Tell us a bit about your role as Technical Support Manager at Bayer:
I’ve been with Bayer for eight and a half years. My role can be split into a few different elements, from carrying out trial work with new Bayer products to liaising with customers, answering their questions and also sharing up to date information with our account managers on the products in development, to share with our distributors.
Why did you join Bayer?
I got to the point where it was the obvious next step to take. My background has always been in turf management – starting as an assistant greenkeeper and progressing to a head greenkeeper. At the age of 30 I decided to become better qualified, giving up greenkeeping and starting as a mature student. Following that, the job at Bayer seemed like the most obvious next step for me.
Tell us about going back into education:
I started in further education at Writtle College, gaining my Bachelor’s Degree in Landscape and Amenity Management. I then started at Cranfield University, where I completed my Masters in Sports Surface Technology. This covered all the facets of turf management from the engineering side with irrigation and machinery maintenance to soil science, plant pathology, drainage and chemistry.
I then went on to complete a four-year Engineering Doctorate, sponsored by the Jockey Club, which focused on improving ground conditions on racecourses. I also did an MBA at Cranfield to enhance my knowledge of the business side to our industry.
After finishing these I got some overseas research experience at the New Zealand Sports Turf Institute. On returning to the UK, I worked with artificial sports surfaces but then the vacancy at Bayer became available, which was something new, but it reinforced my qualifications and experience I’d acquired until that point.
Is there a particular area of turf management that you prefer?
My knowledge in turf management is well rounded, so I don’t tend to focus on one specific topic but soil science has formed a big part of my education. I prefer turf management as a whole though, and I’m happy to not be a specialist in only one particular area.
What’s the best thing about your job?
The best thing about my job is variety – I’m always working on lots of different things and am often out and about, across the country and overseas. I’m connecting with end users, undertaking research projects and trials, liaising with customers, speaking at trade shows and so on. So, it’s varied and it’s this variety that enthuses me to carry out my work.
Listen to the man himself here, as he takes on our turf weed, pest and disease questions.