Thirty five students from universities across the United States, the largest attendance since the program was reinstated three years ago, attended the recent three-day Future Turf Managers program at Jacobsen’s headquarters in Charlotte, NC. Jacobsen is a Textron Inc. (NYSE:TXT) company.
The students, all on four year turf-related study programs, were recommended by their professors as being top level candidates with great prospects to become future leaders as they progress their careers. They have the opportunity to learn and interact with turf professionals in an educational environment under the guidance of industry leaders, an experience impossible to duplicate in the classroom. Since its inception back in the 1970s, almost 700 students have participated in the Future Turf Managers program.
On the evening of day one the group gathered for a welcome reception with introductions to Jacobsen staff and a presentation on the company and its position within the Textron group. On day two, the attendees toured Jacobsen’s manufacturing facility followed by a tour of the Parts Distribution Center and Jacobsen University. Jacobsen brought in several high-profile industry speakers who shared their knowledge, gained from years of experience in the turf sector, about various subjects including the importance of creating defined career plans, nurturing the team environment and building relationships at all levels.
The Jacobsen tournament support team prepared a typical lunch, that would be served to the maintenance crews at major tournaments, and then product manager Quinn Derby spoke about the new hybrid/electric technology of the company’s latest Eclipse range of greens mowers followed by product demonstration sessions. Day two ended with a dinner and a fun evening of go carting at a local track.
Day three saw an early start with the group travelling to Augusta National for an unforgettable tour of the maintenance facility and a question and answer session with Brad Owen golf course superintendent. Then it was back on the bus, heading for the E-Z-GO plant where, after a quick lunch, they toured the manufacturing facility and had a ride and drive of the E-Z-GO product range.
Next stop was the University of South Carolina, where the group visited the baseball stadium and got hear from field manager Clark Cox, who spoke about his turf management program at his prestigious stadium. An intense day ended with a group dinner at a local bistro.
Reflecting on the value of the Future Turf Managers program, Shane Tuhy of North Dakota State University said, “I can’t believe how well we’ve been treated here; it has been an unbelievable experience. I didn’t expect it to be this fun. I’ll definitely put this on my resume so that potential employers realize how special it was for me to attend the FTM program. The value has been immense.”
Commenting at the close of the event, Dan Wilkinson, Jacobsen president said, “This program provides some of the brightest new turf managers around with the opportunity to go behind the scenes at some of the premier facilities in the world. At Jacobsen we are committed to giving them a practical view of the profession, while offering guidance, support and the added value of our experience to help these up and coming turf professionals embrace the industry.”