History

History of our Association

The history of Turfgrass Producers International (TPI) dates back to July 11, 1967. On that date 40 individuals who recognized both the need and the potential of an organization dedicated exclusively to serving the special needs of turfgrass sod producers and the industry founded The American Sod Producers Association (ASPA). (It was renamed Turfgrass Producers International (TPI) in 1994 to better reflect the international scope of the association.) Prior to the historic formation decision, informal gatherings had been held since 1959 in conjunction with the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) Conferences and at other locations.

That first official meeting, held in conjunction with the July 11, 1967, Michigan State University Turfgrass Field Day in East Lansing, MI, took place in MSU’s Anthony Hall from 8:00 to 10:30 PM. Ben Warren, Warren’s Turf Nursery, Palos Park, IL—a key leader instrumental in the formation of ASPA—was elected its first president. Other officers elected included: Vice President: Robert Daymon, Emerald Valley Turf, Howell, MI; Treasurer: Louis DeLea, Louis DeLea & Sons, East Northport, Long Island, NY; and Secretary: Richard Horner, Horner Sod Farms, Union Grove, WI. Those elected to the Board of Trustees included: Tobias Grether, Cal-Turf, Camarillo, CA; James E. Ousley, Ousley Sod Co., Pompano Beach, FL; and Wiley Miner, Princeton Turf Farms, Cranbury, NJ.

George B. Hammond, Paint Valley Bluegrass, Columbus, OH, who had been designated secretary/treasurer of the organizing committee formed on February 9, 1967, took the role of executive secretary upon the formation of ASPA. Hammond announced 30 sod producers had signed on as charter members and invited other producer attendees to join ASPA as charter members at the temporarily-established dues of 50 dollars per year. He reported the newly-elected Board would soon establish the dues for associate members, including suppliers and educators.

The first official ASPA Field Day was held the next day, on July 12, 1967. Through the organization efforts of Eugene D. Johanningsmeier, Hiram F. Godwin and Son, South Lyon, MI; Dr. James B Beard, Professor of Turfgrass Sciences at Michigan State University; and Donald Juchartz, Wayne County (MI) Extension Agriculture Agent, the meeting was quickly arranged and help was obtained for demonstration plots and suppliers. Approximately 120 attended. Tours were conducted at the farm of Bob Daymon, Emerald Valley Turf, Gregory, MI, where 700 acres (283.28 hectares) of Merion Kentucky bluegrass were in production. Daymon, also the owner of Daymon Manufacturing Corporation, demonstrated some of the equipment the company had designed and provided a tour of those facilities. The afternoon was spent at Halmick Sod Nursery near East Lansing, MI, where sod harvesting and handling equipment from U.S. and Canadian suppliers was demonstrated.

At its September 1967 meeting in Chicago, IL, the Board of Trustees approved the ASPA Constitution and Bylaws, adopted a dues structure, and began preparations for ASPA’s first annual meeting. The initial purpose of forming the association was the same as that stated in the current TPI Bylaws: “To maintain a trade association of individuals and firms engaged in the business of planting, growing and marketing sod.”

George B. Hammond's home served as ASPA's address for incorporation. ASPA was formally incorporated in the State of Ohio on October 13, 1967, and later recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)(6) not-for-profit trade association.

The first annual winter meeting of ASPA was held in conjunction with the GCSAA Conference in San Francisco, CA, February 18-23, 1968. Topics discussed during the ASPA sessions included: the future of the sod industry; the importance of public relations and advertising; regional sod production and marketing problems; sod research; and the value of an educated consumer. On February 21, all ASPA Officers and Board of Trustee members were re-elected and pledged their support to the vision of an association devoted entirely to the welfare of turfgrass sod producers and their suppliers. ASPA’s exhibit booth at the GCSAA trade show was instrumental in attracting new members.

On March 29, 1968, less than a year from the founding of ASPA, a bulletin announced membership had grown to more than 100. (A list from the ASPA Archives, dated March 27, 1968, which provides the names, company names, and locations of these charter members, and also notes those referred to as founding members, is posted on the TPI website www.TurfGrassSod.org.)

The 1968 annual ASPA Field Day was held at Shamrock Turf Nurseries in Hanna, IN, on July 30. Besides the field demonstrations of equipment, there were stationary exhibits by suppliers. Attendees also toured Purdue University to view developments in turfgrass research. Several Canadians attended these events.

