Executive Director Report for the 2023 Annual General Meeting

Executive Director Report
For the 2023 Annual General Meeting

On behalf of the WCTA Board and staff, we appreciate your continued involvement and confidence in our efforts to support turf management professionals in western Canada.  This summary report reflects association accomplishments and industry activities over the course of the past 12 months or so, the impact of recent events to our association and a glimpse at our future through some forward thinking initiatives in their early stages.

It was another busy and challenging season for WCTA members from every turf management sector.  For the WCTA, we saw a return to in-person events including the Pat Dooley Memorial Golf Tournament this past April, our summer field day hosted in July by the City of Kamloops and the Kamloops Golf and Country Club, continuation of our WOW webinar series and of course the WCTA’s single largest undertaking, production of our 59th Annual Conference and Trade Show.

Although things like virtual meetings are now firmly embedded in our culture, operations are mostly back to pre-Covid normal.  Communication efforts continue with the employment networking service, e-newsletter, Turf Line Magazine and more recently, our social media engagement is growing momentum on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.  

In terms of membership and finances, the state-of-the-WCTA-nation is solid with 692 members at 2022 fiscal year-end, up 10 from last year and a record year for total dues revenue.  Member support has really helped offset financial losses over the past two years due to lack of conference revenue, our largest financial contributor.  You can expect a full report from our Finance Director at the AGM but it’s good to know our association has weathered the storm!  Here’s some highlights of our past year:

Pat Dooley Memorial Golf Tournament
Because of COVID, there were actually two Pat Dooley Memorial Golf Tournaments that took place during the last fiscal year, one in October 2021 at Mayfair Lakes Golf Course in Richmond and the other at the end of April 2022 hosted by Hazelmere Golf & Tennis Club.  When the dust settled, a record $13,486 was raised for student awards and turf research!  Lead by Stan Kazymerchyk, the Kwantlen Turf Club is our bright light in terms of research fundraising efforts this past year.

Summer Field Day
Partnered with Sports Turf Canada and hosted by the City of Kamloops and the Kamloops Golf & Country Club, our first WCTA summer field day since 2019 took place July 26th and 27th in Kamloops, BC.

The field day sizzled, literally with 39 Celsius temperatures both days and figuratively, with a respectable turnout of 55 total delegates, a fantastic day of golf, an excellent and informative speaker in Dr. Gregg Munshaw from the Pinnacle Agriculture Research Centre in Salem, Missouri, and due in large part to our gracious hosts, Travis Olson, Mike DeCicco and Shawn Cook, who were genuinely excited in welcoming fellow turf managers to our Kamloops venues.

WOW Webinars
Series 3.0 of our WCTA online webinars or ‘WOW’, wrapped up on November 17 with over 60 in attendance.  These virtual educational offerings using the Zoom platform, often focus on obtaining CEC/CEU points for pesticide certificate renewal in BC and Alberta and have proved to be a very popular and valuable service for WCTA members.

CEC Software
New tracking software for member CEC points has been in development for four years now and is getting close to completion.  The structure is in place and functional but because the system has been built from scratch, we have to work through every component and feature to ensure it’s functioning the way we intended.  When ready, hundreds of CEC records will be input manually after which the software can be launched.

Canadian Turf Research Foundation
Many WCTA members may not know that the WCTA has been contracted to administer the CTRF since 2016.  Our commitment of 31 hours per month includes all management, administration, book-keeping, research project selection/funding and fundraising for this nationally registered charity.

In the early part of the contract, most of our time was spent re-organizing CTRF operations and dealing with Canada Revenue, who had indicated that charity status was in jeopardy over a governance issue.  More recently, we have been breaking ground on new fundraising initiatives such as a ‘Legacy Giving’ program, major corporate grant writing and soliciting donor outside of the traditional golf sector supporters including every national amateur field sport organization.

59th Annual Conference and Trade Show
Ooooh it’s Good to be Back!  After a couple years off, we’re bringing together 500+ of our closest professional golf and sports field manager friends and colleagues, nearly two dozen world class turf management educators delivering 40 hours of sessions with plenty of CEC/CEU opportunities, 8000 square feet of turf management supplier and service provider trade show second to none, all along with some fun & entertaining social networking events, to the River Rock Casino Resort in Richmond, BC, February 15-17, 2023.

The extensive show program, including four pre-conference seminar options, four educational tracks spanning two days, busting at the seams golf & sports field management industry trade show and social functions was released, along with the official opening of delegate registration, on October 20th.  

At the time of writing in early January, the trade show is over 90% sold with record delegate registration numbers.

Looking ahead, summer field day planning is already underway with potential for two events, one in BC and another in AB.  Another series of WOW webinars is in the works and we’re highly motivated to get our new CEC software up and running at long last.  Meanwhile, the Board has renewed its strategic planning ambitions and I agree, it’s time to take stock, have a good look at what’s working and what isn’t and put some effort into determining the WCTA’s future long-term direction. Certainly a new member recruitment initiative is on the horizon.

Thank you for your unwavering support over the past two years and all the best throughout 2023!

Jerry Rousseau
Executive Director
Western Canada Turfgrass Association