2014 Conference Speakers - A Proprietary Powerhouse of Proficient Presenters

13.08.23-img.van2014The 2014 Canadian International Turfgrass Conference provides a vertiable powerhouse of speaking professionals both within and related to the professional sportsturf management industry.  This world class event will be your only opportunity on Canadian soil to partake in the proficient professing of such a pronounced pack of prescribed presenters.


Former NHL All-Star and Olympian, Trevor Linden is one of the most celebrated hockey players of all time. Widely respected in both the business and philanthropic worlds, Trevor’s speeches stress the importance of diplomatic leadership and illustrate how giving back can be a motivator for success in both our professional and personal lives.  

Trevor’s NHL career spanned over 19 years, four teams, two All-Star games, and the Nagano Olympic Games. Named the youngest-ever captain of the Vancouver Canucks at just 21 years old, Trevor led the team to within a game of winning the Stanley Cup in 1994, earning him the lifelong nickname “Captain Canuck.” Later elected president of the National Hockey League Players’ Association, Trevor played an instrumental role over his eight years of service. In 2005-06,

Trevor suited up for his 1,000th game as a Canuck, and a season later he became the first Canuck to score 300 goals for the team.

  ARMSTRONG, ANNA Anna Armstrong specializes in improving the safety and performance of service organizations.  In 2010, with 25 years of experience in the administrative, retail and hospitality management fields, Anna joined CESafety.  Throughout these years, Anna gained valuable experience in every aspect of performance management, customer service, occupational health and safety, and sales from small private companies to large corporations.  Anna also holds a diploma in Business Marketing and another in Computer Graphic Design.  Anna brings a unique perspective to operational safety, combining extensive, practical experience with knowledge of the business imperatives that are crucial to your continued success.  

BRILMAN, LEAH Leah Brilman is the Director of Research and Technical Services for Pickseed and Seed Research of Oregon . She received a B.S. degree from California State University Bakersfield, and M.S. and  Ph.D. degrees from University of Arizona. Her program focuses on breeding turfgrass cultivars with reduced inputs and providing support of customers in utilization of those cultivars. She has developed and administered Undergraduate contests for turf students for both the GCSAA and STMA.  Brilman has co-authored 13 refereed publications or Chapters and numerous popular publications. She is a Fellow of the Crop Science Society, 2007 NACPB Breeder and 2012 recipient of the William Daniels Award for Educator of the Year for STMA and 2012 Recipient of the Fred Grau Award in Turfgrass Science from the Crop Science Society. She has a courtesy appointment with the Oregon State University and has served on graduate committees.  

CHRISTIANS, NICK Dr. Nick Christians is a University Professor of Horticulture at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa.  His area of specialization is Turfgrass Science.  He received his Ph.D. and MS degrees from Ohio State University in Agronomy and his B.S. from the Colorado State University school of forestry.  Between his B.S. and M.S. degrees, Nick was employed as an assistant golf course superintendent at Flatirons Country Club in Boulder, CO and as golf course superintendent in Pueblo, CO.  He has been awarded the 1999 Fred V. Grau Turfgrass Research Award, The Outstanding Undergraduate Educator Award from the American Society of Horticultural Science, the Iowa State University Outstanding Advisor Award and the ISU Teaching Excellence Award.  

14.01.05-Duncan1DUNCAN, DAVID (left) David Duncan is the Owner of Turf Health Products Company based in Vancouver, BC.  He is entering his 23rd year in the turfgrass management business.  His time has been spent from the bunker maintenance crew at Vancouver Golf Club to the hallowed confines of some of the most forward thinking labs in the United States.  In 1993, he joined the construction crew of the Westwood Plateau Golf and Country Club; 2 years later there were 27 holes, spread over 262 acres, encompassing more than 800 feet of elevation change.  As Assistant Superintendent at Westwood Plateau for 8 years, he also attended the University of Guelph in 1995 (Short Program) and from 1996-98 attended the two-year Penn State University Turfgrass Managers Program, under the guidance of George Hamilton, Jr.  Graduating with honours as the Valedictorian of the program.  In 2003, David tried his hand at the role of Golf Course Superintendent at the Falls Golf Resort in the Fraser Valley.  The golf course made strides that season, but economies failed to support the changes required and the following year he began his consulting role with Sport Turf Inc.  In 2009 Duncan forged into the work of business on his own, creating the Turf Health Products Company.  This forward thinking, scientifically based organization believes in answers and accountability in all areas of turfgrass management.  The consulting piece of business has moved throughout Western Canada and into Quebec in the past 5 years.  the Turf Health Products Company is no also involved with sportsfield construction, baseball facilities and homeowner consultation.  In 2010 Mr. Duncan realized his goal of becoming the President of the Western Canada Turfgrass Association - his year as President included re-kindling ties with all of the Washing State peers, and a trip to the Sportsturf Managers Association Conference in Austin, TX where a relationship was spawned to further increase the ties between turfgrass managers, regardless of borders.  2010 marked the 10th anniversary of his service on the WCTA Board of Directors.  He has also taught on a contract basis at he local turfgrass college for the past 13 years, and has 3 seminars that have been approved by the BC Ministry of Agriculture for CEC's.  

