Alex Knudsen

CLUB MANAGER, Military Rd. Club
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Alex is from Dallas, TX but relocated to Mandeville, LA in 2000. At Louisiana State University, he pursued a degree in Sports Administration with minors in Business Administration and Communications. Following graduation, he spent five seasons in Minor League Baseball where he worked as Director of Finance and Gameday Operations. In his free time you’ll find him watching sports, playing golf, and spending time with family and friends. He’s excited to bring his skills and experience to the fitness industry to create life changing experiences and memories.

Lana Walgamotte

CLUB MANAGER, Military Rd.
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Lana Walgamotte started with Cross Gates Family Fitness in December of 2002, just days after graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Management from Southeastern Louisiana University. Lana started at the Military Road facility as a shift leader then quickly moved her way up to Front Desk manager for our Pontchartrain Drive location within her first year. Lana has been here through having to relocate back to the Military Road facility due to Hurricane Katrina, the rebuilding of our Pontchartrain club, acquiring a third location, and many, many other company changes that have happened throughout her career. You will usually find her somewhere around the club making things happen to assist a member or looking for ways to make the club even better. Lana is married to Kelly Walgamotte and has 3 handsome, very active boys who participate in both Hurricanes Swim Club and the CG|Tennis program.

Tammy Phillips

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Tammy Phillips joined the Cross Gates Team in 2000 as our Childcare Manager.  In 2016 she moved to the Gause Blvd management team as Club Manager while continuing to manage our children's programs. As the General Manager of the Gause Blvd location she uses her knowledge and experience that she has gained as a manager and as a certified personal trainer to support and encourage everyone in their fitness and wellness undertakings. She wants everyone to feel welcome at Cross Gates Family Fitness and looks forward to meeting new people and helping them with their journey.

Sarah Blackwell

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Sarah moved to Slidell for her husband's job in January 2021 after living in the Charleston, SC area for most of her life.  She studied Psychology at Charleston Southern University and has always held positions in Customer Service, Sales and Management.  While looking for a new career after the move here, she found Cross Gates Family Fitness.  Sarah and her family had already become members of the Military Rd. location and knew that CG was a place where she could utilize her customer service background to the fullest, have a work "family" and feel like a part of something in her community.  She loves that she found this becoming part of Cross Gates!  Outside of the club, she loves spending time with her husband, Luke, and their 2 children, Eliza and William, and their dogs.  As a family they enjoy being outside whether it's walking, bike rides, working their yard or just playing with the kids!

Nathan Guste

GENERAL MANAGER, Pontchartrain Dr. Location
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Nathan has over 10 years experience in the Health and Wellness Industry. He is a graduate of the University of New Orleans with a focus on Health Promotion and Business. As a former coach in our MyClub fitness department, Nathan has come back full circle ready to put his expertise to use! In the role of General Manager he will use his experience and knowledge to help everyone who steps foot into the club reach their full potential. As an advocate for community outreach, Nathan loves to meet new people and get them excited about their health and wellness. Nathan is a sports nut and enjoys spending his free time with his family and friends, coaching his son’s sports teams and being a dance dad to his daughter.

Larry and Merryanne Welch

Club Owners

Since purchasing the club in 1994, Larry and Merryanne have lived and worked in the Slidell Community. After meeting at Elmwood Fitness in New Orleans and discovering their joint passion for the Fitness Industry, they moved to the Northshore and purchased Cross Gates Athletic Club.  Since then, we have seen the club grow and evolve into Cross Gates Family Fitness and have helped people just like you live fit, live better.  Together, they are active in the day to day operations of all of our clubs and spending time with their children and grandchildren.

Nate Welch

Vice President of Operations
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Nate has 10+ years of experience in multiple areas of the fitness industry. He is degreed in Finance from Louisiana Tech University but his sales acumen is what got him started in the fitness industry. He started as a Membership Representative and with his success in sales, he took on the Director of Business Development role and eventually became Vice President of Operations. He oversees all management teams and operations at all 3 locations . As a coach, he enjoys teaching fitness industry seminars and the latest trends. He is also a bit of data geek (yes, nerd alert!). He is a Level 1 Certified Functional Strength Coach and an avid promoter of functional exercise for the general population.

Greg Johnson

Program Director
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Greg has a Master’s Degree in English with a Concentration in Professional and Technical writing.  As Program Director, he works with all of the departments to create and manage world class offerings in health, nutritional and recreation for CG Members. Greg is also a group fitness instructor at the club. He coaches Body Pump, Spinning, Yoga and Group Training programs.  As the marketing director for Cross Gates Family fitness, he is responsible for creating all internal and external marketing and communication for the club.  Greg started working with Cross Gates Family Fitness in 1997. His career began in the Youth Activity Center where he has developed many children’s programs including Slidell’s finest Summer Camp and is still actively involved in managing the club’s youth programs.

