2020 WCTA Conference and Trade Show - 26 Presenter Bios!

We’re thrilled that Vancouver Whitecaps FC Ring of Honour inductee Carl Valentine, was willing and available to participate as our keynote speaker!  Valentine is a former professional soccer player and coach who has had a long, high-profile, association with soccer in the Vancouver area.


Opening Keynote, Carl Valentine, Vancouver Whitecaps - 'A Journey on the Turf'

He is the club’s all-time leader in appearances, fourth all-time in goals scored and currently serves as a club ambassador and U-16 Residency assistant coach.  His presentation titled, ‘Journey on the Turf’ is the perfect way to start our two full days of turf management education and networking.

Dr. Michael Brownbridge, MB Biocontrol Consulting – ’Mythbusters – Grass Is Not a Foe’ & ‘The Good Turf Manager’

Dr. Michael Brownbridge received his Ph.D. from the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne in the UK and has worked in biological control and IPM systems for over 25 years. His work has taken him to positions in Israel, Kenya, the USA and New Zealand prior to moving to Canada in 2009. As Research Director in Horticultural Production Systems at the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre from 2009 to 2019, his work included a portfolio of projects for the lawn turf sector in Ontario. As an independent consultant, he continues to work with the green industry to promote sustainable turf management practices and support the use of turfgrasses as valuable components of our green infrastructure.

Dr. Paul Koch, University of Wisconsin - ’Functional Urban Landscapes’ & ‘The Latest on Snow Mold Research’

Paul Koch joined the University of Wisconsin - Madison faculty as an assistant professor in the Department of Plant Pathology in January of 2014.  Paul’s research focuses primarily on developing precision disease management strategies for snow mold and dollar spot in turfgrass and investigating the fate and impact of turfgrass pesticides in the environment.  He also oversees the University of Wisconsin’s Turfgrass Diagnostic Lab and the UW Turfgrass Fungicide Testing Program.  

Dr. Brian Horgan, Michigan State University – ‘Community Value of Golf Courses Project’ & ‘What is Natural Capital’

Since 2001, Brian Horgan has been a faculty member at the University of Minnesota, most recently serving as a professor and extension turfgrass horticulturist. His research focused on the transport and fate of pesticides and nutrients in turfgrass systems, as well as water conservation strategies.  In his outreach role, Horgan worked closely with turfgrass managers in Minnesota and around the country, employing his expertise in golf course management.

Effective September 2019, Horgan was named chairperson for the Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences (PSM) in the Michigan State University (MSU) College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR).  “Dr. Horgan brings great experience to our college, and he has a deep understanding of the importance of our land-grant mission,” said Ron Hendrick, dean of CANR. “He’s a renowned turfgrass researcher and outreach specialist, in addition to his teaching background. We’re fortunate to have his leadership within one of our departments, and I look forward to working with him.”

Dr. John Sorochan, University of Tennessee - ’Mythbusters – Turf Performance and Safety’ and ‘Turfgrass Stress Physiology’

A native of Calgary, Dr. Sorochan began working on the grounds crew at Earl Grey Golf and Country Club in 1988. He received his Ph.D. in Turfgrass Science from Michigan State University in 2002, and is presently a Distinguished Professor of Turfgrass Science and Management in the Plant Sciences Department at the University of Tennessee.

Dr. Tom Hsiang, University of Guelph - ’Disease Management in the Era of Reduced Fungicide Use’ & ‘Lab Tests Confirm Pink Snow Mold Fungicide Resistance’

Dr. Tom Hsiang is a Professor in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of Guelph, Ontario, specializing in fungal diseases of plants.  Before arriving in Guelph, he worked on tree and landscape plant diseases in Washington State, U.S.A, where he obtained his Ph.D. (University of Washington) and conducted post-doctoral studies (Washington State University).  He is from Vancouver 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 as well as disease management. He has done extensive work with snow molds of grasses.

Dr. Doug Soldat, University of Wisconsin – ‘Building a Fundamentally Sound Fertilization Program’ & ‘Focus on Potassium Nutrition’

Doug Soldat is a professor in the Department of Soil Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  Doug completed his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Soil Science from UW-Madison and earned a Ph.D. in Plant Science from Cornell University.  His research and outreach programs are focused on improving turfgrass nutrient and water use efficiency. Doug advises the turfgrass management students at the UW and teaches courses on turfgrass management and general soil science.

