Lots to See Here - 2019 Conference Speaker Bios

Here's the complete list of 2019 WCTA Conference and Trade Show speaker bios and session descriptions including the pre-conference seminars.

2019 WCTA Conference and Trade Show
February 20-22, River Rock Resort, Richmond, BC
Education theme – ‘Protect Your Natural Capital!’

Opening Keynote, Bob Weeks, TSN Golf Analyst - 'The Value of Golf & Turf'

Bob Weeks is a Senior Reporter and Golf Analyst for TSN, and one of the most recognizable figures in Canadian golf.  A member of the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame, Weeks spent 28 years at SCOREGolf as editor and editorial director of SCOREGolf Magazine, and 21 years as host of SCOREGolf TV before moving to TSN fulltime in 2015.  

He is currently seen as co-host of Golf Talk Canada, appears on SportsCentre, providing information from the world of golf, and is a regular contributor on radio stations across the TSN network.  In his role, he has reported from tournaments and golf courses around the world, and has covered more than 60 major championships.  A best-selling author, with six books to his credit, Bob understands the value of turf at the highest levels and recently performed the voice-over for Ontario Golf Superintendent Association’s environmental outreach video ‘Today in Ontario’.

Grant Cantin, All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club – ‘Wimbledon Wows!’ & 'Supreme Courts - Lawn & Order'

His handiwork, seen by a billion people who tune in to the world’s pre-eminent tennis match, Grant Cantin is the head groundskeeper at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, home of the annual Wimbledon Championships.

Originally hired as a part-timer in 2002, he planned to work there for a few months before jetting off on his next adventure.  Today, the Stony Plain Alberta native and Olds College grad, is ultimately responsible for the most prestigious playing surfaces in the sport of tennis. 

“My gold medal is when Roger Federer comes over and says the courts are fantastic,” he says. “When Andy Murray won in 2013, it had been 77 years since a British man had won Wimbledon.  It was a huge deal and, the next day, even though he had media commitments coming through his ears, he made sure to come talk to us to say, ‘Great job, guys.’ ”

 Mike Jiggens, Editor, Turf & Recreation Magazine – ’25 Years of Pounding the Turf Beat’

Mike Jiggens has been editor of Turf & Rec magazine in Delhi, Ont. for the past 25 years.  For 12 years previously, he was a newspaper reporter and editor in southern Ontario. His position at Turf & Rec transformed him from being a casual golfer into an addict.  He plays golf three to four times a week during the summer and bowls twice a week during the winter months.  Aside from reporting on matters related to golf course management, he also covers turfgrass management stories pertinent to the landscaping, lawn care and sports turf management sectors of the industry.  In 2002, he was honoured as Delhi’s citizen of the year. 

Steve Keating, Toro Company – ‘The Five Levels of Leadership’

Steve Keating has been with Toro since 1996.  He came to Toro from the Dale Carnegie Organization where he spent eight and a half years selling, writing and presenting training in sales, customer service, public speaking, managing people, developing leadership skills and managing a business.

He is currently Senior Manager of Sales and Leadership Development, working with Toro’s Commercial, RLC, Underground, Irrigation and International Businesses.  In his role as Senior Manager of Sales and Leadership Development, he is responsible for the implementation of The Toro Selling System and Leadership Development within all US and International distributors across all Toro businesses.  He is also the developer of Toro Professional Sales Certification Process which was introduced in 2004.  Steve has over 31 years of sales and sales management experience and he speaks dozens of times a year on topics relating to sales, customer service, management, team building, leadership and business management.

Kaylee Hansen, KayH Consulting 

Kaylee Hansen is our management workshop ace and is providing multiple presentations including a two part, pre-conference workshop and a one hour talk on the main program:

'Power of Choice - 7 Habits of Highly Effective People'
‘Time Management – How to do it and Make it Stick!'
‘Viewing People as Human Beings Rather than Human Doings’

Kaylee works with a half dozen industries with all levels of the organization, facilitating high quality training programs and coaching for change.  She is accredited in Discrimination & Harassment prevention, Franklin Coveys 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and Train the Trainer offering personalized coaching that will “Inspire, Lead and Connect” with clients from any industry.    

