Turfgrass alum slides into career

The aroma of fresh cut grass fills the air as a warm breeze sweeps across the field. Clean swept white mounds peak out from the rust-colored dirt as the final minutes of day head towards the horizon. To some, this scene tickles the senses, while others may think of this as the end to a beautiful day, but for Joe Hill, this is what his job is all about.

Joe HillHill, a December ‘07 Crop and Soil Sciences grad who majored in Turfgrass Management at Washington State University, won one of four Sports Turf Managers Association National Field of the Year awards for Short Season A leagues.

The award recognizes both a facility’s excellence and the sports turf manager’s expertise in his or her field.

Winning this award was quite a feat for the Coeur d’Alene, Idaho native. Hill worked his turf management position with the Spokane Indians around his classes and homework in Pullman. Hill said his successes are due to those in his life and the education he received.

“My parents were a large part of my success–they’ve always been supportive. My peers, advisor and professors at WSU and those who worked with me at the Indians also made a huge impact with what they taught me,” said Hill.

His education at WSU prepared Hill with the skills he needed for his career. He learned how to multitask, solve problems, and the basics of how to work with living plants, which are all building block skills for a winning turfgrass program.

“I chose to come to WSU because it has a great turfgrass management program and a rich tradition. It also helped that the campus is close to home,” said Hill.

For Hill, this award is just the beginning of his career. His ambitious drive has moved him onto another position at The Club at Black Rock a private golf course in Coeur d’Alene.

“This new position offers me a great opportunity and hopefully will open a few doors in the golf industry and possibly my future,” said Hill. “I hope I can make a positive name for myself in the industry, but I would like nothing more than to be happy with success, wealth and a family.”

The sun is just rising on this Cougar’s future and in an industry that, Hill said, “is very competitive.” Hill looks forward to climbing grassy knolls and walking green fields for many seasons to come.

By Desiree Kiliz, CAHNRS and WSU Extension Marketing, News, and Educational Communications Intern