Wednesday, November 11, 2020

November update- Annual Meeting goes Virtual; New Scholarship Award

Happy Masters week everyone!! After enjoying some incredible weather over the past week, at least the return to cooler temps coincides with the Masters.  I'll enjoy watching guilt-free, with many of my outdoor choirs completed last week. 

A couple quick updates. We sent out the notice for the Annual Meeting and the annual election ballots.  The board developed plans for both in-person and virtual formats of the meeting.  With the rise in Covid cases around the state and changes to meeting sizes, we made the decision to hold the virtual version of Annual Meeting.  The Annual Meeting will be held December 7 at 9:00 AM. There is no charge for this meeting.  Please register here: 2020 Annual Meeting 

The meeting will feature an education segment from Mike McClellan of the Mobile Weather Team, an update from CIGCSA, scholarship award announcements, and the election.  We plan to keep each segment under 30 minutes and total time under 3 hours.  It can be hard to stay focused on virtual meetings and we hope we've found a format that keeps your interests. 

We are partnering with GCSAA to help facilitate this meeting.  GCSAA did a great job holding a virtual version of the Chapter Delegates meeting in late October. A few items discussed were: changes to Certification Program, a dues increase, and the Virtual GIS.  The delegates also heard from the candidates for the 2021 Board of Directors.  This years candidates were an impressive group and GCSAA continues to raise the bar year after year.  We will provide more details on the Delegates meeting at the Annual Meeting.

As mentioned above, scholarship awards will be announced at the Annual Meeting on Dec 7.  There has been a couple emails sent with the application forms.  We will be awarding two traditional awards, similar to years past, and also a new award geared towards providing opportunities for continued education in turf sciences.  Please take a close look at these awards and provide the information to anyone you feel may qualify.  If you are unsure of meeting qualification requirements please reach out to any board member and we will help.  For full application requirements and links to applications please click on this link:  

Thanks for reading!

Travis Williams, CGCS

2020 CIGCSA President

Monday, September 28, 2020

Sept Update

The board met last week to continue planning for the fall.  We received several responses to the survey asking for guidance on a October golf event and the Annual Meeting format.  Many people responded they would be interested in attending a golf event.  We are excited to announce we are headed to Champaign Country Club on Monday Oct 26.  We will have more details over the next couple weeks.  Please save the date on your calendars and join us for golf!!!

We also had positive response to hosting an Annual Meeting.  The vast majority were in favor of having an in-person gathering if possible.  We are working through several scenarios and at this time plan to host the meeting in-person.  Many things can and may change before Dec 7 and we will be prepared with options to meet the needs of our members, but also keep everyone as safe as possible. 

Annual elections will take place at the Annual Meeting. The nomination committee is requesting a call for nominations.  If you are interested in serving on the Board, please reach out to Bryan.  It is a very rewarding process and provides valuable experience and networking opportunities.  

We also finalized and approved the scholarship award application.  We will be offering two traditional scholarships and a new offering for continuing education for a CIGCSA member.  The continuing education award is geared towards people within our profession that want to enroll or continue their formal education in Turf Sciences.  

At the national level, both the Chapter Delegates and Golf Industry Show will be virtual events this year.  Chapter Delegates will meet October 20 and 21st.  Because the meeting is being held virtually, GCSAA invited two members from each chapter to attend.  This is a good opportunity for our chapter and Dan and I will represent CIGCSA.

Remember to keep October 26 and Dec 7 open on your calendars and join us at our events.  Thanks for taking the time to read our update.  Stay safe!

Travis Williams, CGCS

2020 CIGCSA Board President

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

AUG BOD Summary

Business continues to be slow due to the COVID pandemic.  The bright spot of the summer was the match-play championship.  We have had several participants sharing that they enjoyed the matches. Good luck to those still alive in the tournament!

