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Previous Conference Education

Welcome to the Conference Education page!  Here you will find presentations and handouts for education sessions occurring at SFMA’s 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022 Conference and Exhibition.

Conference Education

To purchase recorded sessions from the 2022 Conference, visit the online library.

Monday, January 17

1:15-1:45 pm

Influence of Common Turfgrass Weeds on Field Playability and Player Safety

Session Handout

Erick Begitschke – University of Georgia

Common fieldgrass weeds can have a drastic impact on the playability and functionality of sports fields. Not only do they reduce the aesthetic qualities of the sports field, but they also can affect footing and surface hardness of the playing surface. Thus, weeds can have a direct relationship with non-contact injuries of athletes.

Attendees will learn:

  • There are new technical devices being developed to evaluate the relationship between the playing surface and athletes.
  • Weeds can have a direct impact on player safety.
  • How to develop cost-effective means of making fields safer for athletes.

1:55-2:25 pm

Navigating the Transition from Undergraduate to Graduate Student

Session Handout

Thomas Gould – Iowa State University

This presentation will provide a summative look at current research at Iowa State University, including how sand-based sod is grown in the Midwest. Also addressed will be the challenges of balancing research while staying involved in athletic field management.

2:35-3:05 pm

Water: How Irrigation Practices Affect Sports Field Performance

Session Handout

Tyler Carr – The University of Tennessee

Water is a key component in any successful fieldgrass system. Proper water management on sports fields will maximize traffic tolerance, affecting the safety and playability of the surface. The presentation will review factors influencing irrigation requirements for sports fields and methods to help sports field managers fine-tune their irrigation scheduling.

Attendees will learn:

  • Water management basics for sports fields.
  • How traffic tolerance is influenced by soil moisture.
  • Methods to determine irrigation requirements.

3:15-3:45 pm

Native Weed Species as Pollinator Habitat

Session Handout

Chih Julie Wang – University of Georgia

Pollinators provide key ecosystem functions. As urban landscapes expand, there is increasing interest in enhancing the capacity of fieldgrass ecosystems to support the biodiversity of native pollinators. However, little is known about weeds that proliferate in fieldgrass and their contribution to pollinator forage. This presentation will examine common weeds in the southeastern U.S. and how they support pollinators.

After attending this session, participants will:

  • Understand the role of pollinators in fieldgrass ecosystems.
  • Know the different weed species that contribute to pollinator forage.
  • Learn to manage fieldgrass ecosystems to create a pollinator friendly environment.

4-5 pm

Painting Panel of Experts

Session Handout

Jody Gill, CSFM – Retired, Josh Lenz – Arizona State University, Greg Narmour – World Class Athletic Surfaces, James Hlavaty, CSFM – Pioneer Athletics

Sports field managers and representatives from Pioneer and World Class Athletic Surfaces come together on a panel to discuss paint mixing, application, and best practices. The session is an open forum discussion where attendees can ask questions pertaining to painting sports fields of all levels, from parks and recreation to professional sports.

 

Tuesday, January 18

8-9:30 am

General Session – Labor of Love: Strategies for Overcoming the Labor Shortage

A panel of experts will be discussing the labor shortages affecting the industry. We are witnessing a variety of trends:

  • Seasoned sports field managers are pursuing positions on the commercial side
  • Fewer young people are pursing fieldgrass science as a career path in college
  • Fewer interns are available to gain on-the-job experience
  • The pool of qualified job candidates is shrinking for employers trying to hire

We have assembled a diverse panel to address these issues from various angles. Your moderator, Keith Winter, Head Groundskeeper for the Fort Wayne TinCaps, will lead the discussion in an interview style format and add his own experience with difficulty finding and hiring personnel. Dr. John Sorochan, Distinguished Professor at University of Tennessee, will address the decreasing rate of enrollment in fieldgrass science programs at the collegiate level and some strategies to attract young people to the field. Abby McNeal, CSFM, CPRP, CABI, Field Superintendent, City Wide Operations for Denver Parks and Recreation will discuss unique ways she has been balancing the labor shortage. Andrew Miller, Program Director for Brentsville Turfgrass Management Program will discuss his recruitment and retention strategies at the high school level. Tyler Bloom, Owner of Tyler Bloom Consulting, will discuss opportunities available in the industry that provide training to prepare individuals to enter the sports field management profession. Questions from the audience will be encouraged during the conversation.

9:45-10:45 am

Chemicals (e.g., Glyphosate) Exposure for Employees and Players: Health Concern?

Session Handout

Bryan Hopkins, Ph.D. – Brigham Young University

Recent legal actions have resulted in alarming concerns for the general public and for those using pesticides and fertilizers. Most notably, there are serious legal, insurance, etc. concerns with use of glyphosate (Roundup). Many facilities are banning fertilizers and/or pesticides. Often these decisions are based on emotion and hysteria rather than facts. What are the real facts about public exposure to chemicals?  What precautions need to be taken to minimize risk? What resources are available to help alleviate founded and unfounded concerns? This presentation will address fundamentals of environmental toxicology, facts on public exposure to pesticides and fertilizers, as well as resources to educate the public on pesticide and fertilizer safety issues.

Baseball Field Expectations/Maintenance on a Tight Budget

Andy Ommen, CSFM – McLean County PONY Baseball/Professional Outdoor Solutions

This presentation will discuss Andy Ommen’s time volunteering for a 501c3 organization and managing a fieldgrass program which has produced a successful product. He will explore his priorities and successes in building a grounds crew program and the daily work to successfully host 1200+ games on 6 fields of various levels of play. Topics addressed will include safety concerns at a youth/school level, best practices to keep fields as playable as possible, as well as motivating athletes to take care of their positions.

Mowing: Getting Beyond the 1/3 Rule – Preview this education session

Session Handout

Matt Anderson, CSFM, CSE and Boyd Montgomery, CSFM, CSE – The Toro Company

This presentation will provide a more in depth look at mowing and how it impacts a sports field management operation. We will discuss current trends in sports field mowing heights, proper cutting unit setup and how those factors can impact after-cut appearance.

Sports Field Grass Selection to Reduce Inputs

Gregg Munshaw, Ph.D. – Pratum Seed Co.

Perception has become reality in terms of chemical and fertilizer applications to sports fields across the country. Even if a product is being used properly and in the safest manner possible, the perception still exists that the inputs applied to sports fields are either hurting the environment or are unsafe for our kids to play on. Because of these perceptions, restrictions are being imposed by local governments in the northern U.S. as well as in Canada. There is a strong likelihood that we will continue to see increased chemical and fertilizer limitations across the country in the coming years. This presentation is not to promote reducing inputs in the green industry, rather it’s focus is on how improved genetics in all grass species can help to reduce inputs and help change the perception that sports field management is inherently bad. The focus will be on grass options for sports fields and specific cultivars, blends, and mixes that have been shown to thrive in tough environments with little or no chemical assistance.

Attendees will learn:

  • How improved cultivars can reduce the need for additional chemicals, fertilizer, and water.
  • The pros and cons of different grasses as well as a list of cultivars that have been shown to require fewer inputs including their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Specific management practices for these improved cultivars including establishment of, or renovation to a new low input cultivar.
Sports Field Design, Construction, Renovation: What Works, What Doesn’t

Session Handout

James Puhalla – Retired

Knowing “what doesn’t work” is as valuable as knowing “what does;” that’s the way to avoid mistakes. This is called “learning by past mistakes.” Learn techniques that can be used by designers and contractors in the development of new fields as well as sports field managers in renovating existing fields.

Attendees will learn:

  • How the Principles of Sports Field Design helps in decision making for construction or renovation projects.
  • To analyze plans and specifications for building new fields and to find solutions for existing problem fields.
  • To calculate percent of slope by using a laser level and direct elevation rod; tools for every sports field manager.

11 am-12 pm

Novel Lab Tests for Baseball & Softball Infield Mixes

Session Handout

Evan Mascitti – Penn State University

Engineered soils have greatly improved the quality of infields. Current specifications revolve around particle-size analysis (PSA). PSA is useful, but it does not directly consider the soil’s behavior. New laboratory tests provide more information by directly measuring a soil’s response to applied loads and to changes in water content.

Attendees will learn:

  • The best infield soils are those that remain playable over a wide range of water content.
  • Mechanical behavior and water content should be directly measured when assessing an infield soil.
  • Various clays and infield mixes can behave differently, even when their particle-size distributions are similar.
Understanding the Value of SFMA’s Best Practices Document

Victoria Wallace – University of Connecticut, Jason Bowers, CSFM – Parks System in Maryland, Ben Polimer – Town of Weston, MA

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 SFMA to develop best management practices (BMP’s) that provides guidance related to sports field management practices and efforts to promote environmental sustainability. This presentation will introduce the “Best Practices” document and discuss how these “Best Practices” advance the protection of the environment, support the sports field manager and elevate the professionalism of the industry.

Back to Basics: Troubleshooting Your Irrigation System’s Electronics

Brad Jakubowski, CIT – Penn State University

In this hands-on and interactive workshop, attendees will learn the fundamentals of troubleshooting an irrigation system. Attendees will use multimeters to identify electrical problems with controllers, solenoids, common wires, and valve control wires. StationMaster® testers will be covered as well. Attendees will also learn step by step methods to troubleshooting hydraulic problems in irrigation lines, valves and sprinklers. A basic comparison of standard irrigation wiring and 2-wire systems will be discussed.

Be prepared to actively make multimeter measurements during the presentation to determine whether a valve’s solenoid is working correctly or not. We will also consider voltage measurements and how they are used to determine problems in an electrical system.

Spraying Efficacy for the Sports Field Manager

Don Frantz – PBI-Gordon Corporation

This presentation will address pesticide terminology and definitions, differences in formulations in products used on sports fields, application techniques, tips and tricks for better spraying efficacy, mixing and calibration of equipment, better interpretation of labels, and how pH and water hardness influence pesticide control success on sports fields.

Attendees will learn how to:

  • Improve spraying at your facility.
  • Understand product labels.
  • Overcome water quality factors in applications.
New Trends and Technology in Sports Fields

Representatives from SFMA Commercial Companies

Ten of SFMA’s commercial companies have been selected to give a five-minute presentation to introduce and explain the benefits of a new or improved product or service currently available to sports field managers.

2-3:15 pm

What’s the Deal with Soil Health and How Can I Use it in My Sports Facility?

Session Handout

Beth Guertal, Ph.D. – Auburn University

Soil health is a term being used by a whole lot of folks, yet it is largely undefined.  This seminar will talk about the various definitions of soil heath, and those that fit into fieldgrass management.  We’ll talk about the various ways we measure soil health, and how you could use those to quantify soil health at your facility.

Attendees will learn the following:

  • What currently available ‘soil health’ tests measure.
  • How your management tactics may affect soil health.
  • How to talk about soil health to clientele and users of the facilities and communicate how various practices improve soil health.
Using Soil Sensor Data to Manage Your Ballfields More Efficiently

Session Handout

Casey Carrick, CSFM – University of North Carolina Athletics

This presentation will provide an introduction to the various soil sensor technologies on the market today.  It will also provide details on how sports field managers are using data as an agronomic and irrigation management tool, as well as an effective communication tool with coaches, athletic directors, and front offices.

