Featured Speakers of the Month

The SFMA Conference Education Committee has put together an exciting and informative education program for the 2024 Conference in Daytona Beach, Florida. Each month, speakers will be featured to highlight a sample of what will be offered to attendees at the conference. This month’s featured speakers are Megan Provost, Mike Goatley, Ph.D., and Jim Puhalla.

Megan Provost is the President of RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment), the national trade association representing manufacturers, formulators, distributors, and other industry leaders in the specialty pesticide and fertilizer industry. Provost brings a strong background in national-level pesticide industry advocacy and non-profit leadership to the role. Provost grew up on a farm in central Indiana and is a graduate of Oklahoma State University, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in agribusiness and a Master of Science degree in agricultural economics. She also holds a Juris Doctorate from the George Washington University Law School.

Keeping Tools in the Toolbox: How to Talk about Pesticides
As a professional managing green spaces for the recreational use of the public, or for collegiate or professional sports teams, you know why you use the products that you use. But how do you talk about pesticides with people that might not know? Join RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment) to learn about the public’s perception of pesticides, and how to talk about specialty pesticides! We’ll cover how to begin the conversation and frame your message to tell your story in a way that resonates.

Learning Outcomes

  • How the public perceives pesticides and how SFMA members can utilize those findings
  • How to lead with benefits and other key messages when talking about pesticides, and how SFMA members can use communication techniques like blocking and bridging to steer the conversation.
  • Legislative issues that could impact SFMA members’ access to products.



Dr. Mike Goatley has worked in the world of turfgrass academia for 35 years with the first 15 years of his career occurring at Mississippi State University and the last 20 at Virginia Tech. He is a past president of SFMA and co-author of the textbook “Sports Fields: Design, Construction, and Maintenance.”



Mr. Jim Puhalla is a sports field consultant with over 45 years’ experience designing, constructing, and consulting of hundreds of fields throughout the US and Canada. His knowledge of sports fields came as a result of hands-on experience as a landscape and sports field contractor. He is coauthor with Dr. Jeff Krans and Dr. Mike Goatley of 4 sports field books.

Prevention Beats Intervention in Sports Field Management

We will detail the situations in sports field design and construction that simply MUST be done properly, and if they are currently limiting at your facility, how to fix them. We will present an abundance of pictures and designs of the mistakes, the preferred methods of design and installation, and the steps and strategies to rectify previous mistakes.

Learning Outcomes

  • Learn about the most important concepts in initial field design components, including surface and subsurface drainage, irrigation, soil selection and modification, and grassing options.
  • Learn about the importance of developing specifications that meet budgetary restrictions in construction AND maintenance.