Ontario Turfgrass Symposium


The next Ontario Turfgrass Symposium (OTS) is taking place on
Wednesday, February 21 and Thursday, February 22, 2024. 

Be sure to join our mailing list to stay informed about conference details.

Registration is not yet open! Please check back later. 

Hosted in Rozanski Hall at the University of Guelph.

Coming soon!



As Canada’s foremost event for the turf sector—including lawn care, sports turf, golf, recreation facilities and nursery sod—the annual Ontario Turfgrass Symposium offers sessions on the latest research and innovations in turf management.



Read all of the session details

Day 1- Wednesday February 21, 2024


Registration open in lobby


Room 101 - Golf

Room 103 - Sports/Municipalities

Room 105 - Sod


Opening remarks

GTI Update

Opening Remarks

STC Update

Opening Remarks

NSGA Update


Matt Legg - The Art of Application and Turf Pests in 2022/2023

Trevor Warner - Better, safer ball: the Tip O'Neill reconstruction project

 Dr. Scott McElroy - Autonomous Mowers for the Sod Industry

  Session Details - Matt Legg Session Details - Trevor W Session Details - Scott McElroy 1


Break - Lobby


Dr. Katerina Jordan - Sustainability and the Future of Turf 

Session Details- Nancy

No session scheduled

No session scheduled


Lunch - Lobby


Dr. Nancy Xiao - Fertilizer and Supplement Registration: An Industry Perspective 

Robert Heggie - BMO Field and the Road to the World Cup '26 

Dr. Alec Kowalewski - Tall Fescue Integrated Pest Management Practices

  Session Details- Nancy Session Details- Robert Session Details- Alec


Break - Lobby


Dr. Eric WatkinsImproving Knowledge and Management of Winter Stresses on Golf Greens in Cold Climates

Dr. Sara Stricker - #No Mow May and #Leave the Leaves, what does it mean?

Dr. Casey Reynolds - Market and Consumer Trends in Turfgrass Production 

  Session Details - Eric W Session Details - Sara S Session Details - Casey R


Social Event

Day 2 - Thursday February 22, 2024


Registration open in lobby


Room 101 - Golf

Room 103 - Sports/Municipalities

Room 105 - Lawncare


Opening remarks

DTM Update

Opening Remarks

ORFA Update

Opening Remarks

PLCAO Update


Ed McNab - A case study on the effects of long term DMI use on dollar spot populations

Jason Winter - Negotiating Employment Agreements

Dr. Eric Watkins - Turfgrass mixtures as a sustainable lawn care strategy

 Panel Discussion - We Want Sports Fields, but Not in My Backyard (NIMBY)

  Session Details - Ed and Jason Session Details - Eric Watkins Session Details - NIMBY


Break - Lobby


Kevin Doyle - Utilizing Best Management Practices to Drive Sustainability at Your Facility and Advocate for Golf's Future

Mike Greer - Meaningful Access in the Built Environment

Al Pinsonneault - Navigating Tenders and Contracts with Impossible Standards

  Session Details -Kevin D Session Details - Mike Greer Session Details - Al P


Lunch - Lobby


The Honourable Rob Black, Senator for Ontario - Road to the Senate, Role of the Senate, and the Senate's study on soil health

Session Details -Rob Black

No session scheduled

No session scheduled


Dr. Scott McElroy - The future is now: Autonomous mowers

Session Details - Scott M2

No session scheduled

No session scheduled


Break - Lobby


Panel Discussion - OM246 for Testing Soil Organic Matter Content

Michael Stangl - Regenerative Lawn Care

Dr. Eric Lyons - Overseeding for Sports Field Victory

  Session Details - OM246 Session Details - Michael S Session Details - Eric L


Closing remarks

Closing remarks

Closing remarks


OPTC Technician/Exterminator exam






Katerina Jordan

Dr. Katerina Jordan is an experienced plant researcher in turfgrass science and the director of the Guelph Turfgrass Institute (GTI) at the University of Guelph. Dr. Katerina Jordan is an associate professor in the Department of Plant Agriculture, where she has been conducting turfgrass research since 2005.

