The ESSMA Head Grounds Managers Seminar took place in Porto, Portugal on Oct. 9 & 10. The seminar as ESSMA’s second such event, the first being at FC Barcelona in 2012.
THANK YOU to ESSMA, the expert pitch committee, and the stadium partners CampeyImants, EVERRIS, DESSO GrassMaster, SGL and TERRAPLAS for asking me to be present at the seminar at the Estadio Dragao, home of FC Porto. It was an honor to become the first American to take part in an ESSMA event. Hopefully it is just the first of many!
Secondly, and equally as important, THANK YOU to the participants who came from far and wide to Porto to be part of the ESSMA Head Grounds Managers seminar. This being my first opportunity to share at an event outside the United States, the nervousness in preparation for the event came from the fear of the unknown. Yet amazingly, it only took my introduction to the group to make it clear…. American, German, Russian, Ukrainian, British, Dutch, French, Belgian, Spanish, Portuguese, Brazilian…. no matter the nationality, no matter the language: We Are All The Same!! And in the grass field management industry, we are all facing the same type of challenges.
WOW! What a POWERFUL realization.
Even with over 10 languages represented in the room, we all were united as one with one goal; to share and creating new ideas about the possibilities of grass fields.
So THANK YOU to all the participants who also moved past any nervousness and/or fears of the unknown to open up, share, and spread their experiences and their passion with the world.
Congratulations to each of the people that shared during the 2 day event.
Mr. Jonathan Calderwood, Head Grounds Manager of Paris St. Germain (France)
– Welcome remarks and background on ESSMA Pitch Management
Mr. Sebastian Breuing, Head Grounds Manager of Vfl Bochum (Germany)
– “Budget Control on Pitch Management”
Mr. Luis Silva, COO of Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)
– “Preparation for the 2014 World Cup”
Mr. Maxim Kobzin, Head Grounds Manager at Donbass Arena (Ukraine)
– “New Season Preparations”
I also had the privilege to share on Thursday in addition to my Keynote
– “Intergration of European and American Maintenance Techniques”
A special feature of the program was a round table debate that featured the stadium partners exploring the globalization of the grass field industry and issues that Grounds Managers face around the world. Thank you to the participants of that round table for allowing me to moderate their session and for answering the questions presented so openly and candidly.
Mr. Simon Gumbrill: Campey/ Imants (Cultivation/ Renovation Tools)
Mr. Yves DeCocker: Desso Grass Master (Sand Stability System)
Ms. Ellie Parry: Everris (Fertilizer/ Seed)
Mr. Pierre Debleme: Terraplas (Field Protection System)
Mr. Xavi Tordera- SGL (Stadium Grow Lights)
Many, many Thanks to Mr. Ricardo Carvalho of FC Porto for hosting, sharing with, and leading the tour of the ESSMA group. Also Thank You Mr. Miguel Bastos and Mr. Manuel Pedro Melo for presenting some of their maintenance information for the pitch at Estadio Dragao and at the FC Porto Training Ground.
And finally, applause for the entire ESSMA staff for organizing such a tremendous event. Every detail was covered, from arrival through departure. Even the social component of port wine tasting & dinner w gorgeous views of historic Porto was magnificent. Cheers to Mr. Dimitri Huygen, Mr. Jan Stryckers, and Mr. Kevin Raveyts. Bravo to them and their support staff for all the hard work!
Events like the Head Grounds Managers seminar are laying the ground work for the great things ahead, not only for grass fields but for our entire world in general. Thank You again to everyone involved for their open minds, their energy, and for their commitment to making natural grass fields around the world as strong and durable as they can possible be.
More to come on the content of the seminar, along with the transcript of the keynote speech: “#Think.Different”