With the use of soil sensor data on ballfields, sports field managers can be more efficient with their daily and long-term management plans: 1 – Manage soil moisture in fieldgrass and infield skin areas to conserve water and labor. 2 – Limit the amount of inputs applied to ballfields by making agronomic and pest control decisions based on soil temperatures and growing degree days. 3 – Produce a consistent, high-quality playing surface by monitoring the conditions in the soil.

Research, Trial, and Error; Selecting Warm Season Grasses for Stadiums

John Sorochan, Ph.D. – University of Tennessee

This session will focus on using evidence-based research and real-world trial and error to guide proper species and variety selections for warm season grass stadiums. Participants will be able to make sound decisions to help with species and variety selection for their warm season sports fields.

Lost, On My Way to Becoming a Sports Field Manager

Alpha Jones, CSFM – Fayetteville Woodpeckers – Low – A Affiliate, Houston Astros

“How I Got Lost On My Way to Becoming a Sports Field Manager” will be anecdotal stories detailing my career path from high school to becoming Director of Field Operations for the Fayetteville Woodpeckers, minor league affiliate of the Houston Astros. I will share stories based on hard-knock learning experiences that I had growing a startup lawn mowing service into a successful landscape management business. These experiences helped teach me the basics of supervision and leadership, and I will share how I use these precepts each day as a sports field manager to work well with others as well as value and teach people through the examples that I set. I will also share successful ways I have connected with the next generation of potential sports field managers.

Attendees should learn:

  • The definition of being a leader in an organization, on a crew or group, and the importance of the perception of that position.
  • That leadership requires humility based on an “attitude of servitude”.
  • Leadership is about casting vision and empowering those around you to make the group successful.
Paul & Luke’s Excellent Adventure – Infield Soils Around the U.S.

Session Handout

Luke Yoder – DuraEdge Products and Paul Zwaska – Beacon Athletics/DuraEdge

Paul and Luke will take a “road trip” across the country to bring clarity and define the aspects of infield soils on a regional basis and how it relates to everyday maintenance and playability in the field. With over 1000 soil tests to pull from over the years, they will interpret and simplify the data for infield materials throughout the lower 48 that are used on a broad spectrum. The presentation will detail an ideal infield specification and how to address an existing infield with issues.

When selecting an infield material for new construction or existing infields, the “go to” for most end users is to order whatever is local and has been used in the past. Sometimes that works and other times it brings problems that are associated with that specific material. Sitting in on this “road trip” across the country with Luke and Paul will bring clarity to just about every material out there used by SFM’s across the country and provide “outside the box” thinking for new approaches that can simplify maintenance and increase performance.

3:30-5 pm

Understanding Plant and Soil Interactions
Preview this education session

Session Handout

Adam Thoms, Ph.D. and Nick Christians, Ph.D. – Iowa State University

This presentation will outline the basic principles concerning soil science as it relates to fieldgrass management. Participants will learn the basics of soil science and soil testing.

Performance Testing and Player Safety: What the Research Tells Us

Session Handout

Gerald Henry, Ph.D. – University of Georgia and Chase Straw, Ph.D. – Texas A&M University

Performance testing of sports fields is necessary to quantify surface properties such as hardness and traction. Enhancements in sensor/sampling technology and increased concern for athlete safety and field performance has driven interest. Spatial maps created from sensors/samplers can depict variability of soil and plant parameters that directly impact fieldgrass health, field playability, and player safety. This presentation will teach attendees how to operate current sensor/sampler technology and integrate their use into daily athletic field management practices. Current athlete-surface interaction research from Texas A&M University and the University of Georgia will be discussed in order to convey the influence of field conditions on player safety.

Attendees will learn the following:

  • Understand the basic premise of performance testing, its application, and potential benefits to athletic field management.
  • Comprehend the influence that within-field variability of soil and plant parameters has on the location of ground derived injuries.
  • Become familiar with current athlete-surface interaction research and the implications it may have on player safety and field maintenance.
Living with a Legislated Pesticide Ban: Perception, Inaccuracy and Fact

Victoria Wallace and Jason Henderson, Ph.D. – University of Connecticut

Connecticut’s 2010 pesticide ban on municipal and school grounds has been legislated since July 1, 2010. An in-depth survey to school grounds managers was distributed late 2020. This presentation will address perceptions and management practices that have changed over the past 10 years and how changes have impacted the playing surface quality of school athletic fields and the care of school grounds.

Attendees will learn:

  • How school grounds managers’ perceptions of Connecticut’s 2010 pesticide ban compare to perceptions 10 years later.
  • How school grounds managers in CT have adapted management practices since the state-wide pesticide ban was enacted in 2010.
  • What pests school grounds managers have identified as a challenge to manage with a legislated pesticide ban.
Is There a Best Grass for the Transition Zone?

Mike Goatley, Jr., Ph.D. – Virginia Tech, Jesse Pritchard, CSFM – University of Virginia Department of Athletics, Josh McPherson, CSFM – University of Missouri – Athletics

Continued breeding advancements expand grassing options for transition zone sports fields. Improvements in pest and stress tolerance continue to enlarge the boundaries of both cool season grasses and bermudagrass.  This presentation details strengths and weaknesses of grassing options in the transition zone from the perspectives of CSFMs and a university researcher.

Attendees will learn:

  • The general strengths and weaknesses of improved bermudagrass and Kentucky bluegrass cultivars with demonstrated tolerances to the environmental extremes associated with the transition zone and where improvement in other grasses might lead to sports field uses.
  • What special tools, equipment, or management strategies are needed to optimize the performance of these grasses on transition zone sports fields.
Addressing Concerns with Synthetic Pesticide Use in Sports Fields

Session Handout

Joseph Roberts, Ph.D. – Clemson University and John Inguagiato, Ph.D. – University of Connecticut

Public concern with pesticides has been increasing in recent years. While many are familiar with biological control, concerns of efficacy and costs have hindered widespread adoption. This seminar will provide an in-depth look at research on biological means of pest control along with new methods for understanding how they work.

Attendees will gain:

  • Background knowledge in current trends of public opinion and understand key areas where synthetic pesticide laws have been impacted.
  • A working knowledge of biological control of fieldgrass pests, understanding your options, and how current products work to improve pest defense.
  • An understanding of how cultural management practices can impact biological tools

 

Wednesday, January 19

8-9:15 am

Irrigation Troubleshooting Using Sight, Sound, and Smell: Maybe a Shovel Too?

Brad Jakubowski, CIT – Penn State University

This presentation is intended to help improve irrigation troubleshooting skills before any digging or in-depth work occurs. Being able to evaluate what is being seen, heard, or smelled can potentially reduce the amount of wasted work and disruption to the field. When digging is required, that can be discussed as well.

Applying Business Lessons to your Sports Field Operations – Preview this education session

Session Handout

Boyd Montgomery, CSFM, CSE and Matt Anderson, CSFM, CSE – The Toro Company

The goal of this session is to provide attendees with the key concepts in business and how they apply to their everyday jobs managing fieldgrass and their teams. Topics will include:

  • Teamwork – the importance of developing your team and how to foster teamwork within your own team as well as within your organization.
  • Communication – discussion on the key aspects of proper communication (verbal and written) and how to make sure that both parties understand the message.
  • Data – how to use data to develop your game plan and support or bolster your requests to management or in communicating with your stakeholders.
  • Managing the P&L – how to effectively manage your budget.
  • Sales & Presentation – everyone is in sales. We will discuss how to craft your message and make sure that your presentation is positioned for success.
  • Self Confidence – approaching things with the right attitude and confidence level is key.
Biostimulants: What Are They and How to Use Them?

Session Handout

Bryan Hopkins, Ph.D. – Brigham Young University

Biostimulants are increasingly being promoted, with a wide variety of products being sold in the fieldgrass markets. This is the fastest growing sector among the fertilizer industry.  What does adding various biostimulants do for fieldgrass and what is just “snake oil” tactics? These questions will be answered showing the results of various research trials as well as demystifying the science behind this latest promotion.

Attendees will learn:

  • What biostimulants are and the 7 categories of these products.
  • Legitimate uses of biostimulants.
  • How to recognize when a biostimulant will not be beneficial in sports field management.
Synthetic Field Maintenance: What the Research Shows

Session Handout

Kyley Dickson, Ph.D. – The University of Tennessee

The presentation will detail the minimum maintenance needs for a synthetic field field and what the research has found on these different maintenance techniques. The presentation should show the key factors to look for when determining when to apply maintenance on synthetic fields. Attendees will be taught useful tips to improve field playability and performance. The presentation will also cover the basic synthetic field maintenance needs for any budget.

Attendees will learn:

  • Basics of field maintenance and its importance.
  • What research has shown to improve synthetic field longevity and performance.
  • Useful methods and tools for precision maintenance to reduce cost and improve field playability.
What Do We Know About Humic Acid Fertilizers?

Session Handout

Adam Thoms, Ph.D. and AJ Lindsey, Ph.D. – Iowa State University

Humic acid products have been growing in popularity amongst the fieldgrass industry, however, little is known on how effective they are. This presentation will review what a humic acid product is, how it is made, and discuss some of the products on the market.  Several research trials have been conducted with various humic containing fertilizers and these results will be shared including some work on improving soil health. We have found that you can lower the rate of nitrogen while still maintaining the same fieldgrass quality, with fieldgrass clippings also being reduced at the lower nitrogen rates.  We have also noticed some improvements in soil health with the addition of humic fertilizers, especially in sand-based systems, as well as recovery from athletic traffic in certain environmental conditions. This presentation will provide some fieldgrass research to the humic acid industry claims.

9:30-10:45 am

Restoring Performance: Getting at the ROOT of the Problem

Session Handout

Gerald Henry, Ph.D. – University of Georgia

The application of biological substances, microorganisms, and plant growth enhancers has increased throughout the fieldgrass industry over the past decade. Many of these products are applied to increase nutrient absorption, boost tolerance to environmental stress, and improve overall growth and aesthetic appearance. However, not all of these products are created equal and manufacturer claims often go unverified. This presentation will examine the impact of these products alone and in combination with cultural practices for the increase of fieldgrass rooting and field performance.

Attendees will learn:

  • The differences between the terms biostimulant, biological, biofertilizer, etc.
  • The current use and expectations of these products with specific focus placed on their strengths and weaknesses.
  • The synergism and antagonism of these products with more traditional cultural and chemical fieldgrass management practices.
The ‘Other’ Essential Elements – S, Ca, Mg and Micros

Session Handout

Beth Guertal, Ph.D. – Auburn University

Save the Date! Month-by-Month Management Plans for Parks and Rec

Session Handout

Gregg Munshaw, Ph.D. – Pratum Seed Co. and Brian Winka, CSFM – Advanced Turf Solutions

Many sports field managers at the park & rec, high school, small college, etc. level can get bogged down in the weeds when it comes to scheduling and being prepared for agronomic tasks on sports fields. Further, as more and more facilities deal with budget cuts and reduced staff, it becomes increasingly important to have a plan in place to maximize your budget and your labor. Not only do sports field managers need to schedule specific agronomic practices throughout the year, they often times must be prepared for these practices months in advance by ordering the necessary products and equipment. This presentation will be a monthly breakdown of specific tasks that should be considered. We will include the challenges of managing both grassed and skinned areas of fields. The recommendations in this presentation will be based on a significant number of years of hands on experience managing parks and rec fields as well as many years of offering advice through consulting and extension activities.

