2021 Election Info

Introducing the 2021 Slate of Candidates for the Board of Directors

The STMA Nominating Committee has finalized its slate of candidates for the 2021 election and presents it here to the membership, as required by the STMA bylaws. Ballots will be sent electronically on Nov. 16 to voting members of the association. The voting window will be open until Dec. 8.

The open director positions that will be on the ballot include:

  • Director: Schools K-12
  • Director: Professional Facilities
  • Director: Commercial
  • Director: At-Large Elected

Officers

Immediate Past President

President-Elect

Vice President - Commercial

Directors

Professional Facilities

Not up for Election

Academic

At-Large Appointed

Higher Education

Parks & Recreation

Higher Education Director, Nick McKenna, CSFM
President

Nick McKenna, CSFM

Texas A&M Athletic Department, College Station, TX

Nick McKenna, CSFM, is an Assistant Athletic Field Manager at Texas A&M University. Nick returned to Texas A&M in August 2011 after having spent 4 years working for Virginia Tech overseeing their baseball and soccer/lacrosse facilities. He assists in overseeing all the athletics fields at Texas A&M which include Kyle Field, the Coolidge Football Practice Fields, Olsen Field at Bluebell Park (baseball), Ellis Field (soccer), Davis Diamond (softball), as well as the track & field facilities and numerous landscape areas. This is Nick’s second term at Texas A&M, where he also served as a groundskeeper from 2003-2005.

Nick received his B.S. from Iowa State University in Horticulture with a turfgrass emphasis. While at Iowa State, he served as an athletic field intern during his final semester in school. Nick also completed coursework and research towards an M.S. in Crop Soils & Environmental Science at Virginia Tech, and in 2007 was the recipient of the Dr. James Watson SAFE scholarship. Nick has served on numerous STMA committees and achieved CSFM status in January 2011. He briefly served on the Board of Directors for the Virginia STMA before returning to Texas where he has served on the TXSTMA Board for the last since 2012.

Vision for STMA

Aside from providing safe athletic surfaces on a continual basis, my primary role as an athletic field manager is to educate the public about our profession and to develop the next generation of athletic field managers. In my experience, the STMA is the single greatest resource we have to support that mission by providing us with the network, tools, and information needed to succeed in this endeavor. It would be a privilege to give back to an organization that has provided so much to me.

My vision for STMA is to continue to promote our position as “Experts in the Field, Partners in the Game”. An organization is only as good as its membership, so we must strive to find ways to grow our membership and help them in as many ways as possible. We must continue to develop ideas, programs, and resources for our membership to help them advocate their positions and to educate the public about the importance of safe, environmentally responsible, and functional athletic fields.

Additionally, I would like to see the organization continue to grow and develop our professional image and to establish ourselves as true experts within the industry. We need to continue to advocate for our membership and stay on the forefront of potential issues that our industry has faced and will continue to face in the coming years.

Past President, Jimmy Simpson, CSFM
Past President

Jimmy Simpson, CSFM

Town of Cary, Cary, NC

Jimmy Simpson, CSFM has worked in the turfgrass industry for 20 years. He graduated from NC State University in 2002 with a B.S. in Agronomy concentrating in Turfgrass Management. He began working full-time in the industry while still a student when he was hired as Interim Head Groundskeeper for the AAA Durham Bulls Baseball Club in May 2001; he was later hired permanently. He is employed by the Town of Cary as a Facilities Management Coordinator where he is responsible for all operations related to buildings and grounds maintenance at the USA Baseball National Training Complex, WakeMed Soccer Park, Middle Creek Community Park, Mills Park Middle School and other Town properties. Jimmy has been integral in helping to host many major sporting events at these venues including the Men’s and Women’s NCAA Soccer College Cup, ACC Soccer events, international soccer matches, training site for the US Men’s National Team prior to the 2006 and 2010 World Cups, the USA Olympic Baseball team, and the NCAA Division II Baseball National Championship. Prior to joining the Town of Cary, Jimmy was employed by the University of South Carolina as a Grounds Supervisor.