ASPA’s 1969 Midwinter Conference was held January 19-24 at Miami Beach in conjunction with the GCSAA Conference. ASPA staged a three-day event, with one day allocated to attend the GCSAA trade show. The full day of industry-specific technical sessions included a presentation by Art Edwards of Weeds, Trees and Turf covering the results of ASPA’s comprehensive national survey of sod producers, which had drawn a two-thirds response rate; and a presentation by Dr. Gene Nutter of Turf-Grass Times addressing the future of artificial turf. The Field Day included tours of Resmondo Farms, grower of 1400 acres (566.56 hectares) of sod, and three Ousley sod farms where sod equipment was demonstrated. During the annual meeting, Wiley Miner, Princeton Turf Farms, Cranbury, NJ, was elected 1969-1970 President. Rutgers University Turfgrass Extension Specialist Dr. Henry W. Indyk was named ASPA's interim executive secretary, succeeding Mr. Hammond in the administration of the group. Later that year, Dr. Indyk was offered and accepted the executive secretary position.

The 1969 ASPA Summer Convention and Field Day was held August 4-6 in New Jersey. Activities began on the afternoon of August 4 at the College of Agriculture and Environmental Science campus of Rutgers University, in New Brunswick, NJ. A tour of the research plots was conducted by Dr. C. R. Funk and Dr. R. E. Engel, featuring their Kentucky bluegrass hybridization program. On August 5, an all-day demonstration of the “most complete line of up-to-date sod production equipment and materials” was held at the Princeton Turf Farms home office in Cranbury, NJ, hosted by ASPA board member, Wiley Miner. The ASPA activities were scheduled to coincide with the biennial USDA Field Day which was conducted on August 6 at the Agricultural Research Center in Beltsville, MD.

These early meetings set the standard for those to follow, always addressing key industry issues and focusing on the latest advancements in research and technology, a collaborative process involving sod producers, suppliers and university turfgrass research and extension personnel. A list of meeting dates and locations are listed in the Directory. The list of Past Presidents can be found under the TPI Leadership tab. The more detailed, History of Turfgrass Producers International, which was developed for the 40th Anniversary of TPI, is available to members to review or download on the TPI website: www.TurfGrassSod.org. Additional TPI historical highlights follow.

The 1970 Summer Convention and Field Days included a “Sod Production Costs” presentation and discussion based on a previous survey of ASPA members by Becker, Blackmar, Kolick and Company, Chicago, IL. The Field Day demonstrations drew a crowd of 447 to observe, listen, discuss and become better acquainted, the largest gathering of the sod industry to date, which was a giant step toward maturity and strengthening of ASPA. The Board of Trustees was increased from seven to nine members to provide adequate representation of the membership.

In 1971, the ASPA Board authorized printing of 10,000 copies of “Specifications of Sodding” for use by members. The First Membership Directory, 1971-1972, was published, listing members by region, rather than alphabetically.

1972 was the first year ASPA held its two meetings independent of any other association meeting. The Summer Convention and Field Days were held in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Jack Kidwell, Kidwell Turf Farm, Culpepper, VA, was elected President; and Field Day Host Gerry Brouwer, Brouwer Sod Farm, Keswick, Ontario, Canada, became the first international member elected to the Board. Within five years of its formation, ASPA membership had reached 177, with members from 30 U.S. states as well as Canada, Holland, Puerto Rico and South Africa. The following amendments to the ASPA Constitution and Bylaws were approved: provision for a nominating committee; and, to insure continuity, staggered terms for Board members; and appointment of the immediate past president as the tenth member of the Board. Development of an accounting system, specifically designed for sod producers, was completed, approved by the Board, and offered to members.

Dr. Henry W. Indyk, who served as ASPA executive secretary until February, 1973, was named ASPA's first Honorary Member. Dr. Indyk was succeeded by Bob Garey of Garey Management Organization, Inc. (Garmo), who was named ASPA's executive director. Garmo provided the full range of services for ASPA from their headquarters in Hastings, NE. The first issue of the ASPA Bulletin, a newsletter for members, began distribution. ASPA’s Legal Counsel Bill Harding’s continuing efforts resulted in the U.S. Department of Labor declaring sod production an agricultural enterprise.

In 1974, a “Key Man” was selected for each U.S. state to assist in: recruiting new members; increasing membership strength; and monitoring and reporting governmental action that might impact sod producers. Steve Cockerham, of Cal-Turf in CA, began research and development of the use of netting in sod production to reduce the time span between planting and harvest.

