Member Spotlight: Maritza Martinez

This month’s spotlight is on Maritza Martinez

1. Hi Maritza! Tell us a bit about yourself. Where did you grow up, go to school, and currently work?

I am married to my wife, Miranda. We have two dogs, Chief and Wag. I grew up in Dodge County, Ga. I went to undergraduate at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College and am now attending the University of Tennessee for my master’s degree. I work in St. Louis for the St. Louis CITY SC.

2. What brought you into the Sports Field Industry?

I stumbled into it! I had zero idea that Sports Field Management was even a thing. While in undergrad, I was pursuing a biology degree but thought about pivoting career paths. I am a huge plant lover, so my wife suggested I check out our school’s turfgrass program. The next day, I sat down with the program head, who sold it to me. A few weeks later, I accepted an internship with the Brave’s Triple-A affiliate, the Gwinnett Stripers, and by the end of my summer, I knew it was what I was meant to be doing!

3. What do you like most about your job?

My favorite part of this job is, as groundskeepers here, we aren’t expected to stay out of sight or out of mind. The players, coaches, fan base, and our ownership group acknowledge and make a point to speak to us. We are valued members of the team and the company.

4. What would you like people to know, that are not in the industry, about sports field management?

It’s a huge community of wildly intelligent women and men! Our industry is underestimated as “we just mow the grass”, but realizing how much science, math, technology, etc., goes into what we do is so eye-opening!

5. You recently went back to school to get your master’s degree. What lead you to this decision?

Continued education has always been something I’ve been passionate about. At this stage in my life, I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I wanted to pursue my master’s degree. I have a lot of reasons why I decided to take it on, but my most significant is that I never want to stop learning. There are so many opportunities to learn, so why not?

6. How do you think we can help draw young people to the industry?

It goes without saying that our jobs take so much knowledge of Science and Math, using technology and engineering. As an industry, we make a point to draw in young athletes that want to stay in the game… With the advancements being made in and for our industry, let’s try to appeal to the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math lovers in school. When people think of STEM-related industries, we aren’t on the list…we can change that. Exposing young people to those aspects of our jobs opens a new demographic of potential turf managers. I didn’t come into this industry because I played softball, golf, etc… I came because I love the science.

Follow Maritza on Twitter @maritzamows

SFMA wants to highlight our members! Please email Whitney at wwebber@sportsfieldmanagement.org with your nominations. Please include your nominations and accompanying stories, highlighting the exceptional accomplishments of SFMA members.