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Syngenta Business Institute a Hit with Supers Again

By |  December 20, 2012

When 25 superintendents from around the country arrived at Wake Forest University for the 4th Annual Syngenta Business Institute, they had no idea just how much they’d get it out of it.

“It was a great opportunity to get a different type of education than we normally get,” said Chris Hayman, superintendent at Rancho Bernardo Inn in San Diego, Calif. “We do an annual crew training event, so I wanted to bring some of these tips and tools back to share with my peers and hopefully become a better manager. I got much more out of it than I expected.”

At the Institute, an annual three-day conference intended to educate superintendents who have exceptional leadership skills, Wake Forest professors shared their most valuable advice on financial management, communication, delegation and more.

“It is a great event that helps superintendents become educated and expand their skill sets,” explained Syngenta Golf Market Manager Stephanie Schwenke. “It enables a group of leaders to come together, interact and learn about each other’s daily practices, how they’re using technology and how they’re handling their own employees.”

The superintendents were fully engaged as Wake Forest professors led them in discussions and team building exercises throughout the three days, empowering them with knowledge they can now apply on the job every day.

Event highlights included the finance discussion led by Ken Middaugh II, associate professor of management in Wake Forest’s Schools of Business, Sherry Moss’s advice on giving effective feedback, Bill Davis’s tips on communicating effectively and the social media discussion led by consultant Steve Drake, who stressed that Generation Y is setting the pace for how superintendents communicate today — electronically. “Today, word of mouth is really word of mouse,” he said, adding that 61 percent of core golfers use smart phones and book tee times through mobile devices.

“One of my favorite parts was learning about the employee leadership and management side,” said Andrew Jorgensen, superintendent at On Top of the World Communities, Ocala, Fla. “I felt that part was something we deal with every day, so we’re able to learn and grow just based on setting the performance expectations of our employees and holding them accountable.”

Hayman summed up best what all attendees observed about this year’s Syngenta Business Institute when he said, “This has a rigorous education agenda that goes all day long. It’s the kind of education we need, and I’m very grateful to get it.”


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About the Author: Seth Jones

Seth Jones, a 18-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

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