Meet the Staff

Executive, Shangri-La Golf Club, Resort & Marina

President, Gibbs Christian Education Foundation

Jason Sheffield is the Executive Chairman of Shangri-La Golf Club, Resort & Marina on Grand Lake in Northeast Oklahoma. A native of Owasso, Oklahoma, Jason excelled to the top of his class in the Price College of Business at the University of Oklahoma where he earned a degree in Management Information Systems. He returned to Owasso where he worked with a diversified operation that handled management of varied enterprises including real estate development, home building, real estate law and title insurance. He managed partnerships for multiple building and real estate operations, while also heading up a home building company of his own.

In January 2010, Jason partnered with Eddy Gibbs to purchase the storied Shangri-La Resort where he took over as General Manager and oversaw the redevelopment of the historic property. Under his supervision, Shangri-La Resort has re-energized the entire Grand Lake tourism and business economy. The resort now includes a 119-room resort hotel and conference center, a 27-hole Top Five golf course, three restaurants, four bar areas, 8,000 square feet of conference space, a full-service marina, and multiple residential real estate developments.

Jason and his wife, Brenda, live near Monkey Island on Grand Lake with their three children, Nora, Isaac and Katie Rae.

Jason.Sheffield@shangrilaok.com

PGA Director of Golf & Club Operation

A native of East Stroudsburg, PA, Rob is a second generation PGA Golf Professional with 20 years of Golf and Business experience under his belt. He has worked at some of the finest golf courses and clubs in America and prides himself on delivering premier products and first class services. With a BS in Business Management from Oral Roberts University and time as an owner and producer of Blue Yonder Films, Rob has a diverse background that enables him to wear the many hats that a Director of Golf must wear.

Rob is married to renowned Pediatric Ophthalmologist, Dr. Tammy Yanovitch, and has a son named Ilya who loves hockey almost as much as his dad does. Rob’s love of the game of golf goes far beyond the business world. He is an accomplished player and teacher and enjoys conversations about the swing, golf course design, and has a great respect for the history of the game, taught to him by his father Vince, a 50 year PGA member. Along with his PGA Class A Membership, Rob has achieved PGA Special Certifications in both Instruction and Golf Operations.

rob.yanovitch@shangrilaok.com

President & CEO, Shangri-La Golf Club, Resort & Marina

Barry Willingham was named President and CEO of Shangri-La Golf Club, Resort & Marina in 2019. A native of Memphis, Tennessee, Barry graduated from the University of Memphis with Business Administration Degrees in both Finance and Marketing. After graduation, he worked for Hilti for twenty years before being hired at Tulsa-based Ameristar Fence Products in 2002 with the task of starting a Security Division of the company, owned by Shangri-La owner Eddy Gibbs.

In 2010, he left Ameristar to accept a position as President of Smith & Wesson Security Solutions. He also served as Vice-President of Smith & Wesson Holding Corporation in Franklin, Tennessee. In 2012, after completing his commitment to Smith & Wesson, he returned to Ameristar as Vice President & General Manager.

When Eddy Gibbs sold Ameristar to Assa Abloy in 2013, Barry was named President and CEO of Perimeter Security Group of Assa Abloy, which includes Ameristar. He was directly responsible for more than 800 employees, 650 of them at the Tulsa Ameristar facility.

An in-demand public speaker, Barry is an avid boater and golfer. He and his wife Laura have had a home at Grand Lake O’ The Cherokees since 2005. They now live on Grand Lake’s Monkey Island in the heart of Shangri-La Resort.

Barry.willingham@shangrilaok.com

Executive Director of Hospitality, Food & Beverage

A Swiss-born American citizen, Shangri-La’s Executive Director of Hospitality, Food & Beverage Peter Graf literally grew up in the hospitality industry. His Swiss father managed or served as maître d’ at various exclusive restaurants and hotels around the world. Peter has more than 30 years of experience throughout the United States. Prior to joining the management team at Shangri-La, he most recently served as Director of Food & Beverage for Desert Diamond Casinos in Tucson where he was responsible for 14 venues with 450 staff members.

