State Champs! Team Contacts

Marketing, Business and Media Relations

Lou Bitonti, President

State Champs! Network

Lou, a 30 year veteran of corporate marketing, advertising, promotions and sports enterprise management, is President of the State Champs! Network. Lou served in many executive marketing management positions in his 28+ year career at Chrysler Corporation, including Senior Manager, Global Brand Events for DaimlerChrysler Corporation, where he directed programs across the Jeep, Dodge, Chrysler, Plymouth and Eagle brands.

Lou has driven promotions and well recognized advertising programs on both the corporate and agency sides, across the Automotive and Sports and Entertainment industries. He has been featured in periodicals such as Promo magazine and Event Marketer magazine where he was named one of its “Event Marketing Superstars”. His book entitled, “The Cosmic Spiderweb: How to Capture Any Customer Through Event Marketing” provided a blueprint for success in promotions, and his renowned Camp Jeep loyalty program was awarded “Best Event in the World” in 2005 by Promo Magazine. His Go Anywhere Do Anything Tour helped present thousands of cars to tens of thousands of people across events that included concerts with Tim McGraw and the B-52.

Lou has been an owner/investor in State Champs! for several years, and as President is now leading efforts to help expand the State Champs! Network into a regional sports network, focused on the development of student athletes and scholars and their ultimate connection to college and professional athletes, sports leadership and success in life. A long-time fan and sponsor of Southeast Michigan sports, Lou is on the board of directors of Brother Rice Catholic in Birmingham, Michigan where he has also served as assistant football coach.

Lou served as COO of award winning event and production agency MVP for several years, before becoming President of the State Champs! Network and still serves as President and CEO for LD3, a regional marketing, brand management, and event consulting corporation in Southeast Michigan. He is on the Board of Directors for the Michigan Opera & Lyrics Society, and enjoys collecting fine wines, classic cars, and guitars.

Jim Weissenborn, Partner/Advisor

State Champs! Network

Jim, a partner and advisor to the State Champs! Network, is a longtime sports enthusiast and sports community supporter. As co-owner of the Varsity Shop Training Center, Jim helped establish Oakland County, Michigan’s premier 11.000 indoor training facility for youth baseball, softball and athletic development. Jim’s has been very active in area sports; through his company, Mackinac Partners, he has sponsored many little league teams across Oakland County as well as being a booster for the Oakland County Summer Baseball Travel league. Jim also helped organize and support Brother Rice’s first home football game last year in Birmingham.

As a professional, Jim helped coordinate financing for the development of Commerica Park among other sports and entertainment related ventures. Jim played baseball as an undergrad at the University of South Florida in Tampa, and remains a longtime University of Texas Longhorn fan and booster, his graduate school alma mater.

John Watson, Vice President Sales

Yellow Flag Productions
(313) 407-4415

John has more than twenty-five years of relationship building, sales, operations, training, project management and implementations experience. Born, raised, educated and lives in Michigan, he has established great connections with the businesses in the mitten state. John has partnered and worked with small local “mom & pop shops” to national and regional brands to develop and execute special projects as well as successful advertising campaigns. He has also worked with leading technology companies to develop website and digital display signage networks. John is driven by keeping his family happy and is very competitive in sports.

B.J. Cameron, Corporate Partnership Sales

State Champs! Network

B.J. Cameron is starting his Rookie season at State Champs Sports Network with a heavy emphasis on Newly launched State Champs Women. B.J.’s primary role is Corporate Partnership Sales. He was a 4 sport athlete at Birmingham Groves High School ’82” and played Football & Baseball at Grand Valley State University. Today, B.J. enjoys playing Golf and Platform Tennis.

State Champs Media and Production

Lorne Plant, Host, Co-Producer

State Champs! Network

Lorne is a Host and Co-Producer for the State Champs! Network. Having been with State Champs! since 2002, Lorne’s presence and on-air professionalism have been a cornerstone of State Champs! program quality and success, and our Emmy award winning Sports Highlights! show.