Hiring… Assistants…and Interns…and Seasonal Crew. Oh my!

Session Handout

Keith Winter – Fort Wayne TinCaps

One of the biggest concerns facing our industry today is hiring and retaining assistants, interns, and seasonal workers. The pandemic only further diminished the available and interested work force, as sports fieldgrass managers are struggling to find qualified (and in some cases, non-qualified) applicants. This presentation will examine the realities of the current industry workforce challenges, and look to come up with solutions or alternatives for filling available positions.

Attendees will learn about:

  • Current conditions of the workforce in the sports fieldgrass industry.
  • Alternative hiring practices that might work for you.
  • Challenges and solutions that lie ahead.
Challenges and Opportunities of Sports Field Programs in Secondary Schools

Session Handout

Andrew Miller – Brentsville Turfgrass Management Program, Russ Bayer – South Forsyth High School Turf Management Program, Mike Goatley, Jr., Ph.D. – Virginia Tech

In this presentation you will learn about the different strategies that are used in different high school fieldgrass management programs across the country. We will discuss some of the success stories of students and the benefits that these programs have had on the outlook of our industry. We will also discuss ways industry professionals can get involved to promote the sports field management industry to help grow this incredible profession.

Attendees will learn about:

  • High school fieldgrass management programs across the country that provide skilled labor of young teenagers that will have an impact on your field the first day that they step on the jobsite.
  • How you can have a lasting impact on a child’s life by getting involved with these programs and providing the opportunity for these kids to be successful in this industry.
  • How Secondary School programs will have a positive impact on the future of the sports field management industry and grow the profession that we are all passionate about.

11 am-12 pm

Keynote – Inspired Leadership in Challenging Times

Session Handout

Craig Whelden – Major General, U.S. Army (retired)

Whelden’s leadership journey began as an Eagle Scout at age 14. Thirty years later, he was the youngest General in the United States Army. Combined with another 9 years as a member of the Senior Executive Service (SES) with the U.S. Marine Corps, he has led thousands of soldiers, sailors, Marines, and civilians. In 2011, he was inducted into the Purdue University Tri-Service ROTC Hall of Fame. In March 2019, he published Leadership: The Art of Inspiring People to Be Their Best, winning four national book awards and attaining #1 international bestseller status on Amazon. Whelden is now a Global Fortune 500 Speaker and lives in Bluffton, South Carolina.

Whelden passes on decades of leadership and life lessons – both good and bad – told in a compelling and sometimes very personal way. A “master story-teller,” thousands around the world have heard his inspirational message.

The presentation will focus on:

  • Why communication skills are so critical.
  • Outlining organizational vision, operating style, and personal quirks – early on.
  • Why delegation and accountability are so important.
  • The value (and risks) of goal setting and leaving a legacy.
  • The importance of trust and balance in your life.

 

Thursday, January 20

8-10 am

Coast to Coast Integrated Weed Management for Cool Season Turfgrass – Preview this Education Session

Session Handout

Alec Kowalewski, Ph.D. – Oregon State University, Matthew Elmore, Ph.D. – Rutgers University, Emily Braithwaite – Oregon State University, Brandon McNally – Rutgers University

During this collaborative presentation Dr. Alec Kowalewski will be focusing his discussion and presentation on cultural practices (irrigation and fertilization) for control of annual bluegrass, and low-impact herbicides. More specifically, recent research at OSU has identified the optimum irrigation rates, nitrogen rates and phosphorus for annual bluegrass mitigation in perennial ryegrass and tall fescue stands. Regarding low-impact herbicides, Oregon public schools are required to use low impact herbicides. Therefore, OSU extension developed a list of low impact products, which process a caution action work and a relatively low cancer risk.  This presentation will talk about how this list was developed and how to successfully use the products on this list.

Dr. Matt Elmore will be focusing his discussion and presentation on cultural practices (irrigation and fertilization) for control of annual bluegrass, and low-impact herbicides programs for annual bluegrass mitigation in perennial ryegrass, Kentucky bluegrass, and tall fescue stands.

Emily Braithwaite will focus her discussion and presentation on how primary cultural management practices affect weed populations (mowing, fertilization, irrigation). OSU has been managing a series of fieldgrass plots since 2017, examining different cultural practices, with no herbicide inputs, and weed populations over time. Emily will also discuss mulching materials for patch and repair of damaged areas, and optimal seeding dates for the west coast.

Brandon McNally will be focusing his discussion and presentation on cultural practices (irrigation and fertilization) for control of annual bluegrass in cool-season fieldgrasses such as perennial ryegrass and creeping bentgrass.

Designing/Building a Sports Field with Grounds Managers in Mind

Session Handout

Fred Stringfellow, CAE – American Sports Builders Association, Kirk Grego, CFB – Mid-America Golf & Landscape, Allen Verdin, CFB – The Motz Group, Craig Honkomp, PE, PS, LEED AP – Sportworks Design

As designers and builders, we often hear from facility owners and grounds managers after a facility has been in operation for a period of time about “things they wish had been done differently.” Wouldn’t it be nice if you considered those things BEFORE a new facility was designed and built?

Attendees will:

  • Learn about facility design that impacts Grounds Managers, and how those could be implemented at an existing facility.
  • Participate in an interactive discussion about what would make life as a Grounds Manager easier, while at the same time improving the facility.
  • Learn how to give ideas voice when planning a new facility and show your value to the process.
Maps Guide the Way: Mapping Pests for Targeted Applications

David McCall, Ph.D. – Virginia Tech

Natural playing surfaces are not uniform but are typically managed as if they are. Most pests are distributed in clusters within localized areas, yet entire surfaces are treated equally with pesticides. However, there are simple and complex strategies that allow fieldgrass professionals to target applications. This presentation will provide tools available to apply the right product to the right place, at the right time.

Attendees will learn:

  • Both simple and complex ways in which they can take control of mapping pest outbreaks across their facilities.
  • How to use pest-incidence maps for precision fieldgrass management, reducing both environmental and economic inputs.
  • How to use aerial imagery to state their case to upper administration for necessary management inputs and resources.

1:30-3 pm: Repeated Education Sessions

Mowing: Getting Beyond the 1/3 Rule – Preview this education session

Session Handout

Matt Anderson, CSFM, CSE and Boyd Montgomery, CSFM, CSE – The Toro Company

This presentation will provide a more in depth look at mowing and how it impacts a sports field management operation. We will discuss current trends in sports field mowing heights, proper cutting unit setup and how those factors can impact after-cut appearance.

Sports Field Design, Construction, Renovation: What Works, What Doesn’t

Session Handout

James Puhalla – Retired

Knowing “what doesn’t work” is as valuable as knowing “what does;” that’s the way to avoid mistakes. This is called “learning by past mistakes.” Learn techniques that can be used by designers and contractors in the development of new fields as well as sports field managers in renovating existing fields.

Attendees will learn:

  • How the Principles of Sports Field Design helps in decision making for construction or renovation projects.
  • To analyze plans and specifications for building new fields and to find solutions for existing problem fields.
  • To calculate percent of slope by using a laser level and direct elevation rod; tools for every sports field manager.
Baseball Field Expectations/Maintenance on a Tight Budget

Andy Ommen, CSFM – McLean County PONY Baseball/Professional Outdoor Solutions

This presentation will discuss Andy Ommen’s time volunteering for a 501c3 organization and managing a fieldgrass program which has produced a successful product. He will explore his priorities and successes in building a grounds crew program and the daily work to successfully host 1200+ games on 6 fields of various levels of play. Topics addressed will include safety concerns at a youth/school level, best practices to keep fields as playable as possible, as well as motivating athletes to take care of their positions.

 

Virtual Education

Week 1 – Tuesday, January 25

Pursuing Infill Depth Perfection in Synthetic Turf Systems

Thomas Shay, PE – Woodard & Curran

This session will identify shortcomings of synthetic field infill installation results and how that translates to challenges in future operations and maintenance, impacting overall field performance and longevity.  We will review field installation case studies where geolocated infill depth measurements and heat mapping indicate there is a need for improvement.

Attendees will understand limitations of current infill depth measurement practices and visually demonstrate (via heat mapping) how infill depths vary on existing and newly installed synthetic field athletic fields.

Attendees will be able to identify lessons learned and areas for improvement in infill installations for oversight and implementation by the sports field manager that will lead to longer lasting and higher performing fields.

The session will provoke thoughts and discussion on how the industry can be better served by improving means, methods, equipment, and collaboration throughout the design and installation process.

The content covered in this session can be immediately implemented by the sports field management staff and lead to higher quality and longevity in synthetic field systems.

Pesticide and Topdressing Calculations – It’s Only Cell Phone Math

Samuel Doak – Retired

Session Handout

This session will show several methods to solve a variety of active ingredient calculations with a range of formulations. Step by step methods will be used to solve the problems.

Attendees will learn how to:

  • Calculate the amount of active ingredient to be applied in a variety of formulations using several methods.
  • Calculate the amount of topdressing needed on any size area and any thickness used – from 1/8 inch to 3 inches mulch.

Attendees will have enough in session practice to be confident in calculations and to be able to teach someone else these skills.

 

Week 2 – Tuesday, February 1

Let’s Clear Up the Confusion on Wetting Agents and Sports Turfgrass

Michael Fidanza, Ph.D. and Stan Kostka, Ph.D. – Penn State University

Session Handout

Soil surfactants (also referred to as wetting agents) are staples of fieldgrass maintenance programs to treat localized dry spots, mitigate soil water repellency, and to improve rootzone water delivery, water use efficiency, nutrient access, and enhance overall plant health. The goal of this seminar is to provide sports field managers with an introduction into the basic concepts of soil water, the development of water repellency in soils, and basic principles on soil surfactant mode of action and their impacts to enhance water management and improve fieldgrass performance, and how to make sense of all the soil surfactant products in the marketplace.

Attendees will gain:

  • An understanding into the concepts of soil water dynamics with the fieldgrass rootzone.
  • Further insight into how the soil surfactants in today’s marketplace are classified and categorized.
Expert Expectation Management for Sports Field Experts

Ryan DeMay, CSFM – City of Columbus Department of Recreation and Parks

As Sports Field Managers we are always at the hub of the wheel that drives people, sports, and fieldgrass. When all of those things come together just right, it’s not luck. It takes fantastic people skills, consistent communication, and above all, managing expectations of all those around you. From basic cultural practices to annual maintenance programs to renovations and construction, managing expectations as the expert on staff is a skill that separates good from great.

