December 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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Page 28 of 51

www.spor 29 December 2017 // anything. The values and support from your team must be put into action in all facets of your sports turf maintenance operations; from hiring new staff members to the day-to-day work. Above all else is the focus on the customer's experience from the fi rst impression of your complex and the quality of service. Remember if you treat your customers as you would treat your friends, the more valuable you become. 4. Inputs & outputs. What fundamentals are required to have your sports fi eld produce the experience of a lifetime? The inputs and outputs consist of nothing more than planning, executing and always trying to raise the level of service without increasing the budget and labor expenses. Labor is vital to small business survival, and having key turf managers in a productive position during a catastrophe is imperative. Today, organizations need a coach, not a director. Training full or part time employees and summer help on equipment and the fundamentals of the job is only a fraction of it. Managing is nothing more than controlling the outcome with direction. Coaching, on the other hand, is helping others to improve, develop and learn new skill sets. It is also equated to mentoring and challenging the employees and interns to move beyond their comfort zone and to create a safe learning environment for taking risks. Once you have successfully built up this basis, there is then room for you to fi ne-tune the extra details to any level you want; that is until it starts costing you extra labor hours. Once your crew is cross-trained to every function of the operation, you can then have them train volunteers. Use your local STMA chapter to help locate folks through networking like, PTA, garden clubs, students, parents etc. Once your volunteers are trained and a system is in place, showcase your volunteer operations and premiere your fi eld on social media. Bring as much attention as you can to your operation and its positive qualities. Once you have put your fi eld in a positive light, you have increased outreach and the possibility of receiving outside funding. Financing is a necessary input. However, you must be prepared for all situations, including catastrophic weather events that may drain the funds from your operating budget. When storms, droughts, or severe snowstorms occur, a developed business continuity plan will help offset some of the upfront expenditures. With the right insurance umbrella protection and with the use of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) you can keep your funding safe from the impacts of catastrophic weather events that will require funding towards overtime, rented equipment and contractual expenses to makeup for its damages. The argument that could be made to your fi nancial manager is to step up your department quality of service and labor effi ciency from better products and equipment. This may mean identifying and budgeting for third-party contractual services that can take on some of your demand for a limited time, or identifying alternate distribution channels to keep your fi elds and services running smoothly. Although succession planning is not technically viewed as an output from senior management, this mind set could not be further from the truth. Succession planning is often the subject of any sports fi eld complex. Think about it this way, what will happen to the organization as a whole if the sports turf manager was out of work from health issues. The assistant sports turf manger or supervisor would have to step up. The STMA conferences provide in house training and professional education that will develop the necessary skillsets for your assistant sports turf manager or supervisor to run the day-to-day operations. 5. Social media. Social media is a great platform to highlight your company mission statement and goals to your customer, but this can be tricky to execute right. Every department including food, sales, volunteers and your grounds maintenance team should have postings to rollout and execute your new reimagining process throughout the year on your company social media page. Human resources and the marketing department are both great sources to utilize this process effi ciently. 6. Does it fl ow? The last step of reimaging your sports fi eld complex is the wrap-up process. Do all the steps that the committee established create a consistent and reasonable experience? Does it also align with the goals and innovative ideas that your organization wants to provide to your customers? When undergoing this process, you must ratify all of the previous steps mentioned. Acknowledgements: Dr. Chris Reber, President, The Community College of Beaver County; Dr. Adam Weinberg, President, Denison University, and David English, Vice President for Finance & Management, Denison University. /ST/ Kevin Mercer CSFM, CGM & LICM is Grounds and Landscape Manager at Denison University, Granville, OH. Another part of bringing your facility to the next level for quality and service is having your venders understanding your short and long term goals. Here is the author, left, with Gary Wilber, Oakwood Sod Farm. Denison University, Granville, OH.

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