In the position, Yoder will serve sports turf managers in Southern California and support national accounts. He will work closely with Troy Smith, Ewing’s national sports turf products manager, and Ewing’s nationwide team of sports field specialists — Tim Lambert, Jim Barbuto, Chris Sinacori and Jeremy Bohonko — to deliver products, support and service at the professional, college and university, school district, parks and recreation, and industry association levels.
“Ours is truly a one-of-a-kind sales team that is solely focused on sports fields, and the only one that now has both a former National Football League turf manager and a former Major League Baseball field manager on staff,” Smith says. “We look forward to having Luke provide technical product support, as well as leverage his many years of experience in the field to help our customers provide safe, playable fields.”
After joining the Sioux City Explorers as head groundskeeper in 1995, Yoder later transitioned to head groundskeeper for the AAA Iowa Clubs, where he received the AAA Groundskeeper of the Year award from the American Association. In 2000, he joined the Pittsburgh Pirates as manager of field maintenance and was responsible for the new field construction to open up PNC Park. He transitioned to San Diego’s Petco Park in 2003 to serve as the director of field and landscape maintenance with the San Diego Padres.
Yoder was promoted to director of field operations for the Padres in 2010 and has hosted more than 100 events annually on the field, with additional responsibilities extending into the Padres’ minor league system. He also oversaw the establishment of the Padres’ new fields in the Dominican Republic.
Yoder holds a bachelor’s degree in horticulture turfgrass management from Clemson University and regularly consults nationally and internationally. He served as chairman of the MLB Groundskeepers (2008–10), and has been a member of the national Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA) and Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) for more than 20 years.