The USA Ice Team is made up of a diverse group of individuals that each bring a unique set of characteristics and skills that will help put ice fishing on the sports map in the United States. Behind the actions of the competitive team, a dedicated group of individuals have been diligently working to bring the international competitive ice fishing to America.
Mike McNett, Director of Operations
Mike is a successful Chicago, IL based entrepreneur and businessman as well as a champion ice fisher. Following the sale of his industry respected business in 2007, McNett embarked on a new venture becoming a known and respected professional in the American Ice Fishing community. 2007-2012 Mike was co-owner and Director of the North American Ice Fishing Circuit® (NAIFC) Tournament Series and also co-founder of Ice Camp™, a series of ice fishing clinics for youth and parents alike who learn from and fish with professional ice fishers.
McNett has a personable and easy style that endears him to new competitors and seasoned professionals and when coupled with his high energy business acumen is a formidable force in organization, management and acquisition of financing. Mike is currently in his third year as an Insurance Producer for Humbert Insurance Agency in Elmhurst Illinois. He also is the creator, executive director and creative force in the Ice Men reality television series depicting the lives, personalities and competitions of four 2-man ice fishing teams. Mike was also the driving force in getting the USA Ice Team to the 6th WIFC in Sniardwy, Poland in February 2009 as Team Captain.
Sean Warner, International Delegate
Sean is a lifelong resident of the “Land of 10,000 Lakes” and has been an avid fisherman since he can remember, starting out as a teenage walleye and muskie guide at the family resort “Little Itasca,” on the north shore of Deer Lake in northern Itasca County, Minnesota. Sean holds a Master of Arts degree in Diplomacy from Norwich University in Northfield, Vermont, and a Bachelor of Arts in Russian Area Studies/Russian Language and Literature from the University of Minnesota; he is currently working on his doctorate (Ed.D) in Organizational Leadership and Communication at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. He is the Managing Director of RusDialog, a consulting company specializing in Eastern Europe, Russia, and the former Soviet republics; he has also worked at various executive level finance positions during a 20+ year career at large US banking institutions such as Wells Fargo, US Bank, and Chase Manhattan. Sean is also an honorably discharged veteran of the United States Army, having served both in the infantry and in military intelligence, and a graduate of Defense Language Institute and Foreign Language Center located at the Presidio of Monterey, California. Sean has traveled extensively through Russia, the Baltic States, and many of the other former Soviet republics.
When not fishing or hunting, Sean enjoys chess, international travel, foreign film, history books of all kinds, and amateur (ham) radio. Sean is a member of Trout Unlimited, the Ruffed Grouse Society, the National Rifle Association, the American Radio Relay League, and the American Legion. On the hard water, Sean prefers to target jumbo perch and walleyes on Lake Mille Lacs, as well as brook, rainbow, and brown trout on Minnesota’s designated stream trout lakes; during the open water season, Sean enjoys fishing the numerous trout streams of both the SE Minnesota “Driftless Area” and the North Shore of Lake Superior, as well as fishing for river walleyes on both the Mississippi and Rum Rivers in Anoka County.
Brian Gaber, Coach
Brian is a business owner, professional fisherman, and professional engineer. As the owner of Outdoor Technologies LLC, and Engineering Supervisor for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, he has 16 years of experience using Global Positioning Systems and Geographic Information Mapping Systems in transportation and marine applications.
Gaber began working with the NAIFC and the ICE MEN television series in 2008, and helped with technical production elements of the series. His company continues to partner with the NAIFC, helping it grow into the premier professional ice fishing circuit in the country.
Gaber was instrumental in coordinating and game-planning the 2010 Gold medal winning effort. For the 2011 Ukraine competition, Gaber was named on of the team’s two coaches. He is continuing to work on the development of the team’s speed in our European style fishing program, and has revamped the USA Finals format.
His technical background and experience in preparation for competitive fishing, will bring a technological advantage to the USA Ice Team’s quest to be competitive in the Ice Fishing World Championships in 2011 and beyond. Gaber is professionally sponsored by Crestliner Boat company, Shoeder’s Marine, Memory-Map Pro, and is a member of the National Professional Angler’s Association, and is on the NAIFC Pro Staff.
Joel McDearmon, Chairman, USF3
Joel is a 25-year active duty US military member with expertise in emergency response, event logistics, planning and preparation. On a personal level, Joel has lifelong outdoor recreation and all-season survival experience.
Joel’s organizational and leadership skills were put to the test in taking the USA Ice Team to Poland in 2009 for the 6th World Ice Fishing Championship as Team Manager. In addition to the taking care of the team’s logistical requirements and transportation, Joel was also chosen by the organizing committee to be an International Jury member, assisting in the officiating duties of the event.
In 2010, Joel helped form the United States Freshwater Fishing Federation (USF3), where he currently serves as Chairman of the Board.
Kelly Gotch, Videographer
Kelly is a die-hard hunter, angler and television producer. Growing up with an outdoor lifestyle in the small town of Ortonville, MI made her thirst for knowledge on hunting, fishing and conservation.
Gotch attended college at Central Michigan University where she obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Broadcasting and Cinematic Arts. After college she began working for the largest statewide conservation group in the nation, the Michigan United Conservation Clubs. It was there that Gotch began to quench her thirst for knowledge on the outdoor industry as co-host and associate producer of the well-known weekly television show, Michigan Out-of-Doors.
In 2008, in addition to Michigan Out-of-Doors, Gotch also started as co-host of the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s, Step Outside airing on Outdoor Channel. Later that year, she left Michigan Out-of-Doors to host a second national television show, The Guide’s Life with Kelly Gotch airing on the Pursuit Channel. She also co-hosts The Total Outdoorsman Challenge, is a member of Team SHE and The USA Ice Team.
Christian Ward, Webmaster
Christian is a professional software developer, graphic and web designer, and a 20 year veteran in the Information Technology industry. Christian blends a no-nonsense style with business analysis experience, creative ingenuity and technical skill, to yield innovative and engaging solutions designed to enhance and energize the sport of competitive ice fishing.
In 2007, Christian partnered with Mike McNett and Jack Baker to create the North American Ice Fishing Circuit®. In 2010, Christian helped form the United States Freshwater Fishing Federation (USF3). He is co-founder of the Ice Camp™ youth clinics, and was an associate producer for the ICE MEN television series.