An all CIF soccer and baseball player in high school in California, Lorne attended the Specs Howard School of Broadcast Arts in Michigan where he was awarded the 2002 MCA-I Gold Award for Student of the Year for his work on the PBS children’s show “Daedal Doors”. His broadcasting career began as an intern with the weekend sports department on WDIV Local 4 in Detroit, followed by a reporter/producer role on Fred McLeod’s Saturday Night Local 4 High School Sports Show. Simultaneously, Lorne served as an intern and radio news reporter for public radio’s WDET 101.9 FM.

In the Fall of 2002, Lorne and Fred joined the new State Champs! Sports Highlights Show. From 2002-2006, The Game Of The Week, Flashback, and The Student Reporter were all part of Lorne’s signature segments on the show. From 2001-2006, Lorne also worked as the Matrix operator in the scoreboard room for both the Detroit Tigers and Detroit Lions, a position he held during the 2005 MLB All Star Game, and Super Bowl XL.

Lorne also served as producer for the Emmy Award winning women’s fitness reality show “X-treme Warrior” in 2006 and as on the call broadcaster for over 150 play-by-play programs as “Voice of the Golden Grizzlies” for men’s and women’s basketball at Oakland University. In January of 2007, Lorne took over as full time host and co-producer, a role that he continues to love to this day. Winners of three Michigan Emmy Awards over the past four years, State Champs! continues to be the longest running, and most successful network high school sports franchise in Michigan history!

Lorne can also be heard as host of State Champs! Radio – High School Football Report in the Fall and High School Basketball and Recruiting Show during the Winter. Both programs can be heard Friday nights on WDFN 1130 AM The Fan.

Jonathon Kidd, Co-Producer and Videographer

State Champs! Network

Jonathon Kidd is a Co-producer and Videographer for the State Champs! Network. Having attended Specs Howard School of Media Arts, Jonathon joined the State Champs! team in August of 2002. He is instrumental in State Champs! Network show planning, filming and production/scheduling, a career path that emanated from his early passion for sports when watching the 1984 Olympics as a young child.

Jonathan’s career achievements have been well recognized with three Emmy awards for State Champs! where he has served as our primary producer and videographer. Jonathan prior career experience includes work for other media outlets including Fox Sports Detroit as a production assistant during the Red Wings and Tigers seasons in 2006. You can follow Jon’s thoughts on sports, videography and productions on twitter@jonkidd.

Amanda Bitonti, Producer / Editor

Yellow Flag Productions

Amanda grew up in Rochester Hills and went to Notre Dame Prep high school. She graduated from Colorado University with a Bachelors Degree in Communications and worked at a Marketing and Publication company for 3 years following graduation, where she learned how to create magazines and other print creative productions. She also worked at the advertising agency Universal McCann for 4 years as a digital and media planner on the Chrysler account. Amanda currently works as a Producer, Editor, and Videographer at Yellow Flag Productions. She loves spending time with her friends and her awesome dog named Lola!

Denver Rochon, Creative Services Director

Yellow Flag Productions

Contrary to his geographically derived given name, Denver was born and raised in Michigan. After graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Michigan he spent over 20 years traveling the world directing, writing, producing, and editing numerous award winning short and feature films, documentaries, commercials, and music videos. Denver started his career with Yellow Flag Productions as a freelance editor for television specials and series, including RoboZone. After directing, editing and helping to produce several seasons of the Emmy award winning series Pure Brews America, he joined the Yellow Flag team full time. When not creating content for Yellow Flag, Denver can be found with his wife Lydia, children Lidiana and Bruno, and a very evil (wonderful) cat named Beast.

Sydney Cariel, Executive Producer - State Champs! Women

State Champs! Network

Sydney was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area and graduated from Arizona State University with a bachelor’s degree in Sports Journalism from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. While in College, Sydney covered the Milwaukee Brewers during Spring Training and won a student Emmy award for one of her stories during that time.