Robert Heggie, Toronto FC - ’Hybrid Turf Install and Other Really Cool Stuff’

Robert Heggie started his career in turf at the young age of sixteen by working at local golf courses.  Before long, he realized he wanted to make a career out of it.  After attending the University of Guelph for both Horticulture and Turfgrass Management, he found himself in Barbados building Apes Hill Club, one of the top golf courses in the Caribbean.  Upon construction completion, the opportunity to be a part of the BMO Field conversion from artificial grass to natural grass came up which he jumped at.  

In the past 10 years with MLSE, he has built up the field from a modest pitch to one of the most technologically advanced pieces of sportsturf grass in the world.  Hosting both soccer and football consecutively is no short order and in Toronto’s harsh climate it requires special tools.  Robert was the first to bring many technologies to Canada including, Grow Lighting, Undersoil Heating (soccer specific), Hybrid Grass, etc.  He also oversaw the construction of the BMO Training Facility where all of TFC’s teams practice and play out of.  The Training Facility is also home to a small stadium where TFC II play.  Events under Robert’s belt include, the MLS Cup 2010, 2016 and 2017, the 2016 Grey Cup, U-21 World Cup, NHL Winter Classic and the 2015 Pan Am Games.

Chris Carson, Echo Lake Country Club, Westfield, New Jersey - ’Making the Step to Superintendent’

Chris Carson has been superintendent of Echo Lake Country Club for 20 years.  He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in environmental science/turf management from Rutgers University in 1979.   He is past president of the GCSA of New Jersey and current education chairman and president of the New Jersey Turfgrass Association.  Carson wrote, "10 Things You Should Have Learned in Turf School," which was published in the February 2007 issue of Golf Course Management Magazine.

Ross Baron, Vancouver Canadians - 'The Resurrection of Nat Bailey Stadium’

Ross Baron is a native of Gibsons, British Columbia and began his turf career in the golf course industry in 2009 at Capilano Golf & Country Club.  A graduate of The University of Guelph’s Turfgrass Management Program, his career in Professional Sports Field Management began in 2012 when he completed an internship with the World Series Champion Washington Nationals under John Turnour.  

Since then he has worked in Field Management at both a Municipal and Professional level working for the City of Kelowna and for the past three years in Vancouver.  During his tenure with the Canadians, Baron has helped Vancouver to three consecutive Field of the Year Awards in the Northwest League, which the franchise had never received in their 57 year history.  Baron was also named The STMA’s 2019 Single A Short-Season / Rookie League Sport Turf Manager of the Year, and a Top 10 Under 40 by Turf and Rec Magazine.  


Mario Lanthier, CropHealth Advising & Research - 'CEC Points Pre-Conference Seminar’ & ‘The New IPM Manual has Arrived’

Mario Lanthier has been a popular speaker at WCTA, CGSA, ISA and other conferences over the years, and taught the BC Pesticide Applicator Certificate course at the WCTA conference from 2003 through 2015.  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.  


Jason Pick, Olds College and Stan Kazymerchyk, Kwantlen University – ‘Intro to Turf Management 2.0’ 

This 4-hour pre-conference session building on last year’s ‘Intro to Turf Management’ is designed for front-line staff needing better turf management knowledge to perform their daily roles.  The session, delivered by the lead instructors of Olds College and Kwantlen University, has no prerequisite and will cover fundamentals of turf management in an easy to follow format.  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. 

KayLee Hansen, KayH Consulting – ‘It’s Not Personal, It’s Personality’

KayLee Hansen, our management workshop ace, delivered multiple presentations in 2019 and returns this year to present a short but insightful talk.  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.    

Steve Reid, DLF International Seeds - 'Improved Turf Grasses Reduce Inputs’

Steve Reid is the Chief Breeder in the US for DLF International Seeds working out of the Philomath, Oregon Research Farm. Steve leads turf and forage grass variety development and has developed many of the top varieties available today; Banfield (used in the 2014 FIFA World Cup), Thrive, Hancock, Diligent, and Bandalore Perennial Ryegrasses.  Steve holds a BS in Crop and Animal Science from Oregon State University and received his Agronomy education at Iowa State University. 


Dave Annis, Smithco - ‘Sprayer Flow Control Components and Calibration'

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. 

Stu Carmichael, City of Courtenay – ‘Transitioning to Sportsfields from Golf’

Stu Carmichael has been in the Turf industry for 20+ years, starting his career in the early 1990’s working for the City of Brampton Parks Department.  The job turned into part of a Co-Op program at Fanshawe College where he graduated with a Landscape Design/Horticulture diploma in 1995.  

