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In this special online article, Martin Kaufman, CSFM, Sports Turf Contractor Purgreen LLC (Nashville, Tenn., USA), discusses the vital role a CSFM (Certified Sports Field Manager) plays and explains why education is key.

Managing turfgrass can be a challenging task. How many people know what the transition zone is? Some might think it is a demilitarised zone in Iraq or Korea. Does the general public realise all the possible turf types we may grow across the US? Do they realise what it takes to make turf look green and usable for their purposes? Does the average person even want to learn how to grow grass? A Certified Sports Field Manager (CSFM) is knowledgeable about all of these topics.

If you have struggled with a tax return, own a business or communicate with the administration of your organisation, you may have worked with a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Most of us go through a budget process annually, so we may function in a fiscally responsible manner. A CPA is usually the professional financial advisor that your organisation relies on to help manage your budget. Becoming a CPA requires education, experience and examination. The same is true for becoming a CSFM.

The CSFM certification is a higher level program of education and professionalism in the turfgrass industry, offered by the Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA). According to the STMA, there are currently 193 CSFM’s. To gain certification, there are certain education and experience requirements. Experience can qualify a candidate; however, education alone may not.

Status as a CSFM has laid the groundwork for my success in the sports turf industry. It has taken my career to new heights and provided tangible credibility to my work.

Eligibility into the CSFM program is based on a point system. You may earn points based on your level of education or the degree of education you have obtained, as well as the field of study. For example, a bachelor’s degree in business would earn fewer points than a bachelor’s degree in turf management.

A degree helps earn points for eligibility, but so does experience. You may not become eligible for the exam based on education alone, but you may become qualified based solely on experience.

Eligibility points for experience are similar to points for education; you will earn more points for being the head of your department than you would while occupying a labourer position.

Becoming qualified is the first step. Once that information is compiled and confirmed with STMA headquarters, you may qualify for the exam. An examination may be proctored at a location near you at any time of the year you choose to set up.

The exam is also offered at the annual STMA Conference & Exhibition, which will be held in San Diego in January 2016. The exam itself is composed of four parts: Agronomics, Pest Management, Administration and Sports-Specific Field Management.

Becoming a CSFM requires passion, commitment and professionalism. Sports turf managers are professional and passionate about growing the standards in the turf industry. As a CSFM, there is an extra level of commitment to excellence needed to continue raising the bar for sports fields.

John Torres is the CST in charge of keeping the sports turf in optimum condition at PPL Park.

John Torres is an STMA member and the Sports Turf Manager for PPL Park (pictured above and in the main image) – home of the Philadelphia Union.

About Martin Kaufman

Martin Kaufman

Martin Kaufman is a sports field maintenance professional with 15+ years of industry experience. His professional experience includes: golf course management in the US and Australia, professional football, minor league baseball, university athletic and campus care, as well as K-12 athletic, campus and stormwater management. Kaufman’s widespread knowledge of the sports turf industry makes him a principal authority when managing contracts for outsourcing.

Stadium Experience announces new Chair & Vice Chair

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Stadium Experience has announced two new faces will be stepping up to lead the organisation; Collette Salmon, Conference & Events Sales Manager, at Liverpool Football Club has become Chair, and David Timms, Business Development Manager, at Chelsea Football Club will become Vice Chair. The voluntary roles were nominated and elected by members to represent and become the voice of the organisation, which now includes over 45 football and rugby stadia venues across the UK. 


Stadium Experience has announced two new faces will be stepping up to lead the organisation; Collette Salmon, Conference & Events Sales Manager, at Liverpool FC has become Chair, and David Timms, Business Development Manager, at Chelsea FC will become Vice Chair.

Stadium Experience has announced two new faces will be stepping up to lead the organisation; Collette Salmon, Conference & Events Sales Manager, at Liverpool FC has become Chair, and David Timms, Business Development Manager, at Chelsea FC will become Vice Chair.