She also interned at NBC Sports Bay Area for two summers and worked for Cox Media as their high school football sideline reporter. Sydney’s goal as a sports reporter is to tell the community intriguing stories that go further than the final scores of the games. She is experienced with studio production fundamentals including camera work, graphics, floor director, technical director, audio, teleprompter, AVID, Premiere Pro, Edius, ENPS, and iNews. Sydney is also experienced in news reporting and writing fundamentals including knowledge with the SBJ Code of Ethics.

Steve Weissenborn, Partner, Media and Technology Senior Advisor

State Champs! Network / Yellow Flag Productions

Steve is a Partner as well as Media and Technology Senior Advisor and webmaster for State Champs! Network and Yellow Flag Productions. Steve oversees web media, video integration and streaming, hosting services, web design and architecture, content management, and integration. Steve is a longtime sports fan who played intramural football, baseball and soccer while growing up in Miami, his hometown. Steve has served as a Fractional CIO and business strategy and technology advisor for numerous companies and startups. He served as an Associate Partner with Accenture, a global business, strategy and technology integration firm, and also served as SVP of Development/Technology for Enthusian, a Spherion/Accenture virtual HR/Staffing company. Steve also served as CIO for World Fuel Services, a Fortune 200 global energy supplier. Steve is the CIO of Mackinac, an Accordion Company, a financial advisory, turnaround, restructuring and interim management firm. Steve received a BA in Communications/English from the University of Florida and an MBA from Barry University in Miami. He resides in Pompano Beach, Florida.

Chuck Pellerito, Producer, Editor

State Champs! Network

Chuck graduated from Specs Howard in 2014 with a Digital Media Arts Diploma and attended Macomb Community College in the Video Production program. Chuck joined State Champs! Network as a Freelance Videographer in 2016 and came on board full time in August 2019 as a Multimedia Producer. Chuck graduated from Clintondale High School where he played Baseball and Football – he is a big baseball fan and an avid concert-goer.

Candace Byrnes, Creative Graphics

State Champs! Network

Candace is a graduate of Lawrence Technological University with a degree in media communications and business administration. She interned with State Champs! High School Sports Network over the last two years of her college career, gaining experience with graphic design and being on camera. Candace later accepted a full-time position with State Champs! as a Creative Content Producer in October of 2020. She now handles all the graphic design work for SC! and SC!W. Candace also hosts the State Champs Esports Show, RoboZone and the Lawrence Tech Sports Report.

Before joining the StateChamps! team, Candace was an Associate Producer for Local 4 News in Downtown Detroit. The world of news was an exciting time for Candace, but she was attracted to the passion and excitement behind everything StateChamps! had to offer. Now, being a part of the SC!W team, Candace is thrilled to participate in a new chapter of high school female sports coverage and provide an equal spotlight to these incredible young female athletes.

In her free time, Candace enjoys a unique type of exercise involving aerial skills at the Detroit Flyhouse Circus School. She also loves to cook and spends plenty of time surrounded by family.

David Bodine, Social Media Manager

Yellow Flag Productions

David is experienced in all aspects of marketing and advertising, including Social Media Management, Strategy, Media Purchasing, Data Analysis, and more. As the Social Media Manager for Yellow Flag Productions – the company behind the State Champs! High School Sports Show – David is responsible for managing all social media platforms for several State Champs! shows, as well as for Lawrence Technological University’s athletics program.

Media Partners and Writers

Scott Burnstein, Media Analyst and Journalist

State Champs! Network

Scott Burnstein is a freelance sports writer and true crime author based out of Metro Detroit who covers recruiting, analysis and sports news for the State Champs! Network and also assists in event coverage for State Champs! Gametime Live! . Mr. Burnstein has worked for newspapers such as The Detroit Free Press and the Oakland Press and has had two books published on the American mafia. Born and raised in West Bloomfield and attending high school in Birmingham at The Roeper School, Mr. Burnstein received his undergraduate degree in political science from Indiana University and earned a law degree from the John Marshall Law School in Chicago. You can follow all of Scott’s sports commentary on Twitter at @burneystweets.