Dear NYSTA Member,
The burden of this very challenging time continues to affect us all and we at NYSTA hope that you and your families are safe and healthy as we look forward to better days ahead. The unprecedented events of the past year have shown the importance and value that green spaces provide for health, entertainment, revenue for our struggling businesses and even carbon sequestration. “Thank goodness for turf” has been a resonating theme in my mind as I think about the positive impact it has had in our current situation in providing a means by which to cope with the current events of our lives. We in the turf industry have already known the great benefits turf provides us each day but to have such a spotlight thrust upon our industry over this past year has been existentially positive in terms of awareness and recognition with the greater public. NYSTA represents and is the conglomeration of all facets of the turfgrass industry and we are seeing great examples of how beneficial green spaces have been from all elements that make up who we are. Despite the hardships we all have had and continue to face, a supreme positive that we can cling to as we search for hope and our way forward is what green space and turf has meant and will continue to provide for us. “Thank goodness for turf!”
Thank you to our team
As with all things in 2020 the NYSTA team, Executive Director Beth Seme and Executive Assistant Sue VanAmburgh, NYSTA Board of Officers and Committees, had to pivot in light of the impact the pandemic had on our business platforms and how we serviced our members traditionally. The decisions made and the work done by all of these dedicated professionals was not easy or desired but I am very proud of the commitment displayed by everyone to bring us successfully to this point. The true leadership in the face of adversity by our now past President John Carlone, CGCS was remarkable and a testament to the professionalism he has displayed all throughout his outstanding career, as well as our Executive Director Beth Seme who had to navigate these waters and make the hard decisions for the benefit of our Association. We have been blessed to have the right people at the right time to see our way to this point.
A special thanks goes out to our long-time board member Michael Maffei, CGCS for his over 30 years of service to this great organization. His tireless work and dedication have made this Association what it is today. Our advocacy efforts in Albany, creating our Lobby Day and his commitment to shining a light on our profession with our lawmakers is just a small portion of the things he has done to improve our industry in New York. As a fitting tribute to his remarkable service the NYSTA Board of Directors has re-named the Citation of Merit Award, the highest honor our Association can bestow, The Michael Maffei Citation of Merit Award. We are very excited at this change and sad to see Michael move off the board, but look forward to his continued commitment on our various committees going forward. We are indebted to you Mike!
We held our first ever Virtual Advocacy Day on February 24th with many legislators and over 100 turfgrass industry professionals in attendance. Thanks to the remarkable leadership of our previous Government Relations Chairs Michael Maffei, CGCS and Steve Griffen and our incoming Chair Tom Kaplun the event was an unbelievable success. The team of panelists that spanned the spectrum of industry professions and regions provided very comprehensive information relating to the issues and challenges facing our industry. The information was well received by our legislators in attendance and the response was very positive, backed by action that we are hopeful will produce results beneficial to our industry. Thank you to all that had involvement in this great event. Tom Kaplun, new Co-Chair Bob Nielsen, Jr., CGCS and our entire NYSTA team look forward to continuing the conversations with our legislative friends. This is one of the things NYSTA does best and why we are here for you.
Like many I have heard from in recent days I miss the in-person conferences that NYSTA held each year across the state. As we move forward in conjunction with our incredibly successful webinar series and new platform developed by Playbooks for Golf’s Matt Leverich, we will be assembling a committee to discuss and create the concepts of what a new in-person conference may look like. This could range from a model similar to how we used to do things, all the way to a completely new format, with the intention of being laser focused on what the members, sponsors and industry professionals in New York want. This committee shall be open to all who want to commit their time to this new opportunity. Please let me know if you are interested in committing your time as this committee is formed, it will be very helpful and welcome.
As our industry faces the challenge of employment and career awareness of our young and future work force, NYSTA has been steadily working on initiatives that will create the pathways to accessing these “Future Turfers.” Dominic Morales- NYSTA Board member and SUNY Delhi Plant Science Department Chair emeritus, working through his outreach committee, continue to make progress on this front and we are very excited and supportive in the direction this has gone and will continue to go over the next year. There is much to be done on this front and there is no one more able and committed than Dom to providing opportunity to our young and future professionals.
We at NYSTA are hard at work on your behalf and look forward to the promise of better days to come. Thank you to all our members and sponsors for your support for which we are honored and humbled. If you have any questions, comments or concerns, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Steven P. Whipple