Registration has now opened!


The 2021 Conference and Exhibition will be held Virtually


“The STMA Board of Directors unanimously decided that for the safety of our members, corporate partners, and headquarters team that it would be best to present the 2021 conference and show in a 100% virtual format. This is very disappointing, I know, and I look forward to when we can all get together again in person to recharge and reconnect. Our profession will persevere as we hit pause for this year on a traditional conference, but I encourage you to take advantage of all that is offered virtually. I hope to see you virtually in January!”

 – Jimmy Simpson, CSFM, STMA President

Read more from President Simpson here.

STMA is committed to serving the needs of the sports field industry and its members, our 2021 Virtual Conference will be offered free of charge (regularly $375) to all 2021 STMA members. As the premier annual event in the sports field industry, a multi-faceted conference will bring together the top academics, practitioners and professional speakers for three days of industry education, networking and a virtual exposition hall.

Read the full Press Release.

Take a look back at the 2020 Conference!

Why should you attend the 2021 Virtual Conference?

STMA’s Annual Conference & Exhibition allows members to share information with other successful members of the sports field industry. Our virtual conference will offer the same educational seminars, networking and exhibitor connections that you have grown accustom to, all from the comfort of your own home or office.

Attending STMA’s Virtual Conference and Exhibition provides a substantial Return on Investment for you and your facility.  Click here for a Case Study you can share with your employer to show the value of attending.

Attendees must be current 2021 STMA members to attend!

Not a member or need to renew? Click Here.

STMA Annual Conference Exhibitor Resources

We are pleased to announce that we will be offering a virtual trade show in conjunction with our 2021 Virtual Conference.

This interactive trade show will create opportunities for members and exhibitors to chat, view products and set specific one-on-one appointments.

If you had signed up to exhibit in Palm Springs,  David Rosenberg with Marketing and Events, our trade show partner, will be contacting you with options to participate, move your deposit to 2022 or request a refund.

All 2022 exhibitors will be given a free virtual trade show booth for our 2021 Virtual Conference.

Exhibitors must also be current 2021 members! To join or renew click Here.  If you have questions please contact STMA at

Marketing & Events is STMA’s Conference Exhibition Partner. If you are interested in exhibiting at the STMA Conference & Exhibition, or are already signed up as an exhibitor and have questions about your booth, contact Marketing & Events at:

David Rosenberg

SAFE Foundation!

The Foundation for Safer Athletic Environments for Everyone (SAFE) IS hosting a golf tournament! The tournament will be held in your location of choice for anyone who wishes to participate in this competition. It will be live in early Spring until May 31. There will be a chapter challenge, too.

Gather a foursome (non-members welcome, too) and golf locally, paying your cart and greens fees. SAFE is asking for a $10 donation from each golfer. Enter the tournament as many times as you wish to try to improve your standing! There will be a Leader Board of the top teams on the website, and at the conclusion of the tournament, join our Tournament Party and get the real scoop on these golfers! Many prizes and other recognition will be given at the party.

Look for more information soon. SAFE will be piloting this concept this fall for a flawless SAFE springtime event.


Innovative Awards Program- Deadline is October 15th!

The Innovative Awards Program will recognize those commercial company members that have developed a product, service, equipment or technology that substantially enhances the effectiveness of the Sports Turf Manager. The innovation could also make playing surfaces safer and more playable for athletes.

Any STMA Commercial member who is exhibiting at the upcoming STMA Annual Conference and Exhibition is eligible to submit one entry annually. The company must display the innovation in its booth and have introduced it for sale between the close of the current year’s STMA show and the close of the following year’s show. The only criteria that the innovation must meet is that is should substantially enhance the effectiveness of the sports turf manager and/or make the surfaces safer and more playable for athletes.

A panel of non-commercial STMA members representing all segments of membership will judge the entries and may give the award to multiple companies that meet the criteria.

Winner(s) will be kept confidential until announced during the first day of the STMA Trade Show. Winner(s) will be able to use the special logo, seen here, in their promotion of the winning product, service, technology or equipment. STMA will publicize the winners through its communication vehicles, STMA press releases, signage at the conference and with special recognition during the Annual Awards Banquet.

Click here for the 2021 submission form.

