What field care product/piece of equipment could you not live without? My team of employees — they’re an amazing group of people dedicated to improving the playability and safety of our athletic fields throughout the city.
Complete this sentence: “If I weren’t a field care pro, I would be …” A firefighter. I’ve always wanted to be one. I feel that my years of working in the turf world have trained me to be prepared and how to tackle situations at the last minute, regardless of how prepared you are.
What path led you to a career in sports turf? It kind of found me, but I wouldn’t change a thing. I love working outside and I love working on all types of athletic fields and events.
What types of fields and turf areas are you responsible for? I oversee a team that’s responsible for preparing 129 baseball/softball fields and approximately 45 multiuse fields per week. We also do quarterly maintenance on five synthetic turf fields (the district staff performs bi-monthly grooming) and work with the city’s four maintenance districts on field improvements and repairs throughout the year.
What are the biggest challenges in maintaining your facilities? Recovering from a budget shortage and lack of routine maintenance to the fields. We’re working on being as creative as we can with the resources (budgetary and personnel) we have. We prioritize the fields by usage hours and safety concerns; we make improvements we can with the resources we have. The city’s main park facilities have undergone budget cuts, which affects us — but we’re still trying to make a difference.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned on the job? It is hard to choose just one thing. Be creative and efficient with all the resources you have. Know that every user group and coach thinks that they can do a better job at maintaining the field better than you (mainly because they have a yard at home). Be professional at all times, as you never know who is watching you and who will be your biggest advocate.
What advice would you give aspiring field managers? Be open to learning all that you can from anybody that will let you. Constant learning and adjusting your maintenance programs will make you a strong field manager that can handle anything you may encounter along your career path.
How do you predict the sports turf industry will evolve in the future? Technology is taking the industry in a new direction and will continue to do so. It’s becoming more affordable (at a slow rate, but it’s moving in a good direction) and more readily available to help with sports turf managers with daily maintenance programs.
Describe the sports turf industry in one word. Influential.
Who have been your biggest influences/mentors? There are too many to list. But I’d say Ross Kurcab, Lynda & Steve Wightman, Amy Fouty, Troy Smith and the late Darian Daily.