In 1975, Dr. James B Beard was named ASPA’s second Honorary Member. A list of Honorary Members are listed in this Directory. ASPA expanded its survey, “An Inventory of Producers,” world-wide. Funds were allocated for development of a brochure covering sod production, use and care that would be available to members for imprint and distribution. ASPA adopted an aggressive effort to encourage members to express their concerns to their U.S. House and Senate representatives about potential legislation curtailing the use of fertilizer on production of crops other than those for human consumption.

The new ASPA logo was introduced in 1976. A handbook covering a variety of legal and operational issues was compiled by ASPA Legal Counsel Bill Harding for distribution to members. The ASPA brochure, “The Dream Lawn Is Yours In Hours With Sod,” was so well received by members only 25,000 remained of the 150,000 printed.

In 1977, the first issue of ASPA’s bi-monthly magazine, Turf News, was published, consisting of 16 pages and 10 advertisers. ASPA's membership reached 324. 1977-1978 ASPA President Glenn Rehbein reported the University of Minnesota Memorial Stadium in Minneapolis had replaced its artificial turf after only about five years of use, converting to a natural grass field. Rehbein declared that a prime example that “artificial turf is not the answer.”

ASPA’s new, five-minute presentation, “Why Sod,” was introduced in 1978. It consisted of 30 slides and a professionally narrated cassette, along with musical background. The “Key Man” tittle was changed to ASPA State Representative. 3M Company introduced its turfgrass growth regulator, Embark2-S. A survey by Chilton Research concluded 81 percent of customers used the “yellow pages” when considering purchase of a product or service. Wendell Matthews was named editor, designer and mailer of Turf News.

John Hope, Manderley Turf Farms, North Gower, Ontario, Canada, was elected 1979-1980 President, ASPA’s first international member to hold that position. A new marketing brochure, “Do It Yourself—Sod Installation,” was offered to members in 1979. A pre-conference workshop and “Show & Tell” presentations were both introduced at the Midwinter Conference. Turf News added a “Trading Post” section.

In 1980, Michelle Williams, Meredith Sod Farms, Salt Lake City, Utah, became the first woman elected to the ASPA Board of Trustees. The Board approved an advisory “Council of Past Presidents.” ASPA also retained a financial consultant, Dennis Marx of Ernst & Whitney; fought farm labor contractors restrictions; granted additional funding for Fusarium blight research; and approved development of a new “benefits of sod” brochure.

Indoor exhibits were added to ASPA’s Midwinter Conference and its Summer Convention and Field Days in 1981. Conference speaker, former NFL quarterback, Roman Gabriel, told attendees he preferred natural grass to “that other stuff.” Turf News initiated the “Seed Company Reports” now the focus of each July/August issue. The “National Coalition for a Reasonable
2, 4-D Policy” launched as a non-profit clearinghouse to confront unreasonable assaults on agriculture chemicals. ASPA received recognition on the public television programs “This Old House” and “The Victory Garden.”  

By July 1982, 15 years after its founding, ASPA had 522 members in 46 U.S. states, 8 Canadian provinces, and 10 other countries. In recognition of its international scope, ASPA held its first International Convention on July 11, 1983, in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The ASPA Council for Strategic Planning was formed to analyze results of an in-depth study of the organization conducted by The Dalton Group of Washington, D.C. Bylaws changes were approved including: designating the vice president as president-elect; combining the secretary and treasurer positions, including the immediate past president as an officer; adding the secretary-treasurer and president-elect nominees to the ballot for election by the members; and establishing the procedure to fill the vacancy should an existing Board member be elected as an officer. Sprigs of Tifgreen and Tifway hybrid Bermudagrass were shipped from Tifton, GA, to sod producer and ASPA member, Sodding S.A., of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

In 1983, the Board of Trustees voted to establish ASPA's own office and staff, naming Douglas Fender executive director, with an office in Hillside, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. ASPA sponsored a two-day “Turfgrass Water Conservation” symposium prior to the Midwinter Conference in San Antonio, TX. The first International Summer Convention and Field Day was held in New Jersey, with a panel of members from Australia, New Zealand, England, Austria, South Africa and Finland joining U.S. and Canadian members on the program. The Council for Strategic Planning provided a five-year plan for developing and disseminating information about marketing, business and technology to members and “the Green Industry at large.” ASPA’s legal counsel helped turfgrass sod retain its place within the U.S. Federal definition of agriculture.  