We had hoped to squeeze in the Scholarship Fundraiser at the end of the 2020 calendar, but there isn't any indication that we can gather as a large group and hold an auction.  We've tried the online version of the auction before and it didn't pan out very well.  Fortunately, the fund account has been well supported and is self sufficient, which will allow us to still offer the scholarship awards this fall/winter.  We will regroup and plan for a 2021 fundraiser sometime in May of next year.

We have heard from members asking about the possibility of gathering for a golf event this fall.  Our intention is to provide a brief survey this month to gauge overall interest in a fall golf event.  This survey will also include a few questions about the Annual Meeting scheduled for the first part of December.  We are currently developing plans, procedures, and safety protocols for several different Annual Meeting scenarios. Your participation in the survey will really help us understand the best direction to move this fall and winter.  

Days are getting shorter and the nights cooler.  The 2021 agronomy calendar begins.  I am excited for any indication that we can put 2020 behind us.  Keep grinding guys!  

Thanks for reading,

Travis Williams, CGCS

Friday, July 31, 2020

July BOD recap and updates

The Board of Director's met on Monday via Zoom to catch up on chapter business.  The central topic of the meeting was how to proceed in the midst of the COVID pandemic.  We continue to monitor the situation and try our best to make the best decisions with the information we currently have. I'll be honest, there were a few times even the board seemed to talk in circles or contradict a previous feeling of how to proceed.  Many decisions are instinct driven right now, because none of us have any experience to fall back on the guide us through this time. We thank you for your patience this year. 

We have highlighted a few PRP members through social media and will complete our last two Platinum members in August.  We will turn to our Gold and Silver members beginning in September.  It is important to highlight our 2020 PRP sponsors, because these companies have continued their commitment to supporting local associations during a very difficult time. They also aren't receiving the same recognition at events and meetings, so I encourage you to support these PRP sponsors when making purchases. They need your support more than ever, just as we appreciate their support more than ever. Here is a link to our PRP list: 2020 PRP

From the event-side, we discussed our current match play Chapter Championship.  Many of the first round matches have been completed and we have received positive feedback from the participants.  The bracket should be completed towards the end of August and we may be able to provide a invite to all members  to support the championship matches. More information will follow if this can become a reality.

Financially we are seeing effects of COVID.  Our membership numbers are down as well as our PRP participation.  We have been able to reduce expenses and currently sit at break even for the year.  We have sufficient reserves in the account at this time.  A cushion of revenue would help carry us through this tough year and it's not too late to join/ re-join for 2020.  We recognize that we aren't providing the normal return for membership dollars, but we still hope we can have an event or education opportunity at some point in 2020. More than ever, support is needed to help CIGCSA maintain its mission to provide members the opportunity to excel professionally and enhance the art and science of turfgrass management.  

Finally, Shane Conroy of GCSAA joined to give us an update from the national perspective.  GCSAA has done a great job communicating through email, website, virtual town-halls, and directly to our BOD during this turbulent time.  Look for that communication to continue as they monitor the evolving situation headed into the fall and winter.  Obviously, national events such as the Chapter Delegates' meeting and GIS are coming into view and Shane and GCSAA are on top of it as always,.    

Thanks for reading,
  Travis Williams, Board President CIGCSA

Thursday, May 14, 2020

May BOD recap and summer golf event

The Board of Director's met yesterday via Zoom to discuss chapter business.  I am proud of the board for being creative despite the current restrictions brought on by Covid-19.  It is obvious to me that we all want to represent our industry, CIGCSA, and our colleagues the best that we can during this difficult time. We continue to monitor the situation as it evolves and will make adjustments to the summer schedule as needed.

In the meeting, we developed a few new initiatives.  First, we will be highlighting our PRP members over our social media accounts and this blog.  Our plan is to start with our Platinum members and provide an overview of both their company and personal bios. We appreciate their partnership, especially during these hard times. Thanks to those Platinum PRP members that have provided information to Bryan.  We will send more email request to our Gold and Silver PRPs in the next couple weeks.

