How did you get into the sports turf industry?
I worked with the Mahoning Valley Scrappers since I was fourteen. I started there as a bat boy and worked my way up to Assistant Clubhouse Manager. The former head groundskeeper, Ryan, was looking for an intern to help him for a spring season when I was eighteen. That’s when I found I had an interest in working on ballfields.
The following winter, I wasn’t doing much, when my brother (who works in front office for Dunedin Blue Jays) called and said Brian and Pat needed some guys to help with their fields. I already had a vacation planned, so I went to talk to them to see if they were interested. I met with Brian and started shortly after working at an MLB Spring Training facility. That’s when I realized I really loved it. That was also when I started working with DuraEdge materials. Everyone in the industry had talked it up, but it was great to finally get to work with it and see how good it was in person.
I went back to working with the Scrappers in summer when Kyle (the current head groundskeeper) said there was a guy from DuraEdge that wanted to take us bass fishing. I met Destin and about a month or so later he asked what my plans were in the fall. He said I should come talk to Mack from Homefield because there was an opportunity with them on the construction and installation side of the business. From there, I’ve now been working with Mack and Homefield for about nine months and really enjoy it.
Did you have any mentors in the industry?
I’ve definitely been lucky to have a few. Ryan (Mahoning Valley Scrappers) obviously got me into the industry and got me rolling. If not for him I don’t think I would be here. He really got me Interested in it. Brian and Pat (Dunedin Blue Jays) took me to the next level when I was there and took time to teach me the ropes. Mack (Homefield) has even taken that further. He’s really knowledgeable and has taught me so much of the installation side of the sports turf industry.
What are your favorite parts of your job?
I love going to a job where the customer often thinks there is no way their field will ever look good again. Then seeing their reactions after we are able to get in there and do what we do is gratifying. We usually go in there with only two or three guys and really work hard to get their fields looking great again. We take a lot of pride in that.
What are the biggest challenges in your line of work?
Traveling and being away from home a lot can be stressful at times. Working through what we worked through now (with the pandemic), most recently, it has been hard to find a place to eat when we’re out working in some of these rural areas..
What are some of your favorite activities outside of work?
I love watching baseball and hockey. The Cleveland Indians and Pittsburgh Penguins are my teams. Most of my free time is spent bass fishing though. I just got a bass tracker this spring and have been fishing a lot of tournaments. Also,hanging out with my girlfriend.
About DuraEdge Products
Based in Grove City, PA, DuraEdge Products specializes in the production of top-quality products and services for the baseball and softball industry to provide long-term soil solutions, and to cover all the bases for safe and playable infields for the Sports Turf Industry across the United States and abroad.