Kingdom’s largest bowling brands, Tenpin, soon will make its debut in Warrington, in northwest England.

 

LA Bowl at Winwick Quay has undergone an extensive modernization, and the 32,000-sq.ft. site now includes a bar and reception area, an upgraded laser tag arena, plus new signage, frontage and doors.

 

The new Tenpin is scheduled to debut one week from today (July 27), and will be the chain’s 44th location.

 

 

Intercard Completes Mumbai Amusement Park Installation

 

Intercard has completed a major cashless payment system installation at Esselworld Amusement Park in Mumbai.

 

The 42-acre attraction is one of the largest and most popular amusement parks in India, drawing an estimated 1.8 million visitors annually. Intercard now has more than 70 installations in India.

 

As of early April, Esselword has been operating with a completely automated Intercard cashless payment system, an important part of its plan to remain competitive with the increased number of amusement parks in Mumbai.

 

The system integrates with Esselworld’s existing point-of-sale and enterprise resource planning software, and allows customers to easily pay for and enjoy the park’s full array of 57 attractions — including bowling — as well as food and beverage venues and merchandise stores.

 

 

Texas Mixed Doubles Adds a Baker Team Exhibition

 

A new “Beauties vs. Beasts” team match will kick off the annual PBA-PWBA Striking Against Breast Cancer Mixed Doubles Tournament Presented by Storm next Thursday (July 26) at 4 p.m. Central at Copperfield Bowl in Houston, Texas.

 

The special event will be covered live by PBA Xtra Frame on FloBowling.

 

Tournament founder Donna Conners, who is always looking to add bigger and better features to the event, will pit last year’s top male qualifiers against last year’s leading female qualifiers in a five-game Baker format team competition. At stake will be $5,000 in bonus prize money for the winning team, with $1,000 going to the losing team.

 

The women’s team will consist of Germany’s Birgit Popplar (who won the 2017 mixed doubles title with partner Jason Sterner), Stefanie Johnson, Holly Harris, Josie Earnest-Barnes and Natalie Cortese (replacing Sweden’s Jenny Wegner, who is not entered this year).

 

Representing the men will be Kyle Troup, Tommy Jones, Chris Barnes, Brad Miller and Clint Land.

 

The 19th annual mixed doubles tournament, the largest event of its kind in professional bowling, will feature a world-class field of 160 teams, including players from around the world. It will be covered from start to finish by PBA Xtra Frame on FloBowling, beginning with the first of four eight-game qualifying squads at 8 a.m. Central on Friday, July 27.

 

 

2018 ‘BJ’ Champ Did Not Have Long to Wait

 

The main benefit of bowling on the last day of a tournament that spans many months? Not having to endure the wait to see if your score will hold up.

 

Mitch Hupé of Towanda, Kan., had only hours to wait to see if he was going to be the Open Singles champion at the 2018 Bowlers Journal Championships Presented by the United States Bowling Congress. He bowled early on the final day of competition and rolled games of 257, 257 and 279 for a 793 series.

 

The longtime member of Team Canada and a 2015 Intercollegiate Team Championships titlist with Wichita State topped the score of 791, rolled by Jason Bowles of Strongsville, Ohio, on March 24, the second day of the 107-day event.

 

Hupé will receive $8,000 for the victory, and he headlines a talented group of champions this year at AMF Strike ‘N Spare Lanes, located just a short distance from the Oncenter Convention Center, which hosted the USBC Open Championships from March 24-July 8.

 

Report: http://www.bowlersjournal.com/wild-finish-concludes-2018-bowlers-journal-championships/

 

 

Bowling Briefs…

 

* The guest this week on Phantom Radio is veteran coach, ball designer and ball driller Bill Hall. To listen to the interview, go to: https://kegel.squarespace.com/phantomblog/2018/7/17/bill-hall-phantom-radio.

 

* CONTACT: Please send business news, event information, etc. to Bob Johnson at bjibob@aol.com. For breaking business news, visit bcmmag.com or bowlersjournal.com, and “Like” Bowling Center Management and Bowlers Journal International on Facebook. BJI Cyber Reports are now archived at bcmmag.com.

 

 

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