Jodie Graham

Business Office Manager
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Jodie Graham joined the Cross Gates team in 1998 as a Front Desk Team Member. Later that year, she transitioned to the Business Office where she honed her skills and gained invaluable insights into the inner workings of Cross Gates. In 2006, she was promoted to Business Office Manager. Jodie's wealth of experience extends beyond managerial responsibilities; she possesses an in-depth knowledge of the history and culture that defines Cross Gates Family Fitness today. Jodie met her husband at the club and together they have built a loving family with three children and three grandchildren. Jodie has grown a true passion for fitness, so if she is not in the office, you may find her out on the fitness floor or in a Group Exercise class.

Zach Landry

Fitness Director
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After spending time managing fitness programs in Florida, including Don Schula’s gym, Zach returned back to his home state of Louisiana.   His love of fitness started when he was in 8th grade and he knew he wanted to help people become better versions of themselves through coaching. He has a wide array of knowledge and perspectives from his education in kinesiology from Southeastern Louisiana University and his diverse experience working in Athletic Training, Physical Therapy, Education and Personal Training.  As a personal trainer, Zach is able to help his clients find a program that works for them and is able to hold them accountable to their workouts and nutrition to help them get results.

Theresa Stein

Group Exercise Manager
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Born in Baton Rouge, Theresa lived in Northern Virginia, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts, and most areas of Louisiana before settling in Slidell in 1999. Theresa graduated from the University of Miami with a double major in Mass Communication and Psychology with a minor in Sociology. She began taking group fitness classes at Cross Gates in 2004 and soon decided to become a fitness instructor herself. Theresa worked in television production for several years, primarily at WDSU, then  as a part-time office administration/payroll specialist while she taught fitness classes at Cross Gates. She became the Group Exercise Manager in July 2018, continuing her transition from her school/work background to fitness. She loves people and she loves exercise and she truly enjoys combining them; her enthusiasm for group exercise classes is contagious. In addition to her management responsibilities, Theresa teaches Bodypump, Bodyattack, and CXWorx and you can usually find her in the Da Groove classes, too.

Courtney D’Amelio

Youth Activity Center Manager
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Courtney has been with Cross Gates Family Fitness since January of 2011. She started out as a Helping Hands teacher with the 2-year old and 3-year old classes, worked as a Summer Camp Counselor for Cub Camp and in July of 2013 was promoted to Youth Activity Center Assistant Manager . In May of 2014 , she was promoted to full time Childcare Manager and was more then happy to take on the job. Children of all ages are her passion and she loves that she can offer them a place to go that is fun, safe and secure.

Darla Mirelz

Spa & Lifestyle Store Director
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With over 30 years of experience in the retail industry, Darla joined the Cross Gates Family in 2017. As Director of The Lifestyle Store, she is a buyer of the most up-to-date styles and fashions.  A Nicholls State graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Apparel Merchandising and Design, Darla enjoys outfitting her clients with everything from apparel to home furnishings. When she isn’t styling and merchandising our members, don’t be surprised to see her out on the tennis court enjoying the day.

Andrew & Lauren Garman

Tennis Directors,
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Andrew Garman is a nationally ranked top 300 USTA Tennis Player and was ranked #1 in Mississippi’s Men’s Division for two years in a row. Andrew has been playing tennis his entire life and coaching for over 15 yrs. Andrew was the Head Tennis Coach for St. Stanislaus College and Our Lady Academy since 2017, leading players to individual State Championships as well as becoming the Mississippi 2023 3A State Champions. Andrew has been a tennis teaching Professional since the age of 18 coaching at clubs in Birmingham, Gulfport & Diamondhead.

Lauren Garman is a #1 Single and Doubles Tennis Player for Clarion University, a Division School 2. She is a certified USPTA and PTR Coach with over 15 years of experience. She has been Assistant Coach at the University level in Pennsylvania and Mississippi. In 2019 Lauren received her Master of Science in Psychology with an emphasis in Applied Behavior Analysis from USM. She uses her education, along with her tennis experience, to help players better understand themselves physically and mentally and execute on the court. Lauren is a coaching partner with husband, Andrew Garman. “Coaching has been a fulfilling journey where I've had the opportunity to mentor aspiring players of all ages and skill levels. Whether working with beginners to develop their love of the game or guiding advanced players to finesse their techniques, I find immense joy in witnessing my students' growth and passion for the game.”

Craig Guerrera

Fitness Sales Manager
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Craig is an accomplished, versatile leader with over 35 years experience within the health and fitness industry. He helps manage and facility our fitness programs with Personal Trainers and Elite Sports Training. Craig has successfully managed sales and operations of several clubs in multi-location environments. He is also a certified personal trainer specializing in developing simple and effective training routines and lifestyle changing habits for busy clients who can’t spend an hour at the gym several times per week. Being a youth and high school football coach, he also has experience in sports specific athletic training. He specializes in strength and conditioning, building muscle and weight loss.