Jimmy formerly served on the Board of Directors, as treasurer, of the Turfgrass Council of North Carolina for 3 years. A past president of the North Carolina Chapter of the Sports Turf Managers Association, he now serves as the chair of the Conference Committee for the Sports Turf Managers Association and previously served on the STMA Conference Education Committee, as well as the Finance and Audit committee. Jimmy earned his Certified Sports Field Manager designation in 2008. He was named a 2014 Outstanding Young Alumnus for NC State’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

He is passionate about giving back to the industry and furthering the profession. Jimmy established an internship program at the Town of Cary that employs several students annually. He also returns to NC State each semester to address Turfgrass Management students. In addition, he co-founded a scholarship golf tournament with the NC/SC STMA that has awarded $30,000+ in scholarships to turfgrass students in the Carolinas over the last 9 years.

Vision for STMA

As a long-standing member of the STMA, I have benefitted greatly from the opportunities for knowledge, networking and connections the association offers. The history of our association is strong and has put us on a solid foundation for the future. Now it is incumbent upon us to balance the history with the future, so that we can continue to evolve and adapt the association and its offerings to ensure we remain relevant to today’s (and tomorrow’s) Sports Turf Managers.

I believe the STMA must also expand its external outreach efforts to the public, our supervisors and the end-users of our facilities. Collectively, we need to increase awareness of the relevance and impact that a Sports Turf Manager has on the success and safety of athletic facilities.

I am proud to see the growth of the STMA over the years and I look forward to the future as we develop the new narrative of the modern Sports Turf Manager together.

President-Elect, James Bergdoll, CSFM
President-Elect

James Bergdoll, CSFM

City of Chattanooga, TN

James Bergdoll, CSFM is the Director of Park Maintenance for the City of Chattanooga (TN) Department of Public Works, a position he has held since 2015. Bergdoll oversees the maintenance and operations of over 100 public spaces throughout the City of Chattanooga, including 84 parks, 35 miles of greenway, multiple youth sports association facilities and 2 golf courses. He holds a MS in Sports and Recreation Administration from Western Kentucky University and a BS in Turfgrass Science from Purdue University. Prior to serving the citizens of Chattanooga, Bergdoll oversaw the design, construction, and operations of Elizabethtown (KY) Sports Park. He also gained industry experience at the International Polo Club Palm Beach, Baltimore Orioles Spring Training, Indianapolis Indians, Purdue Athletics (Golf & Sports Fields), and Hanover College. Bergdoll has been a member of the STMA since 2004, serving on several different committees, and achieved CSFM status in 2013. Bergdoll is a Past President of the Kentucky STMA, and is currently a member of the TVSTMA and APWA.

Vision for STMA

After 2 years of Board service, I have had my eyes opened and I feel like I have a larger picture of our industry and organization. My vision for STMA is still to continue to help colleagues in the industry work towards having high quality athletic fields that are safe, play extraordinary, and are aesthetically pleasing. I also believe that we have opportunities to be a larger voice for advocating sustainable and environmentally friendly maintenance practices. We also need to be educating our membership on what they can do to increase their awareness in their communities and the roles they play. I am excited to see how we can do this through the STMA. While we have made great strides in recent years, my vision for the STMA involves the continued promotion of awareness to the work that sports turf managers take part in and maintain increased recognition as a profession. Having my professional role in parks maintenance, I have found that it is very important to educate the general public and its leaders on the importance of sport field management and how it positively impacts those that use public facilities, primarily our youth.

Director Commercial, Jeremy Bohonko
Vice President – Commercial

Jeremy Bohonko

Ewing Irrigation, Charlotte, NC

Jeremy is the Regional Manager- Piedmont Region for Ewing Irrigation and Landscape Supply. Previously he was the National Sports Field Specialist for the North and South Carolina area. He has also held the position of Branch Manager of Ewing’s North Charlotte location and before moving to Charlotte, he worked in inside sales at Ewing’s headquarters in Phoenix.

In his role, he serves a wide variety of customers ranging from sports field managers and golf course professionals to residential and commercial contractors. After finishing his college baseball career, he was the assistant groundskeeper at Hagerstown Suns Municipal Stadium, a minor league baseball facility in Maryland. After that, he relocated and continued his career as an assistant groundskeeper tor the Oakland Athletics at their Phoenix-based spring training facility. He graduated from the College of William and Mary/Shippensburg University with a B.S.BA in Marketing and completed the University of Georgia ‘s Sports Turf grass management certification program. He is involved in the North Carolina chapter of the STMA and currently serves as the commercial vice president. he is also a national STMA member and a member of the Georgia and South Carolina chapters.

