Remember simpler days? Where there were no cell phones, no computers, no e-mail, no Internet? Computer technology has changed all that, and we are never going back. Yes, technology provides us with access to information and communication speed not even imagined 20 years ago. Contact database programs like Act! and Access, communications and organizational programs like Outlook, robust browsers like Google and Yahoo!, and financial programs like Oracle have changed the way we do business. However, these also place new burdens on us that did not exist a short while ago. The level of expectation is higher. Is it a wash?

If you let it, it's easy to get overwhelmed with all the technology that is supposed to make business more efficient. You can't lose focus on the most important aspect of business: providing a service or product that meets the needs of customers (in my case, that is you). My staff and I make it a point to visit you, interview you, include you in research that we conduct and invite you to submit your comments and questions. Your willingness to work with us is greatly appreciated. Your continued support is what has made Grounds Maintenance what it is today. Please continue to call me or send me an e-mail anytime to tell me what's on your mind or ask a burning question.

This issue of Grounds Maintenance focuses on maintaining large areas with a particular bent towards sports fields (you probably gathered that from the cover). A good friend and long-time reader of Grounds Maintenance is George Toma — an icon of sports field management based right in our backyard here in Kansas City. A few years ago, George invited me out to Kauffman Stadium to show me around and educate me on the business of professional sports field management. I remember driving my car down the tunnel to his office near the bullpen in right field. At the time, artificial turf covered the field and he didn't have much good to say about it. We talked about the problems with artificial turf and he showed me some particulars on the field. In fact, he astonished me when he hopped in my car and told me to drive onto the field so he could show me around. One thing I like about sports field managers, and George in particular, is that there are no airs about them. They are honest, to the point and willing to help in any way they can. Upon leaving, George gave me a shopping bag full of baseballs because I told him my son was a pitcher on his little league baseball team. My son is still using those balls as he continues his baseball interests. It probably didn't mean much to him but it sure did mean a lot to my son and me.

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