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Educational Speakers

Discover our exciting line up of speakers for Turf Days™ 2023 who will share their

industry insights and experiences.

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David Mason

Superintendent - Brisbane Golf Club

After starting his Greenkeeping Apprenticeship at The Metropolitan Golf Club on Melbourne’s Sandbelt, David has spent 28 years in the industry. 18 of these years have been as a Course Superintendent at a variety of different golf courses, from coastal style to parkland, specialising in couch fairways and bentgrass greens. He commenced as Course Superintendent at The Brisbane Golf Club in March 2022. The first couple of months of this new role saw him having to manage multiple flood events and their effect on turfgrass. He is now enjoying the challenge of learning to manage warm-season couch grass greens and a variety of weeds, pests and diseases not seen further south.

Leo Barber

General Manager - Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club

With over 30 years’ experience in the golf industry, Leo first entered as an 18-year-old undertaking an apprenticeship in turf management at the now defunct Whitby Golf Club near Wellington, New Zealand. Upon attaining his qualification Leo packed a suitcase for Australia where he successfully gained employment with the famed Royal Melbourne Golf Club – a career highlight being preparing the course for the 1998 Presidents Cup. Following a period of travel, he settled back in New Zealand where he firstly held the assistant’s role at Auckland’s North Shore Golf Club and then his first Superintendent position with the Mount Maunganui Golf Club. In 2006 Leo was appointed just the fourth superintendent at the Alex Russell designed Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club, a position he still holds today, however, added to his responsibilities in 2008 was the general manager’s duties in a dual role which has given him a unique insight into both sides of the business.  

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Troy Jordan

Arena Manager - Marvel Stadium

Troy’s career started in 2003 at a private school in Melbourne’ inner east working on sport fields and cricket wickets, where he completed his apprenticeship. Not long after completing his apprenticeship he moved to the Hawthorn Football Club where he was the Head groundsman at their training base for 2 years. After his time at Hawthorn he moved to Etihad Stadium (former name of Marvel Stadium) in 2008 for a further 3 years where he learnt the intricacies of growing grass in high shade/high usage environments. In 2011, Troy made a move overseas when appointed as Head Turf Manager at New Zealand’s Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin to lead the team in preparations for hosting Rugby World Cup events. Troy’s experience in managing facilities for large scale international events resulted in being appointed as a turf management consultant for the 2014 FIFA World Cup held in Brazil. He was based in São Paulo for the duration where he oversaw the main stadium which hosted six matches including the semi final along with numerous training venues. At the conclusion of the World Cup, Troy returned home to Melbourne where he took on the position of Arena Manager at Marvel Stadium for the AFL in 2015; a position that has seen the team host a number of sporting events in addition to busy AFL schedule, including BBL Twenty20 cricket matches, Melbourne Victory soccer home matches, rugby league & union matches, as well as special events and concerts including Coldplay, Foo fighters, Ed Sheehan and AC/DC, just to name a few.

Chris Gribben

Sports Surfaces Solutions Advisor / Agronomist

Chris is an accomplished agronomist who joined NZSTI in 2006. He leads NZSTI’s services in the upper South Island where he services councils, golf and bowling clubs. 

Chris also leads NZSTI’s agrichemical and safety training as an accredited Growsafe trainer and Certified Handlers test certifier. He is an essential member of the NZSTI teaching team, teaching numerous courses each year and contributing to the development and redevelopment of teaching, learning and assessment materials.   

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Mark McNeil

Scientist - AgResearch

Mark McNeill is a scientist at the New Zealand crown research institute AgResearch Ltd. With a background in entomology, Mark has over 30 years’ experience in working on insect biology and pest management,
plant-insect-multitrophic interactions, biocontrol and plant biosecurity. This has targeted pests such as Argentine stem weevil, New Zealand grass grub, red headed pasture cockchafer and clover root weevil. Research has covered both laboratory and field studies to understand insect behaviour and biology, integration of pest management strategies, and tri-trophic interactions between insect pests, their host plants and biocontrol agents.

Nadeem Zreikat

Director - Colin Campbell (Chemicals)

Nadeem is a director and part owner of Colin Campbell (Chemicals) for the past 23 years. A proudly Australian company involved in turf and horticulture markets in Australia with expansion into New Zealand with PoaCure soon. Nadeem studied for an Economics and Marketing degree at Macquarie University before going on to complete his Masters at UWS.  He has put considerable time and effort into developing an extensive knowledge in turf agronomy. With expertise in turf disease, weeds (especially poa) and insects. Nadeem’s key area of interest is in providing management solutions for highly maintained turf areas.  Nadeem regularly attends conferences and seminars to learn the latest methods and research to help turf managers achieve their goals. Nadeem also recently started a podcast for the turf industry called “Behind The Turf ”to bring expert knowledge to Australian and New Zealand turf managers. 