Outside of work, Jeremy enjoys spending time and traveling with his family: wife, Toni, and sons Chase and Cooper.

Vision for STMA

As the Commercial Director, my vision for STMA is to further build upon the strong relationships between the board, our vendors and our members to continue to make our chapter successful. Serving as a partner in the sports turf community, we can work together to further elevate our profession and lead into the future of our field.

Schools K-12 Director, Sun Roesslein, CSFM
Secretary/Treasurer

Sun Roesslein, CSFM

Jeffco Schools, Golden, CO

Sun Roesslein, CSFM, has been Sports Stadium Manager at the North Area Athletic Complex for over 15 years. She is responsible for overseeing and maintaining the football stadium and the soccer stadium which make up the NAAC. The complex is the home field for 6 of the high schools in the Jefferson County School District. Sun got her start in the turfgrass management industry working on the grounds crew for the Lexington Legends Minor League baseball team in 2001. After moving to Denver she worked briefly for the City of Thornton before taking her current position with Jeffco Schools Athletics. In 2014, the NAAC soccer field was awarded STMA’s Soccer Field of the Year for the Schools and Parks category. The following year, the NAAC football field was selected as STMA’s 2015 Football Field of the Year in the same category.

Sun received her B.S. in 2000 and M.S. in 2002 from Eastern Kentucky University in Sports Administration. It was during her final semester that she discovered the turfgrass industry and decided to make a career path change. She became a member of STMA in 2002. She is a Past President of the Rocky Mountain Regional Turfgrass Association, served on the CSTMA Board of Directors, and has served on STMA’s Ethics committee, Website/ Technology committee, Membership committee and is currently Chair of the Certification committee. Sun has also served the STMA Board as the Director representing the K-12 segment as well as the Route to Recovery task group.  In July of 2016, Sun earned her CSFM designation.

Vision for STMA

The STMA membership is a group of passionate, talented, driven and dedicated people who make this industry a great one! I believe the Association plays a crucial role in supporting the success of sports turf managers through education, networking, certifications, and awareness. 2020 has certainly presented challenges, but STMA stepped up to provide educational resources and support to our members and non-members alike. I envision STMA and our membership to continue being the industry leaders in sports field management around the world. This year has highlighted what an important role sports fields play in people’s lives. It is imperative that STMA continue to educate managers on the importance of having qualified sports turf managers keeping those surfaces safe.

Many of us have responsibilities beyond maintaining our playing surfaces and STMA’s collaboration with other groups in related industries is certainly an area for growth. Whether it is administrative, facility management, or event management, I envision STMA partnering with organizations in those areas to support our membership in their expansion of duties. These collaborations will also increase STMA member’s visibility and credibility among those who do not necessarily understand what all goes into sports turf management.

STMA has enhanced my career tremendously, and I would be honored to continue helping the Association support the successes of members at every level.


Parks & Recreation Director, Brad Thedens, CSFM
Secretary/Treasurer

Brad Thedens, CSFM

City of Sioux Falls, SD

Brad Thedens, CSFM recieved his B.S. degree in Horticulture with turfgrass emphasis  from Iowa State University in 2001.  After graduating, he worked for SW Franks Construction as a Supervisor overseeing field grow-in and maintenance for various projects ranging from MLB, NFL, minor league, college and high school facilities.

For the past 15 years, he has been in Parks and Recreation working as a Park Caretaker for the City of Sioux Falls Parks Department managing their 3 soccer complexes. This includes 21 full-size natural grass fields and another 20 acres used for youth sized fields. The complexes have been host to multiple US Youth Midwest Regional Tournaments, 11 Nike Cross National Heartland Region and 5 NCAA Cross Country meets, numerous other tournaments and special events along with over 3,000 recreational matches a year.  The City of Sioux Falls is a CAPRA accredited agency that maintains 80 parks containing over 3300 acres,  3 golf courses, 34 miles of bike trails, and multiple youth sports complexes.

