At DuraEdge Products we are fortunate to have a great business development team which includes four individuals with career backgrounds as professional groundskeepers in the MLB and MiLB ranks. Their collective wealth of experience creates the foundation for our success in the infield mix realm and provides field care perspectives that only each of them uniquely have.
Paul joined the DuraEdge Business Development team late in 2021 after a long and influential career in the Sports Turf industry. Paul has a passion and background in soil science, earning his degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. From there he spent 16 years as the Head Groundskeeper with the Baltimore Orioles, before joining the Beacon Athletics team in 2001. Paul was the driving force behind creating Groundskeeper University online for field managers, which has become a tremendous educational resource in our industry for all levels of play. Paul and Grant McKnight, President of DuraEdge Products, crossed paths and forever helped change infield soils in baseball and softball.
“Paul has been a longtime friend and played a big role in the development of our product back in 2007 and 2008. He will make a great addition to our Business Development Team and play a vital role in the education of our products moving forward” – Grant C. McKnight, President of DuraEdge Products
Tom Burns helped expand DuraEdge’s Business Development team when he joined in 2020. Burns brings over 40 years of experience in the Sports Turf Industry. He started his career in 1978 in Cleveland, OH where he worked under legendary groundskeeper, Marshall Bossard. From there, Burns took his knowledge to Spring Training. Beginning in Arizona as Head Groundskeeper for the Angels, then Florida as Head Groundskeeper for the Rangers. Here he earned Florida State League Groundskeeper of the year. In 1996 Burns was promoted to the Director of Grounds for\ the Texas Rangers. Mr. Burns also gained valuable experience working for companies within the industry such as TXI Diamond Pro from 2006-2015 where he supported distributors across the country, Ewing Irrigation where he served as Sports Field Specialist, and most recently Sports Field Solutions as General Manager for their materials division and renovation & construction projects. In 2009, Burns received the STMA’s Harry Gill Award, the association’s highest honor, representing an individual’s dedication and service to the Sports Turf Industry.
“I have known Tom since 2001 when I was at the Pirates and he was working for the Rangers. His passion and dedication to promote safer playing fields has been relentless over the years I have known Tom. He has shared his vast knowledge, experience, tricks of his trade, and best practices with any and all who are eager to learn and implement. We have many clients that have great trust in Tom who will now be able to lean on him to make sense of what solution is right for them. Tom is a close friend and I am personally excited for us to be able to work closely together again,” – Luke Yoder, Senior VP of Business Development at DuraEdge Products.
In 2019, Luke Yoder joined the DuraEdge team as the company’s Senior Vice President of Business Development. Yoder has been an impressive member of the Sports Turf Industry for more than two decades, while succeeding at the highest level. After graduating from Clemson University with a degree in Turf Science, Yoder went on to have a distinguished career as a head groundskeeper for the Iowa Cubs, Pittsburgh Pirates, and the San Diego Padres. During his tenure with these organizations, he proved to be an innovator and industry leader within his peer group and is frequently credited with helping set the standard for how a modern professional baseball field is viewed, as well as for training many of the head groundskeepers currently serving in various positions around the country.
“The experience and professionalism Luke brings to our already outstanding team of professionals will strengthen our proven position in the marketplace as a solutions-based sales team. Through his inside knowledge of product usage and practical approach to training, we will become better at understanding those whom we serve,” – Grant C. McKnight, President of DuraEdge Products
Patrick “Irish” Coakley
In 2017, DuraEdge announced the addition of Patrick “Irish” Coakley as the Mid-Atlantic region sales representative. Coakley, a Certified Sports Field Manager, brings over twenty years of experience in the sports field industry. Coakley was the Sports Turf Superintendent of Ripken Baseball at Ripken Stadium, home to both the MiLB Aberdeen Ironbirds as well as the Ripken Experience Aberdeen. While with the Ripken Experience, he took care of not only the professional field, but a portion of his work was also maintaining youth fields that handled upwards of thirty-five hundred baseball games per year.
Throughout his tenure in professional baseball, Coakley managed fields from Pennsylvania down the east coast to South Carolina. During that time, he was honored with five Field of the Year awards in two different leagues. This was highlighted by winning both the AA Baseball Field of the Year and STMA Baseball Field of the Year awards in 2006 while with the Altoona Curve.
“Over the years, it has sometimes been a struggle to provide quality fields for the younger age groups. With DuraEdge as a foundation, it gives us a better tool to make safe, playable ballfields for the kids along with the professionals,” said Coakley.