New ASPA Bylaws approved in 1984 required Board of Trustee members to be Class A (sod producing) members. The Board approved a Code of Ethics. An ASPA “Member Profile” survey, distributed to all Class A members, drew a response rate of nearly one-third and favorable distribution by size and geography to enable establishment of an informational base of industry “norms.” Computer use was a program topic at the Midwinter Conference. New turf-type tall fescues were reported to be gaining interest from U.S. growers in the southwest.

In 1985, examples of computer programming used by R&D Sod Farms, Okeechobee, FL, were provided to attendees of the Midwinter Conference tour. ASPA’s Board of Trustees approved a new organizational structure to improve communications and coordination among committees. Turfgrass Water Conservation was published. The 155-page book contained technical papers first delivered at the February 1983 symposium of the same name.

The new Manufacturer’s Advisory Council (MAC) held its first meeting during the 1986 Midwinter Conference. ASPA’s First International Study Tour to New Zealand and Australia in October drew 74 participants from 31 firms. ASPA expressed criticism of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) planned Diazinon ban. ASPA was represented at the Rolawn stand during the “Royal Windsor ‘86” Sports and Leisure World Trade Exhibition in Windsor, England. ASPA’s Second International Summer Convention and Field Days were held in St. Louis, MO.

In 1987, ASPA moved its office to Rolling Meadows, Illinois. The pre-Midwinter Conference computer seminar, lead by Woodrow Dick, consultant to the American Association of Nurserymen (AAN), eliminated some of the mystique about buying and using a company computer. A new marketing brochure was presented for use by the members. ASPA membership reached 664.

At the 1988 Summer Convention and Field Days in Baltimore, Maryland, which drew nearly 1,000 people, members voted to move ASPA's state of incorporation from Ohio to Illinois; and added an “affiliate” membership (Class E). ASPA membership stood at an all time high of 738. A “Member Profile Survey” drew a response rate of 35 percent, nearly identical to the 1984 survey, and provided valid data to document industry growth. A significant change was the growth in company computer usage to 61.3 percent compared to less than a third in 1984. ASPA’s Second International Study Tour drew 54 participants to England and Scotland. The U.S. EPA banned Diazinon use on sod farms and golf courses.

In 1989, a new committee, formed to promote the environmental benefits of turfgrass sod, developed Turfgrass Environment, a unique publication providing members a broad array of information on the importance of turfgrass to the environment, with an emphasis on turf and water usage. ASPA was involved in the first "Green Summit” meeting, a coalition of nine organizations within the green industry working together toward common goals. With the continuous development of new programs, ASPA's staff was increased from two to three full-time employees. Sharon Till, Australian Turfgrass Research Institute, reported on the use of electrophoresis for positive varietal identification. Water issues drew attention to “Xeriscape.” Turf News introduced ASPA’s first sod equipment “Buyers Guide.”

ASPA put even greater emphasis on speaking out about the benefits of turfgrass in 1990: promoting its significant role in combating the issues of “global warming” and the urban “heat island” effect, establishing nine objectives; providing members with news releases for newspapers and radio; and reaching out to the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) through a booth at their annual conference. The United States Golf Association (USGA) established a “Turfgrass Information File” at Michigan State University to give electronic access to turf science literature.

Dr. James B Beard was named ASPA’s Environmental Science Advisor in 1991. A special environmental issue of Turf News was distributed to nearly 2,000 ASLA members. ASPA’s Third International Study Tour visited Austria, Germany and the Netherlands.

In 1992, ASPA celebrated its 25th Anniversary. Charter members shared in the many festivities held in Chicago in conjunction with ASPA's Summer Convention and Field Days. Mr. Turf, the newly-created public relations image of turfgrass, was introduced. Habitat for Humanity became ASPA’s first public service project. ASPA's membership of 915 included representatives from every U.S. state, nine Canadian provinces and 22 other countries. ASPA granted nearly $30,000 for environmental research related to turfgrass benefits. The Board of Trustees developed and adopted a long-range strategic plan for ASPA and adopted the Mission Statement found in this Directory.

