MPSTMA MEMBER SPOTLIGHT:
BEN WALLIN


Field Manager
National Sports Center
Blaine, MN

When you started the job how did you come to understand all aspects of the industry?
Asking a lot of questions and going to educational seminars.

What are your current responsibilities at the University of Minnesota? Field Manager at the National Sports Center

 How did you first become involved in sports turf management and how did you first become involved with MPSTMA? I met Mike McDonald, who is a CSFM at TCF Bank Stadium, during the Minnesota Vikings shoveling event at the Bank a few years ago. Mike kindled my interest.

How has your career benefitted from being a member of MPSTMA? More networking within the MPSTMA and STMA.

What specific challenges do turf managers at the college level face that differ from your peers in other management categories? I deal with 56 Soccer fields, most deal with less. I also work on the golf course on occasion.

What are your passions and interests outside of work? Youth sports and family.

Qualifications and Awards? Currently working on CSFM, Field of the Year Award. Past President of MPSTMA. Currently serve on the MTGF Board of Directors as a MPSTMA representative.

What are the biggest issues facing the MPSTMA today? Labor in the Industry - getting people to commit.

What are the most important changes you’ve seen in sports turf management over your time with sports turf management? Focus on safety, tools, approach on how to do certain jobs, technology.

If you watch old footage from NFL Films what memories are stirred up when you see some of the turf situations from “back in the day”? The focus on playability. Types of turf from artificial.

You know a lot of sports turf managers. What are they saying are the biggest obstacles to overcome for them to be successful today? Adapt. As technology gets better we have to get better.

How has social media impacted your work? As a whole it is great but it can also hurt your career at the same time.

What’s your favorite on-field maintenance task that you still enjoy performing? I enjoy painting if I have nothing else on my mind. Field set-up and Game prep.

How do you think the profession and industry will change in the next 10 years? With labor low, more drones and robots will be utilized.

Every soccer pitch in the USA has wear in the goalmouths. Any advice for those at park & rec or school levels on keeping turf growing there? Rotate and Aerate. Rotate and move is the best advice.

How do you think the natural turf vs. synthetic turf issue will play out over the next decade? Hate to say but I think synthetic turf is going to become more used, but I prefer natural.

What changes if any are you considering or implementing this year? Learning to do more with less.

Who would be included at the table if you could dine with anyone, living or dead? Lets keep this career related. Me, to my left could be? Dick Erickson in his prime. Darin Daily, just to meet him.

How do you think the STMA should approach the increasing number of synthetic turf fields being built? STMA promotes the fact that if you can afford synthetic turf you have more than enough money to take care of a natural field.