Brad is a current member of the Iowa STMA and has held multiple positions on their board. He attained the CSFM designation in 2017 and is currently working toward receiving Certified Park and Recreation Professional status from the NPRA. He lives in Harrisburg, SD with his wife (Erika) and 3 children (Clay and twins Zack and Zoe).

Vision for STMA

My vision for STMA is to help our members face today’s adversity, adapt to new challenges, expand their knowledge, gain new opportunities and grow relationships showing why this organization is made up of the best “Experts in the Field, Partners in the Game”.  We must continue to look for and find new ways to grow our membership and keep members involved.   This organization truly is great because of the hard work and dedication of its members both past and present which is why we need to look to grow and educate the future generations of SFM.

It truly is an honor to be a part of an organization that is the leader at advocating for its members by providing them with the tools and resources to grow and develop as professionals.  I look forward to continuing to advance STMA’s mission and give back to an organization that has contributed so much to my career.

#Director_SchoolsK_12, Jeremy Driscoll
Director – Schools K-12

Jeremy Driscoll

St. Mark’s High School, Wilmington, DE

Jeremy Driscoll is the Grounds Supervisor at St. Mark’s High School in Wilmington, DE from which he is an alumnus (class of ‘95). He has been overseeing all of the campus and athletic fields encompassing approximately 50 total acres since 2006. Always educating himself and finding new things to study, he began his higher education at Paul Smith’s College in Paul Smith’s, NY. He studied Urban Tree Management and earned his A.A.S in 1997. Jeremy furthered his education at the University of Delaware receiving in 2000 his B.S in General Agriculture.

Jeremy has been an International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Certified Arborist since 2002. He has a Class B CDL license which he acquired while working for the city of Beaver Creek, CO. He is also a licensed pesticide applicator in NY and DE. Mauget Certified and a DE Certified Nutrient Handler, Jeremy is currently in the process of acquiring his CSFM designation.

Jeremy has been a member of ISA for over 20 years. He became a member of STMA immediately in 2006, when he took his current position. He has served as K-12 Director during the past two years on the STMA Board. He is currently serving as chair of the Advocacy committee, and member of the BMP committee. He previously served as chair of the editorial committee, and past service includes the International and Environmental committees. He is a co founder of MASTMA (Mid-Atlantic) Chapter, where he has served as President during the past two years.

Jeremy is a second-degree black belt in taekwondo and is preparing to test to acquire his third degree in the martial art. He finds that these principles of focus, goal setting, respect, motivation and honor transfer into everyday life. A mantra is to never give up, and ALWAYS finish what you start!

Jeremy resides in Wilmington, DE with his wife Susan and son Eughan (Owen).

Vision for STMA

My vision for STMA is to see the organization grow stronger. I would like individuals not in our profession to know about the sports field managers who take care of their kids’ sports facilities, school grounds, and professional stadiums. I would like for these individuals to see that we are professionals. We have degrees and certifications which aid in educated decision making and proper care of facilities around the world.

I would like to see the organization build stronger bonds with legislators to educate and keep our products labeled for use on sports fields (pesticides, fertilizer etc..) and not allow governing bodies to continue to take away valuable products that help us professionals complete our jobs. I would like to see the organization be able to give back to more communities and help a greater number of under privileged areas build or rejuvenate sport fields to get kids outside for exercise and to provide safer fields and areas to participate in multiple sports and activities.


#Director_SchoolsK_12, Joe Kovolyan, CSFM
Director – Schools K-12

Joe Kovolyan, CSFM

Richland School District, Richland, WA

Joe Kovolyan, CSFM, CGM, ISA is the Manager of Grounds for the Richland School District in Richland Washington. He is a founding member of the NESTMA Chapter and served on the board of both NESTMA and PNWSTMA chapters along with several committees of national STMA. With a Horticulture degree from the University of New Hampshire Joe has be involved with school districts, athletic field construction, private prep schools, public works, colleges, NCAA and the NFL in his 32-year career.
Besides athletic fields he has overseen garages and motor pools, indoor and outdoor ice rinks, tree canopy care, tree campus USA certifications, solid waste/recycling/compost programs, landscape and irrigation design install and maintenance programs, outdoor trail systems, xc skiing trails and snow/ice removal programs.

