Brian Dillman to Succeed John Embree as USPTA CEO
November 28, 2023
The United States Professional Tennis Association is thrilled to announce the appointment of Brian Dillman as its new Chief Executive Officer. Brian will replace John Embree, who announced in April his intention to retire from USPTA at the end of 2023, after leading the association for more than 11 years.
Brian grew up in Texas and says he was a relatively accomplished tennis player as a nationally ranked junior, Division I college player at The University of Illinois and a professional. Well, he earned $72 as a professional! So, he decided to start a career as a USPTA tennis professional in 1990.
With experience in sporting goods, fitness and the fashion industry, Brian has done a bit of everything, from senior leadership, sales development, global marketing, sourcing, logistics and supply chain. Prior to joining the USPTA, Brian was a health and wellness leader with expertise in new business development, new markets and new technology as CEO of miha bodytec.
Brian has worked for global leaders in a variety of categories including Wilson Sporting Goods, Cervelo Bicycles, Peter Millar, Rodd & Gunn and miha bodytec. He also has extensive international experience living and working in Munich, Toronto and London.
Statement from incoming USPTA CEO Brian Dillman: “I am honored and humbled to lead the organization. Tennis and racquet sports professionals influence our entire industry from beginners and grassroots programs to Grand Slam champions. Our industry is in a state of great flux, and we have challenges we need to face urgently and head-on. All racquet sports are experiencing outstanding participation growth, but many of our professionals are aging out and we are not recruiting enough new pros to fill today’s demand, let alone the future need for a multi-skilled professional. Change is hard for a very traditional industry, but not impossible.
The Racquet Sports industry is creating new opportunities every day for career growth, market expansion, skill development and leadership. Our role in this is to be at the forefront of certification, career development and Safe Play, while being your advocate in the industry. We must continue to develop stronger relationships with all of our industry partners and endorsees — we need each other to educate and promote racquet sports professionals who are certified and credentialed.
I look forward to working with the USPTA Board of Directors, Executive Committee, the staff at HQ in Lake Nona and every USPTA member. I cannot wait to meet with and listen to our members to learn how we can improve our organization and prepare for the next 10-15 years ahead. Thank you to the search committee for putting your trust in me.
‘We’d achieve more if we chased the dream and not the competition.’ – Simon Sinek”
Additional background information on Brian: Brian explains that tennis is his life. From the age of 12, he’s been involved in some aspect of tennis and racquet sports. From being a nationally ranked junior from Texas, to playing college tennis at the University of Illinois, to becoming a certified USPTA Elite Professional in 1990 by John Ingram in Dallas, Texas. Brian describes his mentor, Nony Michulka, as an amazing role model and says her vision on how to be a great professional is his guiding star. He says Michulka was a pro, she could teach, manage members, mentor new pros, volunteer, run tournaments, house kids who needed help, take them to tournaments and give them all the tough love they needed when they needed it. She recruited Brian right out of college to become a teaching professional. Then she laid out a career plan for him to teach, be a tournament director, manage members, run a pro shop and much, much more.
With her guidance, Brian spent his first 1 ½ years as a teaching professional, USTA Umpire, tournament director and volunteer with USTA Dallas. He was also heavily involved with the Dallas USPTA (and was a member of their softball team). Teaching and learning about the industry led Brian to an opportunity to work for Wilson Racquet Sports: First in sales, then junior marketing, then international marketing (living in Germany) and eventually GM of the racquet sports division. He says he’s seen it all, from the grassroots to Grand Slams.
“Throughout that experience, I touched all racquet sports from participation to product development and to grassroots development, and what is the common denominator? Teaching professionals,” said Dillman. “The industry doesn’t work without you (us).”
Most recently, he was elected to be the president of USTA Chicago District, and says from their perspective in the grassroots tennis world, there is a desperate need for new tennis and racquet sports professionals to fill the pipeline to meet the high demand of a booming tennis market.
Reaction from USPTA leadership: “I am very happy on behalf of the USPTA board and all our members to welcome Brian Dillman as our new CEO. The USPTA Search Committee conducted an extensive search and interviewed many viable candidates for the position. The committee unanimously agreed on Brian as being the best candidate for the job. He is USPTA certified, has worked in the sports industry and has international senior management experience,” said Trish Faulkner, incoming USPTA president. “The board is excited to start working with Brian on new and current initiatives. A major item will be a five- and ten-year strategic plan to enhance member benefits and improve industry relations and the consumer benefits of hiring USPTA certified professionals. Brian is definitely the right CEO to make the USPTA stronger in the racquet sports industry.”
“While we are sorry to see the retirement of John Embree, we are extremely excited to announce Brian Dillman as the next CEO of the USPTA. The search was thorough and we feel we have the right person to lead the USPTA into its next 100 years,” said Rich Slivocka, the 2022-2023 USPTA president. “The board and the executive committee have the utmost confidence in Brian, and we are all looking forward to working with him as we enter a new chapter for the USPTA.”
Brian and his wife will be relocating to Lake Nona and they have three grown children. He currently plays on two USTA league teams, plays recreational pickleball and has dabbled in Padel. He also played squash extensively while living in Europe.
Please join us in extending a warm welcome to Brian as he embarks on this exciting journey as our CEO. We look forward to an era of continued growth and success under his leadership. Brian will begin work on December 11 and will assume responsibility of the USPTA on January 1, 2024.