Kevin Moses, Grounds Manager, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, Cashman Field
What path led you to a career in sports field management?
Growing up on a farm in a small town in Iowa exposed me to agriculture from a very young age. My dad helped me start my own lawn care business when I was in the seventh grade. When I was in college I started working on baseball fields as an assistant coach for my former high school. During my graduate studies at the University of Kentucky, I started working a part-time job with the Lexington Legends (Single A – Houston at the time) and fell in love with being on a ball field every day. I discovered sports field management was a passion of mine, so I decided to pursue a career in turf maintenance.
What are the biggest challenges in maintaining your field?
Having started in January, I have yet to experience a full season at Cashman Field and am still learning about the field and facility. Having moved from the Northeast however, I realize that the desert climate will present challenges that are unique. While it will be a relief to not have to spend countless hours worrying about rain, tarp pulls and the disease pressure of the mid-Atlantic climate, it will be a challenging work environment due to the extreme temperatures and windy conditions of the high desert. The other challenge is the fact that not only is the Grounds Department responsible for the upkeep of Cashman Field, we also maintain the landscaping at Cashman Center and the Las Vegas Convention Center. Balancing the needs of both properties and keeping up with the busy schedule is demanding, but our experienced grounds staff does a great job and takes pride in keeping both properties looking pristine year round. Our staff includes William Hoopii, Dustin Amatori, Mike Lepczyk, Charlie Ross, Allen Austin, Cal Barringer, Paul McCutcheon, Eddie Chang, Maureen Allred, James Edwards, and Albert Santos.
Photos courtesy of the Las Vegas News Bureau.
What field care product/piece of equipment could you not live without?
In short, laser grading equipment. I think that having a properly graded infield and warning track is one of the most important aspects of maintaining a top-notch field. Having the ability to do your own grading in-house allows you to do it on your own schedule and you are able to do a more thorough job. It also gives you the ability as a turf professional to take on other renovation projects, which saves money for your organization and also makes you more valuable as an employee.
What has been the most memorable moment of your career?
The most memorable moments have been the opportunities I have had to work with fellow groundskeepers and turf managers around the world. I have been privileged to work with and teach foreign professionals about the materials and methods used in the U.S. I have been fortunate to be involved with worldwide events such as the 2007, 2009 and 2011 Baseball World Cups; 2010 MLB Taiwan Series; 2011 MLB All-Star Game; the 2012 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers; 2013 World Baseball Classic; and the Australian Baseball League. I always find these projects challenging and fulfilling, and they have made me a better turf manager.
What have been the greatest advancements in field care over the last 10 years?
Companies are continuing to improve and develop higher-quality materials and more advanced equipment. From irrigation products to fertilizers to infield mixes and mowers, we as turf managers have access to an increasingly sophisticated product line that helps make our jobs easier and allows us to provide better fields to the end users. These advancements lend us the capabilities to literally pick up the phone or hop on the Internet and have just about any type of equipment or material delivered to our fields within a few days. In my opinion, this accessibility to evolving equipment and quality materials has proven to be the greatest advancement for the betterment of sports field care over the last decade.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned on the job?
The baseball and sports turf community is full of great people. Having good relationships with all involved and being approachable will go a long way in making your job easier and more enjoyable. The relationships you build will help you to build trust so you know you can rely on your team, and they know they can rely on you. You never know what connection you make that will help you out down the road.
How do you predict the sports field industry will evolve in the future?
With pesticides, fertilizers and water usage continuing to be restricted and monitored, it’s going to be important for turf managers to be more efficient with their inputs. The only way to do this is to rely on the science in the profession and to make an effort to continually improve our methods.
What do you wish spectators/players/coaches knew about your job?
I wish everybody knew the sheer amount of man-hours, hard work and planning that go into maintaining a professional field that is safe, playable and aesthetically pleasing. Typically, grounds departments work harder when the team goes on the road than when they are home!
What is the most important quality required to be a successful field manager?
I believe that being self-motivated and taking pride in your work is what makes the successful field manager. There are plenty of turf managers out there at all levels who don’t have big budgets, fancy equipment or large crews, but they’re still able to produce high-quality surfaces simply because they have the desire and resourcefulness to get the job done.
What advice would you give aspiring field managers?
Don’t be afraid to ask questions and always look to expand your knowledge. There are many different methods, products and equipment in the industry. The only way to find out what works best for you is to do your due diligence and always try to learn from everyone you work with.
Who have been your biggest influences/mentors?
My entire family was instrumental in influencing the person I have become, but my dad and my grandfathers were especially important to my development. They instilled in me a good work ethic, showed me how to treat others, and nurtured my love and respect for the game of baseball.
Complete this sentence: “If I weren’t a field care pro, I would be …”
To be honest, I can’t really think of another job that I would like better than sports field management. I like working with my hands and being able to see the fruits of my labor. So if I weren’t a field care pro, I would probably still be working in a similar profession.