Opening Session

Industry Update From 2019 STMA President

Jody Gill, STMA President

Jody Gill, STMA President  Bio : Jody has been building and maintaining sports fields for over 35 years.  For the last 23 years, he has been the Grounds Coordinator for the Blue Valley School District in Overland Park, Kansas where he is responsible for 39 schools on 1,400 acres spread over 91 square miles including 105 athletic fields on 200 acres.  He was a co-founder of the Mo-Kan Chapter of the STMA and has served in every executive cabinet position.  He has served as a Board member for the Missouri Valley Turfgrass Association, Advisory Board Member for the Longview Community College Turf Management Program, numerous STMA committees and task forces, STMA Board member and SAFE Foundation Trustee. His crew earned the STMA Football Field of the Year award in 2004. He became a CSFM in 2009.  He has written numerous articles and presented at regional and national conferences. He travels 4-5 weeks each year to paint large grass logos for several professional auto racing series events.  He is a licensed pilot and flies his plane regularly.  Family time includes coaching several sports, camping, fishing and watersports.  He lives on Raintree Lake in Lees Summit, Missouri with his wife Tammy.  They have 3 children, Erin, Caroline and Curtis.

Keynote Speaker

Jeff Fowler

It’s Only Fair if it’s between 1st and 3rd – Jeff Fowler   –

Bio: Jeff is a Sr. Extension Educator of Horticulture specializing in turf management for Penn State Extension.  He has been working for Penn State since 1988.  He earned his Bachelor of Science (BS) from Delaware Valley College, and his Master of Education (MEd) from Penn State University.  He and his wife Jamie have one son Evan.  Jeff has been a volunteer on the grounds crew for the Little League World Series since 1996 and is the volunteer field manager for his local league.

He is also very busy in his community.  He has served Red Cross, United Way, his church, and countless other boards in the community.    From 2011-2016 he served on the Board of Directors for the National Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA). 

In 2006 Jeff was honored by the Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA) with the Dr. William H. Daniel Founders Award for his excellence and dedication to research and teaching, and in 2019 he was presented with the Harry C. Gill Memorial Award the highest honor the association presents for his commitment and dedication to STMA.  Additionally, in 2019 he was presented the Fowler’s Founders Award by the Keystone Athletic Field Managers Association (KAFMO) in recognition of his unselfish commitment to excellence in education, athletic field management, and professionalism in the Pennsylvania sports turf industry.

Jeff Salmond CSFM

Life vs The Grass: Balancing BothJeff Salmond

 Bio: Jeff Salmond CSFM is the Vice President of Projects/Corporate Development for United Turf and Track, a certified sports field builder serving Oklahoma and Arkansas regions.  Prior to his new role, Jeff was the Director of Athletic Field Management at the University of Oklahoma for 12 years overseeing the personnel and the management for all the athletic fields for OU Athletics along with many other various athletic facility construction projects and improvements for OU Athletics.  Jeff has been a Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA) member since 1995.  He became a Certified Sports Field Manager (CSFM) in 2003.  Jeff served as STMA President in 2016.  He has been a past member of the Iowa and Illinois STMA Chapters.  Jeff started the Oklahoma Chapter of STMA in 2012 and currently serving as its Past President.  He also is an Advisory Board member for the Oklahoma State Oklahoma City University Turf Management Program.  Jeff is also on the City of Norman, OK Board of Park Commissioners.

Jeff received a BS in Plant Science at the University of Missouri in 1996 and an MS in Horticulture at Iowa State University in 1998.  His Master’s work was researching the use of crumb rubber in high traffic areas on sports fields.  He also assisted with the construction of the ISU Sports Turf Research area including sand stabilization, heating and air exchange, irrigation and drainage.  His prior career experiences include working as the agronomist at Northwestern University and the athletic turf manager for the University of New Mexico.  He was also an assistant field maintenance manager for the Baltimore Ravens in the NFL from 1998-2000.