In this seminar, we will take a deep dive into the most effective strategies and tactics for managing the expectations of our staff, administrators, front office staff, athletic directors, programmers, coaches, athletes, parents, contractors, vendors, and other stakeholders. Some of the strategies we will cover:

  • Defining Success – With so many voices at the table, how do we clearly define and agree on what success looks like for fields and facilities? Hear all perspectives, identify common “wins”, and agree on achievable priorities, outcomes, and measurements for success.
  • Cultural Practices and Capital Improvements – With success defined, how do we lay out the path to success for our fields to stakeholders? Frame the issues, present the benefits, sell the outcome.
  • Delivering the Goods – Now with a solid plan is in place, how do we work through the challenges that come our way seemingly every day? Staying on track, over-communicating, and building trust.
  • Reflecting and Forecasting – The season is over, the project is complete, but how do we know if we succeeded? Review our success measurements, get feedback from all stakeholders, prepare to do this ALL over again to make the fields and your staff even better!

By employing these strategies of properly managing expectations, Sports Field Managers can better position themselves as the trusted experts within our organizations who get the job done right, on time, and with integrity.

Regardless of the size of your organization, these strategies have been proven to reduce the anxiety and worry of the unknowns in our industry while increasing the trust and belief in our abilities as Sports Field Managers.

Attendees will:

  • Understand the influence they have as Sports Field Managers to properly set and manage expectations within their organizations.
  • Learn how to employ a “customer-first” attitude when managing expectations with staff, administrators, coaches, and other stakeholders.
  • Leave feeling confident about their role as Sports Field Managers to guide their organization’s process for consistently producing safe, high-quality, playable sports fields.

 

Week 3 – Tuesday, February 8

Opening Minds to Technology

Mike Hales, CSFM – Brigham Young University

This presentation aims to open people’s minds to how the use of technology can help to make their jobs easier.  It targets those who say that they “don’t do technology” and shows them that they can learn new things that will help them to do their job.

This presentation will:

  • Open attendee’s minds to how technology can help them do their job better.
  • Give attendees specific suggestions of new technologies that can improve their facility.
  • Encourage attendees to think of new better ways of doing things.
Water Management: Cutting-Edge Tools You May Be Missing

Colin Campbell, Ph.D. – METER Group, Inc., Bryan Hopkins, Ph.D. – Brigham Young University, Neil Hansen, Ph.D. – Brigham Young University, Ruth Kerry – Brigham Young University

In this presentation, we will discuss uniting direct measurements of soil water potential and local weather conditions with remote sensing and machine learning to provide better advice to managers on when and how much to water. We will back these concepts with real world examples from sports fields on the BYU campus.

Attendees will:

  • Understand how multiple tools can be combined to provide confidence in irrigation decisions.
  • Learn how advanced technology can be used to evaluate existing irrigation schemes and drive adjustment to produce better performing fieldgrass.
  • Benefit from a case study showing how technology was deployed and leveraged to support the success of sport field managers.

 

Week 4 – Tuesday, February 15

Developing Weed Control Strategies for Your Facility

Jim Brosnan, Ph.D. – University of Tennessee, Gerald Henry, Ph.D. – University of Georgia

Developing an effective weed control program is a skill that is becoming increasingly important for sports field managers. Similar to what is implemented with disease management, an effective weed control program allows fieldgrass managers to maintain weed-free fieldgrass (or as closely as possible) of optimal quality from January – December. Effective programs not only make use of different herbicide technologies varying in mode of action, but also implement effective cultural management practices such as fertilization, aerification, irrigation, and mowing. This session will teach attendees how to build effective weed control programs for the southern United States.

Attendees will:

  • Learn how to build a weed control program for their facility that integrates timely herbicide applications with appropriate cultural practices to minimize weed infestation.
  • Understand the benefits (and capability) of rotating herbicide modes of action over time to prevent resistance.
  • Learn the strengths and weaknesses of the newest herbicides entering the fieldgrass marketplace and how they fit into weed control programs.
Revitalizing Your School District Sports Fields

Paul Cushing – Paul Cushing Sports Turf Agronomic Consulting Services

This presentation is designed to help Sports Field Managers at the School District level in assisting them to rejuvenate their sports fields. This presentation touches upon weed control, animal abatement, soil testing, soil fertility programs, renovation programs (aerification and verticutting), proper height of cut (HOC), topdressing and seasonal scheduling for school district employees. This session will also include many case studies with school district sports fields over the past year with before, during and after pictures to illustrate points and give Sports Field Managers practical knowledge to empower change to their own school district fields.

Attendees will take home: Strong understanding of diagnosing broadleaf & grassy weeds and the control methods needed to create a monostand of fieldgrass. Animal control and strategies for minimizing their affect. The importance of taking soil samples and the interpretation of important aspects of the results which include: water movement, sodium management and availability of nutrients in the soil.

 

2021 Virtual Conference Education is now available for viewing on Pheedloop. You must be registered for the conference in order to view the sessions. All 2021 members are able to attend the virtual conference free of charge. To access the 2021 Conference Sessions, click here.

Please email Whitney at wwebber@stma.org if you have any questions. 

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; 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 
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
2020 brought unprecedented challenges and stressors: role conflict (working from home while educating children and providing full-time childcare); anxiety around health risks from the virus, financial insecurity, stressors around limited budgets, and more. We’ll talk about the impact on our mental health and identify strategies to help us fight “quarantine fatigue.”

 

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 
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 SFMA’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 SFMA 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 SFMA’s Environmental Certification.

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

Mon., Jan. 13
1:15 – 5 pm

Educational Demonstrations at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches
Get offsite and outside with educational demonstrations at Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. Pre-conference education will offer attendees the opportunity to experience various sports turf management practices in action. Attendees will rotate through five stations where they can interact with their peers and learn how to improve field operations.

Tue., Jan. 14
8-9:30 am

Opening General Session – Talkin’ Natural Grass Talk Show
Hosted by Jeffrey Fowler – Penn State Extension
Kick off the SFMA Conference with an interactive discussion where our host will interview experts from across the nation. Structured like a late-night talk show, pertinent issues such as herbicide bans, pesticide legislation and new technology will be discussed.

Pesticide Regulation and Policy and Your Role – Laurie Flanagan

Understanding the Glyphosate Issue and Addressing Public Concerns – Dr. Chris Marble

Using Drone Technology for Turfgrass Management– Dr. Dale Bremer

9:45-10:45 am

Overcoming Challenges in Your CareerPreview this session
Speaker: Abby McNeal, CSFM, CPRP – Denver Parks and Recreation
This presentation will discuss ways to tackle the challenges sports field managers face throughout their career as they become the expert at their field/facility. Discussion will include inequities that are experienced at all levels of the industry and ways to manage these with the least impact to your career path.

Growing Bermuda in the NorthPreview this session
Speaker: Kevin Mercer, CSFM, CGM, LICM – Denison University
Barclay Thompsen varsity soccer field at Denison University was renovated in 2017 and became the first collegiate bermudagrass field in Ohio. Come listen to the challenges and successes from our 2017 grow in and how we manage the seasonal inputs for the warm season grass in the colder parts of the US.

Topdressing Sports Fields: What’s Right for Your Facility?
Speaker: James Murphy, Ph.D. – Rutgers University
This presentation will assist in determining whether topdressing is economically feasible and how to approach the logistical and agronomic issues needed to design a sound program. Delivery, storage and application of large volumes of topdressing material, understanding the agronomic reasoning behind material selection, and the timing, frequency and material-quantities applied will be discussed.

Being Positive About Increased Field Usage
Speaker: Zack Holm, CSFM – New York Red Bulls
In today’s world our fields continue to see more usage with little to no input from the turfgrass manager. This session will help attendees understand how to have difficult conversations about field usage, be better prepared for event/extra usage planning and generate ideas for low impact events that can help them and their organization.

Athletic Field Soils and How to Manage Them
Speaker: Barry Stewart Ph.D. – Mississippi State University
Soil properties are not always well understood by many athletic field managers. Soil properties directly determine grass properties and playing surface properties that affect player performance and player safety. This presentation will present a review of basic aspects of soils. Soil physical, chemical and health properties will be highlighted.

Back to Basics: Troubleshooting Your Irrigation System’s Electronics and Hydraulics
Speaker: Brad Jakubowski – Penn State University
Attendees will interactively learn the fundamentals of troubleshooting an irrigation system. Attendees will use multimeters to identify electrical problems with controllers, solenoids, common wires, and valve control wires. Attendees will also learn step by step methods to troubleshooting hydraulic problems in irrigation lines, valves and sprinklers.

11 am – 12 pm

So, What is the Deal with Calcium?Preview this session
Speaker: Nick Christians, Ph.D. – Iowa State University
The session will include some basics of soil science as it relates to calcium and its use on turfgrass. It will also include a discussion of recent research on the topic.

Integrating Assessments into a Municipal or School Grounds Management Program
Speaker: Victoria Wallace – University of Connecticut
Changes in environmental legislation have caused grounds managers in CT to rethink how they manage facilities. This presentation will discuss how the need for assessments of municipal and school grounds and landscapes have evolved in CT, integration of assessments into an IPM plan, and how their use can support management protocol and school grounds purchasing decisions.

Lessons Learned in 35 Years in Turf
Speaker: Dale Getz, CSFM – Retired
This presentation will follow the career of Dale Getz and the important agronomic and life lessons learned during 35 years in the turfgrass industry. The objective of the presentation is to show the various paths a career can take and to use lessons learned in the most productive way.

Recent Traffic Stress Tolerance Research at Rutgers University
Speaker: Brad Park – Rutgers University
The Rutgers Center for Turfgrass Science continues to assess the wear and traffic tolerance of existing tall fescue and Kentucky bluegrass cultivars and new experimental selections. The presenter will describe research results generated from wear and traffic stress trials and the practical implications of this research relative to the challenges faced by sports field managers.
Article – Response of Kentucky Bluegrass to Traffic in Autumn
Article – Tall Fescue and Kentucky Bluegrass Mixture Research
Article – Trafficked and Non-Trafficked Tall Fescue Research

Dotmocracy
Moderated by Jeremy Tredway
This session will brainstorm a variety of topics from industry problems to hot topics. Each topic will be taped to the wall and attendees will vote on the topics they wish to discuss during the session by putting a colored dot sticker on that topic. The highest rated topics will be addressed.

More Pop per Drop: Smart Irrigation
Speaker: Bryan Hopkins, Ph.D. – Brigham Young University
How do we get more of a “pop” of green per drop of water? Water shortages are increasing in frequency and severity. Water and root zone oxygen management innovations will be discussed using case studies and hands-on demos.

2-3:15 pm

Getting the Most Out of Your Natural Grass Fields
Speaker: Ryan Bjorn – Gillette Stadium
This presentation will cover three main keys that assist in providing high-quality surfaces while withstanding ever-increasing traffic demands. While looking at cultural practices, plant health and traffic management, we will discuss different types of aeration, using nitrogen in moderation and finally techniques to help manage the traffic on fields.