Secondly, we continue to have doubts about being able to gather in a group and hold our traditional meetings.  In a best case scenario, it could be August or September before large groups gather.  With that, we have develop a plan to offer golf opportunities for our members. We will be creating a new tournament for our members based on geography.  We envision 4 geographic regions: Springfield, Champaign, Peoria, and Bloomington.  Members of any classification will be grouped into one of  these regions and play two-some matches ultimately resulting in a regional champion. The 4 regional champions will play a final 4 event towards the end of the summer on a scheduled day at a single course.  Our thought is for these regional and final 4 matches to be carried out over several months.  Bryan will organize the pairings based on interest and develop a tournament bracket.  Each region will have a tournament coordinator from the Board.  It will be up to the two members scheduled to play a match to setup a time day, and course that works best for them. Our hope is to have the association pay the golf courses for the rounds.  We certainly don't want to impose during a difficult financial time for golf courses, nor put the responsibility on our members to pay their way.  Bryan will work with the golf courses directly or reimburse members for the cost of the golf.

We have a few more details to work through, but wanted to share this plan. Email Bryan if you have interest in participating. The regional coordinators will also be asking members in their area if they would like to participate.  Finally, we are sensitive to the unique circumstances of each member and the hardships they may be facing in providing membership dues during a time of reduced revenues.  With that, we will view eligibility into this tournament based on 2019 and 2020 membership classifications. In other words, if you were a member in 2019, but haven't been able to renew yet for 2020, we still welcome you to participate.

Thanks for reading,
  Travis Williams, Board President CIGCSA

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

April BOD Meeting & Check-in

COVID-19...we have been at this for over a month and what lies ahead is still uncertain.  My thoughts are with everyone during these unprecedented times.  There are so many unique situations in our industry and I encourage any of you to reach out to me or other CIGCSA members if you need anything. .

We met as a board via Zoom to continue with plans for CIGCSA in 2020.  It is hard to predict the future, but we are doing our best with the current information we have.  A few important outcomes:

  • We are extending the deadline for membership renewals until the end of May.  
  • We will make an announcement for the May Scholarship Outing as soon possible.  We are waiting for more guidance from the allied golf associations and the Governor's plans after April 30.  
As you know our April Meeting was cancelled.  I'd like to thank Brian Barnes and Oak Terrace for offering to host and our sponsors who had planned to support that event: Erb Turf, MTI and Site One.  Hopefully, we can get back there soon.  I also want to take a moment and thank all of our vendors that have continued to support us via the PRP program.  Your support is valued and I ask our members to support these partners.  We will be spotlighting each of them on social media over the next couple weeks.  Here is the reference list of this years PRPs to-date:
      Platinum- Winfield, Erb Turf, MTI, and Site One
      Gold- Helena and D & K
      Silver- Syngenta, Waupaca, PBI Gordon, Tyler Enterprises and GreensPro

Finally, I thought it would be fun to produce a video montage of our members commenting on what the closures have been like.  Here are the details:

Ideas…but improve is welcomed
  1. Why/how you are inspired by preparing the course for play
  2. What we miss…why we miss golf/golfers or preparing for golfers to play
  3. Any tongue and cheek funnies-  keep them appropriate

Video instructions 
  1. Film all of your videos landscape by turning your phone sideways before pushing record.
  2. Cell phone microphones pick up a lot of environmental noise, so try your best to pick a quiet room or place on the course that mowers or blowers aren't driving near you.
  3. After filming, go to on your phone and click “Send a file” in the middle of the page. Push the “+” button and select your video from your phone camera roll. Click Next. Click Next again to send an email. Input my email address: and your email address as the sender. Then submit. The transfer may take a few minutes depending on your Wi-Fi connection, but this allows to get the best video file rather than submitting via your personal email.
Alternative would be to use DropBox transfer.  If you are more comfortable with DropBox go ahead and try transfer with them.

For PRP vendors, if you could do the same, I would like to use them during our spotlight pieces.

Take care everyone! If you need anything please reach out to Bryan or me.  Thanks for reading.

