I am the… Assistant Director of Fields
For…Virginia Tech (Blacksburg, Virginia)
What field care product/piece of equipment could you not live without? Our Toro ProCore. If we didn’t have a good aerator, we wouldn’t have anything to cut, spray or paint.
Complete this sentence: “If I weren’t a field care pro, I would be …” A hunting guide — I’m an avid waterfowl hunter.
What path led you to a career in sports field management? In eighth grade, my baseball coach would take me out of gym class to help him prepare and repair some of the local sports fields.
What types of fields and turf areas are you responsible for? The Virginia Tech baseball and track facilities, but I spend just as much time, if not more, at the school’s football facilities.
What are the biggest challenges in maintaining the facilities? Weather, team schedules and various facility projects all make life very interesting, to say the least! We do the impossible every day. What we’re asked to do can be a bit comical at times, but we always make it happen.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned on the job? Manage your time wisely. It’s always a good idea to set up a yearly cultural practices schedule for your facilities, then adjust accordingly to team schedules. Also, that the field can rest after it’s been aerified, topdressed, fertilized and irrigated.
How do you predict the sports field industry will evolve in the future? It’s now a booming business. I’m interested to see if the supply of future turf mangers will meet the increasing demands of pristine playing surfaces. I also believe there are going to be a lot of great jobs available in the near future. And I’ll predict that 100 years from now, natural grass will still be better than synthetic surfaces!
What is the most important quality required to be a successful field manager? Common sense — which is not so common anymore. Use your education and don’t do anything stupid.
What advice would you give aspiring field managers? Be the hardest worker every day during your internships and co-ops, because someone is always evaluating you. Your bosses for your internships will be on your résumé for years to come. Be mobile and be willing to move, as in order to get the best jobs, you’re going to have to relocate in most cases. Also, it’s not likely that you’ll land your dream job as your first job.
Who have been your biggest influences/mentors? Bill Marbet of Southern Athletic Fields, Lou Warner of Warner’s Athletic Construction Company and Bart Prather at Mississippi State University all played a huge role in where I am today. They taught me about responsibility, professionalism, accountability and taking pride in my work. My wife and children have been a great influence to me as well. I’m very thankful for my wonderful wife, who has been my biggest supporter over the past nine years during my long hours, late nights and weekend homestands.