Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Joe's of yesterday...

I have the opportunity to spend time with GCSAA members and great people in the industry as part of my duties as your field staff representative. One such interaction more than a year and a half ago has stuck with me, and has been thrust back to the forefront of my mind for reasons both fortunate and unfortunate. 

This particular event was the Finger Lakes Association of GCS Elmer J.Michaels Scholarship and Research Tournament. I had the pleasure of spending the day with Joe Hahn, a legend in the golf and turf industry in New York, and a true gentleman. If you were to spend some time researching Hahn’s background, you would undoubtedly be impressed. I distinctly remember a tweet I sent out stating “our industry is where it is today because of the Joes of yesterday”.

Why do I reminisce of such an event?  The GCSA of New England takes the opportunity to recognize the members who have molded their association over the years at the Chapter Championship. Recognizing each retired participant, complete with first-tee-at-Augusta style bio, is a tremendous gesture and one that is obviously appreciated by those in attendance. In addition, the golf portion of the day has a category to decide the supremacy of the retired division. I’m sure if I were to look at the Past Presidents list or Distinguished Service Award winners, many of those at the Chapter Championship would be on one list or both. 

GCSA of New England President Mark Gagne recognizes the retired members at MCC.

The overwhelming reason I wanted to write about these particular events is the recent recognition of a long-time member of the Northeastern GCSA, Mark Printsky. Printsky retired from his role as superintendent for McGregor CC in Saratoga Springs, and returned shortly after to “work” with the staff doing facilities maintenance. In all he was at McGregor CC for more than30 years. Printsky went to sleep on June 8, 2014, and never woke up. His friends, family, and colleagues held a memorial event in his honor Aug. 23, with nearly 100 in attendance. Mary Beth Printsky likened her husband’s occupation as superintendent to that of firefighters, “more like a brotherhood, not a profession.” She told the group of the love Mark shared for the chapter and all its members, and the passion for the profession that bound them all close.

Northeastern GCSA President Brian Goudey announces the adoption of a chapter scholarship in memory of Mark Printsky.

The state of the industry, and most associations, is not what it was back in the day. The superintendents charged with leading the profession at any point have had to make changes and adapt to any number of challenges. Consider recognizing them for their accomplishments before it is too late. Remember, the industry and profession is where it is today because of the dedication and hard work they all did for us yesterday.

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