SFMA Conference Daytona Beach
Photo courtesy Daytona Beach Area CVB

Chart a course to Daytona Beach for the 35th Annual SFMA Conference and Exhibition

The 35th Annual Sports Field Management Association (SFMA) Conference and Exhibition will be held at the Ocean Center Convention Center in Daytona Beach, Floriday, January 22-25, 2024. It will feature seven education tracks, a full trade show/exhibition, networking opportunities, keynote address, SAFE fundraisers, the SFMA Student Challenge, Seminar on Wheels, and much more. The following preview provides in-depth insight into the 2024 SFMA Conference & Exhibition, but for more information or to register, visit www.sportsfieldmanagement.org/conference.


For tracks and detailed descriptions of each session, visit SportsFieldManagement.org/Conference.

Sunday, January 21        

1 – 5 p.m.                            Volunteer Field Rebuild – Palm Terrace Elementary School, Volusia County Florida. Transportation provided.

Monday, January 22

6:30 – 8 a.m.                      Continental Breakfast

6:45 am – 3 p.m.               SAFE Golf Tournament – A fundraiser for the SAFE Foundation being held at LPGA International. Transportation and lunch provided. Additional fee required.

6:45 am – 5 p.m.               Seminar on Wheels – Visit TIAA Bank Field/Jacksonville Jaguars, Flagler College, and more. Transportation and lunch provided. Additional fee required.

10 am – 1 p.m.                  SAFE Cornhole Tournament – A fundraiser for the SAFE Foundation. Additional fee required.

1:15 – 5 p.m.                      Pre-conference Education – Turfgrass Basics

6 – 9 p.m.                            SAFE Bowling Tournament – A fundraiser for the SAFE Foundation being held at GameTime Daytona. Transportation and dinner provided. Additional fee required.

Tuesday, January 23

6:30 – 8 a.m.                      Continental Breakfast

8 – 9:30 a.m.                      General Session – Expert Baseball Panel: Player Perspectives, Special Events, Rule Changes, and More! -Phil Bradley, Murray Cook, Ryan Woodley, Matt Brown (see full details below)

9:45 – 10:45 a.m.              Conference Education

  • Starting From Scratch: Complete MiLB Field Renovation – Keith Winter
  • Parks and Recreation: Situations Encountered in a Municipal Setting
    Derek Hollanitsch
  • Embracing Diversity in Sports Turf Management: Why it Matters – Alpha Jones, CSFM, Maritza Martinez
  • Quantifying How Natural Grass Sequesters Carbon – Scott Bills, CSFM, Cindy Code
  • Optimizing Rootzone Conditions: Warmed Air, Air Consistency and Pipe Technology – Mark Heinlein, MSc, CFB, Amy Fouty, CSFM
  • Soil Testing Interpretation and Application – Travis Shaddox, Ph.D.

11 am – Noon                    Conference Education

  • Practical Applications for Testing in Turfgrass Systems – Kyle Foreman
  • Turfgrass Irrigation: Water Quality, Quantity and Lack Thereof – Marco Schiavon, Ph.D.
  • New Approaches for Testing Sports Field Safety and Performance – Gerald Henry, Ph.D., Erick Begitschke
  • Smart Team Project: Unlocking Secrets Behind Athlete Performance and Safety – Thayne Munce, Ph.D., FACSM
  • Sustainability in Turfgrass Management – Crystal Rose-Fricker
  • Prepping for Qatar 2022-Hotter than an Oven – Philip Sharples, HND

12 – 2 p.m.                         F.I.E.L.D. Forum (formerly the Women’s Forum)Inclusion on the Turf: Fostering Space Where All Can Grow – Brandon Bell, M.Ed.

