February 2014

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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8 SportsTurf | February 2014 2014 STMA President | By Darcy DeVictor Boyle I f you were to ask those who know David Pinsonneault, 2014 president of the Sports Turf Man- agers Association, about his character and leadership style, you'd hear a lot of the same descriptions and strik- ingly similar stories. You'd hear examples of his modesty, generosity, diplomacy, honesty and unselfishness. Stories would pour in that reveal Pinsonneault as a leader who was able to bridge a gap no one before him had. A professional who prefers to share the secrets of his own success rather than protect them in the name of self-preserva- tion. Someone who went far beyond the standard expectations of a job to produce results that benefitted his colleagues and the profession as a whole. But to hear Pinsonneault deliver those same accounts, his modesty would stun you. He was just in the right place at the right time, he says. His life, a series of events where prepara- tion met opportunity. CARVING HIS OWN PATH Pinsonneault always knew he wanted to work outdoors, so forestry seemed like a natural choice. A New England native (and near-lifelong resident of Massachusetts), Pinsonneault se- lected a college with a good forestry program that wasn't too far away from home but also wasn't too close—the University of New Hampshire in Durham. When he graduated in 1984 with a degree in forest man- agement, job prospects unfortunately weren't so bright. He cobbled together the humble beginnings of his career with a couple of part-time, temporary jobs at a paper company in Maine and doing research for the US Forest Service. Then a more permanent opportunity appeared when Pin- sonneault and his brother started up their own lawn care busi- ness. In the meantime, Pinsonneault had gotten married and had his first child, and after about 4 years in the lawn care business, he started looking for a job with a tad more benefits and a tad fewer hours. In what Pinsonneault would surely call a "lucky" break, he landed a gig in 1990 working for the parks and recreation de- partment of the community of Mansfield, MA about a half hour away from where he grew up in North Attleboro. In this position, he quickly moved from laborer to skilled laborer to the head of the maintenance division. Someone was clearly taking note of Pinsonneault's potential. That someone was Lorilee Fish, Mansfield's parks and recreation director, who sent him to the NRPA/NC State Park Maintenance and Management School to expand on his education. Luckily for the STMA, that program (in addition to pro- viding education on park and turf maintenance) gave Pinson- neault his first exposure to the association through other attendees who were involved. Education also led Pinsonneault to his next job opportu- nity. At a turf seminar in Providence, RI, he met Bob Ames, the parks and recreation director in South Kingston, RI. They made a good connection that paid off a couple of months later. Ames had created a new position of parks superintendent in South Kingston and encouraged Pinsonneault to apply. After a 5-month-long process of various interviews and appli- cations, he got the job. Leaving a job is never easy, but Fish made it less difficult than most, said Pinsonneault. "My boss was a big believer in education, and she was very supportive in me advancing my career, even if that meant leaving," he says. Before he left the job in Mansfield, Pinsonneault received one of those tokens of appreciation that are small and facile yet entirely unforgettable. Part of his job was setting up the field and lighting for night practice for the high school varsity football team. "After their practice, they called me out onto the field and presented MADE IN MASSACHUSETTS A modest and dedicated public servant, incoming STMA president David Pinsonneault, CSFM, CPRP, is the kind of leader the industry needs STMA president David Pinsonneault, CSFM, CPRP

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