When I first started working with GCSAA 12 years ago, our field staff program was a pilot program, and the direction it would take was being developed based on the response of our chapters and membership. I knew I would be serving individual members and working with the chapters in my region to enhance the personal touch between your national association and the local chapters. The GCSAA Board and staff envisioned great things for field staff and I was excited to get in at the early stages of the program.
Fast forward to an interaction in late 2019 where I assisted a member relocating to Florida from Ohio which illustrates one aspect of the position. Ed Ecker contacted me via email and was seeking guidance in how to best get established in the state. Ed found my contact information on the GCSAA website which is a good indication that our Field Staff program has gained in member awareness. We have become the local face for the association within our regions. Although I wish my face was more handsome, it is a great indication that the program is succeeding in making those personal connections with our members. Ed and I exchanged a number of texts, emails, and phone calls prior to his arrival in Florida. Our relationship had begun to flourish.
Ed was moving to Florida just prior to the Golf Industry Show in Orlando and I was able to arrange for him to gain access to the Florida Reception. Ed appreciated this opportunity to meet in person as well as have the chance to be introduced to a number of members in the state association. The event provided Ed a first glimpse of what a great association the Florida GCSA is and the opportunities that existed for him.
Ed and I have stayed in touch as I have had occasion to reach out to him regarding how things were going with his work and also his pursuit of BMP certification. Ed has been so motivated that he even serves on the GCSAA BMP Facility Task Group. It has been awesome for me to have the connection with Ed and see how he has embraced every aspect of our industry.
Just recently, Ed found himself between jobs, and he knew he could reach out to me in his time of need. We spoke again on a number of occasions and I made connections for him with several superintendents in the vicinity where he was living. Ultimately, we were able to find a really good fit with Andy Neiswender from Belleair Country Club. Andy serves as the Florida GCSA President and is also very engaged with the association which is right up Ed's alley. Ed has put in the effort and I am glad that I have been able to serve as a conduit for him during his early days in Florida.
I am so happy that the field staff program is providing a resource for GCSAA members to turn when they have questions or are seeking help. Examples like the one I have portrayed, create a feeling of fulfillment with my career choice and energize me in my daily pursuits as we serve our members and advance their careers. It is inspiring when I realize that relationships like mine with Ed and so many others in the region are happening with all our field staff representatives across the country as we continue to fulfill the GCSAA mission.