For more information about the program contact Whitney Webber at Submittals must be sent electronically by Oct. 15.

We are excited to offer our 2021 Virtual Conference FREE of charge to our 2021 members!

Not a member or need to renew? Click Here.

Questions? Contact STMA at

Welcome to the 2021 Conference Education page! Here you will find presentations and handouts for education sessions occurring at STMA's 32nd Conference and Exhibition.

For 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 conference education, click here.

To purchase the recorded 2020 conference education sessions, please visit our online library.


Tuesday, Jan. 12

Opening General Session – Town Hall
Hosted by Andrew McNitt, Ph.D. – Penn State University
Panelists – Andy Levy, Arizona Cardinals, George Peters, Penn State University, Marc Moran, CSFM, Atlee High School
Our popular Town Hall comes to conference where industry professionals discuss the current climate of the sports field industry and how we can best prepare to move forward successfully in 2021.

Prioritizing Field Operations with Reduced Labor and Budget
Mike Goatley, Ph.D., Virginia Tech University; Tim VanLoo, CSFM, Iowa State University; Jesse Pritchard, CSFM, University of Virginia
This presentation details proven strategies in stretching operating budgets in sports field management from the perspectives of field managers and university faculty. Where are the easiest cuts to be made? What situations warrant spending money to save money? How can supervisors maintain employee job performance and morale during crisis management periods? Attendees will learn how to better engage, motivate, and reward limited labor pools, as well as have a better understanding of the decision making process in developing or adjusting budgets that weigh initial product or equipment costs and the anticipated response and/or its duration over time. Attendees will also gain a better understanding of overall crisis management response.

Establishing Cool-Season Turfgrasses From Seed: What Went Right and Wrong?
Brad Park, Rutgers University
Poor turfgrass cover following seeding is often a result of poor decisions made during the establishment process. Turfgrass selection, soil preparation procedures, and seeding timing, rate, and method, and post-seeding fertilization and weed control are factors that strongly affect establishment success.
This presentation will describe case studies concerning the establishment of cool season turfgrass research trials and sports field in non-research settings. Successful and non-successful case studies will be presented with attention paid to the underlying reasons for success or failure.

The Mathematics of Tank Mixing for Sports Field Management
Nick Christians, Ph.D., Iowa State University; Ben Pease, Iowa State University
The presentation discusses why it is important to calibrate all turfgrass equipment. We will then cover the math involved with correct calibration mathematics. Various example calculations will provide real-life examples of how to use this knowledge at your facility. Calibration of specific turfgrass product application equipment will be demonstrated.

MLB Field Operations Moving into the 2020’s
Bill Deacon, New York Mets – Citi Field
This presentation will focus on where we can expect MLB Field Maintenance to head as we move into the 2020’s. We will discuss growing grass in a high stress, event filled environment, how to combat employee burnout, overwork and how to retain good employees. We will also discuss how to prepare yourself for an MLB job and how to land that job. We will discuss some of the negatives with working in baseball, how we can improve these negatives and how it can cause us to spin our wheels. We will also take a look at the impact that social media can have on MLB Field Maintenance and Turfgrass Managers in general.


Wednesday, Jan. 13

What Do All These Numbers Mean? Soil Tests!
Beth Guertal, Ph.D., Auburn University
This talk will cover the basics of soil testing, and how that process is used to make correct fertilizer and lime selections. We will cover extractants, calibrations and how to use the numbers to diagnose issues in your fields. We will also talk about new methods for soil testing, including some for nitrogen.

Cutting Unit Setup and After-Cut Appearance Troubleshooting
Trent Manning, Ansley Golf Club
This presentation will cover cutting unit maintenance, how to identify after cut appearance issues and possible solutions to those issues. I will go in depth on reel to bedknife clearances, how to parallel a cutting unit and proper bedknife attitude depending on the type of cultivar. I will discuss maintenance practices for sharpening reels and bedknives like grinding, front facing and backlapping. We will discuss the different types of quality of cut issues and their effects on the turf. We will talk about how to identify the different types of after cut appearance issues that we all face and possible corrective actions.

