In January, I had the opportunity to attend the Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA) show in San Diego. On the way from the airport to the hotel, I shared a ride with a couple of sports field mangers from Albuquerque. We had a great conversation about a number of topics ranging from the price of California gas to a discussion of the infield turf at Kaufman Stadium in Kansas City. I asked them what they were looking for at the show, and they said besides networking and the trade show, they were planning to attend a number of educational sessions for certification credits to maintain their status as Certified Sports Field Managers (CSFM). To become a CSFM, you first must pass a certification exam. But before you can take the exam, you must provide documentation of experience in sports field management. Educational background can count towards qualification as well, but you still need the experience.

The CSFM program is a step that STMA has taken to encourage and maintain a high level of professionalism among members. Certification also establishes standardized credentials that you can use on your resume to establish customer confidence and help in career advancement. Most major trade associations, such as Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, Associated Landscape Contractors of America, Professional Lawn Care Association of America, Professional Grounds Managers Association and Irrigation Association, to name a few, offer certification in their field. Check out their Web sites for more information. Certification is becoming the norm in the grounds-care industry. Can you afford to be without it?

Speaking of certification, a reader sent us a question on the Irrigation Association's Certified Golf Irrigation Auditor program, and Karen Kerkhoff, GM's new contributing editor, has the answer in “Finding the Answers” on page 6. Karen joined the GM staff in December 2003. She also is owner of a horticultural education and consulting firm, Kerkhoff & Associates, in the Kansas City area. Karen has a bachelor's degree in horticulture from North Carolina State University and a master of science in horticulture from Virginia Tech. Karen has also served with the Cooperative Extension Service with the University of Missouri Horticulture Department. In her “spare time,” she also serves as an adjunct professor at a local community college, teaching a soil fertility and fertilizers course. With 25 years in the horticulture industry, Karen brings a wealth of knowledge to the pages of GM. If you have a burning grounds-care question, send it to me or Editor Cindy Ratcliff, and we will be sure that Karen responds in “Finding the Answers.”

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