Breaking the Barrier: Communicating with Coaches and Administration
Speakers: Marc Moran, CSFM – Atlee High School
This presentation will focus on communication with coaches as well as administration to develop a working plan that facilitates reduction of wear in high wear areas, improved player and team performance and a stronger connection with the coach and the sports field manager. This will be explained from a sports field managers perspective as well as that of a coach.

John Mascaro’s Photo Quiz Comes Alive
Speaker: John Mascaro – Turf-Tec International
John Mascaro’s Photo Quiz article has appeared monthly in SportsTurf Magazine since 2006. The live version of the Photo Quiz is an interactive presentation with questions on what caused a turfgrass problem and answers that tell what the problem was and how it was solved. The Photo Quiz is a favorite feature in the magazine, and the live version focuses on “the rest of the story”.

Professional Baseball Field Renovation
Speaker: Wes Ganobcik – Columbus Clippers
This presentation will describe the design and construction process of a professional baseball field renovation from the perspective of the groundskeeper. It will describe areas of focus during the design and construction stages of a renovation project, the most important details of this specific renovation, as well as how to justify costs as defined by a cost/benefit analysis of different aspects of the project.

Utilizing a Diagnostic Service to Dial in Sports Turfgrass Disease Management Programs
Speaker: Philip Harmon, Ph.D. – University of Florida
We will review turfgrass disease problems and the resources that managers have to diagnose problems. We will review tips to getting the most out of a diagnostic sample and how to interpret the results. We will also review some of the most common warm season turfgrass diseases and management strategies, including fungicide options.

Synthetic Turf Maintenance: Sports Turf Managers Needed
Speakers: Brian Hill – Brigham Young University – Grounds Department; Michael Wear – Perfect Pitch Turf Solutions
An in depth look at the daily, weekly, monthly and annual maintenance required to properly maintain synthetic turf fields. Including a discussion of the tools, methods and reasons behind the maintenance procedures.

3:30-5 pm

So You’re Thinking About a Career Move… (Repeated Thurs., Jan. 16, 1:30 – 3 pm)
Speakers: Marcus Dean, CSFM – Advanced Turf Solutions; Jeff Salmond, CSFM – United Turf and Track; Brian Winka, CSFM – Advanced Turf Solutions
Three CSFMs give a presentation based off their experiences of working in various SFMA membership categories, then transitioning to the commercial side of the industry. The presentation is designed to answer questions for those who may be thinking about a career move but are not sure what they can expect.

Get with the Program: Developing Your Own Weed Control Strategy
Speakers: Jim Brosnan, Ph.D. – University of Tennessee; Gerald Henry, Ph.D. – University of Georgia
An effective weed control program allows field managers to maintain weed-free turfgrass (or as closely as possible) of optimal quality from January-December. Effective programs use different herbicide technologies varying in mode of action and implement effective cultural management practices. This session will teach attendees how to build effective weed control programs for both the northern and southern United States.

Work/Life Balance
Speakers: Lisa Goatley, M.S., L.P.C. – The Cascade Group; Mike Goatley, Jr., Ph.D. – Virginia Tech
Careers in the sports field industry present challenges in maintaining an appropriate balance between work and family life. Jobs are prone to long, unpredictable hours under stressful mental and physical conditions which can cause family relationships to suffer. This presentation will detail skills and strategies that one can implement to achieve healthy relationships both at home and with work.

Improved Cool-Season Grasses Perform Well and Require Fewer Inputs
Speakers: Cale Bigelow, Ph.D. – Purdue Turf Science Program; Gregg Munshaw, Ph.D. – University of Kentucky
This presentation will highlight new cool-season turfgrasses that have been bred specifically for aesthetics and reduced inputs and will focus on how to select and choose these improved cultivars to use less fertilizer, chemicals, and water.

Does Your Athletic Field Pass the Test? Field Testing Overview
Speakers: Kyley Dickson, Ph.D. and John Sorochan, Ph.D. – University of Tennessee
The presentation will cover the importance of testing natural and synthetic athletic fields and what data these different tests provide. Attendees will also learn how to use this information to improve athletic field performance, playability, and safety as well as effective ways to communicate the information collected to administrators, coaches, athletes, parents, city council members, etc.

Turfgrasses Do Not Eat Cookies!
Speaker: Haibo Liu, Ph.D. – Clemson University
This seminar will provide thorough reviews of turfgrass soil fertility, nutrition, environmental soil chemical concepts, updates of new trends, and challenges for sports field managers. The audience will gain hands-on experience to deal with challenging soil and chemical subjects with improvements for future management practices.

Wed., Jan. 15
8-9:15 am

Research and Real-World Review of Natural & Synthetic Hybrid Turf Systems
Speaker: Pamela Sherratt – The Ohio State University
Hybrid turf systems comprised of natural and synthetic turf, combined to give the end user a stable and high quality playing surface. This presentation will include a summary of research findings to date and look at how these systems are installed and maintained.

Fertility Fact, Myth and Legend – Sports Turf Edition
Speaker: Beth Guertal, Ph.D. – Auburn University
We’ve all heard them: ‘apply potassium for traffic stress’, ‘no late season N – it causes winterkill’, and, ‘adding gypsum alleviates traffic stress’. But is any of this true, or is it as mythical as unicorns? Come join in for a discussion of the facts, myths and legends that surround fertilization and soil management, and see which are supported by research.

Understanding, Assessing, and Managing Shade Stress Problems in Stadiums
Speaker: John Sorochan, Ph.D. – University of Tennessee
This seminar will teach you to accurately diagnose shade stress on turfgrass and help you develop management practices to successfully manage turfgrass under shade conditions.

Media Training 101: Enhance Your Brand
Speakers: Glenn Gray and Colin McDonald – Buffalo Agency
Sports field managers need to be able to communicate their story in a compelling, authentic tone and engage with the media to promote the industry’s vital work. Come learn tips, tricks and techniques on how to efficiently become a “story seller” and be considered a thought leader in your community. With the proper tools and training, you’ll communicate your ideas coherently and effectively to any audience.

Chemical (Glyphosate, Fertilizer, etc.) Exposure: Health Concern? – Preview this education session
Speaker: Bryan Hopkins, Ph.D. – Brigham Young University
Recent legal actions have resulted in alarming concerns regarding chemical use. Pesticides and fertilizers (most notably glyphosate or Roundup®) are being scrutinized by the public, insurance companies, etc. What are the real facts? What precautions are needed? What resources are available to help alleviate founded and unfounded concerns?

Do I Pull the Tarp? Having the Tools and a Plan for Making Game-Time Weather Decisions
Speakers: Brad Jakubowski – Penn State University; Matt Neri – State College Spikes Baseball
Having reliable weather-based knowledge and developing lines of communication needed to make the most dependable game-time decisions possible is critical. The seminar will focus on what weather information is most effective for making game-time decisions and how to develop well-implemented plans and effective lines of communication to minimize unplayable field conditions.

9:30-10:45 am

Revisit / Develop Your Elevator SpeechPreview this session
Speaker: John Fech – University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Being able to simply and succinctly tell someone you just met about what you do for a living is an excellent way to get the word out that there are people in town who truly value community resources and whose job it is to ensure they are properly cared for. A quality elevator speech serves the sports field manager well when meeting vendors, event coordinators and potential future employers.

Tracking Every Drop: Irrigation Audits and Troubleshooting for Success
Speakers: Charles Fontanier, Ph.D. – Oklahoma State University; Chrissie Segars, Ph.D. – Texas A&M AgriLife Extension
This presentation will describe the process of performing irrigation audits and troubleshooting your system for efficient watering practices. Speakers will go over step-by-step how to perform an audit, how to perform key calculations, and how to interpret your results to fine tune your system.

Improving High School Sports Fields: Educating & Connecting with Coaches
Speakers: Brandon Hardin and Michael Richard – Mississippi State University
Our newest Extension program: Sports Turf Management Coaches’ Clinic was established to educate high school coaches on field maintenance practices that provide safe playing surfaces for student athletes. We will also discuss how a consultant/company can build a relationship with a school to provide key services, all while growing their business.

Improving Biological Control of Turfgrass Pests in the Wake of Public Opinion
Speakers: John Inguagiato, Ph.D. – University of Connecticut; Joseph Roberts, Ph.D. – University of Maryland
Fertilizer and pesticide use in turfgrass has become a public concern resulting in state and local laws mandating the use of these products. With a growing public concern for both human and environmental health associated with turfgrass management, there is a growing need for alternative management strategies. Turfgrass researchers are developing new research in this area, particularly with how it relates to turfgrass microbiology.

Avoiding Pitfalls with Synthetic Turf Specifications and Project Management
Speakers: Dave Anderson PE – DA Hogan & Associates Inc.; Andrew McNitt, Ph.D. – Penn State University
Installing a new synthetic turf field? This presentation will discuss important aspects of the technical specifications and the project management approach that will help avoid pitfalls that can occur with the procurement and construction of synthetic turf field projects.

Cost of Ownership, From Turf to Dirt (Repeated Thurs., Jan. 16, 1:30 – 3 pm)
Speaker: Luke Yoder – DuraEdge Products, Inc.
There are many options when deciding what playing surface makes the most sense for your facility. We will discuss how to avoid buyer’s remorse while preparing to implement best practices moving forward for the long haul. We will discuss all aspects that help determine what the best long-term solution is for your field or complex.

11 am – 12 pm

Keynote – RMLCS Giving Back to The Community

Speaker: Rodney Smith, Jr. – Raising Men Lawn Care Service

This presentation is about Raising Men Lawn Care Service and how one simple act of kindness started it all. Using lawn care, youth are inspired to get out and make a difference in their community one lawn at a time through our 50-yard challenge.

Thurs., Jan. 16
8-10 am

Informed Decision-Making Leads to Successful Sports Field Management
Speakers: Mike Goatley, Jr., Ph.D. – Virginia Tech; Jeffrey Krans, Ph.D. – Mississippi State University; Jim Puhalla – Retired
The authors of “Sports Fields: Design, Construction, and Maintenance” apply over 100 years of their combined experiences in field designs, consultation, and university teaching/research in presentations emphasizing the points they feel are most critical to the success of a sports field and a sports field manager.

Bermudagrass: All the Latest on Cultivar Performance and Management
Speakers: Cale Bigelow, Ph.D. – Purdue Turf Science Program; Gregg Munshaw, Ph.D. – University of Kentucky; Barry Stewart Ph.D. – Mississippi State University
Attend this seminar to discover how to make the most informed decisions and maximize operational resources related to bermudagrass management. Although bermudagrass has many strengths, it can also come with major limitations. Explore and learn the effects of various management inputs like nutritional programs, mowing, cultivation, and plant growth regulators.

Work Life Balance: How to Spend Less Time at Work
Speakers: Wes Ganobcik – Columbus Clippers and Christo Wallace – Cincinnati Reds
Turfgrass Management is a career path in which certain months require you to live at your facility more than your own home. Several approaches will be discussed which should help improve people’s work/life balance, reduce the amount of time they spend at work, and create an overall more pleasant work environment. This will include staffing, scheduling, and field maintenance techniques.

