The Arlen Specter US Squash Center approaches its inaugural season with core staff in place prepared to drive the facility’s vision of providing broadly accessible squash programs, acting as a home for Team USA and delivering world-class events that serve the Philadelphia and national squash community.
The Specter Center entered its soft opening phase in July of 2021 with the successful rollout of a series of no-cost community clinics, accredited junior tournaments and high-performance training for Team USA.
The Specter Center operations leadership staff include:
- Kimbley Lightner: Director of Operations and Services
- Sakora Miller: Senior Manager of Community Squash Programming
- Chris Sachvie: Director of Squash
- Hadley Smink: Director of Membership & Marketing
This team works closely alongside General Manager James Neiderer, and in collaboration with Executive Director Ned Edwards and Assistant Director Narelle Krizek. An announcement of the Ganek Family US Squash Head National Coach is expected in the coming month.
Kimbley Lightner has been involved with US Squash supporting accredited tournaments for over a decade, and previously served as head coach at Germantown Cricket Club prior to joining US Squash. Lightner will leverage her broad experience to ensure the seamless integration of the varied programming planned at the Specter Center in its first season operating as the world’s largest community squash center.
“The Specter Center has made so much progress over the last six months, I’ve enjoyed watching the first roots of our programming find a home in the new space during our soft opening phase,” Lightner said. “Our inaugural season holds so much promise and we’re excited to be underway.”
Chris Sachvie joins the Specter Center as the Director of Squash on August 30 as an experienced player and coach. Sachvie grew up in Canada where he learned the sport from his parents, who were both coaches at the White Oaks Resort & Spa, before playing college squash at Cornell, where he served as captain for three years. Before joining the Specter Center, Sachvie served as the Assistant Women’s and Men’s Varsity Coach at Columbia University since 2018, the Head Squash Coach at Dickinson College from 2014-2018 and Assistant Coach at Brown University from 2012-2014.
“I am honored to have been selected as the Director of Squash at the Specter Center,” Sachvie said. “My values align closely with the mission of the Specter Center and I believe the facility will be an inspirational model for accessible growth of squash. I can’t wait to welcome new squash players and die-hard enthusiasts alike through its doors and share my passion for squash with them.”
Sakora Miller joined US Squash in August 2018 and for the past three seasons managed all national championships. This spring, Miller was appointed to lead community squash programming at the Specter Center. Growing up in Philadelphia, Miller’s knowledge of the region and neighborhood will be instrumental in developing local partnerships and that will help introduce the sport to thousands of players each year, including the establishment of new middle and high school teams. Prior to working at US Squash, Sakora was the squash director at SquashSmarts, during which she became Philadelphia’s Youth Ambassador for the international Beyond Sport organization.
“We wanted to welcome the public as soon as our doors opened, and we’ve done that by engaging organizations like the Caring People Alliance, Boys’ and Girls’ clubs and our partners SquashSmarts,” Miller said. “We’re excited to already have eight new public school squash teams in the works, and we want to expand our partnerships and introduce as many people to the sport in the West Philadelphia community as we can this coming year.”
Hadley Smink joined US Squash in April 2021 and will support the Specter Center through the recruitment and onboarding of new members and the promotion of Specter Center programs, services, and activities. Prior to US Squash, Hadley served as a Senior Membership Director with the YMCA (Roxborough), where she worked for six years serving in membership sales and operations support. Her experience in a community-focused organization like the YMCA provides the Specter Center with valuable insights as it pursues its mission in the community.
“It’s been a fun first month of having members at the center,” Smink said. “Personally, I’ve enjoyed getting to know everyone so far and although it’s early on, you can already feel a sense of community growing among our members. It will be rewarding to watch the membership grow and evolve in the coming years.”
Neiderer has overseen the construction and hiring process since joining US Squash as the Arlen Specter US Squash Center General Manager in October 2019.
“We knew the Specter Center would need experienced, diverse and passionate leadership team to fulfill its incredible potential, and we couldn’t be more excited and energized by this group of professionals joining the organization.” Neiderer said. “This team will drive the facility’s core programs throughout our inaugural season and beyond, which will help achieve the Specter Center’s mission of serving the community and fostering growth in the sport.”