I am the… Sports Facilities Superintendent
For the… City of Ankeny, Iowa
What field care product/piece of equipment could you not live without?
Complete this sentence: “If I weren’t a field care pro, I would be …”
An accountant. I enjoy working with numbers.
What types of fields and turf areas are you responsible for?
I oversee 15 baseball, six softball, 10 soccer, five football and three lacrosse fields. Our complex spans 124 acres, 45 of which are highly-maintained athletic fields. We also oversee an adult slow-pitch complex that has two softball fields and four sand volleyball courts.
What are the biggest challenges in maintaining the facility?
Overuse and sharing of the fields. One example is as soon as baseball season is over, the outfields on five of our fields are turned into football fields. In other words, there’s no offseason. Also, with adding lacrosse this year, three of the football fields are now used in the spring and summer.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned on the job?
Things constantly change and are usually out of my hands. I just roll with it and get the work done!
How do you predict the sports field industry will evolve in the future?
I think we’ll see a lot of high schools go back to natural grass playing surfaces.
What path led you to a career in sports field management?
I started in high school doing lawn care for my dad. While in college (Kirkwood Community College), I continued to work for a lawn care company and we maintained the fields where the company’s owner went to high school. That’s when I enrolled in the sports turf management program.
What is the most important quality required to be a successful field manager?
Attitude — you have to be positive.
What advice would you give aspiring field managers?
Take any job you can get and work your way up. You aren’t going to get your dream job as your first job, but you have to start somewhere and hard work will pay off.
Who have been your biggest influences/mentors?
My dad, Jerry Josephson. He got me interested in turf and taught me what having a good work ethic means, how to do things right the first time and to always do my best. Another would be my first employer in sports turf, Chris Schlosser, the head groundskeeper for the Triple-A Iowa Cubs. When I was first getting into the industry, I was lucky to be hired by Chris and learn from one of the best.