Established in 2002, Stadium Experience is a not-for-profit joint marketing collaboration promoting facilities as a consortium, and raising the profile of stadia as venues for conferences and events, in addition to sporting fixtures. Revolutionary when it was founded 11 years ago, Stadium Experience provides members with support and assistance in showcasing their unique venues. The organisation also celebrates and recognises the ever-improving standards of the industry at its annual Stadium Event & Hospitality Awards.


Collette Salmon brings a wealth of knowledge and over 20 years of events and hospitality experience in both hotels and stadia venues. She has worked as the Conference & Events Sales Manager at Liverpool FC for four years, and also previously worked at Wigan Athletic FC as Sales & Marketing Director.


Salmon commented:

As the new Chair of Stadium Experience I want encourage even more engagement and interaction with all our members. I particularly want to help with sharing best-practice and fresh ideas to show that we are not alone in the challenging situations we all face on a daily basis. I want to make the right decisions on behalf of the group and help to continue with the good work that has brought us to where we are today and progress to the next level with our unity and shared aims.


David Timms has been involved in the sport, hospitality and events industries for 7 years. Previously as Client Relations Manager and Football League Account Manager at Mango Event Management, and currently as Business Development Manager: Matchday at Chelsea FC.

David Timms

David Timms

Timms said:

As Vice Chair, I look forward to furthering my involvement and working alongside the current leadership team, supporting decisions and assisting in shaping the future direction of the organisation. I really look forward to driving forward the sharing of best-practice with members to ensure each receives support and guidance where needed in order to continue building success across the industry. I look forward to working with all of the members to ensure they maximise opportunities and benefit from the key ideas and facts shared at Stadium Experience networking events.


Introducing Sports Turf Canada

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ST Canada logo
At the recent annual general meeting, members of Sports Turf Association Inc. (Sports Turf Association) voted to continue the provincial not-for-profit corporation into the federal jurisdiction. The result? Updated letters patent, revised and updated governing by-laws, and the introduction of a now Canada-wide organization. As part of this renewal process the Sports Turf Association intends to become known as Sports Turf Canada, registering it as a trade style name.

The Sports Turf Association launched a branding and marketing review in 2013 examining its core values, positioning statements and brand through discovery meetings and phone and email interviews with members, stakeholders, the board of directors and staff. During this process the necessity for a more fitting corporation status, together with a title more reflective of its membership was confirmed.

Paul Gillen, now Association past President, explains: “The nucleus of members of the Sports Turf Association has, since its inception in 1987, been based in Ontario. However we have long-supported sports turf managers from coast to coast. The transfer of our corporate identity into the federal domain recognizes more formally our dedication to the promotion of better, safer sports turf across the country.”

First identified as a goal at the inaugural meeting of the Association, the emergence of a more national profile was strengthened in 2009 with the recognition of the Sports Turf Association as the Canadian International Affiliate Organization of the American Sports Turf Managers Association. It continued to develop its Canadian presence with initiatives in Atlantic Canada beginning in 2011, and in 2012 with the formalization of a partnership agreement with the Western Canada Turfgrass Association (WCTA), which recognized the Sports Turf Association as the national body for the promotion of better, safer sports turf in Canada.

“The creation of a national association was the vision all those years ago. It is exciting and gratifying to watch this niche organization grow into one with a national presence and a national mandate,” enthused Michael Bladon, a founding father of the Sports Turf Association.

“While Sports Turf Canada as a brand identity may be new, the passion and hands-on approach of board members and staff and their dedication to the Association is not,” added new President, Tennessee Propedo. “We are the authority in our field and are committed to providing our members with current, credible and relevant information to help them to manage their field assets in the most safe and effective manner.”

ESSMA appoints new board members

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ESSMA has appointed two new board members, Cenk Cem from the Turkish Football Federation and Kees Klein from Philips.. The appointments follow the departure of board members due to career changes.