Dan Pflieger joined the SMGA in 2014, and brought with him over 10 years working in many different positions within the golf industry. He attended Towson University, and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in 2009. Dan grew up in Olney, Maryland. As a young man, for 4 years he had a seasonal job at the Olney Golf Park, the site of the very first SMGA adaptive golf clinics. He credits his interactions with those veterans as a source for his dedication and passion to serve our veteran community.
Manager of Equipment & Golf Programs
A new hire of SMGA who recently transitioned from the Corporate World in NYC into the Golf Industry by attending and graduating with honors and accreditations from Golf Academy Phoenix. John learned the basis of golf course operations, club fitting and golf course maintenance, including design and architecture and used his knowledge and experience to introduce the great game of golf to golfers across the board, including Juniors and Special Olympics. Since arriving to the area, John has volunteered and worked with SMGA at Olney Golf Park and is now excitedly looking forward to being a vital part of the SMGA Team serving our wounded veterans and their families.
Co-founder & Director of Instruction
Jim Estes is currently the PGA Director of Golf Instruction at Olney Golf Park in Olney, MD. He has taught and played professionally since 1988. Jim earned his PGA Class A membership in 1993, and he has worked with some of the most accomplished instructors in the game of golf, including: Mike Adams, Jim Flick, David Leadbetter, and Jim Suttie. Jim’s playing achievements include: earning exempt status on the PGA TOUR and recording two top 15 finishes in 1998; playing in 5 major championships (4 U.S. Opens and 1 PGA Championship); and a win on the Nationwide Tour. Jim’s most rewarding teaching accomplishment has been the founding of the Salute Military Golf Association (SMGA) and was presented with the PGA of America’s 2010 Patriot Award, was chosen as one of the top 50 instructors in America by Golf Range Magazine in 2008, and was one of 12 individuals honored with GOLF Magazine’s 2007 Innovator Awards.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Peter B. Bechtel
Mr. Bechtel served in the Army as a Combat Infantryman. He has been a member of the SMGA Board of Directors since its founding.
James Winslow is currently the Senior Director of Government Affairs for the Sumitomo Corporation of America. Mr. Winslow played Division I golf at The George Washington University and was elected to its “All-Decade Team” for the 1980s. Mr. Winslow has extensive board experience with non-profit institutions, presently serving as the Chairman of the Rock Creek Foundation and as a member of the Conference Board’s Community and Public Issues Council. Mr. Winslow holds an MBA in Finance and Investments and a BA in Psychology from The George Washington University.
Jim Knorr retired in 2009 after having served as a Federal Agent for the USDA Office of Inspector General, Office of Investigations, for 33 years. During that time, he conducted over 800 investigations of alleged criminal violations resulting in numerous indictments, search warrants, arrests, and the recovery of millions of dollars as a result of asset forfeitures. His duties also included protection of cabinet level officials on official government travel overseas. Jim is currently Lead Firearms Instructor, Washington, D.C. area, for Lockheed Martin’s Specialized Security Training branch. He is responsible for overseeing firearms qualifications for special government employees who have been deputized and armed by the federal government. Jim has served as a volunteer for SMGA since 2010 and a Board Member since 2011.
Tony Fernandez sits on the Board of Directors for the Salute Military Golf Association. Tony serves as the SMGA General Counsel (pro bono).
Brian Finan has been on the SMGA board for several years; he has previously served as SMGA’s President.
Ed Henderson serves as the Treasurer for the Salute Military Golf Association.
Andy McCann has been a member of SMGA’s Board of Directors since 2011. Andy is an IT professional working for CSRA as a process manager and ITIL instructor. Aside from a previous term as Board Secretary, his focus area includes corporate partnerships, clinic support, and community outreach. In addition, Andy serves as the liaison for SMGA’s national relationship with Booz Allen Hamilton.
Craig Niiya is a retired U.S. Air Force officer, completing a distinguished 20-year career. Craig is a management consultant specializing in defense system acquisition and is a Senior Partner in Cross Point Engineering, Inc. He was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii and currently resides in Northern Virginia. He chairs the SMGA’s Chapter / Affiliate Outreach Committee and serves on its Financial Committee.
Darin Ayers has spent the last 15 years in the field of international and domestic logistics. A graduate of the University of Maryland at College Park, Mr. Ayers has held various positions within several large international transportation firms. Currently a sales contractor for FedEx Custom Critical, Mr. Ayers partners with the Department of Defense and the federal government in regard to their logistics needs. In 2007, he was awarded the exclusive “5 Star” award by FedEx Custom Critical, and he also achieved “President’s Club” status in 2009. Mr. Ayers, a U.S. military history enthusiast, coordinates the SMGA’s equipment program.
Chris Johnson has spent 16 years as an executive level media and broadcasting professional with experience as a manager, producer, and on-air talent. Most recently, he was the co-host of the “Mike Wise Show” and the host of the “19th Hole” golf radio show on WJFK 106.7 FM in Washington, DC. From 2000 to 2008, Mr. Johnson served as Program Director and Executive Producer for WTEM-AM in Washington, D.C. There, he was responsible for overseeing all operations for the station including programming and marketing. He has also worked in a number of different capacities in the broadcasting world including as the Executive Producer for Washington Redskins games and as a producer on Super Bowls, Final Fours, and NCAA Bowl games.
Post 9/11 Veteran Board Member
Charles Eggleston is a retired OIF-OEF wounded combat war veteran of the U.S. Army. He was a U.S Army soldier and a Wounded Warrior in Transition (WIT) at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC), where he received treatment for 3 ½ years. Charles Eggleston is also Purple Heart and Bronze Star recipient. Currently, Mr. Eggleston is President and CEO of Three Seven Consulting, Inc., and serves as the Commander for the Military Order of the Purple Heart for the State of Maryland. He is also on the board of directors for Blue Star Families and In Honor of Our Troops. He also serves as a state delegate of the Maryland Joint Veterans Committee for the State of Maryland.