Green people: Professor is first woman to win turfgrass award

The Golf Course Superintendent Association of America (GCSAA) has named Patricia Vittum, associate dean of the Stockbridge School of Agriculture at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, a 2017 recipient of its Col. John Morley Distinguished Service Award. She is the first woman to receive the honor in the GCSAA’s history.

The award recognizes an individual who has made an outstanding and significant contribution in both substance and duration to the advancement of the golf course superintendent’s profession. It was first presented in 1932 and has been presented annually since 1975.

Pat VittumPat Vittum

Vittum and two other honorees will be formally recognized at the 2017 Golf Industry Show (GIS) in Orlando in February.

Vittum has conducted significant research on the biology and management of turfgrass insects, especially the bluegrass weevil, and on the effectiveness of biological control methods. An 11-year GCSAA member, she has been an instructor at GIS since 1988 and has traveled worldwide to share her expertise with other turfgrass managers.

She says of the honor, “I wasn’t expecting this. This one really snuck up on me. When I look at the list of winners, it reads like a ‘Who’s Who’ of golf course management. I am humbled to have my name added to the list.”

Wes Autio, director of the Stockbridge School and Vittum’s colleague for 30 years, says, “This honor could not have gone to a more deserving and hard-working turf professional.”

A native of western New York, she studied at Cornell University, where she earned a Ph.D. in entomology in 1980 before joining the UMass Amherst faculty the same year. Vittum currently teaches classes on the use of pesticides and turfgrass management.

Toro names vice president of Sitework Systems Business

The Toro Co. has named Rick Rodier vice president of the company’s Sitework Systems Business. He previously served as general manager of the segment.

In his new position, Rodier will continue to manage the day-to-day operations of the Sitework Systems Business, in addition to taking a more active role in strategic planning for Toro as part of the executive management team.

Rick RodierRick Rodier

“Rick continues to be an excellent leader with the Sitework business, and we are excited to recognize him in this expanded opportunity,” says Rick Olson, president and CEO of Toro. “Rick’s knowledge of the construction and rental markets has been key to Toro’s success and beneficial to the industry as a whole.”

Rodier has been with Toro since 1987 and has held a variety of operational, marketing and business management roles. He was named general manager of Toro’s Landscape Contractor Business in 2004 and then appointed to head up Toro’s new Sitework Systems Business in 2009.

Earlier this year, Rodier was named the 2017 chairperson for the International Construction and Utility Equipment Exposition (ICUEE), and also serves as a director on the Construction Equipment (CE) Sector Board of AEM.

Rodier holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and economics from Hamline University and an MBA from the University of St. Thomas.

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