2 – 3:15 p.m.                      Conference Education

  • Sustainable Turfgrass Management for Municipalities and ISDs – Phil Lozano
  • Let’s Talk About Mental Health – Lisa Goatley, MS, LPC, Jason Bowers, CSFM, Willis Coulson
  • Soils 201: Athletic Field Soils and How to Manage Them – Barry Stewart, Ph.D., Cale Bigelow, Ph.D.
  • Back to Basics: Infield Edging and Renovation – Trevor Warner
  • Developing a Shallow-Profile Playing System for the 2026 FIFA World Cup – Ryan Bearss, Jackie Guevara
  • Back to Basics: Understanding Weather Concepts and Making Weather-Based Decisions-Brad Jakubowski, Ph.D., Matt Neri

3:30 – 5 p.m.                      Conference Education

  • Prevention Beats Intervention in Sports Field Management – Mike Goatley, Ph.D., Jim Puhalla
  • Basamid for Athletic Field Renovations – Travis Gannon, Ph.D., Fred Yelverton, Ph.D.
  • Common Pitfalls to Avoid During Field Construction Projects – Michael Boekholder, Chris McGill, Jamie Mehringer
  • Synthetic Baseball Infields: Research and Real Game Impacts – Kyley Dickson, Ph.D., Jody Gill, CSFM, Kennie Holmes
  • What’s New in Bermudagrass Winter Overseeding – Cale Bigelow, Ph.D., Jada Powlen, Ph.D.
  • Total Toolbox Troubleshooting for Irrigation: Sights, Sounds, Shovels and Circuits – Brad Jakubowksi, Ph.D., Matt Neri               

5:30 – 6:30 p.m.                First Timers/International/CSFM Reception

6:45 – 7:15 p.m.                Live Auction benefitting the SAFE Foundation

7:30 – 10 p.m.                   Welcome Reception

Wednesday, January 24

6:30 – 8 a.m.                      Continental Breakfast

8 – 9:15 a.m.                      Conference Education

  • The ABCs of PGRs for Turfgrass – Aaron Hathaway
  • Organizational Shift: Changing the Culture of the Workplace – Eric Harshman, CGM, Josh Koss, CSFM
  • Rejuvenating Your Baseball Field for a New Season – Paul Cushing
  • Potentially Reduce Fertilizer and Irrigation Inputs on Athletic Fields – AJ Lindsey, Ph.D.
  • How Branding Can Impact Your Crew, Career and Community – Meg Kruger
  • Pushing the Limits: Sprigging Bermudagrass North of Chicago –             Zach Simons

9:30 – 10:45 a.m.              Conference Education

  • You Want to Put What on the Field? – Rob Sikma
  • Learning by Failing – Kevin Mercer, CSFM
  • Fixing Florida’s Largest Sports Field System: A Cinderella Story – Greg Brown
  • Keeping Tools in the Toolbox: How to Talk About Pesticides – Megan Provost
  • The Pesticide Timeline: From Lab to Shelf – Chrissie Segars, Ph.D., Jeff Marvin, Ph.D.
  • Using A Robotic Mower on a High-Level Professional Field – Wes Ganobcik

11 am – Noon                    Keynote – Beyond the Field: Utilizing History, Technology and Mentorship to Define the Future of Sports Field Management – Mike Goatley, Ph.D., Abby McNeal, CSFM, Chad Price, CSFM, CFB, Leah Withrow, Travis Hogan

Noon – 1:15 p.m.              SFMA Annual Meeting and Lunch

1:30 – 6:30 p.m.                Trade Show

2 – 4:30 p.m.                      Student Challenge

Thursday, January 25

6:30 – 8 a.m.                      Continental Breakfast

8 – 10 a.m.                         Conference Education Panel Discussions

  • Why Schools Should Invest in Athletic Fields: A CFO’s Perspective – Barry Gardner, Jamie Mehringer
  • Ballfields on a Budget: Get More Bling for Less Cha-Ching – Travis Shaddox, Ph.D., Ryan DeMay, CSFM
  • Hybrid Turf and What the Data Tells Us – Kieran O’Donnell, John Sorochan, Ph.D., Kyley Dickson, Ph.D., Ian Craig
  • Synthetic Turf Expert Panel – Jason DeMink, CSFM, Cody Gustafson, Ryan Hillert, Wade Radde
  • Future of Sports Field Management Panel – Drew Miller, Ryan Bjorn, Leah Withrow

10 am – 1 p.m.                  Trade Show & Lunch

Noon – 1 p.m.                    Student Luncheon

12:45 – 5 p.m.                   Half-Day Seminar on Wheels – Visit Stetson University, the City of DeLand, and more. Transportation provided. Additional fee required.

