Customer Spotlight - Jason Stewart
- Tell us a little bit about yourself – name, business, job title, etc
Brickyard Crossing Golf Superintendent, Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Bachelor’s Degree, Turf Science: Purdue University
Married to grade-school sweetheart and proud father of three
- How long have you been in this industry & who influenced you to get into it?
This year is my 20thseason at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway/Brickyard Crossing, as well as my 20thyear in the industry.
Unbeknownst to me at the time, my parents’ discipline consequences were among my greatest influences. When my dad was trying to instill accountability and consequential outcomes, he would often send me to do work in the yard, as well as neighborhood landscaping. Unfortunately for my parents, I habitually misbehaved, and it became second nature for me to work outside and in green spaces. Much to their disappointment, the impact of their discipline dissipated because I began to seek opportunities to work outside for pleasure.
Although I truly enjoyed being outside, I never considered a career in the golf industry until one day, while working part-time in the Soils Laboratoryat Purdue. I noticed a recruiting poster for the Turf Science program that had a photograph of two men, kneeling on an oceanside green, surrounded by palm trees. To be honest, that was the defining moment for me. I didn’t care what defined Turf Science or what I needed to do to get there, I just knew THAT was what I wanted to do. The rest of my journey is history.
- What is your opinion of the industry today? How has it changed since you started?
I believe the advancements in research and technology have allowed us more time away from the office, resulting in more time on the course: primarily, the progress in irrigation technology and programming. Much of this job entails not only irrigating the golf course each evening, but the entire IMS grounds (approximately 5,000 individual irrigation heads). 10 years ago, I would have needed to be at my office computer, behind the desk, adjusting and ensuring downloads and communications were executing properly. Now, I can program remotely from any location, any time of the day, while monitoring the real timestatus of our pumps.
- What is the most rewarding part of this job? What is the most challenging part?
Building a team and creating a strong culture is hands-down, the most rewarding part of my job. Balancing the continued study of agronomics, politics, budgeting and professional/personal life can be challenging at times: however, if you haven’t defined culture for your staff to collectively execute vision, success is unlikely. With a diverse staff of over 40 employees, cohesive and collaborative vision is critical.
I find the most job satisfaction in this process, because the outcome is highly effective...a unified system of many working together for the same outcome.
- For you, what do you consider your biggest accomplishment? (Can be in your job or in your life)
My presence as a husband, father and mentor is my greatest accomplishment. I have made several mistakes along the way, but I caught a few breaks and always had guidance from cohorts, mentors and family to reset my compass when I was off track.
- With all the choices for suppliers in this industry, why do you do business with Tenbarge?
Tenbarge has consistently been a company in which I can depend on honest, reliable and knowledgeable professional partnerships. Over the years, I have built sound relationships with the owners, management and sales team. This synergy has become an integral part of the success of the course. Tenbarge is highly efficient in their knowledge, accessibility and dependability which are three attributes that are critical in business partnerships within the golf course industry. Every exchange is consistent: positive, productive and solution-oriented. Truly, the best in the business.