I am the… Facility Manager-North Campus

For… Aramark at Averett University (Danville, Virginia)

What field care product/piece of equipment could you not live without? Our Ventrac tractor has redefined how we take care of our facility. With everything this machine is capable of, we can handle a wide variety of tasks on a daily basis.

Complete this sentence: “If I weren’t a field care pro, I would be …” An engineer for an equipment company. I’ve always enjoyed learning how and why machines operate.

What path led you to a career in sports field management? I’ve always been involved with outdoor work, but mostly it started with landscaping. As a kid, I would tag along with my grandfather when he went out to cut lawns, and that continued for a number of years. After graduating from Virginia Tech, my first job involved turf maintenance with a local landscaping company. We also took care of a few high school athletic fields, and that’s where I figured out which sector of the industry I wanted to be in. That eventually lead me to this position at Averett, where I’ve been for almost four years.

What types of fields and turf areas are you responsible for? Four natural grass fields (baseball, softball, soccer and practice football), one synthetic field and 50 acres of common ground areas. My crew is also responsible for three buildings that are part of the athletics department at Averett University.

What are the biggest challenges in maintaining the facility? Overuse and sporadic scheduling. A good example is as soon as baseball is over, a summer league team begins practicing approximately three weeks after baseball is finished. There are also a number of camps that are scheduled throughout the summer that can create difficulty with scheduling.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned on the job? Being able to adapt to constantly changing conditions. Schedules and demands can change in a blink of an eye, and being able to meet those needs in an efficient manner makes things easier.

How do you predict the sports field industry will evolve in the future? I think we’ll see a swing back to natural grass surfaces as more facilities learn the advantages of them.

What is the most important quality required to be a successful field manager? Having a positive attitude — you can’t let the pressures of daily tasks bring you down.

What advice would you give aspiring field managers? Learn your facility to the best of your ability. Be able to give each site what it needs versus what popular practices say you should do.

Who have been your biggest influences/mentors? My family. They’ve supported me the entire time I’ve pursued being a facility manager. My parents helped me during my college years and early career, and my wife has to deal with me working a lot of unusual hours throughout the year. Without their support, it would be difficult to stay positive at work each and every day. They keep me grounded and remind me that hard work always pays off.