 FRY, JACK Dr. Jack Fry is a Professor in the Division of Horticulture at Kansas State University where he has been on the faculty since 1991.  Jack teaches courses in basic turfgrass culture, and golf course and sports turf operations, and conducts research on turfgrass environmental stress, establishment and pest control.    GODKIN, BILL Bill Godkin has over 30 years of experience in safety training, risk analysis and safety program development.  Since 2005, Bill has been advising golf courses, automotive, financial and other business clients across Canada and the United States, performing risk analysis audits, delivering safety training, and designing the safety programs clients require to be in compliance with government regulations.  As a result, Bill's clients are able to minimize the risk of injury and fines, and save money on insurance premiums.  

12.01.11-DR.GLOEMBIEWSKI200GOLEMBIEWSKI, ROB Dr. Rob Golembiewski, also a show speaker in 2011, is a Greens Solutions Specialist for Bayer with the responsibility of providing technical expertise for the Turf and Ornamental Markets.  Most recently, he served as the Turfgrass Specialist at Oregon State University.  Rob received his B.S. and M.S. from Michigan State University and his Ph.D. from The Ohio State University.  Rob's career has included positions with Montana State University, Dow AgroSciences, Paramount Landscape and the University of Minnesota, Crookston.   

HENRY, SHAUN Shaun has over 20 years of golf course industry experience at several upscale clubs including Wilmington Country Club, Huntingdon Valley Country Club, Congressional Country Club, Wyoming Valley Country Club and Wren Dale Golf Club.  His professional highlights include being part of the team that hosted the 1997 US Open, and managing construction and grow-in as Golf Course Superintendent at Wren Dale Golf Club in Hershey, PA.  Henry brought his golf course agronomic and management experience to the field of golf course appraisal and consulting in 2005.  He later co-founded Advantage Golf Advisors.  Shaun has completed a multitude of golf property specific appraisal and consulting assignments in 19 states, as well as Canada and the Caribbean.  In addition to being a certified appraiser and licensed real estate agent,Henry is an instructor and author on various golf course operational and financial topics.  He is a faculty member of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) and has been published by the Club Managers Association of America (CMAA), among others.  

HOEKSTRA, PAUL Dr. Paul Hoekstra is the Regulatory and Science Stewardship Manager, for Syngenta Canada, an agri-business committee to sustainable agriculture and turf management.  With products in pest control, see care and seeds aimed at raising farm productivity and turf quality, Syngenta is bringing plant potential to life ®.  With a strong background in regulatory affairs, communication and stakeholder engagement, Paul oversees Syngenta's various stewardship and related outreach activities.  Paul is a member of the Syngenta pollinator and stewardship team that assesses the safety of our products to honey bees and other pollinators, which is part of the commitment to sustainable agriculture and enhancing bee health.  He also represents Syngenta on several industry committees, including Crop Life Canada's Pollinator Working Group.  As a scientist, Paul holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Waterloo and a Ph.D. from the University of Guelph's Toxicology program.  With numerous publications across several disciplines, he also leads various efforts in promoting a science-based approach to assess the risk of pest control platforms as well as communicating the benefit of pesticides and other technologies in providing a safe, sustainable, and affordable food supply and viable recreational areas such as golf courses.  

HSIANG, TOM Dr. Tom Hsiang is a Professor in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of Guelph, specializing in plant diseases.  Before arriving at the University of Guelph, he worked on flower and tree diseases in Washington State, USA, where he obtained his Ph.D. (University of Washington) and conducted post-doctoral studies (Washington State University).  He is originally from Vancouver, BC, and obtained his B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in Forest/Biology/Pathology at the University of British Columbia.  His current teaching and research involve diseases of trees and turfgrasses, particularly biology of fungal pathogens and disease management.  