Jerad Minnick, Natural Grass Advisory Group – ‘Grass Can Take More’ & ‘Growing Green Grass’.

Jerad Minnick is Founder and Lead Advisor of Natural Grass Advisory Group™, the first fully independent, natural grass specific testing and support firm in the USA.  Minnick, who holds a BS in Plant Science/ Turfgrass Management from the University of Missouri, is a former sports field manager who brings his on-field experiences to his clients and into the classroom.

Jerad’s work is dedicated to better ways of maintaining high traffic natural grass fields and will deliver a four hour pre-conference seminar called ‘Grass Can Take More’.  This trademarked system considers that with evolving maintenance, new technology, and objective data, the most important elements of natural grass field maintenance can be pieced together to deliver stronger, safer and more affordable playing fields.  ‘Growing Green Grass’ is a one hour talk on the main program focusing on lessons learned from Jerad’s blog of the same name.

Mario Lanthier, CropHealth Advising & Research - 'CEC Points Pre-Conference Seminar’, ‘All New IPM Manual for Turf’ & ‘Top 5 Common Pesticide Application Mistakes’

Mario Lanthier has been a popular speaker at WCTA, CGSA, ISA and other conferences over the years, and has been teaching the BC Pesticide Applicator Certificate course at the WCTA conference since 2003.  He has been working in the horticulture industry since 1980 and his company, CropHealth Advising and Research, offers consulting services and pest management recommendations with or without pesticides.  

The 4-hour pre-conference seminar content is still being developed at the time of writing however we anticipate 4 points in both BC and Alberta focused on the hard-to-get categories of Safety & Environment and Application Technology.  

In 2015, the BC Ministry of Environment funded a new online IPM resource for Turf Managers.  Mario was hired to author this resource which is now nearing completion.  This one hour session will provide an overview of the content within the new guide focusing on key IPM lessons for turfgrass managers.

Creating a new IPM manual necessitated many site visits.  Without naming names and combining his experience from other industry sectors, Mario will present some of the most common pesticide application mistakes he has encountered and strategies to avoid them. 

Jason Pick, Olds College and Stan Kazymerchyk, Kwantlen University – ‘Introductory Turf Management’ 

This 4-hour session designed for front-line staff needing better turf management knowledge to perform their daily roles, is being delivered by the lead instructors of Olds College and Kwantlen University.  For years, both institutions have delivered industry leading programs in horticulture/turf management each with a long list of successful alumni excelling in the areas of golf course and sportsfield management.

Cory Janzen, Westmount Golf & Country Club and OGSA President – ‘Work/ Life/Volunteer Balance’

Cory Janzen BSc.(Agr.) is the Course Superintendent at Westmount Golf & Country Club, a classic Stanley Thompson designed private club located in Kitchener, Ontario and consistently ranked among the top 15 in Canada.  Originally from Kitchener, he began working in golf course maintenance at Dundee Country Club in the mid-80s.  Upon finishing high school, Cory was a student at the University of Guelph where he first attended the Turf Managers Short Course and then received a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture in 1993.  During University work terms, he worked on the Green Staff at Glen Abbey GC and then at Westmount G&CC in 1992.  In 1993, Cory moved to Woodbridge, ON to become Assistant Superintendent at the Board of Trade Country Club.  He was Assistant for five years and was then promoted to Superintendent when longtime Superintendent Gord Witteveen retired.  Cory was Superintendent for three seasons at the Board of Trade before returning to Westmount as Superintendent in 2001. 

In addition to his duties as Superintendent, Cory has taught college level courses in Turfgrass Management at Humber and Georgian Colleges, served on the Board of Directors of the Ontario Turfgrass Research Foundation, and is currently the President of the Ontario Golf Superintendents Association.   