Maps Lead the Way: Mapping Pests for Targeted Pest Management
David McCall, Ph.D., Virginia Tech University
Natural playing surfaces are not uniform but are typically managed as if they are. Most pests are distributed sporadically yet entire surfaces are treated equally with pesticides. However, there are simple and complex strategies that allow turfgrass professionals to target applications. This presentation will provide an overview of tools available to sports field managers that allow them to map various pest outbreaks for precision turfgrass management, reducing both environmental impact and economic inputs.

Communicating in Your Organization – Advocating Your Needs to Higher-Level Management
James Bergdoll, CSFM, City of Chattanooga Public Works; Jody Gill, CSFM, Blue Valley School District; Josh Koss, CSFM, San Diego State University; Brad Thedens, CSFM, City of Sioux Falls
The field of sports field management has changed significantly over the past thirty years with new technologies, an increase in participation, and changes in public expectations. In 2020, we have experienced a whole new type of challenge to our daily lives – how will this impact our jobs in the coming years? With the dramatic loss in revenues SFM’s will be forced to make cuts – how do we do this? This panel will discuss tactics for effective communication to higher-level management regarding your needs for budget items and staffing solutions. This is a round-table discussion with leaders from a broad cross-section of the membership.

Keynote Address – Dare to Matter: How Sports Field Professionals Rise to Significance
Pete Smith, SmithImpact
2020 has forced us, willingly or not, to become adaptable, stay hopeful, and remain diligent in fulfilling our commitments. This year has made some question their desires, reevaluate their motivators, and become more resourceful than ever. Those who have been successful have done so because they’ve been able to answer one simple question: What’s the Point?

Society claims that success and happiness should be our most desired end goals. Yet even prior to the COVID quarantine, people were recognizing higher levels of success but felt more isolated, disconnected, and unfulfilled than even before. During the quarantine, people have re-evaluated what they’ve always known deep down: that what they truly desire is to know with certainty is that who they are and what they do matters.

A common question in the mind of every person is this: Where do I go from here? This keynote answers that question.

Success is good. Significance is best. It’s time for you to Matter More.

Surviving a stroke at an early age, and after years of research, interviews, trainings, and observation, Pete Smith reveals the Significance framework outlined in his best-selling book, Dare to Matter. This framework reveals the six major pillars of significance and how they can be incorporated into our daily lives. You don’t need to survive a stroke to learn how to live a significant life. You just get the benefit of gaining the insight from someone who has.

At the conclusion of this presentation, the attendees will:
Increase ownership, accountability, and responsibility of self and others
Implement a behavioral model that builds trust, impacts hiring, and strengthens relationships
Identify why “guts and grind” are keys to success in calm and chaos


Tuesday, Jan. 19

2-3 pm EST: Fraise Mowing Effects, Uses, and Recovery – Ray McCauley, Ph.D., North Carolina State University
Fraise mowing is an aggressive cultural practice that can potentially remove all thatch from a sports field. However, fraise mowing often has a negative stigma associated with it. This presentation will remove that stigma and acquaint sports field managers with fraise mowing’s uses, effects, and recovery practices. The various uses of fraise mowing will be presented including thatch control and its use as a spring transition-aid. Fraise mowing’s effect on field playability and soil physical properties will be presented. Practices to hasten bermudagrass recovery following fraise mowing will also be presented.

3:15-4:15 pm EST: Self Care…Can Improve Leadership, Mentorship, and Relationships – Tim VanLoo, CSFM, Iowa State University; Amber VanLoo, Bella Homes
Creating a healthy lifestyle can lead to more benefits then running a marathon or having a low body mass index number. What we eat, how we exercise, and how we purposefully relieve stress is all tied together in how we are as parents, spouses, employees, leaders and how we interact with those around us. Taking small steps and creating new habits to become your healthiest you is easier than you think. Our hope is to give practical advice and make a case that you can have a fuller life then you currently are living. Being happy begins with understanding your body and what you do to it can dictate so many different outcomes.


Tuesday, Jan. 26

2-3 pm EST: Irrigation: Grass Health, Surface Quality, and Sustainability – Bryan Hopkins, Ph.D., Brigham Young University; Neil Hansen, Ph.D., Brigham Young University; Colin Campbell, Ph.D., Meter Group
The session will be an overview of irrigation principles and management with an in-depth discussion of sophisticated, cutting-edge technologies available to better manage turfgrass for improved health to provide functional surfaces while conserving water and other inputs.