LEWIS, GARY Gary Lewis began botanizing his local fields and forests around the age four (first in Germany, then in NS and ON), began collecting house plants at the age of 10 and began gardening at the age of 15.  He holds a Masters of Science degree in Plant Ecology from the University of British Columbia, training which, with its focus on the botany and ecology of wild plants, greatly informs his horticulture.  Gary became the owner of Phoenix Perennials in 2004 on his 28th birthday.  Since that time he has greatly expanded the nursery to include one of the largest and most exciting selections of perennials in Canada.  He strives to include cutting edge new perennials, tried and true garden stalwarts, and the rare and unusual in his plant offerings.  Gary is the Canada Region Director for the Perennial Plant Association, the North America-wide industry association that brings gardeners the Perennial Plant of the Year.  He is Image Bank coordinator for E-Flora BC an online atlas of BC native plants.  he also serves on the Perennial and Bulb Selection Committee of Great Plant Picks, an educational awards program of the Miller Botanical Garden that works to build a comprehensive palette of outstanding plants for BC and Pacific Northwest gardens.  In 2012 Phoenix Perennials won the category of "Growing Gardeners", part of the Chrysler Canadian Garden Centre of the Year Awards.  In 2013, Gary was selected as communicator of the Year by the BC Landscape and Nursery Association, an award for which he was nominated in 2012.  Both awards recognize Gary's work to educate and inspire the gardening public through speaking engagements, nursery workshops, special events and diverse online content.  

14.01.14-Lucas.smallLUCAS, MARK Mark Lucas is recently retired from the University of California at Davis.  He was the Sports Turf Manager and Athletic Field Specialist at UC Davis and the UC Berkeley campus for a total of 25 years.  (13 at Davis and 12 at Berkeley).  During the 80's he worked on several research projects.  Prior to his retirement, sustainability was his main focus in managing 45 acres of athletic and recreational turf.  He is a member of the Environmental Committee for Sports Turf Managers Association, Past President for Norcal Sports Turf Managers Association and Chair of the City of Napa Park and Recreation Commission.   

KAMINSKI, JOHN John E. Kaminski, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Turfgrass Science at The Pennsylvania State University.  John earned his B.S. in turfgrass science from The Pennsylvania State University in 1998.  He then went back to his home state where he earned his M.S. (2001) and Ph.D. (2004) from the University of Maryland.  Dr. Kaminski now serves as the Director of Golf Course Turfgrass Management Program (2-year program) at Penn State.  John continues his research which focuses on optimization of chemical and cultural management strategies for turfgrass diseases and weeds.  He also is involved in improving communication within the turfgrass industry through social media.  

KRIZ, MIKE Mike Kriz has been in the golf course equipment maintenance industry for 14 years.  Prior to that he spent 21 years in the USAF as an aerospace ground equipment technician, instructor and manager.  With 35 years of equipment maintenance and management experience, Mike brings an expert's view toward managing your equipment fleet.  He is also a founder and leader in the International Golf Course Equipment Managers Association (IGCEMA).  

14.01.14-elyons.2012LYONS, ERIC Dr. Eric Lyons is an Associate Professor in the Department of Plant Agriculture at the University of Guelph. Dr. Lyons specializes in nutrient management, stress physiology and plant competition in sports field, golf course and landscape turf.  In addition Dr. Lyons oversees extensive testing of new emerging products for turfgrass managers and has authored or co-authored numerous extension and trade articles in the field of turfgrass science and management.  

14.01.14-NikolaiNIKOLAI, THOMAS Thomas A. Nikolai, Ph.D. spent 10 years working on golf courses prior to entering the world of turfgrass research in 1989.  In 2002 he earned his doctorate at Michigan State University.  He is author of the book, "The Superintendents Guide to Controlling Putting Green Speed" and he is world renowned as the "Doctor of Green Speed" (DoGS) because of his numerous studies that investigate putting green cultural and mechanical practices.  If you currently lightweight roll your greens, mulch tree leaves into your rough, and don't have any golfers wearing metal spikes it is due in part to Nikolai's research.  He has given hundreds of turfgrass management seminars on five continents, nine countries, six Canadian provinces and 32 states.  