After becoming a certified grounds manager, he was elected to the national board of the Professional Grounds Management Society and is currently President elect of PGMS. With both organizations he has helped organize both regional and national conferences including educational speakers, tours, CEU certifications, supplier events, field days, membership recruitment, chapter development and social media content such as interviews and articles.

Vision for STMA

Covid 19 has changed how organizations like STMA can meet, educate communicate and grow. Now more than ever the relationship between local chapters and National needs to be strong. Partnering with other organizations on joint education possibilities will be more important. Financially we will need to be more diverse for revenue sources and the importance of membership retention is just as important of gaining new members. I envision STMA hosting more local events with their chapters due to smaller travel budgets and restrictions. We need to focus on an even larger online and social media presence, and growth of our sustainability and certifications must be recognized by a wider audience in the industry.

Elected Director at Large, Jason Bowers,CSFM
Elected Director at Large

Jason Bowers, CSFM

Montgomery Parks, M-NCPPC, Wheaton, MD

Jason Bowers, CSFM graduated from Virginia Tech with an Associate Degree in Landscape and Turf Management in 2000. From 2004 to 2009, Jason worked as the Sports Turf manager for Virginia Tech and in 2007, he earned his CSFM. In 2008, Jason was awarded STMA College Field of the Year. In 2010, Jason accepted the position of Sports Turf Manager at the MLS Philadelphia Union for their inaugural season. He spent the next three years as the Sports Turf Manager for the Middle Division School at the Milton Hershey School, and with his Assistant, Joe Barr, they won the 2013 STMA School/Parks Football field of the year.

In 2016, Jason became the Sports Turf Supervisor of Montgomery County Parks & Recreation, Cabin John Regional Athletic Area fields. Jason currently over sees 6 baseball/softball diamond fields, including the home of the NCAA Division I Georgetown Hoyas baseball team.
Jason is a Board Member of the Mid-Atlantic Sports Turf Managers Association (MASTMA) and helped initiate the BMP project for the MASTMA. Jason has been an active member in the STMA for 20 years, including serving on several committees, and currently sits on the National STMA BMP committee.

Jason is a Board Member of the Mid-Atlantic Sports Turf Managers Association (MASTMA) and helped initiate the BMP project for the MASTMA. Jason has been an active member in the STMA for 20 years, including serving on several committees, and currently sits on the National STMA BMP committee.

Vision for STMA

My vision for the STMA is to continue on the right path that the STMA is on. By starting the BMP project in Maryland then having serious conversations with the STMA and getting them on board to get started on a National BMP for STM is a HUGE step in the right direction. I want to continue pushing STMA in this right direction, we fell behind on this BMP step and we are feeling the pinch in some states, but with STM who are willing to help states that are not feeling any legislation “pinch,” we can help them not go down the same road we are in Maryland. I also want to help get more young people involved in the Sports Turf World. Talking to several academia the past couple years at the STMA, and they have talked about the enrollment in Turf Management is down. With new ideas, I would like to try and get more students involved in our industry.


 

Elected Director at Large, Alpha Jones,CSFM
Elected Director at Large

Alpha Jones, CSFM

Fayetteville Woodpeckers, Fayetteville, NC

Alpha Jones, CSFM, is the Director of Field Operations for the Fayetteville Woodpeckers, the High – A Affiliate of the Houston Astros. Currently he oversees all field related operations and maintenance at Segra Stadium. He has worked in the Turfgrass Industry for the past 18 years and previous 12 years in landscaping. His sports turf management experience is very diverse.

Fayetteville is his second time in the minor leagues, after several years with the Durham Bulls. Additionally, he worked as crew leader at WakeMed Soccer Park, Assistant Athletic Director of Athletic Facilities for Longwood University and Head Groundskeeper for Durham Academy. In each of these stops, he managed multiple athletic fields, facilities and capital projects. He has volunteered much of his time to help consult, maintain and renovate local athletic fields.

A long-standing member of the Sports Turf Managers Association, the North Carolina and Virginia STMA chapters, Alpha has served on the VSTMA Board of Directors, Conference Education and Tours Committee, Environmental Facility Certification Committee and currently serves as chairperson of the Learning Initiatives Committee.

