Sunday, May 13, 2018

Logistics

This week ,was the part of equipment sales, that I really enjoy. The opportunity to get a new product out, in front of as many customers as possible, always presents a challenge. Getting all the logistics of the plan to come together and not get thrown off track by bad weather is always tough. This past week, we had a little bit of everything. We had a customer event, at the Glen Mills Schools, where we worked with the students. It was a definitely something where you walk away feeling positive. The students were very engaged and asking great questions. Then we rolled into Allentown, to host our 
annual field  day event, at the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs. It was another great day! We had 9 manufacturer's representatives travel in to support the day and our largest number of customers ever attend. Lawn & Golf is very lucky to have such great partners like Ryan Hills & Kurt Landis of the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs!
On Thursday, we had an early morning start with a "Sidewalk Demo", on the Mark the Shark Morning Show on WSQV. We have been working with WSQV, since we joined with Thomas L Dunlap in Jersey Shore, PA to cover the area better selling Ventrac Tractors. It is always fun to join them on the air to talk about what we are doing with Ventrac.
Finally, we got the chance to get the new Ventrac Boom Mower attachment out into the field. We had the opportunity to mow at a location that was made for it. And as expected, the customers were impressed and plan to add it to their equipment fleet.
Friday, was the final stop of the tour. We hosted an Open House/Demo Day at Thomas L Dunlap.
With another good day of weather, great food, and our friends from WSQV, doing a remote radio show, it was an excellent day.
To put these many events together all in one week takes a ton of support from our inside staff! Lawn & Golf's Service Manager, Craig Hatt, and his team were able to get all the equipment ready and still keep up with setups and repairs. Our Warehouse/Shipping Manager, Mike Matta, was able to get massive amounts of equipment out to the Iron Pigs. We greatly appreciate all their help!

A big THANK YOU to everyone involved in making this week a success:
Bill & Paul at the Glen Mills Schools
Ryan & Kurt at the LV Iron Pigs
Darren Powers from Redexim
Steve Johnson from Smithco
Scott Kinkead & Brian Godwin from Turfco
Andrew Sickenberger from Jacobsen
Tylor Coquillard & Pat Dowling from ABI Attachments
Steve Cahaley from CADCO/Ferris
Lisa Hartley & Bill Clark from Univest
Joyce & Tom at Thomas L Dunlap
The Sales Team at Lawn & Golf
and especially, Andy Barone, from Ventrac, for all his time and effort this week!




Andy Barone from Ventrac showing one of the Students at the Glen Mills Schools how the Aera-Vator works.

Talking to the Students at Glen Mills Schools about the Boom Mower.


Lawn & Golf Field Day at the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs.

Setting up for the "Sidewalk Demo" at WSQV Radio in Lock Haven.
The Ventrac Boom Mower in action!

Customers checking out the Boom Mower at the Open House/Demo Day at Thomas L Dunlap.
Vince Anastasi from Lawn & Golf talking about the flip up deck on the Ventrac.



WJC



Sunday, May 6, 2018

Here comes the BOOM!

This coming week, we will finally have a chance to see the newest attachment from Ventrac in the field. The Boom Mower was unveiled at a sales meeting, last year, with the plan of production this spring and is just about to be available, for purchase. Andy Barone, our manufacturers representative, has gotten his Boom Mower demo and will be working with Lawn & Golf this week.
On Tuesday, we are doing a Demo Day at Glen Mills Schools, with the Boom Mower, the SSV and the 3400 unit setup for snow removal. On Wednesday, we have a full house for our annual Lawn & Golf Field Day, at the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs Stadium! This also includes our factory representatives from Jacobsen, Turfco, Smithco, Redexim, ABI & CADCO. 
Then on Thursday morning, we have a demo scheduled for a live broadcast, on the morning show, on WSQV 92.1 in Lock Haven!  To finish out the week, we have a Demo Day-Open House at Thomas L Dunlap's in Jersey Shore, PA. This will include a live radio road show with WSQV and some great local food!

The chance to get new products out for the first time is a fun part of the business. When a manufacturer truly hears the end users requests to help them with their challenges, it is excellent. 
Looking forward to a busy week and always appreciate the support we receive from our manufacturer's Representatives!






WJC

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Domo Arigato Mr. Roboto

       One of the most common questions I have gotten over the past few weeks, is when do you think Robotic/Autonomous mowers will be commonplace in the Turf Industry? Maybe it is the thought of trying to find staff members for the season, or the continuing narrative that the next generation is not going to come looking for a 7 day a week job with a predawn start time. These concerns have people thinking about how they are going to get things done.
While golf courses are having difficulty getting things done, the newest technology ,that is gaining momentum with hopes to assist this, is the use of GPS sprayers. It is still nowhere near the commonplace. When you see it in action, it makes you ask why you would not want to use it. Will robotic mowers have the same feel? Now the GPS Sprayer technology has an advantage by the ability to show significant savings in your chemicals usage by the ability to control your applications. However, from what I understand, the robotic mowers currently are not yet to the point of no human supervision, so the significant savings of man hours might not allow the pays for itself argument. I would say it is a safe assumption that we will be seeing something from the 3 largest manufacturers of equipment some time soon.
To see a few clubs that have started to use robotic greens mowers, from Cub Cadet, is interesting to watch. Guys who are early adapters are often the most passionate, but to get a new practice or technology to be used industry wide, always takes time.
       Will we see the day, in the not so far future, where mowers have their "dog house" to charge up and come out at night to mow? For me, it will be interesting to see how quickly GPS Spraying becomes the norm and will that help to move the acceptance of an autonomous mower. Time will tell.


