The Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA) presented its highest honors, the Founders Awards, during the concluding banquet of its annual conference last month. The awards are named after the four founders of STMA: Dick Ericson, Dr. William H. Daniel, George Toma, and Harry Gill, and each award has separate and distinct judging criteria. Those nominated are evaluated confidentially and independently by the STMA Board of Directors, and winners are not notified until their name is announced during the banquet.
Mike Tarantino from Poway Unified School District in Poway, Calif., received the Dick Ericson award, which is given to a sports turf manager who positively impacts the sports turf industry and exhibits effective team leadership. His nomination referenced his professionalism, team leadership, a commitment to improving the industry, and his contributions to STMA committee service.
Founder Dr. William Daniel set the standard for educator and researcher involvement in the STMA, and created a partnership between sports turf managers and educators and researchers. This award recognizes an individual who has made significant contributions to the sports turf industry through his or her research, teaching or extension outreach. Dr. Grady Miller, North Carolina State University was presented this honor in recognition for his substantial research on sports field management techniques during drought conditions, his accessibility to sports turf managers and his authorship of numerous books and scientific manuscripts dedicated to the profession.
The George Toma Golden Rake Award, which acknowledges an individual’s strong work ethic and job performance, was presented to David Reiss from Wasatch County School District in Heber City, Utah. He is described as an outstanding turf man, an advocate of excellence and accountability in his profession, and his nomination acclaimed his enthusiasm and dedication to providing high quality sports and practice fields.
The Harry C. Gill Memorial Award was presented to former STMA board president Bob Campbell, CSFM, from the University of Tennessee. The Gill Award recognizes an individual for their hard work in the sports turf industry and acknowledges their dedication and service to the STMA. Campbell was honored for his extraordinary commitment to the profession. His sports field management practices have raised the bar for all sports turf managers, and he is lauded as a mentor to many in the industry. His leadership helped to navigate STMA through turbulent times, and it is through his leadership that the association is strong and vibrant today.