Baseball Construction – The Science Behind the Builders
Speakers: Steve Bush, CFB, CSFM – Bush Sports Turf; Eric Holland – Precision Turf, LLC; Nolan Thomas – Nolan Thomas and Company, Inc.
The presentation will discuss the science and technology used in the design and construction of baseball fields. It will highlight recent projects and processes, how technology has changed building and maintaining baseball fields, and how to maximize your time with planning and efficiency.

1:30-3 pm

Welcome to Our World
Speaker: Nicole Sherry – Baltimore Orioles
In this Q & A/Roundtable discussion, Nicole will provide insight on her past experiences as a major and minor league head groundskeeper. The presentation will cover how she got started in professional baseball groundskeeping, the toughest and most rewarding situations she has encountered, as well as key pieces of advice she has for those entering or trying to move up in the profession.

So You’re Thinking About a Career Move…(Repeated from Tues., Jan. 14, 3:30 – 5 pm)
Speakers: Marcus Dean, CSFM – Advanced Turf Solutions; Jeff Salmond, CSFM – United Turf and Track; Brian Winka, CSFM – Advanced Turf Solutions
Three CSFMs give a presentation based off their experiences of working in various SFMA membership categories that have transitioned to the commercial side of the industry. The presentation is designed to answer questions for those who may be thinking about a career move but are not sure what they can expect.

Cost of Ownership, From Turf to Dirt(Repeated from Wed., Jan. 15, 9:30 – 10:45 am)
Speaker: Luke Yoder – DuraEdge Products, Inc.
There are many options when deciding what playing surface makes the most sense for your facility. We will discuss how to avoid buyer’s remorse while preparing to implement best practices moving forward for the long haul. We will discuss all aspects that help determine what the best long-term solution is for your field or complex.

 

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Tues., Jan. 22
1:15 – 5 pm

Educational Demonstrations at Tempe Diablo Stadium Complex
Speakers: Dr. David Kopec and Kai Umeda – The University of Arizona
Get offsite and outside with educational demonstrations at the Tempe Diablo Stadium Complex. New for 2019, pre-conference education will offer attendees the opportunity to experience various sports turf management practices in action. Attendees will rotate through five stations where they can interact with their peers and learn how to improve field operations. Stations will include sprayer calibration, sprayer nozzle selection, using instruments to measure soil conditions, field painting, and infield maintenance.

Wed., Jan. 23
8 – 9:30 am – Opening General Session
Opening General Session – Sports Turf Talk Show
Hosted by Thomas Nikolai, Ph.D. – Michigan State University, Brandon Horvath, Ph.D. – University of Tennessee and John Sorochan, Ph.D. – University of Tennessee
Kick off the SFMA Conference with an interactive discussion where our hosts will interview sports turf managers from across the nation. Structured like a late-night talk show, turfgrass experts will sit down and share how they achieve customer satisfaction while still providing safe, high performance athletic surfaces.

9:45 – 10:45 am

Carbon Fertilization: Snake Oil or the Next Big Thing?Preview this education session
Speaker: Bryan Hopkins, Ph.D. – Brigham Young University

Tackling Traffic: Reducing Traffic on Multi-Use FieldsPreview this education session
Speaker: Marc Moran, CSFM – Atlee High School

Synthetic Turf = “Zero Maintenance??”Preview this education session
Speaker: Jeremy Tredway – Indiana University (Bloomington)

Measure Twice, Apply Once: Practical Reductions in Pesticides and Fertilizers
Speaker: Ryan DeMay – Columbus Recreation and Parks Department

Getting a Seat at the Table
Speaker: Jim Speelman, CSFM – Hope College

Budgeting for Your Facility
Speaker: Rebecca Auchter, CSFM – Franklin Park Boro
Ultimately, a sports turf or grounds management program must be funded to succeed. This presentation focuses on the 3 primary categories of budgeting: The Turf Program, Equipment and Personnel. Detailed examples will show sports turf managers how to justify both operational and capital budgets.

11 am – 12 pm

Agronomic Assessment for Sports Fields: Future Implications for Risk Assessment
Speaker: Kristie Walker, Ph.D. – University of Minnesota Crookston
The most difficult turfgrass areas to manage are sports fields due to traffic they receive by players. Sports played on turfgrass can result in injury to players due to diminished field conditions. We will explore the agronomic properties that should be included in field maintenance assessments to reduce player injuries.

Don’t Say the “M” Word: Math
Speaker: Samuel Doak – Virginia Tech
Worksheet

Irrigation Renovation and Troubleshooting Strategies
Speaker: Ashley Wilkinson – Horry-Georgetown Technical College

Healthy Soil, Healthy Turf – Preview this education session
Speaker: Gregg Munshaw, Ph.D. – University of Kentucky

New Trends and Technology in Sports Turf
Speakers: Representatives from SFMA Commercial Companies
After a two-year hiatus, this popular session is back! Ten of SFMA’s commercial companies have been selected to give a five-minute presentation to introduce and explain the benefits of a new or improved product or service currently available to sports turf managers.

Synthetic Athletic Fields Through the Seasons
Speaker: Jason DeMink, CSFM – University of Michigan Athletics

2 – 3:15 pm

Advanced Weed Control for Athletic Field Turf
Speakers: Jim Brosnan, Ph.D. – University of Tennessee and Gerald Henry, Ph.D. – University of Georgia

Practitioners Guide to Managing Infield Skin Surfaces
Speaker: Joseph Potrikus, CSFM – Greener World Athletic Turf Services

Smart Irrigation- Navigating the Market for your Facility
Speaker: Ben Polimer – Town of Weston

Positive Coaching for Sports Turf Managers, Part 2 (Self-Care)
Speaker: Josh McPherson, CSFM – University of Missouri

Using Drones in Your Sports Field Management Program
Speakers: Tanner Delvalle – Penn State University and Caleb Clements – Blue Valley School District USD 229
This presentation will outline the basics of obtaining a remote pilot license, guidelines for flying legally, equipment available and the types of cameras used. The presentation will also outline a strategy for “selling” the idea to administration or owners on the value and potential cost-saving information that can be gathered from small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS).

New Technologies in Sports Field Sod Production, Installation and Maintenance
Speaker: Ross Kurcab, CSFM – Championship Sports Turf Systems

COTS
Chapter leaders will hear real-world presentations from five chapters about programs that worked and didn’t work and then have a full audience Q&A on burning questions.

3:30 – 5 pm

Plant and Soil Interactions for Athletic Fields – Preview this education session
Speakers: Nick Christians, Ph.D. and Adam Thoms, Ph.D. – Iowa State University
Part 1 – Dr. Nick Christians
Part 2 – Dr. Adam Thoms

Turf and Weedy Grass Identification for the Sports Turf Manager
Speakers: Tony Koski, Ph.D. and Alison O’Connor, Ph.D. – Colorado State University

The Impact of Fraze Mowing on Overseeding
Speakers: Kyley Dickson, Ph.D. – University of Tennessee and Gregg Munshaw, Ph.D. – University of Kentucky

One Field, One Season: Maintaining Kenan Stadium
Speakers: Casey Carrick, CSFM – University of North Carolina and Chad Price, CSFM, CFB – Carolina Green Corp.

Irrigation Water Testing and Interpretation: Case Studies from the Field
Speakers: Charles Fontanier, Ph.D. and Justin Quetone Moss, Ph.D. – Oklahoma State University

Experiential Storytelling
Moderated by Joel White
This new education format is all about the triumphs, challenges, innovations and failures you as sports turf managers face every day. Nothing is off the table in this moderated session where attendees can share best practices, overcoming adversity when something went horribly wrong, and success stories. Come prepared to learn, laugh and connect on common issues with your peers.

5:15 – 6 pm – SFMA Networking Sessions

Meet with your peers during this formalized networking session. Each category of membership meets separately to share issues and practical solutions.

Thurs., Jan. 24
8 – 9:15 am

Stadium Turfgrass Shade Management
Speaker: Dan Bergstrom, CSFM – BBVA Compass Stadium

Event Management: Developing a Landscape Protection Program
Speaker: Michael Stachowicz – National Park Service
Turf Managers are more than ever playing host to a wide variety of events on turfgrass. The ability of a facility to host a concert one night and a sports event the next day is becoming a key to the economic success of a facility. This presentation helps provide the framework for turf managers to develop their own landscape protection program.

Performance of Hybrid Grass Systems
Speakers: Kyley Dickson, Ph.D. and John Sorochan, Ph.D. – University of Tennessee

Mentoring/Training the Next Generation of Sports Turf Managers
Speaker: Tim VanLoo, CSFM – Iowa State University

Back to Basics: Improving the Soil Physical Properties of Highly Trafficked Turfgrass
Speaker: Andrew McNitt, Ph.D. – Penn State University

Competition Kills
Speaker: Michael Goatley, Ph.D. – Virginia Tech

9:30 – 10:45 am

Know Your Audience: Strategies for Discussing Pest ManagementPreview this education session
Speaker: Jim Brosnan, Ph.D. – University of Tennessee

Performance Testing and Player Safety
Speaker: Gerald Henry, Ph.D. – University of Georgia

Development of a Topdressing Program for Athletic Field Managers – Preview this education session
Speakers: Nick Christians, Ph.D. and Adam Thoms, Ph.D. – Iowa State University
Part 1 – Dr. Nick Christians
Part 2 – Dr. Adam Thoms

Elevate Your Value Through PR and Social Media!
Speakers: Tomas Silvani and Glenn Gray – Buffalo.Agency

Back to Basics: Understanding Soil Fertility and Soil Testing Results
Speaker: Bill Kreuser, Ph.D. – University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Soil test reports and fertilization programs are often needlessly confusing. This seminar will focus on the nutrients that are really important and explain which nutrients are rarely important agronomically. Attendees will also learn how to develop an effective and affordable fertilization program.

Alternative Infills and Maintenance of Synthetic Turf
Speaker: Dan Strunk, Ph.D. – University of Tennessee

11 am – 12 pm

Keynote – How to Grow Weeders Into Leaders
Speaker: Jeff McManus – University of Mississippi
Most organizations can’t pay for the talent they want, but with the right strategy most organizations can GROW the talent they have to get the leaders they need. Leadership is the art of motivating a group of people to act towards achieving a common goal. Leadership is a mindset. It begins with aligning the work to a vision of greatness, resiliency, opportunity and wisdom, and then developing an environment based on trust, communication, respect and credibility. Jeff takes the audience on a tour of Leadership Basics, developing a culture of accountability, and encouraging and recognizing the talent within our organizations and ourselves.

Fri., Jan. 25
8 – 10 am

Career Development Panel
Speakers: Allen Johnson, CSFM – Green Bay Packers, Sun Roesslein, CSFM – North Area Athletic Complex/Jeffco Schools Athletics and Tim VanLoo, CSFM – Iowa State University

Baseball Panel Discussion
Speakers: Andy Gossel – Covenant Christian High School, Matt Neri – State College Spikes Baseball and John Turnour – Washington Nationals

University Research Update
Speakers: Academics from various Universities

Dotmocracy
Moderated by Jeremy Tredway
This session will brainstorm a variety of topics from industry problems to hot topics. Each topic will be taped to the wall and attendees will vote on the topics they wish to discuss during the session by putting a colored dot sticker on that topic. The highest rated topics will be addressed.

