This year’s Synthetic Turf Council (STC) Fall Member’s Meeting was held Oct. 5-7 in Atlanta, Georgia. The mood was upbeat and the outlook positive, as most producers and suppliers are bullish on the future for synthetic turf.
This was the first STC meeting for incoming president Al Garver. He is just the third president in the STC’s 12-year history. He has served a 32-year military career in the Air Force and National Guard and Reserve, combined with civilian work in high-level strategic planning and communications. He also has championed member-focused advocacy, public policy objectives, and membership programs.
This year’s programming had a heavy focus on environmental and health & safety news. The health & safety message is that the industry is being proactive in providing accurate information on the safety of crumb rubber infill, even with some of the supply now coming from Chinese tires, which are made in a different way.
The meeting’s keynote address was delivered by Dick Vermeil, a Super Bowl championship NFL coach who won the league’s coach of the year award four times. His speech was on common sense principles of leadership. The audience was genuinely engaged with Vermeil and everyone we talked to found him very entertaining. Some of the themes in his speech included perseverance, vision, overcoming adversity and the importance of mentors.
A large number of Americhem customers were in attendance, so we really got to do a lot of networking during the meeting. There was a trade show display area which was well attended. Some of the optimism can be attributed to the fact that municipalities are starting to have some capital free up for sports field and landscape projects. Landscape as a category is growing, especially in Canada, where prevention of natural pests makes turf a winning alternative. One interesting Canadian application is the installation of turf between the lanes of divided highways, an extremely low maintenance alternative. Drought issues in California and the American West present opportunities for turf, particularly in residential and commercial landscaping.
Aside from the health and environmental themes, there were several talks on construction. Many turf fields have failed due to poor installations, so this was an important theme.
Our commercial team found that this STC meeting was a great place to network. It was a great opportunity to meet a lot of different people in a unique setting. There were a large number of senior leadership personnel from member companies and it was great to be able to meet with them, including those we met for the first time. We look forward to the next semi-annual meeting this spring in New Orleans.
Segment Director – Carpet & TurfAmerichem, Inc.
National Account ManagerAmerichem, Inc.
Account ManagerAmerichem, Inc.