Pioneers in the Field Archive

Introducing our Pioneers in the Field - Class of 2022

Groundskeepers are the silent warriors of the sports arena. When the lights are low and the stands are empty, long before the cheers and commotion commence, they take their battle to the field. When no one's looking they set the stage for tradition, community and victory.

Our third Pioneers in the Field class comes equipped with experience spanning over decades, innovations with lasting impact and qualities that serve as inspiration to us all. We are honored to present the 2022 class of turf professionals and help tell their stories. Members of this class are not only leaders in their communities but are also improving the landscape of our industry.

Sun Roesslein

Stadium Manager // North Area Athletic Complex

Mike Hebrard

Owner // Athletic Field Design

Frank Avalos

Head Maintenance Repairman // Rocky River School District

Mike Garcia

Stadium Foreman // Oklahoma City Public Schools

John Clintsman

Head of Grounds // Ensworth School

Wayne Ward

Turf and Grounds Manager // Raymond James Stadium

Introducing our Pioneers in the Field - Class of 2021

In a year that challenged us all, we are honored to commend a group of six professionals who always adapt, persevere and rise to the occasion. Members of this class not only take pride in creating an exceptional field of play, they’re proud to be impactful members of our industry and their communities.

When the lights are low and the stands are empty, they show up for the grind. Before the cheers and commotion commence, they take their battle to the field. Through countless storms, they deliver. What may look like a patch of grass or pile of dirt to some, is tradition, community and home to our 2021 class of Pioneers.

To the professionals who have set the stage for comebacks, underdog triumphs and shocking wins: We’re thrilled to be able to share a part of your story.


Pete Thibeault

Turf Supervisor // Noble & Greenough School

Tom Nielsen

Head Groundskeeper // Lynn Family Stadium

Wallace Owen

Athletic Director // Central Lunenburg High School

Michael Saaranen

Athletic Field Operations Supervisor // Citywide Ballfields and City & County of Denver

Dan Bergstrom, CSFM

Director of Turf and Grounds // BBVA Stadium

Stephen Crockett

Director Turf & Facility Ops // Union City Tennessee

Introducing our inaugural class of Pioneers in the Field

Pioneers in the Field was created to highlight the stories of professionals in our industry who always endure the long hours and mother nature’s wrath to provide some of the best playing surfaces in the nation.

Our Pioneers not only take great pride in what they do on their fields. They take pride in being able to further the industry as a whole, whether that be through mentoring the next generation of sports turf managers or redefining the role of a groundskeeper all together. Each Pioneer you’ll read about today is sure to leave a legacy as a sports turf manager, co-worker and friend. We’re honored to be able to share a part of their story. Our 2020 class of Pioneers are members of communities, teams and families that are proud to call them their own.


Tod Shafer

Groundskeeper // Louisville Bats & Facility Manager // Oldham County High School

Andrew Miller

Director of the Turfgrass Management Program // Brentsville District High School

Weston Appelfeller

Senior Director of Grounds // Austin FC

Jeff Feltman

Sports Facility Manager // Christ Church Academy

Stephen Lord

Head Groundskeeper // Cincinnati Reds

Josh Carico

Athletic Fields Supervisor // Harrisonburg City Schools