12.12.19-Dale.OvertonOVERTON, DALE  Dale has a Master’s degree in plant biology and land reclamation, owns/operates the largest compost tea manufacturing facility in Canada and also operates a 4 million-worm vermin-technology facility.  Both businesses are growing at an exceptional rate.  Dale has been an environmental consultant for large oil / gas / mining / consulting firms for ten years and has been involved many long-term biological monitoring projects.  He has been an invited guest speaker by Canadian Composting Council, University of Manitoba, Olds College, Red River College, Manitoba Eco-Network and more.  Dale offers government certified courses on soil biology, integrated pest management and organic fertility alternatives (for credit on pesticide applicators requirements).

ROSS, JIM As the Executive Director of the PTRC, Jim is responsible for the day to day operations of the Research Centre.  Besides the business aspect of the Research Centre, Jim is involved in a number of research projects and regularly conducts problem solving consultations with the turfgrass industry.  The PTRC houses the only turfgrass dial-up consulting service in Western Canada.  Previously, Jim was involved in the turfgrass industry as a Golf Course Superintendent for eleven years.  Jim took his turfgrass management training at Humber College in Toronto, Ontario and Recreation Administration at Brandon University in Brandon, Manitoba, Canada.  Jim also has served on the Board of the Olds Central Highlands Golf Club.  During his 13 years, Jim served as President, Green Committee Chair, and Master Plan Committee Chair.  Olds Central Highlands was voted one of Alberta’s ‘Best Places To Play’ by Golf Digest in 2008 and has recently completed Phase 1 of their new Master Plan.  Jim and his colleague, Dr. Darrell Tompkins, have conducted considerable research on overwintering of turfgrass in the Canadian Prairie Provinces.  Annual bluegrass putting greens suffer from winter injury as a result of desiccation, low temperature injury and injury from conditions of anoxia.  Recently, research has focused on covering strategies to assist in the overwintering of annual bluegrass putting greens.  The trial was conducted on an actual golf course and gas concentrations, temperatures, soil organic matter and soil textures were monitored.  Jim will discuss the recent findings and what strategies appear to be promising for overwintering annual bluegrass.  There are a number of factors involved in maximizing winter hardiness for your turf prior to winter.  The PTRC has recently begun a study to examine the effects of fall fertility on winter hardiness.  Jim will discuss this study and what is currently understood about plant health, nutrition and other factors involved in this important area of turf management in the cool climates of North America.  

ROSSI, FRANK Dr. Frank Rossi is in his 17th year as Professor of Turfgrass Science in the Department of Horticulture at Cornell University where he teaches a variety of horticultural science courses including turfgrass management.  His research and extension program focuses on maximizing turfgrass performance while preserving environmental quality.  He has published hundreds of scientific and trade journal articles and presented around the world on environmentally responsible turfgrass management.  Frank has been recognized as among the most influential people in the turf and green industries on several occasions in his career by publications such as Golfweek and SportsTurf Magazine.  Recently he was awarded the 2012 Environmental Communicator of the Year by the Communication Association of the Green Industry.  Frank has served as lead turf consultant for the New York Yankees, 2002 and 2009 US Open Golf Championships and 2012 Barclays at Bethpage Black and currently for the 2016 Olympic Golf Course in Rio de Janiero with fellow Cornellian Gil Hanse.  In addition to his career in turf, Frank is married and the father of three children, a triathlete, President of his local school board, Hospice volunteer, and co-owner of Bel Canto Farm, A Boutique Farm, specializing in pasture raised alpaca, heritage breed pigs and poultry.   

RICHARDSON, MIKE Dr. Mike Richardson is a professor in the Department of Horticulture at the University of Arkansas, where his research has focused on cultural practices that impact cool- and warm- season turfgrass production in the transition zone.  In addition, he has been actively involved with research to screen and develop new turfgrasses for a wide range of turfgrass environments.  Dr. Richardson has authored over 80 refereed articles on turfgrass management, published 10 book chapters, and delivered over 100 invited lectures on various aspects of turfgrass management around the world.  He has been elected a Fellow in the Crop Science Society of America and the American Society of Agronomy.  

SOROCHAN, JOHN A native of Calgary, AB, Dr. John Sorochan began working on the grounds crew at Earl Grey Golf & Country Club in 1987.  He received his Ph.D. in Turfgrass Science from Michigan State University in 2002, and is presently Associate Professor and Distinguished Scientist of Turfgrass Science and Management in the Plant Sciences Department at the University of Tennessee.  Dr. Sorochan is also the Co-Director for the UT Center for Athletic Field Safety.  Dr. Sorochan is responsible for the department's academic turf programs at both the undergraduate and graduate level and teaches several classes in the Turfgrass Science and Management Program.  His research program coordinates investigations on environmental turf stress physiology including indirect heat, shad, drought, and wear stress for sports, golf course, and commercial and home lawn turf.  His research also includes athletic field management, including athletic field performance and safety, athlete to surface interactions, new cultivar and species evaluation for management and use, sustainable strategies for reduced inputs, and residential turf and sod production.  Since arriving at the University of Tennessee, Dr. Sorochan has given over 75 invited presentations at regional, national and international professional meetings.  