Alpha earned his degree in Political Science, graduating Summa cum Laude in 2005 from North Carolina Central University. He achieved Certified Sports Field Manager status in October 2020.

Vision for STMA

As we start the third decade of the 21st century, change has truly become the constant in our society, communities and industry. Adaptation is now essential to sustain the turf industry and I hope to have the honor of helping it and our Association’s membership navigate that journey.
My vision for the STMA is to see the standards of professionalism, public awareness and industry leadership, established by the great leaders who came before us, continue to grow successfully, increase the size of our membership and become the recognized true standard and authority in the sports turf management industry.
I believe we must play a vital role in creating a new and diverse interest in our industry. As our society and education systems adjust to the impacts of the COVID pandemic, The STMA is poised to be a key ingredient in establishing new and solid pathways for future sports turf managers to follow within the education systems. We can and must establish new recruiting tools that attract the “technology dependent” generations, the person who is not sure of their future career choice, as well as the former athletes who want better, safer and aesthetically pleasing athletic facilities for their communities and schools. Focusing our outreach on the younger generations now will play a significant role in the vitality and longevity of our industry.


 

Elected Director at Large, Scott Thompson,CSFM
Elected Director at Large

Scott Thompson, CSFM

Duke University, Durham, NC

Scott Thompson, CSFM is the Director of Landscape Services at Duke University. In his current role he is responsible for nearly 600 acres of university grounds maintenance, sports turf maintenance, and grounds equipment and fleet maintenance. In his 13 years with the university he has held various roles including being the sports turf manager for the Blue Devils as well as the superintendent of grounds. During his time at Duke, Scott has seen immense growth and development in the university landscape and athletic facilities. Before coming to Duke, Scott spent the majority of his time in the golf course maintenance industry prior to and after completing his coursework at North Carolina State University. Scott graduated in 2006 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agronomy with a concentration in Turfgrass Science. Scott is actively serving as the President Elect for the North Carolina STMA Chapter and formerly as a board member for the Turfgrass Council of North Carolina. Scott has served on several STMA committees including the Awards Committee, and Conference Education Committee, and he received his CSFM designation in 2013.

Scott currently resides in Durham with his wife Kristen and three daughters Charlotte Mae, Millie, and Eloise.

Vision for STMA

My vision for the STMA is one of forward thinking and staying ahead of the game. While our industry has been around for decades, it is growing and changing at an exponential rate. As new technologies and methods are constantly being developed, being at the forefront of developments and advancements in our field is critical and the STMA has been a pioneer in this industry’s growth for several years. It’s important to me to encourage other sports turf managers to think outside the box and try new techniques that were not considered years ago. When individual professionals are excelling in their craft and producing superior sports turf, our industry benefits as a whole. Through continuing education and networking opportunities at the local and national levels, these ideas begin to flourish as we learn from one another and push each other towards excellence, allowing us to take these ideas and turn them into tangible and workable models at our respective facilities. While the importance of education cannot be understated, our fields are being used in new ways with the changing landscape in the athletic and event world and critical thinking and problem solving are among our most valuable assets. We are stronger as individual sports turf managers when we have the opportunity to come together to share experience and collaborate in helping to work through individual problems. While we may personally represent a wide variety of individual facilities, our vested interest is in the advancement and betterment of our industry. I am grateful to be a part of an organization that advocates for and promotes the growth and professional development of its membership.

Professional Facilities Director, Steve Lord, CSFM

Steve Lord, CSFM

Cincinnati Reds, Cincinnati, OH

Steve Lord was named to his current position on March 20, 2015, and oversees all aspects of the daily playing field maintenance at Great American Ball Park. He is a 2008 graduate of Michigan State University with bachelor’s degrees in both turfgrass management and general management. Before he joined the Reds, Steve spent the previous six seasons as assistant director of MLB grounds with the Texas Rangers. While in Texas, in 2010 and 2011 Steve was part of the club’s first ever trips to the World Series. He has been an active member on various committees with the SportsTurf Managers Association and a speaker at the organization’s national conference. In January 2015, Steve obtained his recognition as a Certified Sports Field Manager from the STMA. In December 2015, Steve and crew were awarded the Ohio SportsTurf Managers Field of the Year Award for that season. Steve resides in Cincinnati with wife Katie and son Breslin.

