WCTA Board Nominates Three Candidates

Turf & Recreation Magazine, recently announced an initiative to recognize the top ten professionals in the turf management industry who are under the age of 40.  The plan is to profile these individuals in their April/May issue.

Not intended to be a spoiler, WCTA Directors thought as a Board, it would like to put forward a few nominees.  At the March 22nd Board meeting, a motion was made to nominate Travis Olson, Cam Watt and Brett Finlayson; their bios as submitted follow.  Good luck gentlemen!

Travis Olson delivers the financial report at the 2017 WCTA AGM in Penticton.

Travis Olson
Superintendent – Kamloops Golf and Country Club, Kamloops, BC
WCTA Director since 2015, Director of Finance since position creation in 2016
DOB:  June 5, 1986

How long has this person been with their current company?   15 years
Why does the nominee deserve recognition as an outstanding member of the turf and grounds maintenance community?

The beginning of Travis’s love of turf story is similar to many tenured professionals in the industry, starting at a young age and never really looking back.  As a teenager, he began working at the Kamloops Golf and Country Club spending his summers at the pro shop cleaning clubs and carts.  In 2005, he joined the maintenance crew, the ‘dark side’ as he puts it and continued to enjoy his job while attending Thompson River University, completing Bachelor of Business Administration and Arts degrees in 2009.  He then decided to attend the Kwantlen Polytechnic Turf Management program, graduating in 2011.    

Two degrees and a turf management diploma is impressive but after graduating KPU, Travis’s story really started to change when he joined a very select list of individuals by receiving the 2011 Toro/CGSA Canadian Future Superintendent of the Year Award.  Courtesy Toro and the CGSA, Travis spent six weeks in the United Kingdom working at over a dozen different courses.  Since 2013, he’s taken on the role of Superintendent at the Kamloops Golf and Country, hosting the 2014 BC Women’s Amateur Championship.

Working in the UK.  Travis Olson spends some time in the operator's seat during his visit to Scotland courtesy the Toro Future Superintendent Award.

As a relatively young superintendent in a demanding position, Travis decided to run for the WCTA Board of Directors in hopes of having a positive impact on the turfgrass management industry, stating in his Director Candidate profile that he is a strong supporter of continuing education and mentorship.  In a few short years, Travis has risen to the WCTA Executive as its first Director of Finance, a position created in 2016 and he has been actively involved with all aspects of the association including teaming up with Cam Watt to the manage the association’s social media program.

Cam Watt on the left, speaking with GCSAA Field Rep, David Phipps, at the 2018 WCTA Conference.

Cameron Watt
Assistant Superintendent – Redwoods Golf Course, Langley, BC
WCTA Director since 2016
DOB: March 26, 1981

How long has this person been with their current company?   5 years
Why does the nominee deserve recognition as an outstanding member of the turf and grounds maintenance community?

Cam has been involved in the turfgrass industry since 2000 and is currently the Assistant Superintendent at Redwoods Golf Course in Langley.  He  attended Kwantlen University, receiving a diploma in Turfgrass Management in 2004 and cut his teeth in the Okanagan region where he grew up, working at three different golf courses.  An incredible opportunity to become an assistant superintendent at Kananaskis Country Golf Course presented itself in 2012 but was incredulously short lived when the 36-hole facility was devastated by flooding and the world renowned resort was forced to close.  

Cam quickly landed the assistant’s position at Redwoods and has been there ever since.  In 2014, he was one of 50 selected candidates from North America to attend the 9th annual Green Start Academy in North Carolina.  He has volunteered at two PGA events, the 2008 Telus Skins Game at Predator Ridge and the 2015 US Open at Chambers Bay.  Cam has also written two published articles for Inside Golf Magazine and GreenMaster respectively, regarding the Kananaskis flood and the 9th annual Green Start Academy.  

Closer to home, Cam helped host Canada’s second ever First Green event at Redwoods Golf Course, an interactive program for school aged kids that uses golf courses and sportsfields to teach STEM learning (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).  He has also planned and executed a mentorship seminar at the past two WCTA conferences designed for assistant superintendents, foreman and others looking to advance their careers and along with Travis Olson, heads up the WCTA’s social media program.

The look of concern on Cam Watt's face is certainly warranted as he chaperone's one of the Grade 8 students participating in a First Green event held at the Redwoods Golf Course.  This suped up cart will easily do 60mph!

When Cam sees a need, he addresses it, making him an ideal association volunteer Director.  He has just started his 2nd term on the WCTA Board.

Brett Finlayson
Director of Grounds Maintenance, Golf BC, Victoria, BC
Current President, Vancouver Island Golf Superintendents Association 
Former WCTA Director and Vice President 2011-2014
DOB:  Dec 13, 1980

How long has this person been with their current company?  7 years
Why does the nominee deserve recognition as an outstanding member of the turf and grounds maintenance community?

Brett has been around the game of golf his entire life, being introduced as a child by his father who worked on the crew at Pinebrook and Willow Park golf courses in Calgary.  At 14 years old, he started working for his father who had gone on to managing his own landscape company.  Brett’s first golf course job was at Point Grey Golf and Country Club, a place where he became enthused enough to decide, “this industry was definitely for me.” He recalls the LPGA Canadian Women’s Open hosted by Point Grey in 2003 and the incredible experience watching the world’s best women golfers play the course he had a hand in maintaining.  

He moved to Capilano Golf and Country Club in 2004, working as the course’s first ‘Environmental Manager’ then moving into the 2nd Assistant’s role in 2007.  A move to Quilchena Golf Club in 2008 sharpened his management and leadership skills, creating an opportunity to accept his first Superintendents position in 2011 at GolfBC’s, Arbutus Ridge Golf Club on Vancouver Island.  He later transferred to another GolfBC property, Olympic View Golf Club and has recently been promoted within the organization to Director of Grounds Maintenance.

You rarely see Brett Finlayson (foreground) without a smile and it's something he doesn't mind sharing.

Brett also found time to give back to the industry throughout his formative years, spending two, two-year terms on the WCTA Board culminating as Vice President in 2014.  He is also currently the Vancouver Island Golf Superintendents Association President, feeling grateful for each day to have a career in something he loves and being around those who share his passion.