In 1993, a Ben Warren Memorial Foundation was established by ASPA as a tribute to the association's founding president with the goal of supporting turfgrass research to ensure and protect the future of the turfgrass sod production industry through science and education. Bryan Wood, Tip Top Turf, Milton Keynes, England, was the first person elected to the Board of Trustees from outside North America. Marketing was named a main issue. The Board allocated $100,000 for a marketing program and farm safety issues. A Membership Profile Questionnaire was issued to Class A members. ASPA’s Fourth Study Tour visited the Peoples Republic of China and Hong Kong.

In 1994, in response to ASPA’s growing international membership and visibility, ASPA changed its name to Turfgrass Producers International (TPI). The association’s membership included 932 companies within the U.S., Canada, and 33 additional countries worldwide. The membership voted to implement a major Turfgrass Public Education Program. The TPI staff increased to four full-time employees. TPI’s Fifth Study Tour visited Chile and Argentina.

In 1995, 11 “Media Fact Sheets” were made available to members for public relations use. The name change of the ASPA Ben Warren Memorial Foundation to the International Turf Producers Foundation (ITPF) was announced. The Articles of Amendment to officially make that change were submitted in June of 1997. Since its inception ITPF has raised over one million dollars for turfgrass research.

“Turfgrass: First Aid for the Earth,” a TPI pro-turf full-page ad, appeared in four major green industry magazines in 1996. TPI’s public relations program reported placement of 336 articles in 271 different consumer or professional publications reaching over 17 million potential readers. TPI’s “Turf Resource Center” had established itself as a source for reliable and scientifically-supported information about turfgrass for writers and editors.
 
In 1997, the association reached its 30th anniversary. A new membership category was added to accommodate retired members. The association launched a dual website: TPI and the Turf Resource Center. A new ad campaign highlighted the values of turfgrass sod for either “instant beauty,” “instant results,” or “instant play.”

TPI’s membership exceeded 1,000 in 1998. The organization restructured its committee system, adding new committees, such as “Technology,” that would better prepare TPI for the 21st century. The Lawn Institute (TLI) merged with the Turf Resource Center. TPI’s Sixth Study Tour visited New Zealand and Australia.

In 1999, members elected the first non-North American president, Bryan Wood of Tip Top Turf, Ltd., Milton Keynes, England. Membership reached 1,063. A “members only” section was added to the website. TPI offered its first convention with "area-based" demonstrations. Turf News advertisers and convention exhibitors participated at record-breaking levels. TPI's budget exceeded one million dollars for the first time in its history and an additional person was added to the staff.

In 2000, Turf News editor Wendell Mathews retired after 22 years of service to the magazine. TPI hired its first Communications Manager to edit the magazine and other TPI publications. TPI’s Seventh Study Tour visited South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Beginning at the 2001 TPI Summer Convention in Toronto, TPI's Board initiated the process of streamlining the committee structure, while developing more efficient means for member input and communications. Three subsequent strategic planning sessions were held with members, board and staff to determine the best ways to accomplish this objective. TPI's International Turf Producers Foundation (ITPF) introduced the 64-page book Water Right - Conserving Our Water - Preserving Our Environment, an educational tool for green industry professionals to use in presenting the realities of our planet's available water supply to water-policy decision makers, businesses, educators and consumers.

In 2002, TPI's Board approved a full restructuring of TPI's committee system that resulted in Open Forum Roundtables, Task Forces, Working Groups and Advisory Groups. To maximize TPI’s public relations efforts and improve efficiency, all PR efforts were brought in-house and the staff increased to six employees.

The President's Leadership Award was introduced in 2003; the criteria for selection and past recipients are listed in this Directory. The Board of Trustees authorized a task force to study artificial turf. TPI joined the turf initiative in seeking a $35 million Federal Research Fund through the U.S. Agricultural Research Service (ARS). TPI teamed with other key associations to form the Green Industry Association Water Task Force. TPI’s Eighth Study Tour visited Spain and Portugal.

An expanded Honors & Awards program was announced in 2004 which not only recognized new Honorary Members, but also introduced the Distinguished Service and Innovator of the Year awards. A bylaws change was approved giving Class B (Supplier) members the right to vote and to serve on TPI's Board of Trustees. The Board approved the purchase of the association’s first building. The ITPF Board amended its bylaws so the TPI Board of Trustees also serves as the ITPF Board of Directors.

Year-end 2004 saw the retirement of Executive Director Douglas Fender who had served the association for more than two decades. T. Kirk Hunter was appointed Executive Director, the third in TPI’s history. Jim Novak joined the TPI staff as Media Relations Coordinator.

