The Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA) hosted its 27th annual Conference & Exhibition Jan. 19-22 in San Diego, with more than 600 exhibitors and 1,200 attendees from a record of 48 states and 13 countries, including Australia, China, Italy, Peru and Scotland.
The four-day event was highlighted by the Seminar on Wheels Tour at various professional, collegiate and youth sports complexes in the San Diego region. Attendees took part in more than 60 educational sessions, visited sports turf exhibits and networked with environmental science leaders.
“As the leading sports turf management industry event in the world, we once again offered cutting-edge content and networking opportunities for attendees and exhibitors,” says Jeff Salmond, CSFM, newly-elected STMA president and director of athletic field management for the University of Oklahoma. “The wide variety of educational sessions provide our members with tools, ideas and best practices to implement at their organization or athletic facility.”
SAFE, the association’s charitable foundation, raised more than $27,000 during the conference through its Jan. 19 golf tournament, Night of Bowling event 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.
Timothy Gay, Ph.D., a Physics and Astronomy professor at the University of Nebraska, provided a keynote address on Jan. 21 to the STMA membership. He discussed the intricacies of sports turf impacts and the role it plays in the current debate regarding concussions.
STMA held its Awards Banquet on Jan. 22 to recognize Field of the Year winners. It also bestowed Founders Awards to four members, commemorating significant contributions to the profession. The Dick Ericson Award was presented to Michael Buras, CSFM, Longwood Cricket Club; the George Toma Award was presented to Ben Polimer, Town of Weston; the William H. Daniel Award was presented to Mary Owen, University of Massachusetts Amherst; and the Harry C. Gill Award was presented to Michael Goatley, Ph.D., Virginia Tech.
This year, the Student Challenge Cup had participation from 32 teams, culminating in more than 120 scholars from across the country. These students represented both two and four-year colleges from 20 states. Winners of the two-year division include team 208 from Mt. San Antonio College, first place; team 205 from Penn State University, second place; and team 202 from Mt. San Antonio College, third place. Winners of the four-year division include team 409 from Penn State University, first place; team 402 from Iowa State University, second place; and team 414 from the University of Georgia.
A Fun Run/Walk led by chair Tom Nielsen of the Louisville Bats was added to the conference, as well as an International and First Timer’s Reception on Jan. 20, and a free customized conference app to help attendees build schedules, rate sessions and download speaker presentations.
The STMA also announced its 2016 board of directors, including Salmond as its newly elected president.
STMA members elected to the board include:
- President Elect – Tim Van Loo, CSFM, Iowa State University (Ames, Iowa)
- Immediate Past President – Allen Johnson, CSFM, Fields Manager for the Green Bay Packers (Green Bay, Wis.)
- Secretary / Treasurer – Sarah Martin, CSFM, City of Phoenix (Phoenix, Ariz.)
- Vice President Commercial – Doug Schattinger, Pioneer Athletics
- Elected-at-Large Director – Weston Appelfeller, CSFM, Director of Grounds, Columbus Crew SC (Columbus, Ohio)
- Academic Director – Elizabeth Guertal, Ph.D., Auburn University (Auburn, Ala.)
- Higher Education Director – Nick McKenna, CSFM, Baseball Field Manager, Texas A&M (College Station, Texas)
- Parks & Recreation Director – Jimmy Simpson, CSFM, Town of Cary (Cary, N.C.)
- Directors fulfilling second-year terms are:
- Professional Facilities Director – Dan Bergstrom, Houston Astros (Houston, Texas)
- Schools K-12 Director – Robert Behr, CSFM, Ashley Ridge High School (Summerville, S.C.)
Members appointed to the board include:
- Director At-Large – Jeffrey Fowler, Penn State Cooperative Extension (Franklin, Pa.)
- Commercial Director – Randy Price, Tri-Tex Grass (Grandbury, Texas)
The organization conducts its annual elections electronically in late November, and the board officially takes office during the annual conference.
Next year’s event will be held Jan. 24-27, 2017, in Orlando, Fla. Future sites include Fort Worth, Texas, 2018, and Phoenix, Ariz., 2019.