Mid-Atlantic Sports Turf Managers Association Inaugural Meeting
The newly re-formed Mid-Atlantic chapter of the Mid-Atlantic Sports Turf Managers Association (MASTMA) had their first member organizational meeting at M & T Bank Stadium on October 25. About 150 STMA members and prospective members attended the event which included an educational program, information about the re-kindling of the chapter, and a field tour. The educational program included PowerPoint presentations, a panel discussion, and a field tour. The PowerPoint presentations included Baltimore Ravens Head Groundskeeper Don Follett, who spoke about the conversion of the M & T Bank Stadium from a synthetic surface to 419 bermudagrass, Jerrad Minnick from Growing Innovations who spoke about the latest technology in stadium lighting; Dr. Tom Turner who spoke about an overview of the turfgrass research program at the University of Maryland; and a panel discussion including lead groundskeepeers from many of the regional professional stadiums.
The field tour provided an opportunity for attendees to take a look at the overseeded 419 bermudagrass field and the SGL lighting system used to improve the light quality for the turf against the long shadows of this second half of autumn. The on-field portion of the meeting also included a presentation by University of Maryland professor Dr. Kevin Mathias demonstrating uses of a variety of field tools and instruments sports field managers can use to make their job easier and increase their turf management precision.
The event provided a good opportunity for sports turf managers in Maryland, DC, and northern Virginia to connect after what has been a very difficult summer in the Mid-Atlantic region. Steering committee member Jason Kopp captured the mood, “After the event talking with several people about what they liked and found useful they all said they got to meet other managers from the area who they didn't know. This is what the chapter is all about. Sharing resources, information, and building longstanding friendships.”
“It was a great day of learning, networking, and sharing ideas with other turf managers from the Mid-Atlantic. The overall attitude and response from the meeting was overwhelmingly positive, and I look forward to continuing to expand this network with MASTMA!” noted Ryan Bjorn, Director of Grounds and Environmental Maintenance at Maryland SoccerPlex.
The groundwork of the chapter rejuvenation has been accomplished over the last several months by a steering committee including sports turf managers at some of the region’s professional complexes and industry suppliers.
Re-starting a chapter that faded out about a decade ago, this first meeting represents a lot of hard work by the steering committee over the last several months. “I’m proud of what this steering committee has accomplished so far. There is a lot of work left to do but looking at where we are today and how far we have come in a short period of time is remarkable,” noted Mr. Kopp.
Nominations for the MASTMA Executive Board and Officers were accepted and members will be voting on these candidates in the next few weeks. After a new Board of Directors and Officers are installed later this fall, they will take the winter to continue to reach out to prospective members, set up committees, and get organized for 2017. Moving forward, the next chapter event will be March 17, 2017 at Oriole Park at Camden Yards
“It was invigorating to be a part of this process and to see it come together so well. The number of people that attended was great, but the level of enthusiasm for what we are trying to accomplish was what excited me the most. I can’t wait to see how we harness the momentum and carry it forward,” said Patrick Coakley, who manages Ripken [Sports Complex] in northeast MD and is on the steering committee.
Hopefully, MASTMA can keep the momentum. As evident from the crowd at M&T, sports turf managers from around the Mid-Atlantic are happy to have an STMA chapter they can call their own!
By Geoff Rinehart
The Maryland Turfgrass Council P.O. Box 389, St. Michaels, MD 21663 Phone: (443) 742-6618