ROGER WEINBRENNER, CSFM
Grounds Department Lead Person
Certified Sports Field Manager
University of St. Thomas - 17 years
17 years as member of MPSTMA/MSTMA
I am currently the Grounds Department Lead Person. I am responsible for overseeing all grounds activities on campus as well as my past athletic field responsibilities.
What are the biggest issues facing the MPSTMA today?
The association’s biggest challenge is trying to get the high school athletic field maintenance people more involved in our workshops. This group maintains hundreds of fields in the metro alone and we have only a few that are members of MPSTMA.
How did you first become involved in sports turf management and how did you first become involved with MPSTMA? My first experience with sports turf came as an intern for Mike McDonald, CSFM at the U of M in the summer of 2000. Mike introduced me to the Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA) and the Minnesota Sports Turf Managers Association (MSTMA) during that internship. It was during the internship that Mike was called to consult at UST and I went along. At this consultation I found out about the open sports turf manager positions at St. Thomas. I applied shortly thereafter and recently celebrated the completion of my 15th year at UST.
How has your career benefitted from being a member of MPSTMA?
Membership in MPSTMA has been the primary reason for my successes and longevity in this industry. The networking among members has given me many tricks of the trade, numerous friendships, great memories at National STMA Conferences and local sporting events, and an unlimited supply of helpful advice and willing volunteers.
What specific challenges do turf managers at the college level face that differ from your peers in other management categories?
In my opinion, one major difference is the appearance of our athletic fields and campus grounds can directly affect our bottom line. Our grounds are often the first impression for prospective students when they visit our campus. We are under constant pressure to maintain the highest level of care to insure that the first impression helps us register new students. The amount of enrolled students directly effects our budgets on a yearly basis. Another challenge that may be different is our need to clear snow from athletic fields. Our collegiate season goes into December for football and our spring sports would like to be on their fields in March. I am often asked to remove snow from both synthetic and natural grass fields.
What are your passions and interests outside of work?
Outside of work I enjoy family time on Lake Latoka in Alexandria, attending dirt track races at the Viking Speedway, and coaching my son and his teammates in youth wrestling for the Rogers Area Youth Wrestling Association.
Qualifications and Awards?
I attained my Certified Sports Field Manager certification in February of 2010. I also recently received the 2015 MPSTMA Field of The Year presented by Turfco.
What are the most important changes you’ve seen in sports turf management over your time with sports turf management?
The amount of Synthetic Turf fields in the state has grown exponentially since the year 2000. Many of us now need to be experts in both Synthetic Turf and Natural Grass field maintenance.
You know a lot of sports turf managers. What are they saying are the biggest obstacles to overcome for them to be successful today?
I think a few major obstacles are shrinking budgets for the same expectations and increased scheduling on all of our fields.
How do you think the natural turf vs. synthetic turf issue will play out over the next decade?
I think this issue will continue to evolve especially in Minnesota. Our climate and the increasing levels for athletic field usage will continue the installation of more synthetic fields. We are charged with making sure that all field managers are informed that these fields are NOT maintenance free. Routine maintenance can increase the field’s longevity, safety and give increasing value to our profession.
Who would be included at the table if you could dine with anyone, living or dead?
Interesting question, I would go with; my wife, Genelle ( to keep us inline), Mike McDonald, CSFM, (always up for a free meal J), Abraham Lincoln (a great leader of men), Chris Farley (for some humor) and Vince Lombardi (for some good Green Bay Packer stories)!!!
How do you think the STMA should approach the increasing number of synthetic turf fields being built?
Encourage the membership to become the “EXPERTS” in synthetic turf maintenance as well as in natural grass fields. We are charged with providing safe athletic fields for all users no matter what surface the athletes are playing on.