February 2017

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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42 SportsTurf | February 2017 FIELD OF THE YEAR ST: Are you yet involved in "sustainable" management practices? If so, what are you doing? KEAIR: The Gulfport SportsPlex was one of the top ten facilities to achieve STMA Environmental Facility Certifi cation. We are currently addressing sustainable issues such as composting, recycling, spraying, fertilizing and storm water run-off. Every year we evaluate our cultural practices of fertilizing and spraying and strive to fi nd more environmentally friendly products. Our goal is to reduce the amount of chemical and fertilizer applications through the use of poly coated, urea based slow release products and sound pest management practices such as not spraying as much, just let the birds eat the worms. ST: How are using social media at work? KEAIR: My plans for the near future are to set up a Twitter account to share with the public what we do, why we do it, and how we do it. My department have recently hired a marketing manager who will be responsible for setting up all other social media outlets and a new website to allow the public to interact electronically with our operations. I personally use social media to connect me with my peers, other industry personnel and my turf extension offi ce on matters concerning turf related issues. We all have the same issues and through social media we can share our experiences on how to deal with them. ST: How do you see the sports turf manager's job changing in the future? KEAIR: The wave of the future is in technology and automa- tion. The day of the fax machine is gone forever. Turf managers today can spend less time in the offi ce and more time in the fi eld because of smart devices. We no longer must stop what we are doing to run back to the shop to research a problem, "there's an app for that." Managers can better communicate with employees, upper management and user groups from the fi eld and instantly document issues. ST: What factors contributed to Keair's wanting to be a turf manager? KEAIR: One factor contributing to me wanting to be a turf manager is that I watched my dad leave for work happy and return from work happy every day. His philosophy as taught to me is to never let anyone ruin my day under any circumstance. I also wanted a career fi eld where everybody would respect me that my work impacts, not just the boss. After attending a couple of turf conferences, I noticed how much love for the profession and other turf managers displayed respect for each other. I recognized that turf management is not a daily competi- tion there's a time and place for that such as the STMA awards process. All of these factors contributed to me pursuing a career in turf management. Oh, and the pay is pretty good too! ST: What are the most important things Keair has learned from Ken, about both taking care of turf as well as dealing with management and users? KEAIR: First and foremost, I learned good work ethic. I was taught to always do the right thing especially when the boss is not looking. Most importantly I was taught to be tactful and diplomatic when dealing with others. Two words my dad often spoke stand out in my mind "Courage and Commitment." In our household, this meant to never be afraid to speak your mind, never tell people what you think they want to hear, and never start what you're not going to fi nish. As far as taking care of the turf, I learned the fundamentals while attending college. I learned from my dad that textbooks are a guide you still must use common sense and never try to solve problems on my own. I was taught to manage by the book and lead by example. ST: Does Keair aspire to work in the NFL, MLB, college level? KEAIR: At some point in my career I will defi nitely consider other levels of sports turf management. I see municipal/park and rec level as the foundation for young kids aspiring to be athletes, and for now providing the best possible playing surfaces for them is satisfying for me. ST: What does Ken plan to do in retirement? KEN: I started a turf maintenance and consulting company 15 years ago, as a side business. I'll continue to operate that business on a small scale no more than 15 hours a week. I'm still involved in the industry and a regular volunteer at the high school baseball fi eld. I intend to spend some time at other fa- cilities in the state of Mississippi encouraging other turf manag- ers to join STMA and possibly start a local chapter. I also want to assist them with STMA Environmental Certifi cation and fi eld of the year applications. On the personal side, I see a lot of travel in my plans. I enjoy having the fl exibility to just take off at the spur of the moment to go visit out of town friends and family. I enjoy sleeping a little later now but Priscilla hates that she must get up for work. I'm probably going to do a lot of fi shing and since we now have minor league baseball, I'm going to buy season tickets. I also have a couple of antique cars that need a little attention. My honey-do list is a mile long so I'll get started on it sometime in the near future. I am blessed to never punch a clock again!! ST: Are you yet involved in "sustainable" management practices? If so, what are If so, what are you doing? Gulfport SportsPlex was one of the top ten facilities top ten facilities to achieve STMA Environmental Facility Facility Certifi cation. We are currently addressing sustainable issues such as composting, recycling, spraying, fertilizing and storm water run-off. Every year we

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