3:15-4:15 pm EST: Let’s Talk About Our Mental Health: Managing Stress in Difficult Times – Lisa Goatley, LPC – The Cascade Group
This presentation will help you become more aware of the role of your mental health in your life, identify any areas for improvement, and develop strategies to manage stress.


Tuesday, Feb. 2

2-3 pm EST: Managing High Traffic Fields – Pamela Sherratt, Ohio State University; John Sorochan, Ph.D., University of Tennessee
This presentation will look at ways sports field managers can maintain turfgrass prior to and during periods of heavy use using sound agronomic practices, new technologies and the most efficient turfgrass care products.

3:15-4:15 EST: I Speak Agronomy, My Coach Speaks Athletics – What Now? – Marc Moran, CSFM, Atlee High School; John Corbin, Atlee High School
Learn how to work successfully with coaches to help understand their perspective on surface expectations and effectively communicate agronomic principles that can lead to a better sports field.


Tuesday, Feb. 9

2-3 pm EST: Sustainable Sand-Based Turfgrass; 11 Seasons at Target Field – Larry DiVito, Minnesota Twins
Maintaining a professional sand-based turfgrass system for a decade or more requires a progressive outlook and consistent annual maintenance practices. This discussion will consider sand selection, management of organic matter, cultural practices, nutrient inputs and seed selection with a look at varietal segregation of Kentucky Bluegrass.

3:15-4:15 pm EST: It’s Only Fair if it’s Hit Between First and Third – Jeffrey Fowler, Penn State University Extension
This presentation will help empower you to overcome your biggest obstacles on your field and in your life by assisting in strengthening personal leadership and fortitude.


Tuesday, Feb. 16

2-3 pm EST: How to Find and be a Part of Successful Internships – Adam Thoms, Ph.D., Iowa State University; Steve Lord, CSFM, Cincinnati Reds; Weston Appelfeller, CSFM, Austin FC
This panel of industry leaders will discuss what makes a successful internship program as well as provide advice to students to help them find and select an internship that will assist them in reaching their professional aspirations.

3:15-4:15 pm EST: Where is the Future of our Industry? – Drew Miller, Brentsville Turfgrass Management Program; Dan Sandor, Ph.D., Virginia Tech University
Our presentation will address the shortage of skilled labor workers entering the sports field industry and identify solutions to these challenges. We will discuss and share experiential and educational strategies for the engagement, recruitment, and retention of young people as future professionals of the sports field industry.


Tuesday, Feb. 23

2-3 pm EST: Bluemuda for Beginners – Gregg Munshaw, Ph.D., MountainView Seeds; Brian Winka, CSFM, Advanced Turf Solutions
Growing grass on athletic fields in the transition zone is extremely difficult. There is no single grass that will thrive at all times of the year. Cool-season grasses struggle during the summer and warm-season grasses are susceptible to winter kill almost every year. Bluemuda is a two-grass concept that gives sports field managers the best of both worlds—a cool-season grass that thrives during the spring and fall, and a warm-season grass that performs well in the warmer times of the year. This presentation will describe the history of Bluemuda, how it works, the major strengths and weaknesses of this concept, and how to implement it on fields across the transition zone.

3:15-4:15 pm EST: 2021 Weed Management Update – Jim Brosnan, Ph.D., University of Tennessee; Gerald Henry, Ph.D., University of Georgia
Weeds are continually an issue or those managing sports fields at all levels of play. This presentation will provide an update on strategies for controlling key weeds of warm and cool-season turfgrass sports fields including crabgrass, goosegrass, sedges, and Poa annua. Attendees will learn the strengths and weaknesses of various herbicides to best understand how to incorporate them into an integrated pest management program.


Tuesday, Mar. 2

2-3 pm EST: Field Testing Synthetic Fields: The Basics and Beyond – Kyley Dickson, Ph.D., University of Tennessee; John Sorochan, Ph.D., University of Tennessee
This talk will cover the how the basics of testing of synthetic fields will improve athletic field safety and performance. Additionally, the latest advancement in testing and how they could improve fields will be discussed.

