Featured Speakers of the Month

SFMA’s Conference Education Committee has put together an exciting and informative education program for the 2023 Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah!  Each month, speakers presenting at the conference will be featured. Don’t miss the networking and educational opportunities offered this year!

Dr. Gerald Henry is an Athletic Association Endowed Professor at University of Georgia. He will be presenting three times at the conference:

> Restoring Performance: Getting at the ROOT of the Problem
> Weed Control Strategies for Warm-Season Athletic Fields (presented with Erick Begitschke)
> Student Career Preparation Panel (presented with John Sorochan, Ph.D., Wes Ganobcik, Nick McKenna, CSFM, and Tony Leonard)

Restoring Performance: Getting at the ROOT of the Problem

The application of biological substances, microorganisms, and plant growth enhancers has increased throughout the turfgrass industry over the past decade. Many of these products are applied to increase nutrient absorption, boost tolerance to environmental stress, and improve overall growth and aesthetic appearance. However, not all of these products are created equal and manufacturer claims often go unverified. This presentation will examine the impact of these products alone and in combination with cultural practices for the increase of turfgrass rooting and field performance.

After attending this session, attendees will:

  • Know the differences between the terms biostimulant, biological, biofertilizer, etc.
  • Understand the current use and expectations of these products with specific focus placed on their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Comprehend the synergism and antagonism of these products with more traditional cultural and chemical turfgrass management practices.

Weed Control Strategies for Warm-Season Athletic Fields

Developing an effective weed control program is a skill that is becoming increasingly important for sports field managers. Similar to what is implemented with disease management, an effective weed control program allows turfgrass managers to maintain weed-free turfgrass (or as closely as possible) of optimal quality from January to December. Successful programs not only make use of different herbicide technologies varying in mode of action, but also implement effective cultural management practices such as fertilization, aerification, irrigation, and mowing. This session will teach attendees how to build effective weed control programs for the southern United States.

Attendees will:

  • Know how to build a weed control program for their facility that integrates timely herbicide applications with appropriate cultural practices to minimize weed infestation.
  • Understand the benefits (and capability) of rotating herbicide modes of action over time to prevent resistance.
  • Learn the strengths and weaknesses of the newest herbicides entering the turfgrass marketplace and how they fit into weed control programs.

Panel Discussion – Student Career Preparation

The panel will focus on professionalism, interviewing, negotiating, choosing an internship, grad school options, and other topics. Attendees will gain insight into skills and areas of focus that will benefit and help prepare them for their future careers.

Presentation objectives:

  • Students will learn how to choose the internship which will provide them the best possible experience going forward.
  • Students will be given a list of factors to research and consider when applying for jobs.
  • Students will be given key points on how to negotiate a starting salary.


Pamela Sherratt is a Sports Turf Specialist at The Ohio State University. She will be presenting “Seed to Play in 4 Weeks.” This session will take place on Tuesday January 17 and repeated on Thursday January 19. 

This session will focus on establishing playing surfaces in a time crunch. Topics will include species selection, pest control, and water and nutrient management.

Attendees will:

> Learn about agronomy practices that can be undertaken to facilitate faster grass establishment
> Discuss ways in which to accomplish this using natural organic and conventional methods
> Interact with colleagues & share ideas on this topic during the Q&A portion of the session