Some of the biggest names – and personalities – from the world of sport and the industry both in the UK and the USA will take to the stage at this year’s Institute of Groundsmanship’s Industry Conference being held at the SWALEC Stadium, Cardiff, on November 25.
Huw Jones, Chief Executive Officer of Sport Wales, will start the day followed by Ian Ritchie, Chief Executive Officer of the All England Lawn Tennis Club and Director, Wembley National Stadium. Ian was named recently as the 13th most influential person in world sport.
As well as providing an exclusive insight into two of the world’s most iconic sports venues, Ian will discuss how grounds management is perceived at the highest level of sports administration, and present tips and advice on how the industry can improve its status.
From the world of practising groundsmanship, Chris Hague (Parken Stadium, Denmark), George Mullen (sports surface constructor, SIS), Dean Gilasbey (Llanelli Scarlets) and IOG Award winner Dan Duffy (Liberty Stadium, Swansea) will be among the panellists discussing ‘The challenges of multi-use stadia’.
Then the ‘young guns’ of UK groundscare - Stuart Wilson, Christian Brain, Rory Ferguson and Iestyn John – will form the ‘Back to the Future’ Young IOG panel, inviting audience questions about, for instance, pay/reward, training and education, performance quality standards and the future of industry bodies.
From Cranfield University, Dr Iain James will present on the impact of climate change and the likely affects on sports facilities in the UK. If you are responsible for any sports facility - whether privately owned, in the public sector or a local sports club - this is a session you cannot afford to ignore.
Switching attention to the activities of trans-Atlantic colleagues, UK consultant Duncan Wood-Allum will present on his findings following a study tour of the operations of New York City’s Parks and Recreation Department and the challenges it faces in maintaining 29,000 acres of openspace.
This not-to-be-missed session – New York City’s approach to delivering parks and recreation services for less - will reveal how, for example, the Department responds to significant year-on-year budgets reductions, pricing and subsidies; encourages pioneering green roof solutions; and how it employs a strategy that delivers 1.5 million volunteer hours a year. Duncan Wood-Allum’s findings will be especially relevant to local authorities in the UK and provide an interesting parallel to the issues facing the public sector with budget cuts and staff cuts an ever present factor.
And as part of the IOG’s relationship with the Sports Turf Managers Association of America (STMA), delegates will be given an exclusive insight into the training and stadium facilities for the Denver Broncos American football team, managed by Troy Smith CSFM, STMA President-Elect.
Troy is a 1989 graduate of Colorado State University where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Landscape Horticulture with a concentration in turf grass management. He also completed the University of Georgia’s Principles of Turf Grass Management course earning the Certified Turf Grass Professional status in 1999.
Upon graduation, Troy worked for three seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers. He is beginning his 17th season with the Denver Broncos, the last ten years of which he has served as turf manager at the team’s practice facility in Englewood, CO.
Back to the UK, the IOG Industry Conference then welcomes from Leeds Rhinos and the sport of Rugby League one of the industry’s finest professional groundsmen, Jason Booth. He will present an entertaining rundown of his life at Headingley Carnegie Stadium (winner of the 2009 IOG Award for Best Spectator Sports Ground of the Year) and how he and his team maintain playing surfaces for all-year-round sport – focusing on, for instance, the pressure on resources and, of course, groundscare routines.
‘From Cricket to Football’, Martin Ford and Len Smith of the IOG will outline the lessons learned from cricket with the development of Performance Quality Standards (PQS) and how this has been trialled for football in partnership with the Welsh FA.
Martin and Len will discuss their close work with the Welsh FA, explaining how the PQS methodology is being used to identify (and therefore progress) pitch quality at football grounds throughout Wales.
Combined with a study tour of the SWALEC Stadium - the home of Glamorgan County Cricket Club – SWALEC’s Head Groundsman Keith Exton will also discuss a ‘day in his life’ during the build up to an Ashes Test.
The day’s schedule will also include drop-in clinics focusing on Pests and diseases, Risks in the workplace, Training & Education and Funding & Facilities.
To add to the value-for-money event – which will be ‘hosted’ by leading sports presenter Mark Saggers of talkSPORT Radio, with entertainment from up and coming comedian Terry Alderton and followed in the evening by the prestigious IOG Industry Awards – delegates will also have the opportunity, on Wednesday November 24, to tour the Celtic Manor golf complex, the venue for this year’s Ryder Cup.
The 2010 IOG Industry Conference is sponsored by British Sugar Topsoil, ESD Waste2Water, Rigby Taylor and Syngenta.
For more details of programme content and the attractive package deals, visit www.iog.org/www.iogawards.com