Vision for STMA

I see the STMA as an opportunity for all industry professionals to not only raise awareness of the safe and playable surfaces we produce, but to create a platform for which we share ideas, information, experiences, and goals to become leaders worldwide. I embrace the notion that we have to continue to build professionalism across the industry in order to break the stereotype of the ‘dirty person who mows the field’. We all serve the industry not just to make beautiful playing fields, but to be pillars in our communities who set the stages for our friends, families, and superstars to make their dreams come true. We must all realize that the world is larger than the several acres we see every day, and must truly commit to the development of every single member for this industry to flourish in the years ahead. STMA is that vehicle for all of us.


 

Professional Facilities Director, Nicole Sherry
Director – Professional Facilities

Nicole Sherry

Baltimore Orioles, Baltimore, MD

Sherry begins her 14th season as the Orioles Head Groundskeeper and her 17th season with the Orioles organization overall. From 2001-03, she served as the Orioles Assistant Head Groundskeeper before spending three seasons (2004-06) with the Double-A Trenton Thunder.

She returned to the Orioles organization in November of 2006, becoming just the second woman ever to serve as the head groundskeeper with a Major League team. Sherry and Heather Nabozny, who has been with the Detroit Tigers since 1999, are the only female head groundskeepers in Major League Baseball. According to the Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA), there have been approximately 10 women who have held the position of head groundskeeper in the history of professional baseball.

Sherry was the first female head groundskeeper in Eastern League history when she was named to that post for the Trenton Thunder in February of 2004, and twice was runner-up for the Eastern League’s top groundskeeping award. In 2006, the Thunder honored her with a bobblehead, depicting her riding a tractor.

In February of 2016, Sherry was named the recipient of the Mary Pickersgill Award for Women’s Leadership in Business by the Star-Spangled Banner Flag House. Established in 2012, the award honors a woman who demonstrates leadership in her community, exemplifies innovation in her chosen field, and has the power to inspire others. She was also named the 2019 recipient of the prestigious Dick Ericson Founders’ Award, which is awarded annually to a STMA member who effectively manages sports fields and their facility, exhibits the qualities of a true team leader, and who positively impacts the sports turf industry. Sherry, along with MLB and Discovery Education, have worked with local schools to introduce students to a variety of intriguing science and STEM concepts related to her job as Head Groundskeeper.

A native of New Castle, Del., Sherry graduated from the University of Delaware with a degree in agriculture. She worked for several golf courses in Delaware and with the University of Delaware’s Research and Education Center, testing new herbicides, prior to joining the Orioles in 2001 as the Assistant Head Groundskeeper. Sherry resides in Eldersburg, Md. with her son, Tyson.

Vision for STMA

My vision for STMA is continued growth to make us stronger and more united. I mentioned above that I have a strong ability to connect and relate to our members. I want to connect with those who attend and who feel maybe left out or unsure of where their goals in STMA and in their own respective careers lie. I enjoy meeting the students and crew members who come year after year, who either want to pursue a professional sport position or who want to represent in the industry in other aspects (science, research). I want to be someone who represents the women in STMA. I want to see STMA become more progressive and I want to provide a cultural shift that includes and represents women and people of color in this industry. Representation matters… people want to see those who look like them in professional roles. I want to be proactive in that change and I am ready to take on any responsibilities to foster those changes.

Commercial Director, Simon Gumbrill
Director – Commercial

Simon Gumbrill

Stadium Grow Lighting, Stockport, The Netherlands

Simon Gumbrill has 35 + years in commercial sales including the associated marketing and business development and practical involvement of some of the most innovative machinery embracing methods for the improvement of natural grass and synthetic playing surfaces /environments worldwide.

Campey/Imants was his first direct involvement within the USA, North American Sports Turf market with he being directly challenged in 2011 with the introduction of Fraze (Fraise) mowing methods of both cool and warm season grasses.( He is written on the patent as the inventor of the Universe Rota.)
His method to market was to involve leading Sports Turf Managers, Universities, editorials, sports teams and the STMA. Fraze mowing he believe is now a widely accepted and desired natural grass maintenance practice! He appreciates and thanks everyone who helped him, even though he is no longer involved.

