December 2015

SportsTurf provides current, practical and technical content on issues relevant to sports turf managers, including facilities managers. Most readers are athletic field managers from the professional level through parks and recreation, universities.

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30 SportsTurf | December 2015 THE SPORTSTURF INTERVIEW: STEVE WIGHTMAN THE INTERVIEW SPORTSTURF: You were president of STMA some 30 years ago. What are the most significant changes you have seen in the association over that time? Wightman: There have been so many changes over the past 30 years within STMA. The association certainly has had a rich history of positive growth from its infancy in the late 1970's to today. However, I think the most significant change has been the leadership of the association. All of the dedicated sports turf managers who volunteered their time to organize and run the association in the early years really need to be commended. Without their dedicated efforts and the support of the commer- cial members, STMA would not have survived. As with most organizations starting out, the leadership is made up of professionals first and volunteers second. STMA was no different … sports turf managers first and association vol- unteers second. I think everyone in our association would agree that our profession is a 24/7 job that requires a tremendous number of hours and we're always "on call." It is difficult to run the day-to-day operations of a national association when one's time is so very limited. Because of a small membership and limited resources, both in time commitments and finances, STMA grew very slowly in the early years. The important thing is that it did grow, due, in large part, because the leadership at the time covered all of their own expenses (airfares, hotels, meals, etc.). STMA struggled financially until we hired a management company to run the daily operations of the association. Trusty and Associates helped take STMA to the next level of profession- alism by helping to increase both commercial and sports turf membership which improved our financial status, as well. Within about 10 years, being in a financial position to hire its own employee, STMA contracted with Kim Heck to serve as the association's CEO running the day-to-day operations. This Editor's note: This month in "The SportsTurf Interview," we feature Steve Wightman, former head groundskeeper for the San Diego Chargers and Denver Broncos, and a Past President of the Sports Turf Managers Association. Steve Wightman There have been many changes in sports turf management over the past 30-40 years, for sure. However, I think the most significant change that I have seen in managing sports turf has been in the academic world. Colleges and universities now have degreed sports turf programs. And, most of those colleges and universities have applicable ongoing research focused specifically on sports turf.

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