Peter Sorokovsky, City of Burnaby Golf and Clint Mattox, Oregon State University - 'How Long Can You Last? (Between Fungicide Applications)’

For Peter Sorokovsky, a 30+ year career in the golf course construction and maintenance industry started as an assistant irrigation installer at Predator Ridge in 1988. He completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Science, graduating from the University of British Columbia, specialization: biology, in 1992.  Peter worked for a season on the maintenance team at one of the oldest courses in British Columbia, Vernon Golf and Country Club then moved to metro Vancouver and worked at Northview Golf and Country Club which hosted 7 PGA tour events and was promoted to assistant superintendent in 1998.  He returned to UBC in 2002, accepted into a graduate program in the Agricultural department and graduated with a Masters Degree in Soil Science in 2005.  In 2007, he joined the team at the City of Burnaby as Golf Operations Superintendent of the Turf Care department.  Peter is currently the President and longest serving Director on the Board of the Western Canada Turfgrass Association, with service since 2007 and is the Research Committee Chair.

Clint Mattox graduated from Purdue University in Indiana, USA with a turfgrass science degree in 2000 and has been working in the turfgrass industry since that time.  After doing several internships in the USA and one in Japan, he was an assistant superintendent near Berlin, Germany for two years before taking the role as head-greenkeeper at the Euro-Disneyland golf course near Paris, France for two years.  From 2007-2012, he worked as the grow-in and maintenance golf course superintendent at the Arnold Palmer designed, Vignoly course, also near Paris.  In 2013, he began graduate studies at Oregon State University focusing on managing turfgrass diseases in the absence of fungicides. He finished a Masters of Science degree in Horticulture in September 2015 and is currently working towards a doctorate at Oregon State University majoring in Horticulture with a minor in Botany and Plant Pathology

So ‘How Long Can You Last (Between Fungicide Applications)?’  The title of this talk is a very good question considering the increasing environmental regulatory restrictions from all three levels of government.  Peter and Clint will team up to take a shot at answering that question or at least, present and explore the possibilities based on research from OSU and practical experience at both the Riverway and Burnaby Mountain Golf Courses.

Roger Stewart, TPC Twin Cities (retired) – ‘What I learned Working for the TPC Network & TPC Twin Cities’ & ‘An Environment Worth Protecting’

Roger Stewart has a B.S. Degree in Agronomy from the University of Nebraska and is currently retired after 42 years as a Golf Course Superintendent, 21 of those spent with the TPC Network.  He is the Past President of four GCSAA Affiliated chapters and received the President’s Award for Environmental Stewardship from GCSAA.  He hosted 17 PGA Champions Tour events and received the award for the “Highest PGA TOUR Champions Player Rating for Course Conditioning” 5 times.  

Roger has been an instructor for GCSAA and has taught turfgrass management courses at the junior college level.  He will share some lessons learned over a long and successful career and bring forward where his philosophy met action in terms of environmental protection on the golf course.

Wendy Bennett, AgsafeBC - 'Weed in the Workplace'

Wendy Bennett is AgsafeBC’s Executive Director.  After spending more than ten years with one of the largest school districts in BC and having worked in the Health and Safety field since 1995, she brings her experience in safety training and education to the agriculture industry.

Wendy’s previous experience includes developing and delivering programs for Health, Safety and Environmental training for various clients throughout BC. As an independent consultant, she established emergency plans for multiple large organizations and advised employers regarding compensation issues. She has been an active first aid attendant since moving to BC in 1989 and instructed all levels of first aid until recently retiring her certification.

This talk is an opportunity for attendees to learn more about workplace rules related to Canada’s recent legalization of recreational marijuana.

Peter Isaacson, CNLA - 'Safety & Environment' & ‘Application Technology’

Peter Isaacson is a horticulture industry consultant serving as the CNLA’s National IPM / Minor Use Coordinator.  He has a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Victoria and a Master of Pest Management from Simon Fraser University.  Peter’s specialty is working on IPM and pesticide issues for ornamental horticulture.

