MPSTMA MEMBER SPOTLIGHT:
MTGF Representative / MPSTMA
What is your typical work day like
day involves helping sports turf managers and other professional
turf managers face their daily challenges in their attempt to
grow healthy, high-performing turf.
After schooling, what occupations led you to the situation you
are in today?
first “real job” was working 12 years as an administrative
assistant and eventually holding the title of Product Manager
for Northrup King’s Medalist Turf Products Division and the
Company’s consumer line of lawn seed products.
that, 10 years working as a sales rep, sales manager & soft
goods manager for North Star Turf, a Jacobsen turf equipment and
soft goods distributor back in the 90s.
five years at Simplot Partners as store manager and sales rep.
SP was a soft goods distributor.
years selling turf and forage grass seed for Land ‘O
Lakes/Winfield Solutions in Wisconsin.
last eight years working for Reinders as a store manager and
When you began, how did you come to understand all aspects of
question! Volunteering my time, getting involved at local,
regional and national levels within various professional
organizations, Never saying “no” to a legitimate and real
opportunity. Getting to know key people in the industry:
manufacturers, academia leaders, successful turf managers,
How did you first become involved with MPSTMA?
was a member of both the Minnesota Parks Supervisors Association
and the Minnesota Sports Turf Managers Association before they
merged a few years back. I was an instrumental contributor in
bringing the two groups together.
How has your career benefitted from being a member of MPSTMA?
with other like-minded people. Learning new things, trends,
global challenges, etc. Getting to know other MPSTMA members
and nurturing friendships with many. It’s also gained me access
to the STMA, not only reaping the rewards of membership, but
also allowing me to get involved in national committees and
attend the STMA Annual Conference, which, by itself, is worth
the cost of membership!
What challenges does your company face?
of doing business that are beyond our control, e.g.,
transportation costs, regulatory fees, rising product costs,
who sell exclusively on price. They fail to see their value and
make no attempt to provide it
What are your passions and interests outside of work?
my lawn, gardening, camping, hiking, reading, spending time with
my wife, Barbara, and our 3 kids who have grown up to be
remarkable young adults. They take after their mother.
Qualifications and Awards?
MPSA 2005 Supervisor’s Award
MGSCA 2015 Watson Award. Extremely proud of this one!
Published contributor in national trade and consumer magazines
Past & current board member of the MPSA, MGCSA & MPSTMA
Appearances on local and nationally programming, both on TV and
What are the biggest issues facing the MPSTMA today?
Understanding and complying with environmental regulations
Negative public perception of turfgrass maintenance mostly due
to the use of fertilizers and pesticides.
Maintaining current membership and adding new members.
Developing an outreach program to recruit new members,
particularly those in outstate Minnesota and MASMS members.
current active members to become board and committee members.
This will help by bringing in fresh ideas on how to
maintain a vibrant organization.
What are the most important changes you’ve seen in Minnesota’s
Green Industry throughout the years?
The rapid growth of technology and its application to the Green
A greater environmental awareness and stewardship in the
responsible use of inputs including, water, fertilizer,
pesticides and fuel.
Better turfgrass plant genetics that focus on a lesser need of
A trend toward more science-based methods of turf management
creating the need for more educated, free-thinking and overall
more sophisticated turf managers.
What challenges do you see MPSTMA members (Park and Sports Turf
Mangers) need to overcome for them to be successful today?
The temptation to “keep doing things the way I’ve always done
them.” Getting stuck in a routine. Not embracing new
technology and methods that meet the increasing demands placed
on providing the general public with safer, healthier and better
performing sports facilities.
Shrinking operating budgets, being asked to do more with less.
And most likely the combination of the two.
How has social media impacted your work?
It’s created a ‘real time’ environment where you know what’s
going on as it happens
It’s created a new stream of information in which info shared
can impact the masses instantaneously
It’s a new way to network, make contacts, create opportunities
How do you think your profession will change in the next 10
turf managers will outsource services shifting my focus to
working with service providers rather than end-users.
use of inputs will be vastly reduced. Pesticide applications
will be almost nonexistent. My focus will continue to shift
toward helping turf managers manage plant health
culturally/holistically to make them less dependent upon inputs
(water, fertilizer, pesticides).
How do you think the natural turf vs. synthetic turf issue will
play out over the next decade?
will continue to be a shift toward the use of synthetic turf.
It will never totally replace natural turf, but it’s use will be
more critical as ball field scheduling continues to increase and
a higher expectation is placed on ball fields that are not
congruent to maintaining healthy natural turf. The “Keeping up
with the Jones” factor will continue to play a role in how many
new synthetic ball fields are installed. That will never go
away. Nor will false claims by synthetic turf
manufactures/installers. There is a place for them,
nonetheless. And we will continue to see the ebb & flow of
synthetic fields being installed and then removed in favor of
natural turf fields as they are not invulnerable to their own
weaknesses, faults, maintenance challenges.
How do you think the STMA should approach the increasing number
of synthetic turf fields being built?
Learn to work along side them rather than fight them.
Continue to promote the benefits of natural turf fields.
What changes if any are you considering or implementing this
Continue to explore ways to help my customers meet their daily
challenges by keeping myself abreast on new technologies,
chemistries, genetics and innovative methods of using them.
Then sharing this info with them.
to show value outside of product availability and price. Be a
business partner providing solutions.
Do you find value in the Northern Green?
It’s a great way to network and learn. We need to continue to
upgrade our educational segments by coming up with timely sports
turf related topics and key speakers.
What changes would you like happen with the Northern Green?
Focus more on classroom education and less on the Innovation
Theatre & Campfire sessions on the trade show floor.
Who would be included at the table if you could dine with
anyone, living or not?
Friday Night: Gene Kranz, Gus Grissom, Buzz Aldrin & Yuri
Saturday Night: Herb Carneal; Kirby Puckett, Yogi Berra,
Sunday Brunch: Dahlia Lama, Maya Angelou, Howard Schultz, Wayne
Anything else you’d like to add about yourself, family etc….
year marks 40 years in which I have worked in the professional
turf industry. With a little help from Above, I hope to make it
to 45. Maybe even 50! As long as I continue to have fun and
can make a difference in the lives of fellow turf nerds, I will
continue to get up every morning and grab my truck keys.