1:30 – 3 pm – Repeat Sessions

Tackling Traffic: Reducing Traffic on Multi-Use FieldsPreview this education session
Speaker: Marc Moran, CSFM – Atlee High School
This presentation focuses on techniques used at Atlee High School to reduce traffic while working within a tight budget. Education, communication channels, traffic rotation plans and innovative field layouts have allowed for reduced traffic and wear in high traffic areas. These techniques have allowed us to work within a tight financial structure and still provide SFMA FOY caliber fields.

Healthy Soil, Healthy Turf – Preview this education session
Speaker: Gregg Munshaw, Ph.D. – University of Kentucky

Positive Coaching for Sports Turf Managers, Part 2 (Self-Care)
Speaker: Josh McPherson, CSFM – University of Missouri

SFMA partnered with Penxy to record educational sessions at the 2018 conference.  Education sessions were audio recorded and synchronized with PowerPoint presentations.  Access the recordings here.

TUES., JAN. 16
SFMA SHORT COURSES – 2:30 – 5 PM

Should Financing & Leasing be a Part of Your Acquisition Strategy?
Speaker: Paul Danielson, CSE – The Toro Company
Historically, equipment acquisition in the sports turf segment (especially applicable to tax supported entities) has been predominantly a cash transaction. Available capital budget money has often not kept pace with the work you are required to accomplish. This presentation will help you determine if financing and leasing are a viable strategy, associated advantages and disadvantages, as well as navigating the financing process.

Thirty Years of Sports Turf Research – What Have We Learned?
Speaker: Trey Rogers, Ph.D. – Michigan State University
This presentation will cover important research topics and discoveries revolving around the Sports Turf Industry. The good, and the not so good, on what we have learned, as well as subjects that have come full circle in a 30-year period. This presentation will reinforce what everyone eventually learns – there are very few NEW ideas, only technology to carry the original ones forward.

WED., JAN. 17
8 – 9:30 AM – OPENING GENERAL SESSION

We Are All in This Together: Relationships Between Sports Field Managers and Athletic Directors
Speakers: Weston Appelfeller, CSFM – Columbus Crew SC; Andy Gossel -Covenant Christian HS; Andy Loughnane – Columbus Crew SC; Megan VanArsdale – Boyle County Schools
Join us for discussion about how to establish and expand successful working relationships between sports turf managers and their supervisors and athletic directors. Questions and comments from the audience will be encouraged.

9:45 – 10:45 AM

Sports Field Drainage – Problems and Solutions
Speaker: Andrew McNitt, Ph.D. – Penn State University

‘Professional’ Turfgrass Management
Speaker: Michael Goatley, Jr., Ph.D. – Virginia Tech

In Season Plant Growth Regulators: High Risk or High Reward?
Speaker: Keith Winter – Fort Wayne TinCaps

STC Guidelines for Synthetic Turf Base Systems
PDF Document
Speaker: Francois Hebert – Design & Solutions for Sports Surfaces F.H ltd (DSSS)

The Importance of Managing Soil Moisture on Athletic Fields
Speaker: Kyley Dickson, Ph. D. – University of Tennessee

Athletic Field Performance Testing
Speakers: Gerald Henry, Ph.D. and Chase Straw – University of Georgia
Performance testing of sports fields is becoming more common for the quantification of surface properties such as hardness and traction. Enhancements in sensor/sampling technology and increased concern for athlete safety and field performance has further driven interest. This presentation will teach attendees how to operate current sensor/sampler technology and integrate their use into daily maintenance practices.

11 AM – 12 PM

Beyond the Science, the Art of Sports Turf
Session Handout
Speaker: Stephen Crockett, CSFM – City of Union City, Tennessee
At any level, from municipal to professional, there are a great variety of techniques which can be used to make a field aesthetically pleasing to all involved. This presentation will cover striping patterns, logo painting, turf colorants, and new technology and techniques to accomplish at every level.

Warm Season Weed Control
Speaker: James Brosnan, Ph.D. – University of Tennessee

Synthetic Field Management
Speakers: Matt Anderson, CSFM – The University of Arizona; Sarah Martin, CSFM – City of Phoenix, Parks and Recreation; Doug Schattinger – Pioneer Athletics

Our Season with TifGrand
Speaker: Nick Fedewa – SMG Jacksonville/Jaguars

Establishing a Bermuda Field Without Irrigation
Speaker: Michael Skelton – Culpeper County Parks and Rec

The Ups and Downs of Soil pH Modification
Speaker: Nick Christians, Ph.D. – Iowa State University

2 – 3:15 PM

Managing Stress and Avoiding Burnout
Burnout Checklist
Stress Symptom Checklist
Stress and Burnout Action Plan
Speaker: Lisa Goatley, M.S., L.P.C. – The Cascade Group

Athletic Field Drainage from Design to Maintenance
Speaker: Thomas Rychlik, P.E., LEED-AP – Gewalt Hamilton Associates, Inc.

Renovating a Collegiate Baseball Field in Multiple Phases
Speaker: Jon Fitch – Shive-Hattery, Inc

Budget Cuts – Are You Prepared to Justify?
Speaker: Roger Havlak – City of San Angelo / Angelo State University
This presentation will provide useful information to individuals who are involved in developing and implementing sports field and landscape maintenance budgets, capital expenditures, project budgets, water budgets, etc. The focus will be on the development of minimum maintenance standards for park and sports field systems, prioritizing and justifying expenditures, and utilizing PET water budgets.

Advanced Soil Science for the Sports Turfgrass Professional
Speaker: Bryan Hopkins, Ph.D. – Brigham Young University

Facility Liability and Lawsuit Prevention
Session Handout
Speaker: Patrick McGuiness – Zlimen and McGuiness, Attorneys at Law

3:30 – 5 PM

Optimizing Bermudagrass Athletic Field Winter Survival in the Transition Zone
Speakers: Marcus Dean, CSFM and Gregg Munshaw, Ph.D. – University of Kentucky

Multiple Sports on Fields and Multiple Locations of Schools
Speakers: Danny Foye, Jr. and Kevin Morgan – Duval County School Board
This presentation will discuss the challenges of caring for multiple fields, hosting multiple sports, located within Duval County schools. Attendees will learn about maintenance scheduling challenges and working closely with athletic directors and coaches, how to use local resources to help maintain safe fields, and ways to network with local professional and college teams to utilize resources and benefit all.

Athlete Perception and Injury Risk Within Natural Turfgrass Sports Fields
Speakers: Gerald Henry, Ph.D. and Chase Straw – University of Georgia

In With the New: BMPs for Regrassing Cool-Season Turf
Speakers: Michael Buras, CSFM – Longwood Cricket Club; John Inguagiato, Ph.D. – University of Connecticut

Low Budget Weed Control
Speakers: Jared Hoyle, Ph.D. – Kansas State University; Jay McCurdy, Ph.D. – Mississippi State University

Positive Coaching for Sports Turf Managers
VIA Classification of Character Strengths and Virtues
Character Strength Icons
Speaker: Josh McPherson, CSFM – University of Missouri

5:15 – 6:15 PM – SFMA NETWORKING SESSIONS

Meet with your peers during this formalized networking session. Each category of membership meets separately to share issues and practical solutions.

THURS., JAN. 18
8 – 9:15 AM

Professional Development: Necessary Steps in Your Career Advancement
Speaker: James Bergdoll, CSFM – City of Chattanooga Department of Public Works

Sports Turf Research Focusing on Athlete Performance and Safety
Speaker: John Sorochan, Ph.D. – University of Tennessee

Asking the Tough Questions
Speaker: Grady Miller, Ph.D. – NC State University
As one of the writers for SportsTurf Magazine’s “Ask the Expert”, Dr. Grady Miller has been involved in over 100 columns in the last 18 years. He has answered questions about ants, zeolites, blood, goats, shoes, vandals, and everything in between. This presentation will highlight the informative to the funny stories, as well as questions most frequently asked and those that caused the most controversy.

Behind the Scenes: Recreational and Collegiate Athletic Field Management at the University of Florida
Speaker: Jason Kruse, Ph.D. – University of Florida

Making Better Weather-Based Management Decisions
Speaker: Brad Jakubowski – Penn State University

Topdressing and Cultivation for Your Athletic Fields
Speakers: Nick Christians, Ph.D. and Adam Thoms, Ph.D. – Iowa State University

9:30 – 10:45 AM

Rebranding Your Sports Turf and Grounds Maintenance Operation
Session Handout – Flowchart
Session Handout
Speaker: Kevin Mercer, CSFM, CGM – Denison University

John Mascaro’s Photo Quiz Comes Alive
Speaker: John Mascaro – Turf-Tec International

Turfgrass Insects
Speaker: Gary Brooks – Bayer

Understanding Dislodgeable Foliar Residues and Optimizing Pesticide Applications
Speaker: Travis Gannon, Ph.D. – NC State University
Much concern exists around human pesticide exposure from treated turfgrass areas. Understanding factors that affect dislodgeable foliar residues is imperative to ensure human health is not adversely affected. This presentation will focus on optimizing pesticide efficacy and devising best management practices to minimize pesticide exposure and off-target movement.

PR/Social Media Recognition: Why It’s Important for Your Boss to Know!
Speakers: Glenn Gray and Tomás Silvani – Buffalo.Agency

Topdressing and Cultivation for Your Athletic Fields
Speakers: Nick Christians, Ph.D. and Adam Thoms, Ph.D. – Iowa State University

11 AM – 12 PM

Keynote – Mark Johnson – Retired NCAA Division 1 Baseball Coach
Everyone Counts, Because Everyone Brings an Attitude, Energy, and Enthusiasm
Mark Johnson has spent years speaking throughout the country and overseas. He will bring high energy and exhibit 41 years of coaching motivation. He will visit humorous topics concerning the “In’s and Outs of Baseball” and the honored tradition of baseball “signs.” Mark will inspirationally touch on subjects of adversity, pressure, vision, and risking to achieve. And in the end, he will ask you to get off the sidelines and “let your light shine.”

FRI., JAN. 19
8 – 10 AM

ASBA Panel Discussion – Analysing and Comparing Bid Specifications: An Apples to Apples Comparison
Speakers: James Catella, PE – Clark Companies; Michael Gentile – Sports Labs USA; Craig Honkomp – Sportsworks Field Design
Every specification is different. This panel will help attendees navigate the “gray areas” and define product specifications vs. performance specifications for both natural and synthetic turf projects.

