By Mike Jiggens
About 1,200 members of the sports turf industry are expected to attend the Sports Turf Managers Association’s 28th annual conference and exhibition Jan. 24-27 in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The event will include more than 75 hours of sports turf education, networking opportunities and exhibitor demonstrations.
Close to 50 education sessions and panel discussions will feature sports turf managers, academic and commercial representatives from schools, colleges and universities, parks and recreational facilities and professional sports stadiums. Eight educational tracks will include such topics as agronomics, water, professional development, facility management, construction/renovation, industry developments, synthetic turf and K-12.
“Each year we look forward to sharing best practices, networking and learning about new industry trends,” said Kim Heck, CAE, CEO of the Sports Turf Managers Association. “We’re excited to return to the Sunshine State for the 2017 conference which will offer comprehensive educational opportunities and inspire sports turf managers to re-energize for the upcoming year.”
Laura Katen, president of Katen Consulting, is keynote speaker for the conference. A New York-based professional development training company, she and her team conduct seminars for Fortune 500 companies to not-for-profit companies. She will address the topic of professionalism and how communication at an individual and organizational level influences how one is perceived by his peers, employer and community.
New additions to the conference include chapter board members’ reception, multiple “Fun Run/Walk” times, led by chair Tom Neilsen of the Louisville Bats, and an educational track created specifically for K-12 sports turf managers.
The popular “Seminars on Wheels Tours” will return with visits to Raymond James Stadium, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ practice facility, Barnett Park, the Citrus Bowl and Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports complex.
The SAFE Foundation–STMA’s charitable arm that enriches communities by championing safe, sustainable sports and recreation fields–will host a variety of fundraising activities throughout the conference. It also presents awards to the winners of the Student Challenge, a competition among teams of undergraduates in turfgrass programs with two groups taking home $5,000 each.