PGMS celebrates successful School of Grounds Management

This year’s event included field trips, award ceremonies and the election of new board members.

November 10, 2011
Industry News

BALTIMORE – Grounds professionals from across the country gathered once again in October in Louisville, Ky., to attend the Professional Grounds Management Society’s (PGMS) 2011 School of Grounds Management  and GIE+EXPO. Attendees enjoyed a pre-conference field trip, educational programs focused on industry hot topics, entertaining social events and more. And, in doing so, helped PGMS celebrate its Centennial year.

More than 75 of the 250 grounds professionals registered started the week off with behind-the-scenes pre-conference field trips to the Louisville Zoo and the Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest. Although a bit rainy, the attendees enjoyed learning about the grounds programs at these two very well-known sites.

During the PGMS annual Awards and Induction Dinner, the society honored several grounds professionals. Sustainable Sites Initiative was presented the 2011 PGMS Gold Medal. The Gold Medal is given to an individual or entity in recognition of outstanding and long-term achievements and/or contributions to the green industry. The Sustainable Sites Initiative was saluted for its unending support of PGMS and for its prominent campaign to promote sustainability in the green industry and beyond. SITES, an interdisciplinary effort by the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas at Austin and the United States Botanic Garden, was recognized for its programs to create voluntary rating system and performance benchmarks for sustainable land design, construction and maintenance practices. PGMS members and the campuses they represent are actively engaged in providing maintenance evaluations to the SITES program and in helping to implement recommendations.

Gerry Dobbs, certified grounds manager (CGM) and landscape services manager at Michigan State University received the PGMS President's Award from outgoing President Joe Jackson, CGM. Each year the PGMS president is asked to give a President's Award to a member or members he/she feels have shown outstanding service and contributions to the society. Dobbs has actively participated on the PGMS board for several years, where he currently serves as a director-at-large. Dobbs is being honored for his exceptional skills as a grounds manager at Michigan State University.

In July of this year, he organized and directed a site visit to his campus that entailed scheduling educational programs as well as leading an in-depth tour of the grounds program at the university. This event drew more than 60 grounds professionals from across the country to the East Lansing community where they spent two days touring the campus. The attendees, and especially Jackson, were awe-struck at the workmanship and leadership Dobbs brings to his grounds program. “He is truly an exceptional grounds professional. His leadership, dedication and commitment to sustainability serve as an example for what professionals in landscape services should strive to be,” Jackson said.

The 2011-2012 Board of Directors was elected and installed as part of the dinner as well. Don Bottger, CGM of General Growth Properties in Chula Vista, Calif., was elected and installed as the new president of PGMS. The 90th grounds management professional to hold the office, Bottger succeeds Jackson as the chief elected officer of the 100-year-old green industry organization.

In addition to Bottger, PGMS members elected John Van Etten, CGM of Hoffman Landscape & Design in Scotia, N.Y., as their president-elect. Walter Bonvell, CGM of Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, was elected vice president and John Burns, CGM of the University of Texas at Austin, was elected as secretary/treasurer.

The regional directors are as follows: North East Regional Director, John Doiron of Concord Hospital in Concord, N.H.; North Central Regional Director, Dennis Baker of Harrison, Ohio; North West Regional Director, Gerald Landby of Carroll College in Helena, Mont.; South East Regional Director, Marion Bolick, CGM of Lexington Medical Center in West Columbia, S.C.; South Central Regional Director, Joe Payne, CGM of the City of Springfield in Missouri; and South West Regional Director, Ron Hostick, CSFM of San Diego State University.

Directors at Large include: Diana Bramble Rudolph of Baltimore, Md.; Mark Feist of American University in Washington, D.C.; and Gerry Dobbs, CGM of Michigan State University East Lansing, Mich.

Thomas C. Shaner, a certified association executive, continues to serve the Board as PGMS Executive Director and Kelly Mesaris continues to serve as the associate director. PGMS leaders are already at work planning the 2012 School of Grounds Management and GIE+EXPO which will take place in Louisville, Ky., Oct. 24-27, 2012.