GCM's Most Valuable Technician Award is designed to honor the best and brightest golf course equipment technicians in the industry, the men and women who play such a key role in keeping the tools of golf course maintenance up and running. The award is presented annually in partnership with Foley United. Nominations are narrowed to a field of three finalists by a team of industry judges. GCM readers then review the qualifications of the finalists and vote online for their favorite.
Choose the 2018 MVT
Read the nominations submitted by golf course superintendents to learn about these EM members' valuable contributions to their golf facilities, and then vote for the technician most deserving of this year's award. Online voting closes June 8, and the winner will be profiled in an upcoming issue of the magazine.
The Clubs of Cordillera Ranch in Boerne, Texas.
The first equipment manager to complete GCSAA’s Turf Equipment Technician Certificate Program, Drinkard has made a huge impact on the operations at Cordillera Ranch, located in the Hill Country just north of San Antonio, since arriving at the club in Oct. 2016. According to Cordillera Ranch assistant superintendent Kris Negley, who nominated Drinkard for the 2018 MVT, he completely reorganized the club’s shop upon his arrival, “making the shop space more efficient and effective given the limited working space he inherited.”
In addition to completing the GCSAA certificate program, Drinkard also is a Certified Master Technician through the Equipment and Engine Training Council, which requires a technician to be certified in eight different categories — four-stroke engines, two-stroke engines, compact diesels, electrical systems, driveline and hydraulic systems, generators, reel technology and mechanical systems.
Drinkard has also been active in his outreach to the industry. He hosted a shop tour at Cordillera Ranch and was a presenter at the Lightning Round Learning session during the 2018 Golf Industry Show, hosted an online webinar for GCSAA and is currently mentoring Cordillera Ranch’s new assistant equipment technician, Anthony Guajardo.
Ansley Golf Club in Atlanta, Ga.
A finalist for the MVT Award in 2017, Manning has established a stellar reputation not only for his work at Ansley Golf Club near downtown Atlanta, but also for his role supporting the broader golf course equipment technician industry.
A former field technician for Jerry Pate Turf, Manning not only oversees Ansley’s midtown location, but also their other facility in Atlanta’s northern suburbs, 27 miles apart. He has served in nearly every position on the maintenance team at Ansley, and is well-known for his design and fabrication skills, including a water trailer that he built out of scrap material that went on to win an award for innovation from the Club Managers Association of America.
Manning has also passed along what he knows about the business to others. Several of his former assistants at Ansley have gone on to head equipment manager jobs of their own. He’s also been an active member of GCSAA’s Equipment Manager Task Group, played a role in the development of the association’s Turf Equipment Technician Certificate Program and has earned his certificate in each of the program’s eight categories.
Manning also gives back to his community as a volunteer member of the Cherokee County (Ga.) Search and Rescue team, a role he has played for the past 14 years.
Riverside Country Club in Provo, Utah.
Velasquez has long been a familiar face and an inspiring voice for the equipment manager in the golf course management industry. He hosts a popular online video series, is an active participant on social media (@HectorsShop) and regularly puts on free, hands-on educational events for local superintendent chapters and his fellow technicians.
He has brought similar experience and inspiration to Riverside since joining the team at that property. “I believe Hector should win the Most Valuable Technician Award simply because of what he brought to Riverside CC and how he helped turn things around within the first few months of employment,” said superintendent Eric Gifford, who nominated him for the award.
The inspiration he has instilled in others is front-and-center at Riverside, Gifford wrote in his nomination. “His presence has had a huge impact on our entire staff. They now love detailing the equipment and take more pride in the shop and our equipment than any other crew I have been a part of.”