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 Dr. Chrissie Segars, Dr. Jeff Marvin, Alpha Jones, CSFM, and Maritza Martinez. Dr. Segars and Dr. Marvin will be presenting, “The Pesticide Timeline: From Lab to Shelf.” Alpha Jones, CSFM and Maritza Martinez will be presenting, “Embracing Diversity in Sports Field Management, Why It Matters.”

Dr. Chrissie Segars is originally from McBee, SC and received her bachelors’ degree from Clemson University in Agricultural Education. She went on to receive her first masters’ degree from Louisiana State University in Kinesiology and her second masters’ degree from Oklahoma State University in Turfgrass Science. She received her Ph.D. in Crop Science with an emphasis in Turfgrass Science from Oklahoma State University in 2017. Chrissie is currently a Research Scientist with PBI/Gordon Corporation residing in Oregon and covering the Western Region of the US. She focuses on developing relationships with university and private cooperators to carry out research for product development in the turfgrass and ornamental industry. Her main focus is developing green/biological control methods and expanding PBI’s reach to sports fields and sod farms.

Dr. Jeff Marvin is Senior Director of Research & Development for PBI-Gordon Corporation and leads the field research team in the development of next generation products that support innovation in the turfgrass and ornamental industry. Jeff and the R&D team partner with more than 30 colleges and universities on strategic research projects. Jeff began his career as a golf course superintendent at Orange Lake Resort in Kissimmee, FL. After seven years managing the 54-hole property, he headed back to academia. He earned his bachelor’s degree in turfgrass science at Pennsylvania State University and worked as a research assistant while he earned his Ph.D. in plant and environmental science at Clemson University.

The Pesticide Timeline: From Lab to Shelf

Presenters will provide an un-biased, in-depth discussion on the timeline of pesticide commercialization. The presentation will include insights into the process of acquiring or sourcing new active ingredients, the formulation process, lab and field research, and the final registration process. This will be an interactive presentation where the audience will be polled with pesticide timeline questions and asked about their experiences with formulations, regulations, etc.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Attendees will learn the timeline it takes to bring a new product to market.
  2. Attendees will learn the formulation process and see in-depth examples of what happens in the lab. Attendees will also learn differences between formulations.
  3. Attendees will learn the basics of federal and state regulatory rules. Why are products not registered in all states? How tough is it to get a pesticide registered


Alpha Jones, CSFM, is in his fifth year with the Fayetteville Woodpeckers, the A-Affiliate of the 2022 World Champion Houston Astros and a 22-year Sports Field Management professional. He currently serves as Director of Professional Facilities on the SFMA board. He is very passionate about the future of SFMA, showing off our industry and educating others on the importance of leadership.



Maritza Martinez is a passionate professional in the field of turfgrass management. With an unwavering commitment to the green industry, she has dedicated her career to elevating the presence of diversity in sports turf maintenance to new heights.

Embracing Diversity in Sports Field Management, Why It Matters

Turfgrass management is a critical aspect of maintaining safe, healthy, and aesthetically pleasing sports fields. However, the industry has struggled with diversity and inclusivity, with many positions being filled by individuals from similar backgrounds and experiences. This presentation proposes that a diverse hiring in sports turf management, including improved decision-making, creativity, and problem-solving, the challenges and barriers that must be overcome to achieve diversity and inclusion in the industry, and ways to solve them. The presentation will also highlight successful diversity initiatives and best practices that can be implemented by sports turf managers to improve diversity and equity.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Diverse hiring in sports turf management can lead to numerous benefits, including improved decision-making, creativity, and problem-solving, as well as better communication, understanding, and relationships with athletes, coaches, and fans.
  2. Ways to achieve diversity in both sports turf management and the attendee’s perspective companies by combating challenges and barriers that must be overcome. Topics such as the lack of representation in the industry, the difficulty of entering the field, and unconscious biases in the hiring processes will be discussed and will be taught on how to overcome these barriers.
  3. Ways to successfully find diversity initiatives that have been implemented, such as creating training programs and internships for underrepresented groups and implementing diversity and inclusion training for staff.