Early in his career, Peter worked for the chef who brought fame to The Four Seasons in New York City. He also worked for two years at The Greenbrier in West Virginia, one of the first 5-Star resorts in the country.

Peter’s track record in the hospitality industry includes many major name brands including Hilton and Hyatt, the latter at which he started as a restaurant manager and worked his way up to Corporate Director of Food & Beverage.

He spent 15 years working in Nevada gaming establishments in the Reno/Lake Tahoe areas as well as southern Nevada before joining Native American gaming operations in Minnesota, Oklahoma (Hard Rock Casino & Resort) and, ultimately the $500 million Desert Diamond in Arizona.

Peter joined the Shangri-La team October 1, 2019. He and his wife Joanne live on Monkey Island. They have one daughter who lives in Paris, France.

peter.graf@shangrilaok.com

Director of Sales

Shangri-La’s Director of Sales Dana Able is a native of nearby Welch, Oklahoma. After graduating from Welch High School and Oklahoma State University, Dana moved to the Washington, D.C area, where she worked briefly for real estate development/investment giant Trammell Crow Company. After a year, she joined Bell Atlantic Telephone in a joint venture project with GTE. Dana’s career spanned 26 years from Bell Atlantic through multiple acquisitions which resulted in what is now known as Verizon. During her tenure, Dana held multiple titles and was asked to relocate a few times to facilitate start up organizations, acquisitions or corporate re-organizations. Dana had responsibility for leading top producing sales organizations while in her role as Area Vice President of Enterprise Sales in the Pennsylvania/New York market before retiring in February 2014 as Area Vice President, Regional Strategy and Development for the northern region of the United States.

She returned home to Grand Lake in March, 2014 and spent a couple of years enjoying relaxation and well-deserved time with many members of her family who live in the area. With the development of Shangri-La’s new resort hotel well underway, Dana joined the Shangri-La team as Director of Sales in October, 2016. She lives in the nearby “Vintage” community on the shores of Grand Lake.

dana.able@shangrilaok.com

Director of Catering

Linda Wall came to Shangri-La from Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tulsa where she served as Senior Conference Service Manager for seven years.

Linda is a native of Minnesota and began her career in St. Cloud, Minnesota following her education in Food & Beverage Management at Willmar in Minnesota. She first came to this area when she accepted a job as Director of Catering at the Hilton Hotel in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

From Arkansas, she moved to Tulsa where she worked in catering at a variety of facilities over the last several years. Her first job in Tulsa was Director of Catering at the Tulsa Sheraton (now the Tulsa Wyndham). She also served as Senior Catering Manager at the Double Tree at Warren Place, Director of Catering at Embassy Suites, and Director of Catering for the Tulsa Convention Center and BOK Center before moving to Hard Rock.

linda.wall@shangrilaok.com

Membership and Marketing Administrator

Katelin Threet, a native of Grove, Oklahoma and a GHS graduate, is Shangri-La Resort’s Membership & Marketing Administrator. Katelin, who has a Master’s Degree in Human Resources from East Central State University in Ada, Oklahoma, is responsible for handling all membership inquiries, questions from members, and ensuring that needs are met for our valued members at Shangri-La. She dealt with similar responsibilities at Legal Shield in Ada, handling member charges, questions, applications, and assistance requests.

Additionally, Katelin assists in implementation of our short and long-range marketing plans for the resort, with a focus on expanding and enhancing our social media outreach and information operations.

katelin.threet@shangrilaok.com

Director of Food & Beverage and Executive Chef

Food & Beverage Director and Executive Chef Michael Bujold heads up the Shangri-La culinary team. He is responsible for all food & beverage services at both the Summit Restaurant and Buffalo Bar as well as Doc’s Bar & Grill at the resort hotel & conference center and Eddy’s Lakeside Bar at Shangri-La Marina.