Renewal points for both safety & environment and application technology categories are often tough to get.  We won’t be able to cover everything but subject matter within these headings can include:

pesticide labels and label comprehension
emergency response (first aid, spills, fires)
protective clothing and equipment
effects of pesticides on the environment
safe procedures for storage, transport, mixing, application, cleanup and disposal
equipment selection 
proper equipment set-up, use and maintenance 
equipment calibration and pesticide use calculations 
pesticide products and factors affecting their use and performance 

David Holden, Canada Food Inspection Agency - 'Japanese Beetle Update'

Among other things, the Canada Food Inspection Agency is charged with preventing the spread of invasive insect and weed species into Canadian eco-systems.  

Dave Holden is currently the CFIA Western Area Survey Biologist where he oversees all biological surveys for plant health in covering BC, AB, SK, and MB. He graduated from Simon Fraser University with a degree in Biological Sciences, following up with a Masters of Pest Management in Entomology.  His main interests are in the surveillance for invasive pests, the faunal inventory of the Lepidoptera of BC, and taxonomy of the Tussock moths (Lepidoptera: Erebidae: Lymantriinae).

This presentation will provide an update on the Japanese beetle incursion into the Vancouver area including detection, quarantine and treatment efforts over this past summer.

Dr. Bruce B. Clarke, Rutgers Centre for Turgrass Science - 'Anthracnose Management'

Dr. Clarke is the Director of the Rutgers Center for Turfgrass Science and an Extension Specialist in Turfgrass Pathology at Rutgers University.  He is an authority on the identification and control of diseases of cool-season turf and the establishment of integrated disease control strategies to reduce fungicide usage.

Dr. Clarke has published three books on turfgrass and has received numerous awards including the USGA Green Section Award and the Col. John Morley Distinguished Service Award from the GCSAA.

Recent studies have been conducted to determine the distribution and control of anthracnose, gray leaf spot, and root and crown-infecting fungi associated with patch diseases in the United States. This has involved the use of field studies to assess pathogen dynamics, as well as controlled environment and greenhouse studies to ascertain the relationship between environmental stress, cultural management, and disease development.  To date, research findings have been utilized by turf managers to reduce pesticide usage through improved management strategies. Research also has been initiated to develop disease forecasting and detection systems and to identify genetic resistance to diseases in new and existing turfgrass cultivars.

Michael Henry, University of California – ‘Matching Irrigation Management to Your Climate – a California Model’ & ‘Reclaimed Water as a Resource’

For 33 years, Mike Henry taught turf management at UC Riverside with areas of interest focusing on turfgrass variety evaluation, environmental horticulture and irrigation.

He earned a Master of Science Degree in Horticulture from the Environmental Horticulture Department, University of California at Davis, 1973 and has been involved with multiple research projects over the years.  

Mike will bring his experience dealing with severe drought and help you apply lesson learns in California to irrigation management to your own climate and new restrictions coming into force.

Marie Thorne, Syngenta (retired) – ‘New Fungicide Chemistry’

Having served the turf industry in Canada with Syngenta for 37-years and although recently retired, Marie Thorne is still one of the best turf management industry resources when it comes to fungicides.

“There is an entire generation of golf course superintendents who have only known a Canadian golf industry that included Marie’s professionalism, technical expertise and customer focus,” shares David Kuypers, lawn and garden head for Syngenta Canada. “She has been delivering great results for our customers and our business since 1981 and we can’t thank her enough for her contributions.”  

Marie’s presentation will focus on new fungicide chemistry on the market today and where the technology is headed in the future. 

Shaun Dhaliwal, Health Canada PMRA - ‘Remember to Read the Label’

Shaun Dhaliwal works as a Regional Pesticide Officer for Health Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA).  Shaun began his career at the PMRA in Ottawa, ON in 2009.  He currently works in Burnaby, BC conducting inspections of pesticide registrants, importers, retailers and users.

This session will review pesticide labels in their entirety including pesticide type, directions for use, application rates, re-entry intervals, health effects and first-aid instructions, and other information found on these legal documents. 

Ben Houta, AstroTurf –  ‘Synthetic Turf Requires Maintenance Too!’