1:30 – 3 p.m.                      Conference Education (Repeat Sessions)

  • Parks and Recreation: Situations Encountered in a Municipal Setting – Derek Hollanitsch
  • Keeping Tools in the Toolbox: How to Talk About Pesticides – Megan Provost
  • Let’s Talk About Mental Health – Lisa Goatley, MS, LPC, Jason Bowers, CSFM, Willis Coulson

3:15 – 4:15 p.m.                NEW DAY & TIMEChapter Officers Training -Chapter Board members and staff are invited to a panel discussion on leadership/management formats, challenges they face, and how they have overcome obstacles.

6:30 – 7:30 p.m.                Pre-Banquet Reception

7:30 – 10 p.m.                   Awards Banquet

Conference Education will continue for four weeks post-conference via webinar: January 30 – February. 20. These will consist of eight virtual sessions included with a full conference registration! Visit SportsFieldManagement.org/Conference for more information.

SFMA conference
Photo provided by SFMA


Expert Baseball Panel: Player Perspectives, Special Events, Rule Changes, and More!

SFMA has assembled a panel of experts bringing many years of experience and expertise in this area.  The panel will discuss how baseball has changed over the years, insight into player perspective, workplace challenges and where it is headed in the future for the sports field manager. The panelists include:

  • Phil Bradley – Former Major League Baseball player for the Mariners, Phillies, Orioles and White Sox. Bradley was an American League All-Star in 1985, and spent a season with the Yomiuri Giants in Japan before retiring in 1991. He currently serves as a special assistant for international and domestic player operations.
  • Dan Kiermaier – Head groundskeeper, Chicago Cubs
  • Ryan Woodley – Senior director of grounds, Milwaukee Brewers
  • Matt Brown – Director of field operations, Pittsburgh Pirates


Beyond the Field: Utilizing History, Technology and Mentorship to Define the Future of Sports Field Management

This presentation includes an expert panel with diverse experiences to highlight the importance of understanding how historical aspects, new technology and mentorship can shape the landscape of sports field management, taking it above and beyond. Learning outcomes will include understanding the history of the industry, gaining knowledge on new technologies and its effects, and learning the benefits of participating in a mentorship program. Panelists include:

  • Mike Goatley, Ph.D. – Turfgrass specialist, Virginia Tech School of Plant and Environmental Sciences
  • Chad Price – President, Carolina Green Corp.
  • Abby McNeal – Parks superintendent, City of Louisville
  • Leah Withrow – Head groundskeeper, Reno Aces
  • Travis Hogan – Head groundskeeper, Kansas City Chiefs


CEUs available at the 2024 SFMA Conference include:

  • SFMA-1.5 CEU credits
  • ASBA-1 CEU for 1 hour of education, 1.5 CEUs for 1.5 hours of education, 2 CEUs for 2 hours of education, and 3.5 CEUs for the Pre-Conference session.
  • PGMS-1.5 CEU credits per day
  • NRPA-Attendees are eligible to submit the sessions attended for possible CEU equivalency
  • NALP-1 CEU per hour of education
  • GCSAA- 1 CEU for attending (attendees must submit session approval code) 999-25024-33120
  • State of FL Pest Certification: 1 CEU per educational session attended (certificate will have sessions attended and they submit this to FL for approval in their database)
  • State of GA Pest Certification: 3 credit hours for category 24-Ornamental Turf (must submit approval sheet)
  • IA-The following sessions are approved for a total of 3.5 CEUs (attendees must submit session approval code) IA certified professionals may self-report the CEUs in their IA profile after they attended the conference.  We will include the webinars in the IA preapproved training activities can be found on IA’s website under Maintain Your Certification à Earn CEUs à Download preapproved CEU courses.
  • Turfgrass Irrigation: Water Quality, Quantity, and Lack Thereof, Marco Schiavon, Ph.D. (Code: IA01241-1A)
  • Total Toolbox Troubleshooting for Irrigation: Sights, Sounds, Shovels and Circuits, Brad Jakubowski and Matt Neri (Code: IA01241-1.5A)
  • Take the Million Gallon Challenge, Brad Jakubowski and Matt Neri (Code: IA01241-1B)
SFMA Conference
Photo provided by SFMA