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Will Bowden

Manager - New Zealand Turf Management Solutions

Will has been involved in the sport and recreational sector for over 25 years, having studied and worked in various settings and countries including the UK, US, and New Zealand. Will has always maintained a keen passion in developing his agronomy expertise with a desire to enhance the environmental management of sports turf surfaces and systems. Whilst understanding the unique demands of sports surfaces and how these are expected to perform in both community and elite facility environments. Will has been a turfgrass agronomist and sports surface designer for over a decade. In 2019 he established NZTMS as independent turf advisory business that focuses on offering clients sustainably driven solutions to their sports surface issues. In this session Will shares some of the key learnings that have formed the basis of sustainable design within NZTMS and in particular relating to the use of water and soil moisture management in sportsfield profiles.

Andy Wood

Superintendent - Kauri Cliffs

Andy has over 35 years’ experience in the turf industry and has a variety of knowledge gained from working and visiting top 100 golf courses all around the world. During his career he has been involved in a wide range of golf course construction projects working alongside world renowned architects such as Jack Nicklaus, Ron Kirby, Rees Jones, Tom Doak and David Harman. Andy oversaw the construction and “grow in” of both Kauri Cliffs and Cape Kidnappers golf courses on behalf of the Robertson family. Both courses are currently ranked in Golf Digest 2022-2023 World’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses with Kauri Cliffs ranked at #26 and Cape Kidnappers ranked at # 21.
Andy's recent recognition for his contribution towards the turf industry include being the recipient of the New Zealand Golf Course Superintendents Environmental Award in 2015 and the Australian Claude Crockford Environmental Award in 2016. He was also awarded the Excellence Award by the New Zealand Superintendents Association in 2016 for excellence in the industry. 

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Dr. Richard Gibbs

Senior Project Manager - Christchurch City Council

Richard has spent the last 37 years working as a research scientist, educator, project manager and consultant, specialising in the planning, design, construction and management of natural and artificial sports and amenity turf surfaces. After completing his PhD at Lincoln University in 1986, he gained a position in Aberystwyth working with two of the British pioneers of sports turf research, Drs Vic Stewart and Bill Adams. He then returned to NZ to work for the Sports Turf Institute in Palmerston North. Here he wrote many of the unit standards and study guides for the then Sports Turf ITO (now part of the Primary ITO). Following 12 years at NZSTI, Richard moved to Auckland to establish Sports Surface Design & Management (SSDM) as a dedicated consultancy division of Recreational Services Ltd. The pinnacle of his work here up until 2012 was the opportunity to work with the Project Delivery Team responsible for the design and construction of the Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin. In 2012, Richard was recruited by STRI in the UK to take over the leadership of STRI’s Sports Surface Design department. His position included being the principal point of contact for FIFA and UEFA tournament and competitions related work, culminating in project managing STRI’s consultant input into the delivery of the stadium and training pitches for the FIFA 2018 Football World Cup in Russia. Richard has now come full circle and works as a Senior Project Manager for Christchurch City Council. The principal driver for this appointment was to work as the turf verifier for the new Canterbury Multi-Use Arena. The role has also included project managing the redevelopment of Lancaster Park, the Council’s capital sports turf projects and programmes for the city’s high performance and community facilities.

Ian Mckendry

Head of Turf Management - New Zealand Cricket

Ian has worked in various sectors of the turf industry across the globe in Turf Management, Agronomy and Business Management roles for the past 30 + years.


Currently working for New Zealand Cricket in the Venues, Facilities and Events Unit as Head of Turf Management since 2010


Ian’s core role is to support the preparation and delivery of cricket pitches for International and First Class cricket across New Zealand venues.

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Dr. Phillip Ford

Consultant in Turf Management - Turfgrass Agronomy


Degree in Agricultural Science (University of Melbourne, 1979).


Masters degree in Turf Management (University of Sydney, 2005): Thesis title: ET rates, Crop Factors and canopy temperatures of common turfgrasses during soil moisture depletion in Melbourne’s summer conditions.


Doctor of Philosophy (University of Ballarat, 2013): Thesis title: An investigation into the agronomic factors affecting sustainability, surface hardness and rotational traction on community-level football grounds during drought conditions.



Ford, P.G. and Twomey, D.M. (2013): Peak torque and rotational stiffness of Bermudagrass, Perennial Ryegrass, Kentucky Bluegrass and Tall Fescue. Intl.Turfgrass Soc. Res. J. 12:625-631.


Ford, P.G. and Twomey, D.M. (2014): Moderating surface hardness and rotational traction of natural turf community-level football fields in drought. Proceedings of 3rd International Symposium on Turfgrass Management & Science for Sports Fields, Int. Hort. Society (Brisbane, 2014).

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