Ben Houta is the VP of Sales for AstroTurf West Distributors responsible for sales and relationship management with new and existing customers in addition to managing installation / onsite sales teams.  Prior to his current position, he was the Fieldturf sales manager for western Canada.

Ben brings technical turf experience to the table and contrary to popular belief, synthetic turf requires significant maintenance and upkeep to ensure field safety and longevity. 

Mike DeCicco, City of Kamloops –  ‘Field of the Year Award Recognizes Natural Capital’

Born and raised in Kamloops, Mike DeCicco spent many hours on a soccer field from a young age until adulthood and now on the field with his own 3 kids, a career in sports turf was an easy choice.  A family history in the turf industry played a part as well!  After a few years working in the lower mainland, Mike graduated from Kwantlen University with a Turf Management diploma.  He returned to Kamloops in 2002 and started working with the City of Kamloops Parks Horticulture department.  In 2009, Mike moved to his current position as Crew Leader Turf overseeing the maintenance of 70 sport fields, 3 stadiums and 30 staff during the season who maintain the sport fields in 'Canada's Tournament  Capital'!  

Some career highlights are:  

2018 STMA field of the year Norbrock
2017 U sports mens soccer nationals host
BC Lions training camp 
SPN Slo Pitch Nationals
Western Canadian Baseball championships
Canadian Collegiate Baseball championships
Youth Soccer Canadian National Championships

Lonnie Nolls, Oakcreek Golf & Turf –  ‘Top Ten Turf Technician Tips’

Lonnie Nolls is a Service Technician who provides technical assistance and repairs to Toro Turf Equipment.  His mechanical aptitude surfaced long before he could legally drive the equipment that he repaired on the farm in Saskatchewan.  His 45 years of work experience began at a small lawnmower repair shop in Penticton and over the years, he has worked for John Deere, Mower Mart, Sunset Ranch, The Harvest, and for Oakcreek Golf & Turf LP for the past 16 years.  He is always ready to assist in diagnosis or service requirements of your equipment and can be reached at lonnie.oakcreek@telus.net or call Oakcreek Golf & Turf LP at 250-860-5090.

Stuart George, Vermeer BC, –  ‘Keep Your Skid Steer in Great Shape’

Stuart George started wrenching from an early age and found a passion for equipment.  He grew up around his father’s John Deere dealership in the UK where from the age of 13, he performed inspections on new equipment before being delivered to customers and completed routine maintenance and repairs. 

Stuart’s work experience in Canada includes Rollins Machinery (2 years), Morgan Creek Golf Course (10 years) and most recently, Westerra Equipment/Vermeer BC where he completed his Red Seal for Heavy Duty Equipment Technician.  Stuart enjoys teaching apprentices, offering assistance and sharing knowledge gained over the years.  Happy to help, he can be contacted via email sgeorge@westerraequipment.com or by phone 604-850-7313.

Mike Dahlin, Foley United - ‘Tier 4 Diesel Requirements & Reel Grinding / Maintenance

Mike Dahlin graduated from Oregon State University with a Turf Management Degree and has been involved in the golf industry for nearly 25 years.  He has worked in all aspects of golf course maintenance from being a maintenance worker, equipment manager, assistant superintendent and superintendent at several clubs in Oregon, Montana, and Colorado. 

 After spending many years working on the golf course, Mike switched to the supply side providing support for Rain Bird and Jacobsen.  He recently accepted the position of Regional Manager for Foley United covering the western regions of the US and Canada along with areas in SE Asia.  


Dave Annis, Smithco - ‘New Sprayer Technology & Sprayer Maintenance Tips & Tricks'

David Annis started working in agriculture after graduating from Southern Illinois University with a Master’s degree in Plant and Soil Science.  Most of his career has occurred in the ag retail environment advising on precision application of liquid and dry crop inputs.  Recently, he has focused his efforts on the efficient placement of liquid products on turf using the latest technology.

At Smithco, Dave assists end users with flow control, GPS mapping and pulse width modulation system issues. He conducts sprayer service trainings for Smithco dealers throughout North America and Europe.