Dr. Jordan has taught courses in turfgrass insects, biological control of plant diseases, research methods and statistics, plant disease epidemiology, and integrated pest management to certificate, diploma, undergraduate, and graduate students.  Her primary service to the turfgrass industry is managing the GTI Diagnostic Clinic.

Twitter(X) Logo @TurfGirl68

Website icon Plant.UoGuelph.ca/KJordan

Eric Lyons

Dr. Eric Lyons is an Associate Professor in the Department of Plant Agriculture at the University of Guelph. Dr. Lyons specializes in nutrient management, stress physiology and plant competition in sports field, golf course and landscape turf.  In addition, Dr. Lyons oversees extensive testing of new emerging products for turfgrass managers and focusses on outreach and education to further the turfgrass industry. 


Website icon Plant.UoGuelph.ca/ELyons

Alec Kowalewski

Dr. Alec Kowalewski has over 20 years of research experience and multiple publications on various turfgrass species obtained while employed at Michigan State University, Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, the University of Georgia, and Oregon State University. Alec is an Associate Professor at Oregon State University and teaches several undergraduate classes in the Department of Horticulture. Alec also provides Extension material for stakeholders in turfgrass and landscape management. His primary research interest in improving the economic and environmental sustainability of turfgrass. 



Matt Legg

Matthew Legg is the Technical Lead for Syngenta Professional Solutions, based out of Toronto, ON, where he leads all technical outreach, advanced troubleshooting, and product development on behalf of Syngenta Canada.  Before joining Syngenta, Matthew worked in a golf course setting, serving in the capacity of Director of Agronomy within the private golf sector. Academically, Matthew holds a diploma in turfgrass management from the University of Guelph, along with his Bachelor of Science, in Turfgrass Science, from the Pennsylvania State University.   

Outside of Syngenta, Matthew provides educational outreach as a seasonal lecturer of Turfgrass Entomology, at the University of Guelph, where he educates up and coming Turf Managers about the biology, ecology and management of turf and landscape insect pests. 


Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle graduated from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, in 1995 with a bachelor's degree in biochemistry and embarked on a career in golf course management lasting 17 years. Doyle also earned a master's in business administration from Southern New Hampshire University in 2010. He has authored articles in various trade magazines, including GCM. Doyle began working with, and advocating for, the members and chapters of GCSAA as the regional field staff representative in March of 2012.



Sara Stricker

Dr. Sara Stricker is a plant pathologist working as the Communications Coordinator at the Guelph Turfgrass Institute. She aims to make turfgrass research interesting and accessible to the industry and the public. Sara obtained her B.ScM.Sc, and Ph.D degrees at the University of Guelph and completed a Bachelor of Education at Western University. She has conducted research on foliar diseases including tar spot of maple, Stemphylium leaf blight of onion, and Microdochium patch of creeping bentgrass 





Mike Greer

Mike Greer is on a mission to help those with a disability have a greater voice around accessibility, in the home, office and travel. Born with a condition called Osteogenesis Imperfecta, he learned to adapt and deal with many challenges over the course of his life. In 2020 he joined the Rick Hansen Foundation as a Sr. Engagement Specialist, for the Accessibility Certification program (RHFAC) based out of the Toronto office, focusing on cultivating relationships within the public sector, municipalities, and government entities. 

Mike is a past member of the City of Guelph‚ Accessibility Advisory Committee. He currently is a board member at Guelph Independent Living & GW United Way, plus other local civic organizations and causes. These activities have given him greater opportunities to have a voice for inclusion for all. His speaking engagements bring both knowledge and a new perspective around people with a disability, by using humour and thought-provoking questions, in many of his engagements to further his message.

