The Sports Turf Managers Association‘s (STMA’s) 26th annual Conference & Exhibition, held Jan. 13-16 in Denver, set a record of 200 exhibitors and 1,200 attendees from nine countries.
The four-day event was highlighted by the Seminar on Wheels Tour at various professional, collegiate and youth sports fields in the Denver region. Attendees took part in more than 60 educational sessions visited sports turf exhibits and networked with environmental science leaders.
“Our annual conference continues to increase sports turf exposure and offers a unique networking opportunity,” says Allen Johnson, CSFM, newly-elected STMA president and fields manager for the Green Bay Packers. “We hope the information shared here will aid in the progression of safer and more playable fields for years to come.”
SAFE, the association’s charitable foundation, raised nearly $15,000 during the conference through its Jan. 13 bowling event, Jan. 14 casino night, and silent and live auctions throughout the week. Proceeds benefit educational programs, scholarships and grants with the goal of enriching communities through safe, sustainable sports and recreation fields for all athletes.
Karl Mecklenburg, former Denver Broncos captain and All-Pro linebacker, provided a keynote speech to the STMA membership on Jan. 15. He discussed his challenges rising from a college walk-on and twelfth round draft pick to a professional career that included six Pro Bowls and three Super Bowl appearances.
The STMA Awards Banquet recognized Field of the Year winners on Jan. 16. It also bestowed Founders Awards to four members to commemorate significant contributions to the profession. Recipients included:
· Tony Leonard, Philadelphia Eagles, Dick Ericson Award;
· Mike Albino, Ballard Sports,George Toma Award;
· Brian Scott, Mt. San Antonio College, William H. Daniel Award; and
· Dr. Andrew McNitt, Penn State, Harry C. Gill Award.
This year, the Student Challenge Cup had 31 teams sign up for the event, culminating in more than 115 scholars. The students represented both two and four-year colleges across the nation. The Cup concluded with a proctored exam on Jan. 15.