Panel Discussion – Cool-Season Field Renovation
Speakers: Leah Brilman, Ph.D. – DLF Pickseed USA; John Inguagiato, Ph.D. – University of Connecticut; Brad Park – Rutgers University; Pamela Sherratt – The Ohio State University

Panel Discussion – When Disaster Strikes: A Guide to Manage, Recover & Prepare
Speakers: Kim Bybee – City of Carrollton; Bruce Suddeth – University of South Carolina Upstate; Mason Ward – City of Carrollton

Lightning Rounds

1:30 – 3 PM – REPEAT SESSIONS

‘Professional’ Turfgrass Management
Speaker: Michael Goatley, Jr., Ph.D. – Virginia Tech
Being a professional in the sports turf industry goes far beyond the basic mastery of agronomic skills. How do you present yourself? What are ways to advance your career? Can you become a better communicator? Can you build a work-related team such that everyone benefits both personally and professionally? Attend this session to learn strategies to help increase your level of professionalism.

In Season Plant Growth Regulators: High Risk or High Reward?
Speaker: Keith Winter – Fort Wayne TinCaps

Athletic Field Drainage from Design to Maintenance
Speaker: Thomas Rychlik, P.E., LEED-AP – Gewalt Hamilton Associates, Inc.

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TUES., JAN. 24

2:30 – 5 pm

A Break Through Approach to Human Growth and Leadership Development– Preview this conference education session

Speaker: Phil Eason – PLG Leadership

Presentation Handouts::

Participants will learn a break through approach to human growth, development and leadership by understanding that the key to success is to fully understand how to apply their greatest talents. A talent is a naturally recurring pattern of thought, feeling or behavior.  Tap into this wisdom for more direction, confidence, hope and productivity. Participants will learn how to identify and build on their natural strengths.

Calibration Basics for Spreaders and Sprayers – Small vs. Large

Calibration Worksheet

Speaker: Samuel Doak – Virginia Tech

Research for Everyday Field Managers

Speaker: Grady Miller, Ph.D. – North Carolina State University

WED., JAN. 25

8 – 9:30 am

Opening General Session
A Visit with the Doctors – Your Annual Sports Turf Physical
Speakers: Andrew McNitt, Ph.D. – The Pennsylvania State University; John Sorochan, Ph.D. – University of Tennessee
Join us for discussion and commentary on individual topics important to the sports turf industry.  Questions and comments from the audience will be encouraged.

9:45 – 10:45 AM

What About the Micronutrients?- Preview this conference education session

Speaker: Nick Christians, Ph.D. – Iowa State University

Turf 101

Speaker: Trey Rogers, Ph.D. – Michigan State University

Central Control and Varying Types of Soils in Sports Fields

Presentation Outline

Speaker: John Cogdill – City of Boulder Parks and Recreation
Boulder, CO resides in a semi-arid environment, receiving about 20.7 inches of precipitation a year and often experiencing varying levels of drought conditions.  With Boulder Parks and Recreation Dept. as the largest user of water in the city, the presentation will focus on use of Central Control when managing water on different types of soils, water conservation scheduling techniques, and water component strategies to promote plant health.

Managing a Synthetic Turf Infield and Natural Grass Outfield

Speakers: Chris Pearl and Jonathan Smoot – Eastern Kentucky University

In Season Resodding

Speaker: Tony Leonard – Philadelphia Eagles

11 AM – 12 PM

Have You Changed Your Filters Lately?

Speaker: Tony Strickland, CSFM – Athletic Construction Incorporated

Balancing Management and Legal Liabilities: BMPs for Success

Speaker: Bryan Hopkins, Ph.D. – Brigham Young University

Management of K-12 Fields in the Transition Zone

Speaker: Grady Miller, Ph.D. – North Carolina State University

A Spring and Summer Renovation Plan – Preview this conference education session

Speaker: Pamela Sherratt – The Ohio State University

Why Every Turf Manager Should Consider Using PGRs– Preview this conference education session

Speaker: Ben Polimer – Town of Weston
The presentation will discuss the modes of action for typical plant growth regulators (PGRs) used in sports turf and their practical uses from Little League fields to professional stadiums. The cost of materials has made it affordable for all managers to incorporate PGRs into their turf management programs. Growth regulators help with wear tolerance, reducing clippings, early spring green up, and reducing painting.

2 – 3:15 PM

Converting Commonwealth Stadium to Synthetic and Our Involvement

Speaker: Marcus Dean, CSFM – University of Kentucky

Positive Coaching for Sports Turf Managers

To complete the character values survey – click here

Speaker: Josh McPherson, CSFM – University of Missouri
Positive Coaching is a new way to think about building a better team.  You will learn how to invest in your co-workers and find out what is important to them, as well as how to transition your team from a fixed mindset into a growth mindset.  This presentation will help you discover what you and your co-workers value and how you can use those strengths to guide your short term and long term goals.

Converting to LED Sports Lights at your Facility

Speaker: Dan Bergstrom, CSFM – Houston Astros, LLC

#WeedWatch2017 – Things to Watch for in Weed Management This Year – Preview this education session
Speaker: Jim Brosnan, Ph.D. – University of Tennessee

Sports Field Management on a Shoestring Budget – Part 1

Speakers: Mike Goatley, Jr., Ph.D. – Virginia Tech; Michael Skelton – Culpeper County Parks and Recreation
Sports field managers typically face budget restrictions that result in choices and sacrifices in strategies to best manage their fields.  This presentation will focus on proven strategies to stretch your budgeted dollars as far as possible by way of novel grassing alternatives and establishment/renovation techniques, strategies in building your soil, forming an equipment/tool inventory that best serves your needs, and modifying equipment to expand its usefulness.

THURS., JAN. 26

8 – 9:15 AM

So You Want to Be a Meteorologist?  Weather and Your Venue

Speaker: Kevin Kloesel, Ph.D. – University of Oklahoma
Severe weather in the US is unique, and short-fused high impact weather hazards can strike any venue at any time.  This presentation will provide an overview of common weather hazards at sports facilities, including lightning, winter weather, flooding rain, hail, and tornadoes, and the emergency planning needed to keep those that work on athletic fields safe.

Pushing Bermuda’s Boundaries: Managing Bermudagrass in the Transition Zone and Beyond

Speakers: Marcus Dean, CSFM and Gregg Munshaw, Ph.D. – University of Kentucky

Warm-Season Sports Turf Weed Management – Preview this conference education session

Speaker: Jay McCurdy, Ph.D. – Mississippi State University

Managing Stress and Avoiding Burnout

Speaker: Lisa Goatley, M.S., L.P.C. – The Cascade Group

Stress Symptom Checklist

Test Yourself: The Burnout Checklist

Stress and Burnout Action Plan

Sports Turf Management, Past, Present, Future
Speaker: Bob Campbell, CSFM – Retired

9:30 – 10:45 AM

You Can Grow Grass, Now Let’s Grow Your Program

Speaker: David Pinsonneault, CSFM, CPRP – Lexington DPW

Factors that Affect Dislodgeable Foliar Residues and Environmental Fate of Pesticides

Speaker: Travis Gannon, Ph.D. – NC State University
Much concern exists around human pesticide exposure, and understanding factors that affect dislodgeable foliar residues is imperative to ensure human health is not adversely affected. Understanding the biological and chemical attributes of pesticides and their fate after application is also imperative to optimize pesticide efficacy while minimizing off-target movement. This presentation will help attendees devise best management practices to minimize pesticide exposure and off-target movement.

Who’s Afraid of Calculations?

Calculations Worksheet

Speaker: Samuel Doak – Virginia Tech

Renovating Cool-Season Sports Turf Dominated by Annual Bluegrass

Speaker: Brad Park – Rutgers University

Management Standards for Athletic Field Management and Materials Specification
Speaker: Barry Stewart, Ph.D. – Mississippi State University

FIFA World Cup: Preparing for a Final – Challenges and Successes

Speakers: Marcela Munoz – Syngenta UK; Sebastian Munoz – Turf Masters Chile

FRI., JAN. 27

8 – 10 AM

Football Panel
Panelists: Clark Cox, CSFM – University of South Carolina; Stephen Crockett, CSFM – City of Union City Tennessee; Nicholas Fedewa – SMG Jacksonville/Jaguars; Rob Julian – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This panel discussion will cover multiple aspects of maintenance for professional, college and university, municipal, and K-12 football fields.  Management tips and tricks as well as safety practices will be presented.  The session is an open forum discussion where attendees can ask questions pertaining to the maintenance of safe football playing surfaces.

Baseball Panel
Panelists: Dan Bergstrom, CSFM – Houston Astros, LLC; Nick McKenna – Texas A&M Athletics; Tom Nielsen – Louisville Baseball Club; Rick Perruzzi, CSFM, CPRP – City of South Portland, ME Parks, Recreation & Waterfront
Sports turf managers from across the country will share the various management strategies they utilize to maintain baseball fields. After a brief introduction from each panelist, attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions and discuss challenges and solutions related to Major League, Minor League, College and University, and K-12 baseball fields and facilities.

Pesticides Panel
Panelists: Jim Brosnan, Ph.D. – University of Tennessee; Travis Gannon, Ph.D. – NC State University; Jason Henderson, Ph.D. – University of Connecticut; Jay McCurdy, Ph.D. – Mississippi State University
This panel will address the control of turfgrass pests using both chemical control strategies and pesticide-free management strategies.  Attendees are encouraged to bring questions regarding pesticide resistance, exposure, new formulations, and product selection.  Attendees experiencing pesticide bans are also encouraged to attend to learn about compliance and alternative maintenance strategies.

Cultivars/Varieties Panel
Panelists: Leah Brilman, Ph.D. – DLF Pickseed USA; Gregg Munshaw, Ph.D. – University of Kentucky; Brad Park – Rutgers University; Pamela Sherratt – The Ohio State University
This panel of experts will help you decipher which turfgrass cultivar or variety is best for your situation.  Recommendations for highest recuperative potential, best color, highest pest tolerance, and best heat, drought, or cold tolerance will all be discussed.  Bring your questions to help determine which turfgrasses are best suited for high performing, safe playing fields.

Innovative Sessions

10:30 AM

Planning for a Synthetic Turf Field Replacement

Speaker: Mark Heinlein – Turf Reclamation Solutions, LLC

11 AM

Polymer Coated Fertilizer: Takes a Beating and Keeps on Feeding – Preview this conference education session

Speaker: Eric Miltner, Ph.D. – Koch Turf & Ornamental

11:30 AM

Porous Inorganic Amendments – Unpacking How They Really Work

Speaker: George Serrill – EnviroTech Soil Solutions, Inc.

12 PM

Stadium Grow Lighting Innovation in Europe and the USA

Speaker: Simon Gumbrill – Stadium Grow Lighting (SGL)

1:30 – 3 PM

Taking Stress in Stride
Speaker: Mary Owen – University of Massachusetts Amherst

Managing the Problem Employee

Speaker: Lisa Goatley, M.S., L.P.C. – The Cascade Group

Paying it Forward:  How to Be Helpful When Asked for Advice

Speaker: Rich Watson – Laurel Lawnmower
Every year there are new field managers that enter the profession at the K-12 or municipal level that have never maintained a sports field.  This talk will focus on how to provide help to field managers that may not have the manpower, resources or experience to enjoy success at this point in their career.  Some topics of discussion will be: field maintenance concepts, communication, continuing education, and priority budgeting.