New England Blade - September 2019

Page 14

Member Spotlight

NESTMA Member Spotlight

Jason Puopolo

Superintendent of Grounds • Clark University • Worcester, MA How long have you been a NESTMA member? I have been a member for a little over six years. I am also a member of STMA, PGMS, NEGCSA, and GCSAA.

of performing the same agronomic or cultural practices can be detrimental to both the areas that you manage and to your morale and attitude as a whole.

Where did you go to school? I went to Penn State where I received a degree in Turfgrass Science and Management.

What advice would you share with people starting out today? The best piece of advice that was given to me early in my career was to see as many things as possible and to learn from as many people as possible. Having all of your experience based on one individual property or micro climate can hinder your growth, in the way that you will only learn how to manage a plant right there in the conditions common to that environment. There is a fine balance between moving around too much and not at all, but don’t be afraid to switch things up and try something new or learn from someone new. Do this early in your career, because it gets exponentially more difficult to do as you get older.

What was your first job in the industry? My first job was on the Grounds Staff at a local golf course (Shaker Hills Golf Club). It was here that I really developed my love for turf and all things plant-related. Who was your mentor when you first started out? The first Superintendent that I worked for, Glenn Misiaszek (now at Cohasset Golf Club), had the greatest impact on my career. It is hard to show someone at an early age what a career or a life can be, but he managed to get it through to a young meathead like me. I also gained great mentorship from Drew Cummins who I worked for at Red Tail Golf Club during school. Drew put a lot of faith in me. While some lessons were hard-learned by my own mistakes, they helped me grow into the person I am today. What’s the best business advice you’ve ever received? To never be afraid of trying something new of different. As our industry continues to develop, there are always new technologies, practices, and science coming out. Getting stuck in a rut

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Since the beginning of your career, what is the biggest change you’ve seen in the sports turf industry? When I was first coming up in the Golf Course Industry, social media was nonexistent and the internet was in the stone ages. The amount of resources literally at hand is something that we all take for granted. Whether it’s checking weather maps and forecasts, managing irrigation systems through my phone, or being able to double check pesticide rates while my spray tech is filling up; what we have gained as managers couldn’t have been imagined by the people that came before us — it sure beats trying to stuff a bunch of books, planners, and other junk into the dash of an already crowded truck.