With more than 20 years of experience, including 14 years as an Executive Chef, Chef Michael is a great addition to our staff. Prior to his job in Maine, he was Corporate Executive Chef/Food & Beverage Director for the Azur Hospitality group where he was tasked with the design and execution of opening five venues in Nassau, Bahamas. He also assisted Azur with operations at two Miami, Florida properties, Villa Azur and Brasserie Azur.

He is certainly not without local Oklahoma knowledge and experience, as well, having served for three years as Fine Dining Chef/Chef De Cuisine at McGill’s on 19 at Hard Rock Casino in Tulsa. He also handled the buffet venue at Hard Rock as well as working to design, plan and open “Casino 3” food & beverage venues at the casino.

michael.bujold@shangrilaok.com

Director of Food & Beverage

Born and raised in Tucson, Arizona except for a stint in Las Cruces, New Mexico where she graduated from high school, Melissa has been engrossed and engrained in the food and beverage industry for her entire adult life.

Prior to joining the team at Shangri-La, Melissa served as Food & Beverage Manage at Desert Diamond Casino & Entertainment in Tucson, managing both front of the house and back of the house operations supervising over 300 employees plus chefs!

After a lifetime in Tucson, Melissa made the move to Monkey Island and joined the team at Shangri-La December 1, 2019. She continually works on recruiting, training, and supervising all Food & Beverage employees throughout the resort to ensure the ultimate in service at all resort venues.

Although a career in food & beverage doesn’t leave much time for hobbies, Melissa says she enjoys “the gym” and “eating and drinking…which might explain the gym,” she laughs.
She loves exploring new food & beverage venues, new technology, and methods of constantly improving service.

Her daily priority is to make every dining experience at any Shangri-La venue a wonderful memory.

melissa.parraz@shangrilaok.com

Director of Communications & Gov’t Relations

Mike Williams is both a longtime Grand Laker, a Shangri-La historical authority and a recognized advertising, communications, public relations and government relations expert. He has a broad base of radio, television and newspaper experience, having served during his career as Assistant News Director for KTOK Radio and the Oklahoma Radio News Network, Managing Editor of KWTV News 9 in Oklahoma City and Managing Editor of The Chronicle of Grand Lake.

Williams and his wife, Cari, owned an advertising, public relations, government relations and political consulting firm in Oklahoma City for many years before moving to Grand Lake full time in 1993. Mike and Cari were Grand Lake enthusiasts long before moving to the lake full-time. They have owned boats and weekend Grand Lake residences since the 1970’s and were members of the original Shangri-La Resort.

Having worked as Manager of Cherokee Yacht Club Marina and as Director of Operations for Ugly John’s Custom Boats & RVs, Mike is also a valuable asset in the marketing of the wide variety of facilities at Shangri-La Marina. He supervises all communications, advertising, public relations and government relations efforts for the entire Shangri-La operation. He is Vice-President of the Oklahoma Marinas Association and serves on the organization’s Board of Directors. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of both the Grove Area and South Grand Lake Area Chambers of Commerce.

Mike and Cari live in the midst of Shangri-La Golf Club’s course, in Vista Towers. They are well known Monkey Islanders, having raised their four grown children, all graduates of Grove High School, on the Island.

mike.williams@shangrilaok.com

Hotel Director

Brett grew up in nearby Miami, OK, and graduated from Oklahoma State University in 1991 with a Hotel Restaurant Administration Degree. After graduating, Brett worked in many different areas of the hospitality industry including Club Management in the United States Air Force. He was also General Manager of Miami Country Club. Brett’s Hotel Management career has taken him to Cheyenne, WY, Tulsa, OK, and Miami, OK, and he has worked for all the major hotel chains such as IHG (Holiday Inn), Marriott, and Hilton. Brett also served as Hotel Director at Buffalo Run Casino in Miami, OK. Since Brett grew up in northeast Oklahoma, he is very familiar with Shangri-La and its history and will always consider this to be his dream job.