WJC

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Meeting the Board

       On Thursday, this past week, I had the opportunity to sit in on a "mock" Boardroom Meeting where the students in the Penn State University Turfgrass Management Program make a presentation to the board. The idea is to make a presentation, which they have some parameters to work off of, to the club's board, on why they should be hired. The board was made up of three Superintendents, one Professor, a Club General Manager and myself. Dr. John Kaminski had asked if I might be available, after I spoke to the PSU Turf Club, the week before. He said it would be good, if I could make it, to give a different perspective.
       This Boardroom Meeting is the last thing the students have left to do before graduation. While each group had a slightly different approach, it was obvious that there was a large investment of time. I was truly impressed with how professional their presentations were.
While there was some questions thrown out, specifically to throw them off their program, it was really enjoyable to watch these, soon to be graduates, trying to present some of the things they have learned, as well as to witness their ability to think on their feet.
I feel very luck to have had a opportunity to be a part of the last project for this year's class.
It was interesting to hear where they were all heading to work after graduation.
Congratulations to all the graduates and best of luck as you start your career!










*Photos taken by Dr. John Kaminski


WJC

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Welcome to the Club

This past week, I had the opportunity to speak at the PSU Turf Club meeting. A few weeks ago, there was a post on Twitter asking if anyone wanted to put their name in for consideration. After spending the weekend prior to the talk putting together some Power Point slides, my goal was to not be the guy (which drives me crazy) reading the slides word for word! The title was "Understanding the Equipment Piece of the Equation". The main focus was to talk about how to sell your needs to your club or facility. The one thing that really jumped out in my mind, as I was working on it, was some of the examples that I know locally, in the Philadelphia area, that are really good at this skill. I mentioned to the Turf Club how Superintendents Like Matt Shaffer, Paul B. Latshaw (Merion GC), John Gosselin (Aronimink GC), Dan Meersman (Philadelphia Cricket Club) and Greg D'Antonio (Concord CC) have been successful at understanding what the clubs leadership goals are and then being able to communicate what is required for them to meet these goals. All the men listed have had their clubs make major investments recently and I would believe they would all agree it is a long process. 
We also talked about leasing equipment, GPS Sprayers, autonomous mowers and some other topics. I spoke for about a half hour and then we spent about 20 minutes answering questions.
I really enjoyed the chance to speak to some guys who are just getting started in the Turf Industry. Realizing that this is my 30th year working in the Turf Business, I guess now I am one of the old guys....







WJC

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Social Change

On Wednesday, this past week, the Eastern PA Turf Conference hosted the first Turf Industry Social ,instead of the traditional trade show. Concluding a year long look for change, and many meetings and conversations, the vendors were able to eliminate the table top trade show that had run its course.

From rough estimates, the Turf Industry Social was a success. Will there be changes? Absolutely.
It was well received, and with anything that is new, there were lots of questions on wrist bands and how it all works. In the end, with some tweaks, it hopefully will grow.

Now comes the second half of the equation, the auction of donated golf at the Philadelphia Golf Expo. The thought that auctioning off golf to people in the golf business, never made much sense to me. We have over 30 clubs, and hopefully, some more that are pending, that have agreed to donate foursomes, including some of the big name clubs. Hopefully, with a great response at the golf expo, we will be able to justify the format change and bring more funding to the PTC.

From the Vendor side, I know that all of us involved appreciate PTC working with us to try and improve the event.






WJC

Saturday, December 31, 2016

More Than A Change Of The Calendar

With the end of 2016, coming this evening, I think the landscape of Philadelphia golf world is on the verge of a major change during 2017. It seems like the gap between the haves and the have not's is growing, with some clubs being able to invest in major club improvements, while others are looking at creative ways to just replace one piece of equipment. With additional talk of multiple management companies taking over some long standing clubs, I don't think the face of Philadelphia golf will ever be the same. Sure, the closure of Edgmont CC and the process of two public courses  becoming housing developments, over the next few years, was part of a long expected thinning of the herd, it was not the massive change that people in the industry had been predicting. Hearing of some of the clubs, that you would never expect, have a waiting list to exit the club vs. the few clubs with a long waiting list to get in, it is sadly a harbinger of what I think is coming for the future of golf in the area.
On the positive side, the growth of the opportunities with Universities, School Districts and large landscape companies seems to be a growing avenue for turf professionals to take. Some of the perks of better schedule, strong benefits and even the opportunity to continue your education, at low or no cost, makes the transition a welcome change. For most, the hard part is to look outside the golf world, which for some, it is all they have known.

I wish you and your families a Happy & Healthy New Year!

WJC