EGR Awards Case Study

Michael A. Stachowski, Golf Course of Concordia, New Jersey

Michael A. Stachowski became the Government Relations Liaison for the Golf Course Superintendents Association of New Jersey in 1999. He was appointed following the drought that New Jersey experienced that year, and was instrumental in forming the Alliance for Water Conservation (AWC). The AWC is a group of green industry representatives that have worked together in New Jersey to gain reasonable restrictions during times of drought.

In 2002, New Jersey experienced another drought. The restrictions that were enforced by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection were not conducive for growing and maintaining turf grass for golf courses. As a response, Stachowski and the AWC crafted a document entitled “Drought Management Strategies” that was presented to the NJDEP. After 12 Administrative Orders and countless meetings with the NJDEP, golf courses were granted substantial relief from the original restrictions that were imposed at the beginning of the drought. This gave golf courses the ability to maintain their facilities at the levels that are expected by the golfing public.

Subsequently, the AWC started to host activities that are aimed at providing its members the opportunity to voice their concerns through one on one personal time with New Jersey Legislators. They started an annual “Day on the Hill” where as a group, they would gather in Trenton to tour the State House and meet with key legislators about their issues. Secondly, they have also helped with an industry-wide fundraiser for a State Assemblyman that hopefully will become an annual event. Stachowski has also represented the AWC at various fundraisers to emphasize the goals of the AWC to key legislators.

Recently, the legislators of New Jersey sought to revise the state’s water supply master plan. As a result, the AWC pushed to add two seats to the state appointed Water Supply Advisory Council. In the fall of 2004, the AWC crafted legislation and found a sponsor in both the Assembly and Senate to introduce this bill. The bill (A2196) was passed by the Assembly on 12/13/04. The bill had its second reading in June of 2005 and was approved this year on 01/11/06. Through the efforts of the AWC and Stachowski, this bill states that one of the members of the Water Supply Advisory Council is to be a member of GCSANJ, giving golf course superintendent’s a voice in guiding future legislation regarding water use in the State of New Jersey.

Stachowski’s work with the AWC has kept the concerns of golf superintendents in the forefront with state agencies and legislators in regards to drought and water management. In taking this proactive approach, the members of GCSANJ should have an easier time in managing their facilities when the next drought affects New Jersey.

Stachowski has also served on the Board of Directors for The Alliance for Environmental Concern for the past six years. The AEC is an advocate for green industry businesses that uses science-based approach to environmental regulation in the state of New Jersey.

Working with the AEC, he has been able to meet with legislators to amend bills that could inadvertently affect the industry. With the help of a contract lobbyist, they have had the opportunity to better express the views and concerns of the green industry. To date, the AEC has had substantial input on ten assorted bills from both the Assembly and Senate side of the State House that would have had a negative effect on the industry.

Stachowski has proven to be a dedicated and outstanding advocate for golf course superintendents in New Jersey. His accomplishments in the arena of government relations in New Jersey have provided the opportunity for golf course superintendents to remain engaged in legislative efforts. He is considered a leading advocate in the green industry of New Jersey for guiding the legislative issues that will have a positive impact on our profession for years to come.