Travis Williams, CGCS

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Orientation and Business meeting outcomes

A couple housekeeping notes:

Thanks to all that attended the GIS Happy Hour!  It was a great turnout and seemed to be a fun event for everyone.  Thanks to our sponsors of the event: MTI, Erb Turf, Burris, Winfield, SiteOne, D & K, and Waupaca!!!! Your support makes these events a success.  To our superintendent and assistant superintendent members, the PRP vendors make education, social, and golf events feasible for our group.  PLEASE support them in 2020 when making purchasing decisions.

Also, congrats again to Paul Sermersheim!  He was the recipient of our first ever GIS trip.  He took full advantage and we can't wait to hear from him about the experience! 

Board of Director's updates:

As many of you may know, Perry Green is transitioning out of Stone Creek.  Last month, he gave the Board notice that he would no longer be able to serve. Scott White accept an appointment to fill the remaining term of Perry's Secretary/Treasurer position.  Brett Oxley was appointed a Director, to fill the vacancy left by Scott's move into an officer position.  Thanks to Scott and Brett for stepping up. 

We had the good fortune to join Leann Cooper and Shane Conroy of GCSAA for a Board Orientation meeting.  Leann and Shane gave a great summary of all that is required as an affiliated chapter and an officer/director on a Board.  

    A few key takeaways were:  

  1. It is the Boards job to establish the identity of the chapter, ensure the resources are managed properly, and provide insight- practicing legal integrity.  In other words, attend business meetings and be prepared, put CICGSA Business over personal gains, and comply with all legal regulations and established By-laws.
  2. We must always remember the purpose of the association: "to advance the art and science of turfgrass management"
  3. Meet all requirements to maintain our 501c6 status with the IRS and an incorporated business in Illinois
  4. Maintain affiliation with GCSAA and keep liability coverage in good standing
  5. Continue to work towards our goals established at the Strategic Planning Session in 2019.  Here is a link to a summary of that session: 2019 Strategic Plan

Business Meeting summary:

Following the Orientation Session, we held our February business meeting. Routine business was discussed and updates given from each committee chair.  A few highlights were:
  1. PRP and membership drive is continuing, with a plan to direct call non-renewals after the March business meeting.  For PRP and membership renewal click here: CIGCSA
  2. Event Updates:
    1. The March Career Development Day is looking great! Register here: Career Development Day
    2. Our April Meeting is a joint meeting with Southern IL GCSA.  We will have Lee Miller from the Univ of Missouri before golf and a chance to watch the NCAA Championship basketball game after golf.  Book a room and make it a quick getaway before the summer grind begins!
    3. Finalized date for Scholarship: Monday May 11, 2020 at Danville CC ( a nod to James Brandt and those that started the scholarship- back to its roots)
    4. We are looking for a new sight for our Vendors' Day as Ray Actis is no longer with Lincoln Elks.  We will update a day and venue ASAP
  3. We want to engage young people to try and introduce them to the turfgrass field. 
    1. Dan Crumrine and Brett Oxley plan to host a course tour for FFA students that attend the state convention in Springfield this June.  
    2. Travis Williams and Tyler Bain are planning to host a First Green Field trip for the 2020/2021 school year.  The plan is to bring Tyler's wife's 5th grade class from Unit 5 school district in Normal, IL to Weibring Golf Club.  
    3. These two initiatives are very exciting for the Board and we hope you will consider volunteering time and resources to make them a success.
  4. Our Assistant liaison, Corey Wisher, provided an update on the committee he is forming and asked that our superintendent members encourage their assistants to participate and attend events.  We hope to host our first ever Assistants only event in 2020! SO PLEASE MAKE IT A PRIORITY TO ALLOW YOUR ASSISTANTS TO ATTEND.  They are the future of our industry!
Overall, we are developing a strong work plan for the Board in 2020.  We hope that as members you will help us by engaging and attending these events. If you plan to attend an event, please consider texting or calling a colleague to join your group or share a ride. 

Thanks for reading!