Mike also uses his social media persona of BloodSweatandWheels, to further his ability to share in many stories and information around his personal journey and other accessibility topics and issues. He has a passion for wheelchair racing, completing his first half marathon in September 2016, and is training for his 3rd Marathon next January 2024. He is part of a strong adaptive racing community, from all over the world that shares a common narrative around adaptive sports, as well as working with Race Directors to make races more inclusive.  He wants nothing more than to share his racing story with others providing them with a deeper insight and motivation around dedication and life goals.



Website icon RickHansen.com

Mike Stangle

In the dynamic realm of regenerative lawn care and sustainable landscaping, Michael Stangl stands as a seasoned visionary with over 43 years of unwavering dedication. His journey commenced in 1981 when, at the young age of 16, he co-founded Stangl's Lawn Spray, setting the stage for a remarkable career.

With a relentless thirst for horticultural knowledge, Michael pursued a year of Horticulture at Niagara College in 1985. In 1986, he furthered his expertise by attending the 17th Annual Turf Managers Course at Guelph University, a pivotal moment in his educational journey. However, Michael's quest for innovation didn't stop there. He embarked on a remarkable journey of exploration, delving into organic, natural, and chemical approaches to lawn care. This extensive research and experimentation culminated in his pioneering work in regenerative lawn care. In 2014, driven by a global perspective, he earned a Sustainable Ag Certificate from renowned experts Graeme Sait and Joel Williams from NTS Australia in Guelph. His global quest for knowledge continued with immersive courses, including Dr. Elaine Ingham's Soil Food Web Course and Microscope Intensive Course at Farming Secrets Australia in 2014 and 2015, respectively.

Michael's expertise isn't confined to scholarship; he's also a captivating storyteller and educator. He's graced prestigious events, such as the Innovative Farmers Association of Ontario's DIGGING DEEPER – ONline event in 2021 and the 2023 February Innovative Farmers Association of Ontario – Composting, Biosolids, and Organic Amendments – London ON. Throughout his career, Michael garnered accolades and recognition, including the Niagara This Week's Readers' Choice Diamond and Platinum Awards in 2021 and 2022, respectively. In 2023, his unwavering commitment to excellence was once again acknowledged when he received the Niagara This Week's 2023 Readers' Choice Diamond Award. Today, Michael Stangl stands as a luminary in the field of regenerative lawn care, armed with decades of wisdom and a vision for a greener, more sustainable world. Join him at the 33rd Annual Ontario Turfgrass Symposium to embark on a journey into the frontier of regenerative landscaping.




Eric Watkins

Dr. Eric Watkins is a professor in the Department of Horticultural Science and vice provost for distributed learning at the University of Minnesota. Eric received his Ph.D. in plant biology from Rutgers University. Current research activities involve germplasm improvement of several turfgrass species and projects investigating approaches to reduce winter damage on cool-season turfgrasses. He is also involved with cultivar evaluation and other turfgrass science research focused on low-input systems. In his administrative role, Eric provides leadership for online educational programs across the five-campus University of Minnesota system. 


Scott McElroy

Dr. Scott McElroy is a Professor of Weed Science and Turf at Auburn University, Alabama. Dr. McElroy holds a PhD in Crop Science and a Masters of Science in Agronomy and Soils. His research focus includes evaluation of herbicide se in turfgrass management and the use of autonomous mowers. In addition, he studies weed geonomics and herbicide resistance. Dr. McElroy teaches, among other courses, Advanced Turf Management and Applied Weed Science Technology at Auburn University. 



Nancy Xiao

Dr. Nancy Xiao currently works as the research and innovation director at Ferti Technologies Inc. based in Montreal, Quebec. She works on developing fertilizer, soil, and biostimulant products, testing and bringing innovative bio-technologies for our business partners and customers. She also oversees fertilizer product registration and compliance in Canada. She received her PhD in plant physiology from the University of Guelph and M.Sc. in turfgrass management from Michigan State University. 



