Matt Foster, former superintendent, now Aquatrols CEO, promises renewed effort in R&D

By |  May 23, 2017 0 Comments

In May, Aquatrols promoted Matt Foster from chief operating officer to president and CEO. His new role follows a transition period during which longtime President Tracy Jarman and Director of Sales Andy Moore have been shifting from operational duties to help guide strategy as Directors on Aquatrols’ Executive Board.

To get a better idea about the changes at the company, Seth Jones talked with Foster about Aquatrols’ new direction, new strategy and more.


Matt Foster

Golfdom: Congratulations on being named CEO of Aquatrols.

Foster: It’s humbling and an honor. It’s a 62-year-old company with a great reputation… to be candid; it’s a lot of fun.

Golfdom: You started out as a golf course superintendent…

Foster: I started off early in my career as a superintendent at Timberton GC in south Mississippi. That was from 97-01.

Golfdom: Where did you go when you left that job?

Foster: Then I got into the supply side of the business, it is now Winfield Solutions, formerly Agriliance and Pro Source One.

Golfdom: Do you ever miss your days of maintaining turfgrass?

Foster: I miss manipulating a putting surface, no question about that. There have been times in my career I missed the camaraderie, the crew, coffee and set-up in the morning… But I’m fortunate to have a lot of that camaraderie with the people I work with today. I still think being a superintendent is one of the most rewarding, and at the same time thankless jobs, that is out there. That’s why I think I feel so much for our customer.

Golfdom: Was there anything specifically that excited you about the new position?

Foster: I spent 7 years at FMC. Experienced a tremendously entrepreneurial environment. I really got a taste for it — the idea of creating, and fighting for projects, creating something from an idea. And the opportunity to come here and do some of those same things is what really attracted me to Aquatrols. I told my wife a few years ago, that an opportunity like this would be the only thing that could take me from FMC.

Golfdom: We’ve heard that there are new changes you plan to bring to Aquatrols, including a renewed effort in research and development. What can you tell our readers about that?

RevolutionFoster: We have experienced tremendous success with some of our flagship brands, such as Revolution and 1690 or Dispatch. But our pipeline needs some invigoration. We are redoubling our efforts to do that. We are investing heavily into R&D, people and equipment. Most recently we’ve secured 10 acres for a research farm 15 miles southeast of our office.

Golfdom: What’s the plan for the research farm?

Foster: Mostly a farm for proof-of-concept trials and early stage development. I would expect it to be accessible for customers. We will be trialing both turf and agriculture projects on that site. 10 acres for research, that’s a formidable piece of land. We should be luxuriating in space out there.

Golfdom: : Aquatrols does more than just golf. But with your background, do you plan on keeping a special eye on golf? Is the farming aspect as exciting to you?

Foster: That’s a fair question, because when people hear my background — about half of it is in ag, half is non-crop, the turf and ornamental or golf — that question comes up a lot. I have such a passion for the green industry, period. Growing up in Nebraska, I’m as comfortable around corn and soybeans as I am on a golf course, but I can’t play 18 holes in a cornfield. So I really do have a passion for the golf space. That will continue to be the flagship business for Aquatrols, there is no question about it.

Golfdom: Everyone in our industry knows Aquatrols well… anything we don’t know?

Foster: Bob Moore is effectively the gentlemen who invented the space we’re in today. We’re not going to get away from our roots, no pun intended. To the contrary, we’re going to take the 60-plus years of experience and research to expand our business.

Golfdom: R&D, how long until we see new technologies?

Aquatrols-logo-finalFoster: Right now, we have in varying stages, about 8 projects that are past the proof of concept stage. We have launch years scheduled from late 2018 into early 2021 at this point.

Golfdom: Have you been traveling much, meeting with customers?

Foster: I have, it’s something that I take a lot of pride in. I’ve been communicating to my management team… getting out in the industry, getting in front of customers, getting in front of trade associations, etc., is very important. I just attended the UMass Turf Alumni outing outside Amherst this past Monday, it was great to be around that group.

Golfdom: Any unexpected notes, feedback or advice from the industry?

Foster: No, I don’t think I got anything terribly unexpected… I did get a lot of heartfelt congratulations and well wishes. The day prior to the press release we had an internal meeting. Some of the most heartfelt remarks came from Tracy (Jarman) and Andy (Moore), who were second generation owners. That was incredibly important and valuable to me to get their support. After all, this is their legacy they are choosing to entrust to me.

This is posted in Columns, People

About the Author: Seth Jones

Seth Jones, a 25-year veteran of the golf industry media, is Editor-in-Chief of Golfdom magazine and Athletic Turf. A graduate of the University of Kansas School of Journalism and Mass Communications, Jones began working for Golf Course Management in 1999 as an intern. In his professional career he has won numerous awards, including a Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA) first place general feature writing award for his profile of World Golf Hall of Famer Greg Norman and a TOCA first place photography award for his work covering the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In his career, Jones has accumulated an impressive list of interviews, including such names as George H.W. Bush, Samuel L. Jackson, Lance Armstrong and Charles Barkley. Jones has also done in-depth interviews with such golfing luminaries as Norman, Gary Player, Nick Price and Lorena Ochoa, to name only a few. Jones is a member of both the Golf Writers Association of America and the Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association. Jones can be reached at

Post a Comment