Meet our board…
Shari Stauch, President
A touring professional pool player for 20 years (retired 2004) Shari Stauch launched Pool & Billiard Magazine with Harold Simonsen in 1983, celebrating 30 years as the oldest monthly magazine in the sport. Shari was honored by the Women’s Professional Billiard Association as 1995 Sportsperson of the Year, given to a touring pro for outstanding contributions to the sport. She’s a five-time WPBA President’s Award recipient, and was inducted into the WPBA Hall of Fame in 2007. Her involvement in pool has included 8 years as WPBA secretary, 2 as treasurer; 6 years as a BCA board member, heading the BCA’s Long Range Planning Committee; 2 years as founding president of the Billiard Education Foundation (BEF); 3 years as Secretary General of the World Pool-Billiard Association; and 2 years as North American PR Director for the World Confederation of Billiard Sports, that achieved recognition of billiards as an official Olympic sport, and promoted the first-ever billiards competition in the World Games (Akita, Japan 2001). Stauch was instrumental in the launch of the WPBA’s highly successful ESPN televised Classic Billiard Tour, including negotiating the tour’s first TV packages, launching a PR division, and developing industry and non-industry sponsors, including the tour’s first-ever non-industry sponsorships (Gordon’s Gin/Vodka). Stauch is the co-author of Precision Pool and Pool Player’s Edge 1st and 2nd editions. (Human Kinetics, 1998, 2003, 2007, 2010). She joined the BEF board again in 2010 and was elected president in 2012.
Tom Riccobene, Treasurer
Tom Riccobene was the BEF Board President 2002-2011. Beginning as the chairman of BCA’s 2001 ad-hoc education committee, which was formed to explore the benefits and strategies of billiard education for youth, Tom has helped guide the BEF through its transition from its early beginnings to its work of today. He is a strong advocate of what the ad-hoc committee determined in 2001, that is; playing pool helps build social, cognitive and physical skills and professional educators can use the sport as a vehicle to help them teach those life skills to their students. He has enjoyed playing and learning from billiards for more than 40 years. Tom is a BCA Advanced and ACS Level 3 instructor and has actively been teaching and coaching billiards since 1995.
Born into a family of stone masons, Tom Riccobene is a first generation member of Italian immigrant parents. He is the President of Albuquerque based, Riccobene Masonry Co., Inc., and has transitioned the 50 year company from a typical masonry contractor to a leading manufacturer and distributor of concrete landscaping and related products. In 2009, Tom was recognized as a leading national inventor and innovator by the US Chamber of Commerce’s, Global Intellectual Property Center. His technologies and product designs are licensed and produced by manufacturers throughout the United States and are distributed through major retailers and pro-dealers. Tom is married and has two grown children.
Jeremiah Gage, Board Member
Jeremiah Gage started playing and studying billiards at New Mexico Tech in Socorro, New Mexico in 2002. While he worked on his undergraduate degree in mathematics, Jeremiah took 3 billiard courses as electives and ran the Billy Aardd’s club at NMT for 2 years. His approach to learning billiards stems from sport psychology – you have to train your brain to control your body.
Carl Galante, Board Member
Originally purchased as an 8 table room with no food or beverage, Classic Cue Billiards was opened in May of 1985, 1 ½ years before the “Color of Money” pool boom. Mr. Galante has been the sole proprietor & Billiard Congress of America board member since 1985.
Carl has over 29 years’ experience with: going from 8 tables to 32 tables with a waiting list (2002); no food or beverage to having a “café;” no alcohol before 1998 to a beer and wine license (1998); smoking to non-smoking (2003); many BCA trade shows, seminars & board meetings; pool leagues both national and in-house leagues, weekly tournaments; one of the originators of the Empire State Tour (mid 1990’s), which eventually became the Joss NE Tour; billiard supply retailer/buyer; advertising in radio and television; hiring & firing employees; and from being a tenant to being a landlord.
Carl has been the Pool Room Operator Representative on the BCA Board since 2013. In that time he has served on the BCA membership/marketing committee, BCA nominating committee, and the BCA trade show committee.
Ewa Laurence, Board Member
Ewa Mataya Laurance is one of the most visible superstars in the history of pocket billiards. Known as The Striking Viking, she took the billiard world by storm since she moved to the US from her native Sweden.
Following her childhood dream of becoming the best in the world, she continues to be a dominant presence on the international billiard scene. Ewa is the current International and World Cup Trick Shot Champion, the holder of multiple World and US Open 9-ball titles, and has also won the Swedish, European and US National Championships in her incredible career. A former # 1 ranked player in the world, Ewa has received Player of the Year honors, been named WPBA Sportsperson of the Year, and in 2004, was inducted into the prestigious Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame.
Ewa has appeared on the cover of the New York Times Magazine and has been featured in numerous national publications, including People Magazine, Sports Illustrated, Forbes, Glamour, Golf for Women and Cigar Aficionado. Ewa is also a frequent guest on television shows such as Late Night with David Letterman, The Today Show, The Early Show, Current Affair, LIVE with Regis and Kelly, Entertainment Tonight and The Best Damned Sports Show, Period.
When not competing, Ewa serves as the ESPN Color Commentator. She also co-hosted GSN’s popular game show “Ball Breakers.”
Ewa is on the Board of Trustees of the Billiard Education Foundation and the South Carolina chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. She is a frequent participant at various celebrity golf tournaments around the country. On tour, Ewa is sponsored by Brunswick Billiards.
Ivan Lee, Board Member
Ivan Lee has been in the billiard industry since 1989 when he began crafting custom pool cues for Ray Schuler in Wheeling, IL. Subsequent to that, Ivan managed the billiard supply division of Atlas Fibre Company, Atlas Billiard Supplies, and has spent the last ten years managing Iwan Simonis Incorporated, the North American home of Simonis cloth and Aramith balls.
During his time in the industry, Ivan served eight consecutive years on the Billiard Congress America Board of Directors. Ivan served nearly all of the committees of the BCA including Trade show, Finance, Membership, Instructor, Bylaws, Executive and Nominating as well as serving four times as the Chairman of the Board and a year as a WPA board member on behalf of the BCA.
In his position with Simonis and Aramith, Ivan supports many of the events that take place in the U.S. and Canada in the billiard industry including being a long-time supporter of the Junior program and the BEF.
KJ Williams, Board Member
KJ Williams is a Master instructor with CueSport Billiard Academy working with professional to beginner level players. He’s been training under original BCA Master instructor Fredric Fechter since 2000. His love and support of growing the youth billiard programs through training in Artistic CueSports has been passed down from Mr. Fechter, who has been a longtime advocate of the BEF. KJ is an active member of the ACS (American CueSports Alliance) Board of Instructors and certified Level 4 ACS Master Instructor. Over the years, he has also established Billiard programs and clubs in community and private colleges. It has been an on-going passion of his to not only help the youth players, but also the Senior players, thus developing an Alzheimer’s therapy program for elderly patients suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
In his everyday life, KJ runs an IT consulting firm and has also been in charge of many live streaming broadcasts over the years, including the BEF Junior Nationals. His expertise in IT, including web and graphic design has been helpful in assisting the BEF over the years with administrating their website. KJ has been playing pool since age 15, began lessons with Fredric Fechter at 19 and soon fell more in love with instruction while becoming Mr. Fechter’s assistant during his classes. He has played in, won and cashed in many regional, semi-pro and professional level tournaments such as the Derby City Classic and many other traveling tours and events. Over the years, he has helped 1000’s of students from local, national and international locations.