Luke Cella, CGCS, executive director of the Midwest Association of GCS (MAGCS), never dreamed that a conversation about challenges in publishing a newsletter would lead to 130 new members for the chapter. Cella had a conversation with Wes Danielewicz, executive director of the Turf Equipment Technicians Association (TETA), about the challenges TETA was having in publishing its quarterly magazine on time. Danielewicz said it was one of the hardest things for him to accomplish on a regular basis. TETA was established in the Chicago area as an organization that provides networking and education opportunities for turf equipment technicians. Many of the turf equipment technicians’ employers are Class A or Superintendent Members of the MAGCS.
After listening to the issue that TETA was facing, Cella had an idea. He proposed to the MAGCS board that a section of On Course be dedicated to TETA. (On Course is the MAGCS’ monthly publication). The content the technicians could offer would add diversity and increase the value of On Course to all members of MAGCS. Furthermore, MAGCS would be able to reach out to new advertisers (those who currently advertise with TETA and not MAGCS). And, MAGCS could add value to those advertisers that currently advertise with both organizations.
TETA’s newsletter was published quarterly and averaged 24 pages with an ad/editorial ratio of 50/50. This provided about 48 pages of editorial copy per year. Broken down monthly, it equates to four pages per month. Furthermore, On Course is typically shorter in the winter months and could benefit from a different source of editorial content during this time. And for the TETA members, winter is their busiest season. Thus, members have less time available to contribute editorial content for their own newsletter.
A bylaws change creates new opportunities
Cella took his proposal to the MAGCS board. The board embraced the idea and envisioned other opportunities. The MAGCS board could have simply allowed TETA to have editoral space in On Course, but it also wanted to offer turf equipment technicians the opportunity to become members of the MAGCS.
The chapter had a Class D membership classification for all golf course employees; however, it was cost prohibitive at $110 per year. After crunching the numbers, the board approved and set the dues at $30 for all Class D employees. This fee covers the cost of printing and postage for the magazine as well as the MAGCS directory. Furthermore, the D classification was divided into three sub categories: DT for all Technicians, DS for students and DE for all employees of golf course superintendents. The new classification system and pricing structure has allowed the membership committee the opportunity to target other groups (students, irrigation spray technicians, foremen, horticulturalists, and other key employees) previously out of reach because of the old dues structure.
Cella understands the importance of a quality equipment technician. Good equipment technicians are difficult to find, and their knowledge and training is becoming more and more valuable.
“We know that it is very important to our members to keep their golf course technicians well informed and educated. If TETA wasn’t able to continue publishing their newsletter, it would have been a loss for all,” Cella said. Cella continued, “Golf course superintendents that don’t have equipment technicians will benefit even more from the information that TETA has to share.”
Looking forward to a successful future
The new situation is a win-win for the MAGCS and TETA. It creates a greater connection and generates more networking opportunities for golf course superintendents and turf equipment technicians. One hundred fifteen technicians are now Class DT members of the MAGCS.
TETA members now receive a monthly magazine, instead of a quarterly newsletter. On Course includes editorial content for the technicians and features their own section, “Technically Speaking.” The increase in the publication’s circulation is generating only a slight increase in production costs. It will equate to more revenue for the MAGCS in the future.
Many superintendent members enjoy having their technicians as members of the MAGCS. MAGCS members realize the importance of education and networking for the turf equipment technician. As the equipment that technicians maintain becomes more complex, the value of an expert technician multiplies. MAGCS members are happy to foster the growth of their valuable employees and create a stronger turf management team.
“It helps build camaraderie between technicians, and also between the technician and the superintendent. We are all in the golf industry profession and it’s great to be under one roof,” Gary Hearn, MAGCS president, said.
Submitted by Luke Cella, CGCS.
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