He has written articles and contributed to columns for the sports turf industry.  He has also presented at regional and national conferences.  He was instrumental in the starting of the STMA Student Challenge and college student involvement.  He has served as the STMA CSFM Committee Chairman and has been on the Finance & Audit and Membership Committees as well as the Technology Team.  He continues to serve on the International Committee. Jeff is married to his wife Loida of 15 years and has 4 children, Taylor, Tyson, Tinley and Troy.

Chris Ball

Epic Fails- Chris Ball

Bio: “Butter” is a Highly decorated sports turf manager across all levels of MiLB over 20 years. 5 Field Of Year honors at High A Myrtle Beach Pelicans along with Class A Turf Manager of Year in ‘07 & ’10.  2017 International League Sports Turf Manager of the Year for the Gwinnett Braves and Triple A Sports Turf Manager of the Year. 

Avid sportsman and dog lover

Joel Simmons

Soils First – Joel Simmons

Bio:  Joel Simmons has been working in the turf business for over 30 years.  He has been a Penn State County Extension Agent, a soils instructor in the two-year Turf Management Program at Rutgers University and has published numerous articles on turf and soils management.  He is the owner and President of EarthWorks Natural Organic Products and Soil First Consulting.  He currently is teaching the Soil First Academies across the country.

Casey Carrick

Synthetic Sports Turf Maintenance- Casey Carrick

Bio: 2006 Turfgrass management degree from NCSU
Worked at UNC since 2010
Director of Athletic Grounds and Turf Management
Oversee 12 employees, 15 acres of natural turf, 13 acres of synthetic turf

Ian Christie

Bio: Ian comes with a background of engineering and turfgrass knowledge. He has a computer
engineering degree from Johns Hopkins University, Masters in Sport Management from Georgia Southern
University and a certificate of turfgrass from the University of Georgia. He is also a Certified Sports Field Manager.
In addition to his education Ian has worked in the industry for 14 years, with experience in professional baseball
and NCAA athletics. He currently manages 90 acres at Duke University which includes 13 acres of natural grass
field, 11 Acres of synthetic surfaces and the remaining portion of landscapes and auxiliary areas. His passion in the
industry includes nutrient management and ways to maximize plant health.

Eric Harshman

Bio: Grounds Superintendent at Berea College since October 2015. Manage the daily operations of the
campus’s Landscape Division / Athletic Complex (In total 160 acres of turf, landscape, roads, & sidewalks).
Past work experience also includes:
Head Groundskeeper – Lexington Legends (A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals)
Assistant Sports Turf Manager – University of Kentucky
Assistant Sports Turf Manager – Louisiana State University
Assistant Groundskeeper – Louisville Bats (AAA affiliate of Cincinnati Reds)

Ray McCauley

Bio: Ray McCauley is a Ph.D student under Dr. Grady Miller at NC State University. He
originally hails from Statesburg, SC. Ray completed BS AND MS degrees in Turfgrass Management from
Clemson University. He joined Dr. Miller’s program in 2016 after spending seven years in the sports turf
industry. His research has concentrated on fraise mowing bermudagrass with an emphasis on its effects of
soil physical properties.

Dr. Casey Reynolds

Bio: Dr. Reynolds earned his Dr of Philosophy in crop science – turfgrass management in 2013
from NC State University. Previously holding the position of Assistant Professor & Extension Turfgrass
Specialist at Texas A&M University, coordinating turfgrass programs to ensure that turfgrass stakeholders
in Texas implement BMPs of turfgrass. Focus areas include turfgrass physiology, weed control, species/
variety development and selection, and water use. NCSU research responsibilities included planting, plot
management, data collection, data analysis, and report preparation for turfgrass breeding and selection trials
as well as NC regional trials and NTEP trials.

Dr. Travis Gannon

Bio: Associate Professor Turfgrass Management NC State University Dr. Gannon earned his
Bachelor of Science in Technical Agronomy, May 1999, with Honors from NC State University. After
graduating he worked as Research Technician, May 1999 – July 1999. Upon completion of his research
technician role, Dr Gannon join the extension department as a Extension Assistant from August 1999 – 2011 While working as an extension assistant, Dr. Gannon earned his Master of Science in Crop Science,
May 2003 and his Doctorate of Philosophy in Crop Science, May 2011 both from NC State University

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