TPI relocated its office to its first association-owned property in East Dundee, Illinois, in 2005. TPI’s PR Working Group met with leading turfgrass extension specialists to define areas of information gaps and overlaps. TPI’s Ninth Study Tour visited Italy.

In 2006, TPI’s membership reached a record-breaking 1,176 members. The largest issue of Turf News magazine (July/August) was distributed with 128 pages of valuable information. To accomplish research-funding objectives, TPI hired its first Fundraising Director, increasing its staff size to seven full-time employees.

TPI celebrated its 40th Anniversary in 2007, publishing a History of Turfgrass Producers International book and CD-ROM. The International Turf Producers Foundation (ITPF) changed its name to “The Lawn Institute” (TLI). A new website and several other educational tools, such as the Lawn Guide E-Newsletter and Ask The Expert service, were created to better inform, educate, and provide timely information to consumers, professionals and educators. TPI’s Tenth Study Tour visited New Zealand and Australia.

In 2008, TPI revised all the existing marketing materials into a series of educational brochures called Turfgrass Lawn Guide. This convenient guide is a pocket folder which may include the following pamphlets:  Benefits of Turfgrass, Establishing A Lawn, Why Are Most Lawns Sodded, Measuring For Turfgrass Sod, Turfgrass Watering Guide & Post Installation Care and a Benefits of Turfgrass DVD PowerPoint presentation. The TPI E-Newsletter, a monthly electronic publication, was also introduced as a means to provide members with timely information about TPI, member-related activities, and industry news. TPI’s Eleventh Study Tour visited Iceland, Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

In 2009, TPI relaunched the organization’s website at www.TurfGrassSod.org. The new and improved website offered more features, content and expanded resources for members, industry professionals and homeowners.

In 2010, TPI launched the Turfgrass Forum, a “Members Only” feature on the TPI website, to serve as an online discussion platform allowing turfgrass producers, industry suppliers, manufacturers and educators the means to exchange ideas, find assistance, raise questions and discuss important issues. TPI’s Business Management newsletter evolved from a hardcopy to a cost-effective electronic format. TPI began a monthly column in Athletic Turf News/Landscape Management addressing the benefits of turfgrass.

The TPI website had a facelift in 2011 to make it more visually appealing, easier to navigate and to provide greater access to information through a wide assortment of new features. TPI’s Twelfth Study Tour visited North and South Ireland.

TPI ventured into the world of social media with the launching of the TPI Facebook page in 2012. The easy-to-access site provides members and other interested parties with the opportunity to learn about upcoming TPI events, view timely information, find links to industry-related articles, access fellow TPI member Facebook pages and access photos of recent TPI activities and events. TPI’s Thirteenth Study Tour visited South Africa and Botswana.

In 2013, TPI’s Board decided to rename the Next Generation Leaders Networking Mixer Conference event the New Generation Leaders Networking Mixer to encompass not only the sons and daughters of turfgrass producers and suppliers, but also those individuals who may be establishing farms or supply companies for the first time.

TPI welcomed a new Executive Director, Melanie Stanton, in 2014. TPI joined Twitter and LinkedIn to complement its Facebook presence, better connect with members and reach a wider audience. TPI opted to change from two annual conferences to one—the TPI International Education Conference & Field Day—which would be held in January or February each year.

TPI held the inaugural Live Show & Tell in Portland, Oregon, in 2015. It received overwhelmingly positive feedback from attendees. TPI became a founding member of the Landscape Stewardship Initiative, which was developed to increase public awareness about the benefits that turfgrasses provide to homeowners and communities, and to raise awareness about the value of managed landscapes. Starting with the November/December issue, Turf News also became available in the digital format, accessible to members from any computer or mobile device.

In 2016, Linda Pittillo Bradley, Turf Mountain Sod, Inc., Hendersonville, NC, was elected TPI’s first woman President. TPI launched the Turfgrass Educational Center, its new online education platform, with video recordings of presentations from the TPI 2016 International Education Conference & Field Day. Melanie Stanton stepped down as Executive Director of TPI in April. The Board of Trustees began the search to find a new executive director and appointed Sandy Reynolds to serve as interim executive director during the search and transition period. Preparations were underway for TPI’s “50 & Fabulous” Anniversary Celebration to be held during TPI’s 2017 International Education Conference & Field Day. The Board began development of a strategic plan for taking TPI into the next era, building on the firm foundation the organization established over the past 50 years.
 


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