He is now working for the last 5 years with SGL (Stadium Grow Lighting) aiming to help Sports Turf Mangers create safe astatically pleasing natural grass surfaces in difficult agronomical environments and event, play schedules.

He has presented at many STMA national and regional events and he sees this as wonderful opportunity to share the practices and ideas from other world regions that can benefit all parties involved. He has personally encouraged the introduction of Grounds Managers from other countries towards the STMA as this is something that he has always embraced as he believes it will create a better understanding of the methods, issues and helps to build a larger more professional Sports Turf manager family.

A recognition of the Sports Turf Managers skillset and value needs to be an aim.

He has been on the STMA International committee, IOG, and had involvement with many other associations and Governing bodies.

He was very fortunate to win the IOG International Ambassador award in 2017.

He is a strong supporter of associations and governing bodies that aim to improve standards, education, working environments and that offer good value to their membership.

Vision for STMA

I would like to see the STMA as the respected voice of the Sports Turf organisation around the world and it to highlight the memberships high values and professionalism. The organisation that will give value and greater educational involvement to increase membership and drive STMA expansion in all regions. The STMA annual conference will be seen as the go to event for the broader membership and commercial sectors, steadily increasing the profile of the industry for the benefit of its membership and the organisation. The STMA will be a highly respected governing body working in conjunction with other organisations as the voice for the Sports Turf Industry both nationally and globally.


Commercial Director, Paula Sliefert
Director – Commercial

Paula Sliefert

The Toro Company, Bloomington, MN

Paula Sliefert joined The Toro Company in 2007 and currently serves as senior marketing manager in the company’s Commercial Business. In her role, she has responsibility for supporting a number of Toro’s key industry relationships – in addition she develops and implements strategies targeted at growing the Sports Fields & Grounds market segments, which represents professional and collegiate sports, educational institutions, and government including federal, state and local entities.

Paula is a graduate of Simpson College with a bachelor’s degree in German and International Business and holds a master’s degree in German from Bowling Green State University. She studied and worked abroad in both Germany and Austria, having completed a work abroad program with Mercedes Benz, as well as having attended the University of Salzburg, Austria.

Professional Affiliations:

City Parks Alliance (CPA): Member, Elected Board of Directors Member / Sponsor
National Recreation & Park Association (NRPA): Member, Sponsor of Directors School & Maintenance Management School
Park & Recreation Magazine Advisory Board: Invited Member
Professional Grounds Management Society (PGMS): Member, Past Elected Board of Directors Member / Sponsor
Green Industry Expo (GIE) – (NALP & PGMS): Elected Show Board of Directors Member / Sponsor
Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA): Member / Sponsor
National Institute of Governmental Purchasing (NIGP): Member & Past Elected Business Council Chairperson / Sponsor
Synthetic Turf Council (STC): Member
ToastMasters International: Member with Advanced Communicator Silver (ACS) & Advanced Leader Bronze (ALB), Club Vice President of Education

Vision for STMA

My background in Marketing will provide a fresh, new perspective to the STMA Board of Directors. I believe every STMA member is looking for ways to become better and wants to set a good example for future generations. I have seen the importance of the role that businesses and STMA can play – when they work together – in driving important change. Working together helps companies like Toro understand the strategic challenges experienced by customers and therefore gives companies an improved line of sight to investment areas that can support and enhance industry wide goals and initiatives. Technology needs to be developed but companies need customers who demand sustainable products in order to continue to invest in the technology development. I believe serving on the board as a private sector, commercial supplier member of STMA would help advance STMA’s environmental conservation efforts that enhances the quality of life for all people by educating membership on the better use of environmental resources such as water. Additionally, I believe collaboration with other industry associations could prove to be extremely powerful for all sports turf managers, including enhanced dialog with NRPA, PGMS and STC. I have a Bachelors and Master’s Degree focused on International Business & German and have experienced working in the US and abroad, which would bring a global perspective to the Board, should I be selected to serve. It would indeed be a privilege and honor to do so.