Central Florida Sports Turf Managers Association conducted its Business and Chapter meeting at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex Tuesday December 6, 2022 from 9:30 am – 2:00 pm. The business portion of the meeting consisted of approval of the Chapter’s By-Laws and a slate of officers for the Board of Directors for CFSTMA by 75 professional and commercial CFTMA members who were in attendance.
The Chapter meeting portion of the event consisted of a presentation from Pavel Petelewicz, the Assistant Professor in the Agronomy Department at the University of Florida (UF), Gainsville. He described weed management in Florida, specifically targeting goosegrass and tropical signal grass. The group was also treated to a tour of behind the scenes operations of Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex as well.
The professional and commercial advertising sponsors had ample opportunities to network and share “best practices” throughout the gathering and collect 1.0 CEU’s for their FDAC licenses in the areas of:
Ornamental and Turf
Private Applicator Ag Pest Control
Commercial Lawn and Ornamental
Limited Certification Lawn and Ornamental
Limited Certification Commercial Landscape Maintenance
Limited Urban Fertilizer
This end of year quaterly Chapter and Business meeting saw 2021-2022 President Rob Julian, pass the Presidency to Chris Lessig, who with the new Board of Directors will lead CFSTMA for the next two years, beginning January 1, 2023.
Meet the 2023-2024 Board of Directors:
President – Christopher Lessig (Volusia County)
Chris has worked in the Parks and Recreation industry as a County and Municipal Parks Superintendent and County Parks Director for the past 25 years. He is currently a Volusia County Parks & Recreation manager. He is a graduate of Penn State University, Slippery Rock University and Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom College Program; Chris has served as secretery on the CFSTMA Board since 2016. He is a Certified Parks and Recreation Professional and graduate of NRPA’s Maintenance Management School.
President Elect – Andy Kinch (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
My name is Andy Kinch and I am currently an Assistant Groundskeeper for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I graduated from Virginia Tech in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences with the turfgrass option. After graduating, I worked for Real Salt Lake for 2 years before moving to Tampa. While in college, I completed internships at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders, Elizabethtown Sports Park, and the Country Club at Woodloch Springs. I hope to uphold the foundation the CFSTMA has built and continue to grow the organization
Treasurer – Jeff Wolford (Grounds Maintenance Coordinator with Citrus County)
My sports field career started at Citrus County School District. Over these 4 years with the School District, I have learned the basics of sports field and grounds maintenance. The School District allowed me to expand my skills by creating an agronomic and maintenance program. Me and my staff manage beaches, boat ramps, cemeteries and four sports complexes. My CFSTMA Membership and participation is very important. It allows me to meet other individuals in the same career, receiving education from industry leaders, sharing experiences and keeping current with the industry news. CFSTMA has helped me grow professionally and I want to bring CFSTMA into our Grounds Department staff at Citrus County.
Secretary – Mike Saldutti (Program Manager Orange County Parks & Recreation)
Mike Saldutti has over 19 years of experience in public service with Orange County, having served in many different capacities before his current role as Program Manager for the Parks and Recreation division. Among his many duties, he oversees the maintenance and improvement of 130 acres of Athletic Turf, dispersed among 27 locations, including diamond, grid iron, and cricket fields. He oversees the Jay Blanchard & West Orange Trail systems, which provides over 30 miles of trails and open space to the residents of Central Florida. He also manages the Parks internal maintenance division, which coordinates construction projects for 105 locations, equipment and vehicle purchases for all Orange County Parks, and the Parks sports turf management crew. Mike holds multiple licenses, including Pesticide Public Applicator, Certified Playground Safety Inspector, and OSHA 30 Construction Safety and Health. He has served on the Safety Committee board since 2011 and has been a member of the Central Florida Sports Field Managers Association since 2014. In his spare time, he loves to go fishing, attend UCF football games, and spend time with his family and friends. Mike hopes to apply his experience and passion to this service as a board member for the CFSTMA.
Vice President of Education – Dave Nowakowski, CSFM (Harrell’s)
STMA Certified Sports Field Manager graduated from Pennsylvania State University 1999 with a BS in Turfgrass Science. Has worked in the Green Industry for 22 years; Allegheny CC, Penn State University Golf Course, Penn State University Beaver Stadium Grounds Crew, Bowie BaySox, Roger Dean Stadium, Harford County College, Baltimore Ravens, Brickman. Have been responsible for creating and executing Agronomic Plans, calibrating spray and fertilizer equipment. As a Sales Rep for Harrell’s, I am responsible for creating Agronomic Plans, creating customized fertilizer blends, diagnosis and solutions of turf and ornamental issues, assisting in calibration or training.
Vice President of Commercial – Mike Williams (Beard Equipment)
Mike is the Central and North Florida Sports Turf and Grounds Territory Manager for Beard Equipment Company, a John Deere dealership specializing in Core Golf and Sports Turf and Grounds Products. Mike joined Beard Equipment in October 2018 after working 26 Seasons in Professional Baseball as a Head Groundskeeper. Mike also spent parts of 3 seasons in the NFL with the Cleveland Browns on the grounds staff. Mike is a Graduate of Ohio University where he was a member of the Baseball team and received his master’s degree in athletic administration in 1991.
Past President – Robert Julian (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
Rob is the Advent Health Training Center’s Director of Athletic Fields and Grounds at One Buccaneer Place for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers since 1993. Rob has been a Member of National STMA since 1999 and CFSTMA since its inception in 1990. He has served as CFSTMA Treasurer since 2015, President Elect and now President of the association.
The CFSTMA BOD will begin planning it’s next Chapter Meeting near the end of the first quarter of the year of 2023. Details to be announced in January.