MEET OUR TEAM
Bob Ekman, Founder, and CEO of Country Music Fantasy Camp is a 35-year veteran of the hospitality industry and in the last several years, the music business. Ekman worked with Marriott, IHG and his own hospitality management companies. In recent years in Nashville, Ekman partnered with icons of the country music business who managed the likes of Kenny Chesney, Big $ Rich and Old Dominion…to name a few. He was the operating partner for projects like Fontanel Nashville…formerly owned by country music legend Barbara Mandrell and the Deadwood Mountain Grand in Deadwood, SD...both with large music venues. He also worked with ownership to develop, design and open John Rich’s Redneck Riviera Honky Tonk on Broadway in Nashville.
Inspirationally, Ekman was his own first customer of Country Music Fantasy Camp by writing and recording under the alias Luke Jacoby just for fun many years ago. He was also a participant Player in Major League Baseball Fantasy Camps. He is anxious to share this exciting Fantasy Camp with many while also donating to numerous charities. Ekman also enjoys motorcycles, his ‘57 Chevy, fishing, hunting, golf and travel with his beautiful wife, Karen. He and Karen have three amazing kids, Kelly, Brad and Kyle and two rescue dogs, Harley and Dude. “Let’s make some music”!
Houston is a multitalented Producer/Musician/Songwriter with 30 years of experience in the Music Business. He has a vast knowledge from performing to music engineering and has honed his skills in Music City for the past 19 years recording the songs for the hit songwriters of Nashville. He has worked with country icons such as Kenny Rogers, Merle Haggard, Kix Brooks, and many others.
He has also produced various independent album projects including Michael McDonald and Phil Everly from The Everly Brothers. He is a respected musician whose background includes touring the world as lead guitarist for legendary country artist Freddy Fender and performed with Randy Meisner from The Eagles, Billy Swan, and Charlie Rich Jr. He offers extraordinary backing vocals as well as acoustic and
Houston owns Off the Row Recording Studio where you’ll see his passion for music and the creative experience is paramount. In his own words he expresses, “Never underestimate the power of a song. It can touch lives in monumental ways. Music is a gift meant to be shared.”
A zest for life and genuine love of people are at the heart of all of Karin’s pursuits. Whether advising clients through complicated legal transactions, mobilizing a city to support families of children fighting life-threatening illnesses, or equipping budding entrepreneurs with the tools they need to chase their dreams, Karin’s passion is finding creative ways to overcome the obstacles that hinder people at any stage of life.
As an attorney, Karin serves corporate clients, small business owners, entertainment professionals, and entrepreneurs. She is presently a member of the Florida and Tennessee Bars, admitted to the U.S. Court of International Trade in New York and the Federal Court Middle District of Tennessee. She serves as vice-chair to the ABA International Intellectual Property Rights Committee and is an arbitrator for the Financial Regulatory Authority (FINRA) for greater Nashville. Before pursuing a career in law, Karin was a regular in the Nashville music scene. As a singer/songwriter, she knows the music industry from the inside out and her songs are still being recorded today. In April 2019, You Can Always Come Home, co-written with Nashville songwriter Bill DiLuigi, was nominated for Inspirational Country Song of the Year.
Karin is also an accomplished author, published by the ABA, the Florida Bar, and various international journals. Her newest book, The Trust Tank, encourages and equips readers to build stronger alliances with like-minded individuals for business and community projects. Planted in Nashville and committed to community, Karin serves on multiple non-profit boards. She is also the mother of five mostly grown children. When she takes time off, she enjoys the company of good friends, fox hunting, traveling with her husband, and being with her ever-growing family.
Kevin Contardo, Director of Branding & Partnerships with the Country Music Fantasy Camp, is a 20-year veteran of the venue and live event industry, and in the last four years, has managed his own Consulting Group that serves clients across several platforms. Contardo worked for Nederlander Entertainment on two separate occasions, the E.W. Scripps Company, Hara Arena Conference & Exhibition Center, SMG Worldwide Entertainment & Convention Venue Management and the Professional Rough Stock Rodeo Series before opening his own Consultancy Group.
In recent years in Nashville, Contardo has worked with the Nashville Predators (NHL), the Predators Foundation, the Nashville Symphony Orchestra & The Schermerhorn Symphony Center, the Music City Bowl, several National rodeo events & tours as well as numerous local, regional and national brands. Some brands, just to name a few are O’Reilly Auto Parts, T-Mobile, and RAM Trucks. He has worked with several brands to develop, design and launch their respective entries into retail markets.
Inspirationally, Contardo derives much from his alma mater, Miami University (Oxford, Ohio) and the Ice Hockey program there.
Being a self-proclaimed “child of the Big Hair” / 80’s Heavy Metal scene, he is excited to share the Country Music Fantasy Camp concept to his extensive network and beyond. Contardo enjoys cigars, scotch, and collects wristwatches along with traveling the Caribbean wife his wife, Kayla. He has three children, Maddi, Izzi & Gus, and two dogs, Magnum and Stella. “You don’t get what you don’t ask for!”