Brett.wisdom@shangrilaok.com

Facilities Manager

Brent Beyers is a Grand Lake area native and Ketchum High School alum. If it breaks, cracks, stops up, burns out, or just doesn’t work properly, the calls go to Brent. He and his staff take care of all resort facilities.

Brent comes to Shangri-La from Buffalo Run Casino and Resort in Miami, Oklahoma where he served as Director of Maintenance/Engineering. He has also worked in the Joplin, Missouri area as Maintenance Specialist responsible for daily supervision and maintenance of all Freeman Hospital buildings.

Brent has a variety of certifications including Hunter Irrigation Specialist Certification, certifications for pool & spa operations, fire containment certification, OSHA safety certification – he is even certified as a Personal Trainer.

brent.beyers@shangrilaok.com

Certified Water Aerobics Instructor

A native of Norman, Oklahoma, Mary Ellen Risinger began teaching weekly Water Aerobics Classes at Shangri-La Resort in December 2019, after teaching classes at the Cleveland County YMCA for 30 years. She is a Certified Water Aerobics Instructor with a National Fitness Certification and CPR Certification. Mary Ellen’s classes are so much fun you might forget you are also enjoying great health benefits.

Resort Concierge

Jason was born in Guthrie, Oklahoma and raised in Grove, Oklahoma. Jason’s mother and father both worked on Monkey Island during his childhood, so Shangri-La Resort has been a big part of his life from the very start. Moving to Bentonville, Arkansas in his late teens provided him the opportunity to work at Pinnacle Hills Country Club and Shadow Valley Country Club. Jason loved the “Country Club lifestyle” so much, he decided to make it a career. Jason moved back to Oklahoma to start working at Shangri-La Resort in February 2012. He married his wife (and Shangri-La Pastry Chef) Julie Morgan in October 2016. Jason is now the Resort Concierge. He is committed to providing current up-to date local information and making sure our guests’ stay will be one to remember.

Marketing Director

Gina Holloway is a native of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and was hired to create the Marketing Department at Shangri-La Resort in 2020. Gina comes to Shangri-La with 20 years of experience in Marketing with a focus on Digital Media. Gina was educated at Northeastern State University and started her career in the fashion industry in Dallas in 1987, a veteran to travel; she relocated several times from Cleveland, Ohio, to Chicago, Illinois’ to Los Angeles, where she created promotions and fundraising for a local theatre group. In 2000 Gina finally landed in Owasso Oklahoma, where she was the Marketing Director at Owasso Medical Spa. Working in a small business made her realize how unique and specialized marketing can be for a small business; this quickly became her passion. She started a consulting firm that educated and guided business owners on increasing their business revenue by using social media tools and online advertising.

In 2008 A true creative, Gina, worked for AcrobatAnt Advertising Agency in the Social Media department; her clients where Mazzio’s and PennWell Publishing. She made the transition into TV in 2013 and worked in the Digital Department at the NBC affiliate KJRH in Tulsa until her path took her to New Mexico and then back to Tulsa, where she was a Marketing Manager at TMA Systems in Tulsa. She has extensive paid and volunteer experience in fundraising and marketing with Tulsa Young Professionals, Tulsa Regional Chamber of Commerce, California Community Theatre, Women in Recovery, Grace Hospice, KRMG, and the City of Tulsa.

Gina brings a wealth of knowledge in online marketing, brand strategy, and creative concepting. One of her favorite quotes is by Maya Angelou, and it really sums up what she wants to accomplish in her work. “I’ve learned that people will forget what you SAID, people will forget what you DID, but people will NEVER FORGET how you made them FEEL.” – Maya Angelou.

gina.holloway@shangrilaok.com