TUCKER, STEPHEN Stephen Tucker began his career in the golf industry at 15 years old playing competitive golf at Suwannee High School and in numerous US Open and Nike tour qualifiers.  Following graduation, Stephen worked on golf course grounds crews in the local area before enrolling in Lake City Community College in 1998 where he graduated with 2 scholarships in Turf Equipment Management.  Stephen started his first Equipment Manager's position at age 21 where over the years he continued to advance before reaching his current position managing the equipment operation at 36 holes and home of the PGA Tour's Byron Nelson Championship.  During Stephen's career he has written and been featured in articles for Golf Course Management Magazine, Golf Course Industry Magazine and the USGA's Green Section.  In 2006, Stephen and a few of his colleagues around the world started the International Golf Course Equipment Manager's Association (IGCEMA) where he has served as President and is currently Chief Executive Officer.  Stephen has put on seminars at The Golf Industry Show and also in South Africa and Europe over the last 8 years and currently serves on the Florida Gateway College advisory committee.  Stephen has been married for 14 years and has 2 daughters (8 and 5).  In his spare time he likes to work on website development projects, build computers and play golf.   

VANINI, TIM J. Tim Vanini, Ph.D., is a writer, speaker, turfgrass scientist and co-inventor of a US Patent (5,622,002) for topdressing crumb rubber to natural turfgrass systems.  He has worked and consulted on golf courses, sports fields and lawns.  Dr. Vanini studied Ornamental Horticulture at Cornell University (B.S.) and Turfgrass Science at Michigan state University (M.S. and Ph.D.).  He has published in Crop Science, Applied Turfgrass Science, Agronomy Journal and American Society for Testing Materials as well as Sports Turf and Golf Course Superintendent.  He has spoken at regional and national conferences and has taught turfgrass management at Niagara Country Community College.  Dr. Vanini has worked on golf courses such as, Robert Trent Jones Golf Course at Cornell University (Cornell, NY), The Honors Course (Ooltewah, TN) and Fox Valley Golf Course (Buffalo, NY).  In 1993 and 1994 he was intimately involved with construction and management of the portable turf field system implemented at the Pontiac Silverdome in Detroit, MI for the 1994 World Cup.  At Nichols School, he provided expertise for sports field and landscape management for the campus as well as two sports field construction projects.  His latest project was being the architect and project manager for the Buffalo Bills practice field at Ralph Wilson Stadium.  Dr. Vanini serves on the STMA Conference Educational and International Committees, and served as past educational coordinator for the Sports Turf Managers of New York (STOMNY) from 2010-2011.   

WINTER, ALAN Alan takes an engaged, focused and enthusiastic approach to his practice.  He thrives on finding solutions and resolutions, which drives him to pay attention to facts and details, never assume anything, and meticulously gather information to make the case solid.  He brings both a serious focus and a sense of humour.  Aland is a leader lawyer in worker’s compensation and occupational health and safety issues.  His practice focuses on representing employers in matters involving assessments, occupational health and safety standards, and worker’s claims for compensation.  He also provides advice to public and private employers on labour and employment law.  And he has extensive experience in conducting labour negotiations on behalf of private and public sector clients in both the provincial and federal regimes.  Alan has played a leading role in regard to development of the current Workers’ Compensation system in British Columbia.  He was retained by the government to be the core reviewer of the act, and make recommendations, which effectively led to a complete rewrite of the act.  His report focused on compensation, appeals, governance, assessments and occupational health and safety.  Before joining Harris as a partner in 2009, Alan was a partner in the Vancouver office of a large national law firm.  His recent experience includes: negotiated collective agreements on behalf of large, public sector employers in BC, negotiated a collective agreement on behalf of a public sector employer in the Yukon, prepared submissions on Workers’ Compensation and occupational health and safety matters to the federal and provincial tribunals and prepared and presented grievance arbitrations to arbitrators on behalf of a variety of BC clients.  He’s been awarded as Best Lawyers in Canada: labour and employment law and workers’ compensation law.  He is a member of the Labour Section, Canadian Bar Association, BC Branch.