Winter 2013 sidelines

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Texas Sports Turf Managers Association

Winter 2014


SIDELINES The Official Publication of TXSTMA

President’s Message I would like to thank the Association for the opportunity to serve the TXSTMA as the President for 2014. I consider it an honor and a privilege to serve. I have been in the turfgrass industry since 1978. I have spent most of my career on the golf course side of the turfgrass industry, but for the last 8 years I have been in my current position as Athletic Field Foreman for the City of Grapevine. I manage all the agronomic programs on all athletic complexes for the City. Previously in the golf industry, I served as Golf Course Superintendent for both the Trophy Club Country Club in Trophy Club, TX (36 hole facility) for 5 years, and Woodhaven Country Club in Fort Worth, TX for 7 years. I was also the assistant golf course superintendent at Dallas Country Club for 2.5 years and the assistant golf course superintendent for the City of Grapevine for 10 years. I hold an Associate’s degree in Horticulture/Landscape Management from Tarrant County College. I am a Past President of the North Texas Golf Course Superintendents Association (NTGCSA) as well as the A.C. Beardon Memorial Golf Course Superintendent of the Year (1995). I have been a member of the National Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA) since 2006, I am a member of the Texas Turfgrass Association (TTA) and also a member of the Texas Sports Turf Managers Association (TXSTMA). In January 2011, I became a Certified Sports Field Manager (CSFM) for STMA at the National Conference in Austin. We are still working on upcoming plans for the 2014 year. We will have a couple of regional field days in the DFW area, one being at Big League Dreams in Mansfield on April 15, with site visits to several different venues as well as educational seminars. A goal of mine is to increase membership numbers and participation this year. Another goal of mine is to get more TXSTMA members involved in STMA’s certification program and to become the leading State in the country for numbers of CSFM’s. FYI: There are currently five in Texas. My last goal is to get a better dialog going with our current membership on how the TXSTMA organization can better serve you in your day-to-day job or help you further your personal career goals. Please do not hesitate to contact a board member if we can help. Thanks again for the opportunity to serve. Best regards, Rusty Walker, CSFM 2014 TXSTMA President 817-229-0416 cell Web site: The Texas Sports Turf Managers Association (TXSTMA) is comprised of professional turf managers from colleges and universities, parks and recreation, school districts, private facilities, professional sports, researchers, commercial suppliers and students working in or interested in sports turf management. President Walker (left) presents Past President plaque to Nick McKenna (right) for his leadership in 2013

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Up-Coming Field Days April 15, 2014

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From the Grocery Store to the Sports Fields: How an Idea Can Move Team Management Tips & Tools for the Professional Sports Managers

Do you waste time every day meeting with your crew on what needs to be accomplished each day? Do you text message instructions on who needs to do what and when it needs to be done by? Does your staff always wait on you for things to do? If only there were a way to reduce the times you answer, “Yes!” to these questions. Well, there’s an app for that. It is funny sometimes where you get ideas, or how a small idea can grow into a completely different application than it was originally intended for. I was at the grocery store one Sunday afternoon to pick up a few things, and like all good husbands, I text my wife to see if she needed anything. While pacing several aisles, waiting for her reply, I ran into my sister-in-law doing her weekly grocery shopping for her family of six. When I told her I was waiting on her sister to text me back, she laughed and said, “You don’t have an app for that?” She began to tell me about an app that allows multiple users to access, edit, and check off items on a shared list. She said it is the perfect fix because her kids can all use the shared list and add the items they need. So, I immediately headed home and downloaded an app to my and my wife’s phones so we could begin sharing a list. I soon began to wonder if I could use this digital grocery list as a to-do list at work. There are several shared to-do list style applications in both the Apple App Store and the Android Google Play marketplaces. These applications allow users to create or upload lists, edit tasks, check off completed items, and even assign tasks to specific persons. Several of these apps are free to download and have the ability to purchase upgrades, such as Our ToDo List, SimplyUS, Wunderlist, and GTask. If it works for making sure your spouse gets the grocery list done, why can’t we use it in the turfgrass industry?

Creating a group and sharing your facilities’ work lists is a simple way to reduce downtime and increase efficiency. Sports turf managers can create the week’s job list and monitor progress with ease from a mobile device or your PC, depending on the version. My staff no longer sits and waits on my direction for their next task because they can access the list and move on to the next job. This has allowed my staff to be productive and take ownership of their area and jobs with the use of technology. Download one today and see which works best for you!

