Allen Reed
Director of Stadium Grounds // FC Dallas
2023 Class of Pioneers in the Field

“How has the industry changed since you started over 20 years ago?” Allen Reed’s response? Laughter. Reed, Director of Stadium Grounds for FC Dallas, said that’s the only appropriate way to respond to that question after almost everything has changed or evolved in the sports turf industry in the past two decades. The role of the groundskeeper, the demand of the job, the data, the tools and the reward, all have new meaning today. 

Allen Reed has held his post in Dallas for 18 years after graduating from Texas A&M in 2004 and interning under some of the industry greats. Reed grew up on a small farm in east Texas where he witnessed another level of work ethic first hand from his grandad and father. Like many origin stories in the sports turf industry, Reed’s course of life was greatly impacted by the people/mentors he met along the way. Starting with Reed's mother who found him a route into turf. Which led him to Leo Gurtz and Craig Potts at Texas A&M. Reed said, “if it weren’t for Leo and Craig, who knows where I’d be. I was a dumb college student doing dumb things and they really pushed me to put in the hard work at Texas A&M. That experience opened my eyes to the professionalism of this job and all the opportunities I had access to.” Reed then went on to work for industry pillars like Tom Burns and Tom Jones.  He credited each of his mentors a great deal, reflecting on how important those jobs were to the start of his career. A career that was bred in Texas, evolved in Texas, and is now thriving in Texas.

The community that built Reed up to succeed is the same community of professionals he has the chance to impact today. As Reed said, the industry has changed but the community remains the same welcoming, niche group of professionals who are looking to help each other reach their goals. Reed said looking back on his career, having the chance to mentor the next generation and work alongside turf managers who will go on to accomplish great things of their own has become one of the more rewarding aspects of his job. Reed said, “seeing my role evolve into that of a mentor has been really rewarding. We're a small community and I take pride in anyone I’ve had the chance to work with and I love seeing them go on to accomplish their own dreams.” Reed doesn’t hesitate to encourage the next generation to network and tap into the wealth of knowledge embedded in our industry, especially as we take on more and more as professionals. 

Reed shared how groundskeepers joke about the disappearance of an off-season. Reed laughed, “what’s an off-season? Sports are now year-round, no matter where you’re at, it’s become a fact of our lives. Demand on the field has really changed, which has forced us as professionals to evolve. We’re constantly having to improve and tap into new resources. What people assume is a mow, water and fertilize operation is a data driven profession that relies on us to constantly be gaining skills and utilizing new tools. We battle those misconceptions each day on the field. Whether it’s someone wanting to book an event or wondering why a certain practice leaves the field looking a particular way. Educating our user groups on what it takes to create the product we deliver is an important element to our success. At the end of the day we need to come with an open mind. The veterans and the next generation both need to understand how the industry has changed. Concerts one day, sporting events the next. While we rarely say no, we can paint the picture of the consequences and tap into the resources to make the most safe and playable surfaces.” 

At the end of the day Reed said it’s still about that game day feeling for him. But the beginning of his day starts when his two sons, Clark and Callum, wake him up at the crack of dawn. Reed said he was lucky to have a father who was an example of working for what you want, because he now has the opportunity to do the same for his family. Reed said, “I learned work ethic from the men in my family; feeding cows and bailing hay. More importantly, I learned what it means to be present at home, even when the job is demanding. My dad worked nights, but he was still present and at all our sporting events. He instilled in me the importance of being there for your family. Go out with the kids even after a day at the stadium working all day.”

Again, working for what you want. Reed described the perfect day as game day. Before kickoff Reed loves taking a lap around the field to take it all in. Reed said, “game day is a blueprint for a perfect day. In this industry it’s what we’re all working towards. I’ll take a stroll around the field to do my final checks. Then once everything is set  and we’re ready to go with everything painted and goals in place, the crew and I get to sit back and see the product we created to help our team be successful. The planning, the build up, the game and then the cycle to do it all again the next day, that’s special.” 

Allen's willingness to think outside the box and experiment with new techniques to solve challenges and improve the field is what makes him a Pioneer in the Field. He's found a way to maintain the balance needed to facilitate all the events his facility requires, while providing a quality surface. Allen take’s a lot of pride in the work he does. The time, effort and planning that goes into his work shows in the quality of the product he consistently produces. Allen is a loyal, reliable and patient professional and friend. He is a good teacher for anyone who is willing to take the time to listen and learn."

Tom Jones, Vice President of Complex Management for FC Dallas


That game day feeling is a part of who Allen Reed is. It’s one part of the job that has helped him grow as a professional. The other element that Reed said has defined him as a person is his hopes for the future. Reed hopes for each of his former employees to go on to be successful. Reed said it’s rewarding to know you’re doing something right when you have past employees succeed when they leave you or when people want to work for you in the first place. Reed said, “sometimes I’m sure we all wish this job was a clock in, clock out operation but we’re working with a living organism and mentoring the next in line. I’m always thinking about my potential impact. I know how this job has helped me grow as a person and professional and I don’t take any of that for granted. Things are always changing, we’re always changing. I tell my crew, don’t dwell on the past, let’s look for opportunities to grow. Let’s seek out the positives and change our perspectives to be better.” 

Allen Reed works on a product that serves as a the first impression for FC Dallas players, fans and the game that he loves. Each day Reed strives to be the best version of himself, as a boss, industry leader, husband and father. Whether game day means kick off at the stadium, mentoring the next generation, or a weekend with his wife, Laura, and sons. That game day feeling is what Reed works towards at the start of each day.