Next generation of turf managers more confident about success

 Nearly 30 college seniors from top turfgrass programs around the world converged in Charlotte, North Carolina, last month for Jacobsen’s annual Future Turf Managers event.The annual event gives students a unique opportunity to network with turfgrass industry professionals at the highest level, according to Jacobsen. During the three-day event, students visit with top superintendents and sports field managers, hear cutting-edge presentations from top industry experts and get an insider’s look at Jacobsen’s turf maintenance equipment.

Several attendees expressed optimism on their future careers and the state of the industry.

“Overall the experience has made me more confident of my potential for success in the turf industry,” said Dustin Harris, a recent graduate of Oklahoma State University’s turfgrass program. “Although the turf industry has had its struggles, I feel good about my opportunities.”

Attendees must be recommended by professors at turfgrass programs. Students were selected from 30 colleges and universities including Penn State University, Mississippi State University, Iowa State University, North Dakota State University, Rutgers and the University of Florida. The group also included international students from Myerscough College in England and the North Melbourne Institute of Tafe in Australia.

“The Future Turf Managers event showed how we can truly achieve our dreams if we go for it,” said Garrett Emerick, recent graduate from the University of Maryland and now assistant superintendent at Swan Point Yacht and Country Club. “The event also showed us we have various different options in this industry, some I have never thought about until I attended.”

The group travelled to Charlotte Country Club and Sage Valley Golf Club, two top golf courses in the Southeast. The students also visited the University of South Carolina, where the group toured the Gamecocks’ baseball and football facilities.

The week also included a valuable discussion on leadership and communication by Steve Randall, senior manager of chapter outreach for the GCSAA. Each student received a full year’s membership to the GCSAA, sponsored by Jacobsen, and credit towards the pursuit of their Class A GCSAA certification.

“Our annual Future Turf Managers event is really a win-win for attendees and Jacobsen,” said David Withers, president of Jacobsen. “We get to hear the needs of the next generation of turf managers, who in turn get an insider’s look at what their day-to-day jobs will be like. It was great to hear so much optimism from the future leaders of our industry.