Meet the Staff

Meet the Staff

Joel Swanson


A 1980 graduate from Michigan State University, with a Turf Management Degree, Joel also completed a Business Administration degree from Ferris State University in 1989. Joel began his career in 1976 at County Highlands Golf Course in Bear Lake, Michigan. Joel ran the grounds operation there before moving to Manistee National in 1993. Involved from day one of construction Joel has guided all turf related activities since then. He has assisted in the resort developing from a stand alone 18 hole course at conception, through the addition of the Inn, and then the construction of our second 18 holes in 2000. Joel also acts as Facility Manager, overseeing the maintenance of all buildings, equipment and pools. Joel brings a vast knowledge to our operations. Rest assured that while visiting our property, you will be treated to expertly manicured grounds throughout. Players of all abilities comment on the ground conditions being of a consistently high quality when playing either of our courses.

Denis Meikle


A 1996 graduate of Ferris State University’s Professional Golf Management program, Denis joined our staff in 2014. Prior to joining our team Denis was most recently the PGA Professional and General Manager at the Manistee Golf & Country Club serving the local community for the past 13 years. Denis grew up in Sault Ste. Marie, MI and attended Western Michigan University before transferring to Ferris State to pursue golf as a career. His early stops as an assistant took him to The Chardonnay Club in Napa, CA and Tucson National in Arizona. Returning to Michigan Denis worked as the Head Golf Professional at Falcon Head Golf Club in Big Rapids and then St. Ives Resort in Stanwood. Denis enjoys spending free time coaching local varsity golf team and junior golfers including daughter Mallory. Denis’ focus at the resort will be on customer service and the expanded development of our Instructional programs.

Brian Kissel


Chef Brian Kissel joined the staff in May of 2013. As a key member of our staff, Brian assisted us in new menu development and a new feel for the Wanagan Grille which took place last summer. A Graduate of Northwestern Michigan College, Brian honed his culinary skills in many restaurants around Michigan. With stops in Holland, Grand Rapids and Traverse City Brian developed a style that led him back home some 15 years ago. Brian most recently was the owner and Chef of the Blue Slipper Bistro in Onekama. Over the last 15 years Brian and his family provided terrific meals and exceptional service to many in the area. With a flair towards Pasta, the “Slipper” as it was known by all was a must stop in our area. Brian can tell stories of working in some of the more famous local restaurants in our area over the years…The Old Pines Chop House, The Famous Coral Gables and the Historic Portage Point Inn….all back in his “younger” days. You can tell that the Business of food has been in Brian’s blood a long time. Brian brings all this local history, experience and a terrific attitude to our staff and looks forward to meeting you.

Ken Chesebro


Ken joined the staff of Manistee National in the fall of 1994. With the guidance of our Grounds Superintendent Joel, Ken has increased his turf knowledge and was promoted to assistant superintendent on the Canthooke course in 1999. In 2002, Ken moved over to our The Revenge course and this is where you will find him today as you visit the property. The challenge of maintaining one of the best courses in Michigan is one that Ken enjoys and he is proud of the results he produces. You may see Ken and Duke, (his black Shepard) riding from job site to job site around Cutters’. Ken can also be found at the Inn, maintaining our excellent Pool facilities as he is one of our certified pool technicians and handles the maintenance of our pools during the summer months.

Kirsten Moriarty


A graduate of Central Michigan University, Kirsten joined our staff in 2015. Kirsten played collegiate softball and would spend her summers throughout college working at the Eldorado Golf Course in Cadillac on the beverage cart before becoming the Director of Special Events and Group Hospitality. In 2015, she and her husband relocated to Manistee, and Kirsten was excited to continue her career working in the golf industry with Manistee National Golf & Resort. You will find her at the Inn welcoming our out of town guests. In her free time, Kirsten enjoys traveling and spending time with her baby boy who she and her husband welcomed in October 2018.

Cyrilla Staffeld


Cyrilla is a 2004 Graduate of Northwood University’s Hospitality Management Program. She has been warmly welcoming guests to Manistee National since she joined the staff in 2011. Cyrilla grew up in Manistee and has a wealth of knowledge regarding the area’s amenities. Prior to joining Manistee National’s staff, Cyrilla worked in several customer-oriented positions and earned many accolades. In her role as Assistant to the Store Manager at Starbucks, Cyrilla earned the distinction of “Coffee Master” and was even once named “Partner of the Quarter” for the entire Northeast Region. While working as a Medical Scribe for Scribe America, Cyrilla earned the coveted “Scribe of the Year” award. Cyrilla also earned Northwood University’s “Arts and Business Award” in 2004. Cyrilla spends much of her free time with her husband Gregory. The pair can often be found in the community with their son Finnagan and toddler Madelinn, frequenting local eateries and volunteering at Finnagan’s school. Cyrilla’s focus for the resort is to continue providing spectacular customer service and striving to make every guest’s experience above and beyond their expectations.