After college, Stu made his way out west, landing in Whistler and taking a job with a private landscape company before starting work at the Whistler Golf Club.  He pursued further education through the University of Massachusetts winter program for professional turf managers and became the Assistant Superintendent after 6 years, staying with the club until 2017.  

More recently, Stu made a move from the golf industry to the City of Courtenay Parks Department to look after all the turfgrass for the City of Courtenay in more than 50 parks including Football, Soccer, Softball and Baseball fields along with operation of the Courtenay Civic Cemetery.

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.

Larry Gilhuly, US Golf Association (retired) - 'Forward Thinking’

Larry Gilhuly has been associated with the game of golf since 1958 as a player, caddie and golf course maintenance worker. After receiving a Chick Evans Scholarship for Caddies in 1970, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in agronomy and turf science from Washington State University.

After college, he worked as the assistant superintendent at Seattle Golf Club from 1975-1983. He joined the USGA Green Section in 1983 and retired in 2019 after visiting thousands of golf courses in the western U.S. and Canada.  Gilhuly currently provides agronomic advice to golf courses with a primary interest in educating all on the correct construction and location of forward tees.  

Gail Wallin, Invasive Species Council of BC - ‘A Guide to Invasive Species Management for Turf Managers’

Gail Wallin is the Executive Director of ISCBC.  She has been involved with the Council since inception and is responsible for overall management and Board communications.  Gail is an experienced facilitator for industry and government on complex resource management and land use planning issues across BC.  She calls Williams Lake home where she enjoys time outdoors and travelling.

David Misfeldt, Bee City Canada – ‘Bee Boulevard’

David joined Bee City Canada as a Board Member in 2018.  He is a former Class A Golf Course Superintendent, a graduate of Olds College and the University of Calgary with majors in horticulture and business marketing.  David was inspired to learn more about bees after building a Bee Park and a Pollinator Friendly Corridor in Calgary, Alberta.  His projects have included bee experts from across North America and in the process, an endangered bee was identified in 2018 resutling in a feature article by CBC Radio and recognition by the Director General of Environment and Climate Change Canada.  David’s expertise focuses on progressive landscape management and integration of environmental education.  

Terry Ormrod, Toro Irrigation - ‘Not Loving Your Hydraulic Irrigation System?’

Terry Ormrod, from Kamloops, BC, is the Western Sales Manager for Toro Irrigation, a position he’s held since 2003.  Prior history includes working in sales for International Plastics and owning his own contracting business.

Terry holds a certificate in Turfgrass Management from the University of Massachusetts and is a Certified Irrigation Designer.  He’s held numerous volunteer industry positions including IIABC President and is active in the community both locally and abroad, participating in the Friends of the Orphans program, travelling to the Dominican Republic in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

Lonnie Nolls, Oakcreek Golf & Turf –  ‘What Do You Do When…’

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.


Jeff Miller, Isle Golf Carts - ‘Safe Golf Cart & Equipment Operation’ - (coming soon) 

Darrell Lindhout, City of Chilliwack - ‘Game of Drones’

Darrell Lindhout is a Senior Operations Technician with the City of Chilliwack where he oversees the technical staff in the Operations Department. While working in local government, Darrell's passion for positive change and new initiatives has led him to a wide range of experiences including that of Drone Operations.  Darrell's extensive drone experience has seen him conduct flight missions in response to flooding, landslides, structure fires and orthophoto mapping.  Since becoming involved with drones, Darrell's been advocating for certification and compliance for all drone operators especially those in the municipal and commercial field. Darrell's desire is to continue to be involved in new initiatives and strengthening the voice of drone pilots in the aviation industry.


Wes Barker - ‘Stunt Magician’

Closing Presentation - Wes Barker is the funniest magician around!  He has been on America’s Got Talent, Netflix, MTV, Wizard Wars, and most famously, fooled Penn & Teller on their TV show Penn & Teller: Fool Us. 

Wes is also one of the most popular YouTube magicians, with 160,000 YouTube subscribers and well over 60 million views on his channel!  He’s also won the Performer of the Year award for Canadian colleges and universities for 3 years in a row, and has been awarded the Silver Play Button from YouTube! 

Watching Wes is like watching a hilarious stand-up comic that also happens to have mind-blowing magic tricks. He is a must-see act!