Featured Speakers of the Month

Each month two speakers presenting at the 2020 National SFMA Conference and Exhibition in West Palm Beach, Florida will be featured. Don’t miss the educational opportunities offered at the conference!

John Fech is an Extension Educator at University of Nebraska – Lincoln. On Wednesday, January 15, he will be presenting “Revisit / Develop Your Elevator Speech”.

Being able to simply and succinctly tell someone you just met about what you do for a living is an excellent way to get the word out that there are people in town who truly value community resources and whose job it is to ensure they are properly cared for. A quality elevator speech serves the sports turf manager well when meeting vendors, event coordinators and potential future employers.

After participating in this presentation, the attendees will be able to:

  • Construct a succinct elevator speech that is customized to their individual needs.
  • Respond to follow-up questions pertaining to position and role.
  • Draw attention to the positive influences of sports turf on the environment and economy.


Dr. Bryan Hopkins is a Professor at Brigham Young University. On Tuesday, January 14, he will be presenting “More Pop per Drop: Smart Irrigation”.

How do we get more of a “pop” of green per drop of water? Water shortages are increasing in frequency and severity. Water and root zone oxygen management innovations will be discussed using case studies and hands-on demos.

Attendees will learn about:

  • Fundamentals of the grass water stress index and plant-soil-water science.
  • State of the science for sensing and controlling technologies.
  • Case studies in irrigation management using cutting edge technology.

On Wednesday, January 15, Dr. Hopkins will be giving a presentation on “Chemical (Glyphosate, Fertilizer, etc.) Exposure: Health Concern?”

Recent legal actions have resulted in alarming concerns regarding chemical use. Pesticides and fertilizers (most notably glyphosate or Roundup®) are being scrutinized by the public, insurance companies, etc. What are the real facts? What precautions are needed? What resources are available to help alleviate founded and unfounded concerns? An exhaustive review of the published data will be presented, as well as statements from all the governing bodies from around the globe. Fundamentals of understanding toxicity will be explained. The question of whether or not employees and participants of sports turf venues are at risk will be addressed in depth. The science will be presented in an understandable way that can be understood by the general public.

Attendees will learn about:

  • Fundamentals of environmental toxicology.
  • Facts on public exposure to pesticides and fertilizers.
  • Resources to educate the public on pesticide and fertilizer safety issues.