Facilities and Grounds Manager
Iowa State University Athletics Department
13 years of service
Graduated 1982 with an AAS degree
I grew up in Guthrie Center, a small town an hour west of Des Moines. In high school I worked in turf maintenance at the local golf course and fell in love with turf and horticulture. DMACC's Horticulture program at that time was located on east side of campus with plans to move into a sparkling new facility in the present location. I wanted to be part of that move.
We had terrific instructors starting with Duane Anderson and Al Wyckoff. Rudy Thorsheim and Rusty Caldwell were also superior educators. Their ability to engage each of us and the passion they had in preparing us for a career in the horticulture profession was what set them apart. Those four instructors had successful careers before becoming instructors so their practical knowledge of horticulture was exceptional. A major bonus was that they were always available to help with anything you needed. Preparing each of us for a horticulture career really was a team effort. The placement office was critical in helping us find a good employment fit as we searched for internships and ultimately our first post graduation job.
I presently serve as Facilities and Grounds Manager for the Iowa State University Athletics Department in Ames, Iowa. I was hired here as Athletic Turf Manager in 1996 when ISU renovated its stadium football field from artificial turf to natural grass. Up until 2007 my focus was on managing all practice and competition fields for the athletic teams. In 2007 the duties of managing facilities and capital project development as well as construction development and oversight were added to my plate. I'm serving my last year on the national Board of Directors for the Sports Turf Managers Association, where I was privileged to serve as President in 2007-2008. Prior to taking the position with Iowa State Athletics I was Head Groundskeeper for the Iowa Cubs baseball club in Des Moines, Iowa.
My advice for students…dream, set goals and focus. At DMACC you will get an outstanding opportunity to learn horticulture and agronomics. Take advantage of it! Consider your DMACC education as your first career step and don't waste it. As you take classes toward graduation and get a feel for parts of the industry you seem to like, dream big and set a 10 year personal goal. As you bump down your career path you may find opportunities that are worth exploring that deviate you from the original goal. Go for it! We are truly rewarded for getting out of our comfort zones and for pushing ourselves harder and further than we think we can go. Develop a dream and develop your goals. Only when the goal is developed will you be able to plan out the path that gets you to your goals. Doing this and focusing each daily decision on whether it gets you closer to your goal, will ensure you stay motivated and achieve. You will be shocked how quickly you can reach your goal, your dream job and career happiness. Always strive to be better today than you were yesterday. Stay humble or you will be humbled. My favorite work quote has always been: "Supervisors are named by the boss. Leaders are named by the crew." It's most important to be the leader where you work!
Hardy Starts by Welby Gardens
8 years of service
Graduated 2000 with an AAS degree
I was interested in horticulture and found out there was a program at DMACC. I had a very memorable learning experience at DMACC. The Horticulture program is great. I feel that due to the broad spectrum curriculum DMACC offers in their horticulture program I have advanced to the level I am at in the industry.
I live in Colorado and work at Hardy Starts by Welby Gardens in Denver as the Propagation Manager. I have worked for the company for 8 years. My job is on the production side of growing spring annuals for shipment to greenhouses in all states. Most importantly I oversee the receiving of the cuttings and the planting, taking care of any issues that may arise.
My advice for students….don't be afraid of asking questions!