The foundation for Safer Athletic Fields for Everyone (SAFE), SFMA’s charity, will host three exciting events as part of the 2024 conference in Daytona Beach. SAFE is thrilled to bring back the golf tournament after a taking a year off in chilly Salt Lake City. The tournament will take place at the LPGA International Golf Course from 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday, January 22, 2024. The price is $140 per golfer, you can join as a team of four or sign up as a single and we will be happy to place you on a team.

After a wonderfully fun and successful first year, SFMA is bringing back the Cornhole Tournament. Cornhole will take place on Monday, January 22,2024 from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. The price is $50 per player and there will be teams of two.

On Monday evening from 6 – 9 p.m. is the SAFE Bowling Tournament at GameTime Daytona Beach. The price is $75 each and there will be teams of 5. Attendees can sign up as a team be placed on a team.


The SFMA Student Challenge is presented in partnership with the SAFE Foundation, Founding Partner Hunter Industries, and supporting sponsor Ewing. Each year, students from 2-year and 4-year colleges and universities throughout the country compete in an exam that challenges knowledge in the sports field management industry. The winning teams receive a cash award, a plaque and medallions for each team member. The prize money benefits the institution’s turfgrass program and creates opportunities for students pursuing a career in sports field management. The study guide for the 2024 SFMA Student Collegiate Challenge is available online. Be sure to thoroughly review the study guide in preparation for the exam. The 2024 contest will take place Wednesday, January 24, from 2 – 4:30 p.m. at the SFMA Conference and Exhibition in Daytona Beach, Florida. A maximum of four undergraduates can compete on a team and must declare if they are representing a two-year or four-year institution. Competitors receive complimentary conference registration. You must be an SFMA member to participate. All Student Challenge competitors are REQUIRED to register online before December 15. No paper registration forms will be accepted.


Air Travel: Daytona Beach is served by two airports.

  • Daytona Beach International (DAB) – 5 miles from the hotel
  • Orlando International Airport (MCO) – 70 miles from the hotel

Attire: Business casual (slacks and a collared shirt for men and comparable attire for women) is the preferred attire. Coat and tie are requested for the Awards Banquet.

Convention Center

Ocean Center Daytona Beach

101 North Atlantic Avenue

Daytona Beach, FL 32118

Hotel Information – $199 per night                                                                     

Hilton Daytona Beach Oceanfront Resort                                          

100 North Atlantic Avenue                                                                                    

Daytona Beach, FL 32118                                                          

800-HILTONS or 386-254-8200 (group code STMA24)

Rate available until December 30, 2023 or until room block is filled.

Registration Information

Registration opened October 16, 2023.

Take advantage of the exclusive early registration savings! Discounted rates are only available online through December 15!                                  

Full Conference Registration Rates: (Includes all Education Sessions, Welcome Reception, Trade Show,
Awards Banquet, and all meals provided during the conference)
Online Early BirdOnline after 12/15
SFMA National Member$475$550
Additional Member – reduced rate for 2nd Member from same facility (Must register all facility members together to receive reduced rate)$425$500
Non-member (or Chapter-only member)$625$625
  • Any Registration – member, or non-member – not completed online (submitted by mail/fax) $625
  • Any registration after 01/12/2024 will be at the onsite registration rate of $700

Visit SportsFieldManagement.org/Conference to register. See student rates, one-day packages, tradeshow-only, and optional activities.

Registration Hours                                                                    

Sunday, January 21       6:30 – 9 p.m.                                     
Monday, January 22     6:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.             
Tuesday, January 23     7 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Wednesday, January 24     7 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Thursday, January 25   7 a.m. – Noon

Exhibition Hours

Wednesday, January 24        1:30 – 6:30 p.m.

Thursday, January 25      10 a.m. – 1 p.m.