Brant Williams, CSFM, CPTM

2014 BOARD OF DIRECTORS EXECUTIVE BOARD President: Rusty Walker, CSFM City of Grapevine President -­‐ Elect: Kevin Lebanik Direct Solutions Past President: Nick McKenna, CSFM Texas A&M University 1st Commercial Vice President: Darin Eberly Pioneer Manufacturing Co. 2nd Commercial Vice President: John Kearns Professional Turf Products Executive Administrator: Brandi Acosta TXSTMA Treasurer: Leo Goertz Texas A&M

COMMITTEE DIRECTORS Advertising: Travis Sales City of Mesquite Communication Committee: Dan Bergstrom Houston Astros Baseball Club Region I (DFW): Allen Reed, CSFM FC Dallas Region II (Austin/San Antonio): Mike Piñon San Antonio ISD Athletic Department Region III (Houston): Josh Scott Alvin ISD Membership: Brant Williams, CSFM Dallas Baptist University Scholarship: Chris Pitts Clear Creek ISD


Board Member Highlight:

Dan Bergstrom Dan graduated from Iowa State University in 1995 with a B. S. in Horticulture with a specialty in Turfgrass Management. He has worked as a Sports Turf Manager for the Cleveland Browns, the University of Kentucky Athletic Association, Haymarket Park in Lincoln, Nebraska, and Minute Maid Park in Houston. Dan has served the Turfgrass Industry in many capacities, including terms as President of the Kentucky Turfgrass Council, Nebraska Sports Turf Managers Association, and the Texas Sports Turf Managers Association. Dan accepted the Director of Major League Field Operations position with the Houston Astros in March of 2004, and has now completed 10 seasons overseeing the maintenance of the Minute Maid Park playing surface. Thank you, Dan, for dedicating your time and knowledge to the TXSTMA Board!

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Looking for success? Look no further than... YOUR STAFF! By STMA Editorial Staff Your staff has a significant impact on your success. The work that they do is a direct reflection on you, your ability to train, to motivate and to lead. Reaching the goals of your facility is only possible through good management of your people and their continued development. To make sure you are fully embracing the talents of your staff, use these simple techniques. Top 10 Strategies to Engage Your Staff 1. Seek input and listen. Your staff is a great resource for ideas and improvements. Asking for their opinions and solutions to problems, truly listening to them, and implementing as appropriate, strengthens their commitment to you and to their job. Involving your staff in decision-making builds loyalty and improves retention. 2. Set expectations. Clearly and consistently set expectations for each employee through jointly written performance objectives. Good performance can’t happen if they do not understand what you expect. Reinforce your expectations verbally. 3. Provide continuous feedback. Praise accomplishments, large and small, and for those projects that weren’t as successful, use them as learning experiences to find out what could have been done differently. Don’t wait until the end of the year at performance time to express dissatisfaction. 4. Show appreciation. Just say “thank you!” When you reward and acknowledge good behaviors, you get more of the same. Publicly acknowledge your staff for doing a good job, and look for other ways to reward their efforts. According to a Harris Poll, the top three satisfaction drivers for employees are control over their work; the opportunity to use their talents and skills; and recognition and appreciation. 5. Be accessible. By being visible and available, you send the message that you are part of the team and are ready to support their efforts to get the job done. 6. Train, Train, Train. Training in the correct procedures and equipment use is critical to getting the job done right, but also for health and safety reasons. The continuous upgrading of skills also provides employees with the means for promotion. Consider training opportunities in areas outside of their core responsibilities, such as in writing skills, public speaking, customer service, business management, etc. You and your facility will reap many benefits from improving their “softer” skills. 7. Empower your staff. Give them as much information as possible about what and why, and allow them to make decisions appropriate to their work. 8. Provide a safe and comfortable working environment. Don’t expect employees to use outdated or faulty equipment. With anxieties at an all time high regarding increased terrorist activity, make sure you have emergency procedures in place to protect the workforce in the event of an attack, and ensure that every employee is aware of these procedures. 9. Treat with respect. Respect and accept each person as an important member of the team. 10. Inspire your staff. Be a coach and a cheerleader. Be sure your boss knows about the good work they do. When you help them succeed, you succeed.

MEMBERS: • Have you recently received an award or recognition? • Do you have a employee who has gone over and above and you would like to acknowledge him/her? • Do you have an article you would like to submit? • Do you think your field should be showcased for a particular reason? If so, please contact the TXSTMA office,, with your information so we can share your happenings with other TXSTMA members.

Don’t wait until the next newsletter comes out to stay in touch! Join us on FACEBOOK! Search “TXSTMA” and join the group. Here, everyone can upload photos, join in on chats, and post recent information from their field. It’s a great way to network and stay in touch with your fellow TXSTMA members!

FRONT COVER PHOTO The front cover photograph is of Field D at the Oak Grove Ballfield Complex in Grapevine,Texas. This field plays ages 6-8 years old, but can play up to 10U with a portable mound added to the field. Congratulations to the City of Grapevine team for creating a beautiful and safe playing environment for the community!

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