3:15-4:15 pm EST: Introducing STMA’s “Best Practices” Document and Promoting Environmental Certification – Zachary Holm, CSFM, New York Red Bulls; Victoria Wallace, University of Connecticut
Sports field managers are dedicated to providing safe, uniform playing surfaces of the athletic fields and recreational areas for which they are responsible. Pressure from introduced environmental legislation has prompted STMA to develop best management practices (BMP’s) that support sports field management practices. This presentation will introduce the Best Practices document and discuss how this document supports STMA’s Environmental Certification.


  • 2020 – West Palm Beach, Florida
  • 2019 – Phoenix, Arizona
  • 2018 – Fort Worth, Texas
  • 2017 – Orlando, Florida
  • 2016 – San Diego, California
  • 2015 – Denver, Colorado
  • 2014 – San Antonio, Texas
  • 2013 – Daytona Beach, Florida
  • 2012 – Long Beach, California
  • 2011 – Austin, Texas
  • 2010 – Orlando, Florida
  • 2009 – San Jose, California
  • 2008 – Phoenix, Arizona
  • 2007 – San Antonio, Texas
  • 2006 – Orlando, Florida
  • 2005 – Phoenix, Arizona
  • 2004 – San Diego, California
  • 2003 – San Antonio, Texas
  • 2002 – Las Vegas, Nevada
  • 2001 – Tampa, Florida
  • 2000 – St. Louis, Missouri
  • 1999 – Mesa, Arizona
  • 1998 – Orlando, Florida
  • 1997 – Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • 1996 – Anaheim, California
  • 1995 – Bradenton, Florida
  • 1993 – Baltimore, Maryland
  • 1992 – Indianapolis, Indiana
  • 1991 – San Diego, California
  • 1990 – Houston, Texas
  • 1989 – Vero Beach, Florida
2021 – Palm Springs, CA

January 11-14, 2021

2022 – Savannah, GA

January 17-20, 2022

2023 – Salt Lake City, UT

January 16-19, 2023

2024 – Daytona Beach, FL

Dates TBD

The STMA Student Challenge is presented in partnership with the SAFE Foundation, Founding Partner Hunter Industries and supporting sponsor Ewing. Each year students from 2-year and 4-year colleges and universities across the country compete in an exam that challenges knowledge in the sports field industry. The winning teams receive a cash award, a plaque and medallions for each team member. The prize money benefits the institution’s turfgrass science program and creates opportunities for students pursuing a career in sports field management.

The 2021 STMA Student Challenge is going virtual. Please be sure to thoroughly read the 2021 Student Challenge Study Guide for detailed information on the new format.  The event will consist of two sections – an oral presentation and a virtual exam.

Important Deadlines:

Please be sure to thoroughly read the 2021 Student Challenge Study Guide . These dates indicate the final day for registration and submission.

  • Registration: November 18, 2020
  • Oral Presentation: November 25, 2020
  • Virtual Exam: January 8, 2020

Registration for the Student Challenge opens on September 1. Each team member is required to register online to participate in the 2021 STMA Student Challenge.  You must provide your name, email, team member names and emails, institution name, if you are in a 2 year or 4 year program, and your advisor’s name and email. Each student must register individually and be a current STMA member.  If you are not a member, you must first become a student member.  Once you are a member, the Student Challenge registration option will appear in the STMA Store.  You will only see the Student Challenge registration option if you are a current member.  Please contact STMA with any questions at 800-323-3875 or


Congratulations to all of the teams that competed in the 2020 Student Challenge!  Winning the two-year competition was Mt. San Antonio College – Team 209. Penn State University – Team 211 took second place, and OSU ATI – Team 208 took third place. Winning the four-year competition was Penn State University – Team 403. Iowa State University – Team 405 took second place and Purdue University – Team 418 took third place.

2-year Division Winners – Mt. San Antonio College  – Team 209: Maria Rivas, Jose Gutierrez, Ryan Costello and Daniel Akers.

4-year Division Winners – Penn State University – Team 403: Micah Osenbach, Ian Patterson, Paige Alcorn and John Schupp.

The STMA Student Challenge is presented in partnership with the SAFE Foundation, Founding Partner Hunter Industries, and supporting sponsor Ewing.

Note: STMA Education Manager Kristen Althouse oversees the Student Challenge. She teaches first-year botany students who are in a two-year program at Penn State University. These first year students do not participate in the Student Challenge. She also has signed a binding, non-disclosure agreement. For questions or concerns, please contact STMA CEO, Kim Heck,, ph. 800-323-3875.

STMA Student Challenge Participant Code of Conduct and Eligibility Requirements

Code of Conduct
As a participant in the STMA Student Challenge and a guest of STMA, SAFE, and the sponsors of the event, all participating students are expected to conduct themselves in a professional, courteous and responsible manner while at the STMA Conference and Exhibition.

Participants in the STMA Student Challenge competing on a two-year team may compete in no more than three total Student Challenge events.
Participants in the STMA Student Challenge competing on a four-year team may compete in no more than five total Student Challenge events.
Students who have transferred from a two-year program to a four-year program may compete in up to five total Student Challenge events.
Graduate students may not participate.

Should a student be deemed to be in violation of policies by authorized STMA staff or volunteers, the team/school that the student represents may be disqualified from current and future STMA Student Challenge competitions and will be asked to pay for the Conference registration of all team members and forfeit all awards.  Please contact STMA with any questions regarding these policies at 800.323.3875 or

Previous STMA Student Challenge Winners

2020 Student Challenge Champions
Two Year Competition
– Mt. San Antonio College – Team 209
Four Year Competition
– Penn State University – Team 403

2019 Student Challenge Champions
Two Year Competition
– Penn State University – Team 203
Four Year Competition
– Iowa State University – Team 424

2018 Student Challenge Champions
Two Year Competition
– Mt. San Antonio College – Team 208
Four Year Competition
– Iowa State University – Team 401

2017 Student Challenge Champions
Two Year Competition – Mt. San Antonio College – Team 207
Four Year Competition 
– Penn State University – Team 422

2016 Student Challenge Champions
Two Year Competition – Mt. San Antonio College – Team 208
Four Year Competition – 
Penn State University – Team 409

2015 Student Challenge Champions
Two Year Competition – Penn State University – Team 207
Four Year Competition – University of Maryland – Team 414

2014 Student Challenge Champions
Two Year Competition – 
Mt. San Antonio College – Team 202
Four Year Competition – 
University of Maryland – Team 410

2013 Student Challenge Champions
Two Year Competition – 
Horry-Georgetown Technical College – Team 202
Four Year Competition – University of Maryland – Team 412

2012 Student Challenge Champions
Two Year Competition – Kirkwood Community College Team 204
Four Year Competition – 
Purdue University Team 402

2011 Student Challenge Champions

Two Year Competition – Mt. San Antonio College Team 206
Four Year Competition – Purdue University Team 415

2010 Student Challenge Champions 
Two Year Competition – Penn State University Team 207
Four Year Competition – Penn State University Team 409

2009 Student Challenge Champions 
Two Year Competition – Mt. San Antonio College Team 102
Four Year Competition – Penn State University Team 009

2008 Student Challenge Champions
Two Year Competition – Penn State University Team 104
Four Year Competition – Penn State University Team 008

2007 Student Challenge Champions
Two Year Competition – Mt. San Antonio College Team 14
Four Year Competition – University of Tennessee Team 24

2006 Student Challenge Champions 
Purdue University Team 9

2005 Student Challenge Champions
Penn State University

Increase your professionalism by taking advantage of the continuing education units (CEUs) being offered at the STMA Conference this year. Earn up to 1.5 CEUs through STMA. In addition to STMA, the following professional organizations have agreed to provide CEUs for attending education sessions at the conference: (note: CEUs are currently pending with the following organizations)

American Sports Builders Association (ASBA)
National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA)
Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA)
Professional Grounds Management Society (PGMS)
National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP)

The following states are providing Pesticide Recertification Credits:

*Pesticide Recertification credits will only be available for California. If you are attending from another state and are in need of pesticide recertification credits, you are responsible for contacting your state’s Department of Agriculture for approval.

See the onsite brochure for a detailed listing of education sessions that qualify for CEUs and recertification credits. Be sure to sign in using the appropriate form during the education sessions.

STMA’s 2021 Call for Presentations is now closed.  Notification of selection will be out by October.

Please direct any questions or concerns to Kristen Althouse, STMA Education Manager –