Al Pinsonneault

Al Pinsonneault established Al’s Lawn and Garden in 1981 at the early age of 18. Al’s motto, “He cares” hasn’t changed in 42 years of business.  What started as a small lawn cutting company driven by a young entrepreneur has grown into a full service horticultural and landscaping company. Al also serves as the President for the Professional Lawncare Association of Ontario and on the organizing committee for the Ontario Turfgrass Symposium.



Casey Reynolds

Dr. Casey Reynolds is the Executive Director at Turfgrass Producers International (TPI), a trade association that represents turfgrass seed and sod producers worldwide. He is a passionate advocate for the proper use of natural grass in urban and suburban spaces worldwide. He has been an author or co-author of over 300 publications in trade magazines and research journals and has been an invited speaker at almost 100 events. Prior to joining TPI in 2017, he was a faculty member at Texas A&M University and received his PhD in Turfgrass Science from North Carolina State University.



Senator Rob Black © Senate of Canada / © Sénat du Canada

The Honourable Rob Black has worked in the rural, agricultural, and leadership arenas for much of his working career. He has worked with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) for 15 years. Following his time at OMAFRA, he spent 5 years as the Executive Director of 4-H Ontario. Rob then accepted the role of Executive Director of The Centre for Rural Leadership, which morphed in to the Rural Ontario Institute (ROI). On February 27, 2018, Rob was sworn in as a senator representing the province of Ontario. Since then, he has been working on several issues of importance to Canadians through his role, and is the Chair of the Standing Committees on Agriculture and Forestry, and a member of Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament and the Joint Committee on the Library of Parliament.



Rob Heggie

Robert Heggie started his career in turf at the young age of sixteen. Before long he realized he wanted to make a career out of it. After graduating The University of Guelph for both Horticulture ‘06 and Turfgrass Management ‘08, he found himself in Barbados building Apes Hill Club, one of the top golf courses in the Caribbean. Upon construction completion, the opportunity to be a part of The BMO Field conversion from artificial grass to natural grass came up which he jumped at. In the past 14 years with MLSE, he has built up the field from a modest pitch to one of the most technologically advanced pieces of sports turf grass in the world. Hosting both soccer and football consecutively is no short order and in Toronto’s harsh climate it requires special tools. Robert was the first to bring many technologies to Canada including, Grow Lighting, Undersoil Heating (soccer specific), Hybrid Grass, etc. He also oversaw the construction of the BMO Training Facility where all of TFC’s teams practice and play out of. Accomplishments include, 2015 Sports Turf Canada Manager of the Year, 2020 Turf and Rec 10 under 40, 2015 PanAm games (72 rugby 7’s games), 2016 and 2017 MLS Cup host, 2017 NHL Centennial Classic, 2016 Grey Cup, 2015 and 2017 Gold Cup 2023, and the upcoming FIFA World Cup 2026.

Ed McNab

Ed McNab is a PhD student in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of Guelph with an Honours Bachelor of Science degree majoring in biochemistry and a MSc in environmental sciences. Ed's masters research focused on developing a field assay for turf managers to assess the sensitivity of the dollar spot fungus in the field. In addition to the field kit, Ed has also investigated the effects of repeat fungicide use on the creeping bentgrass microbiome. Ed's PhD is on further developing his research into the effects of fungicide use on the microbiome of turf grasses, and he is also attempting to determine the genetic mechanism(s) that are responsible for DMI resistance in dollar spot, pink snow mold, and any DMI resistant fungi in the turfgrass microbiome.


Trevor Warner

Trevor Warner's dedication to sports field maintenance began while he was playing junior college baseball in Tennessee. He enjoyed maintaining the field and had a knack for it. He considers himself fortunate to have been able to learn from some of the best in the southeastern United States sports field construction and renovation industry. He has maintained fields for the City of Welland, for the Niagara Stars which were part of the Canadian baseball league and completed major renovations in Quebec for the league. He then expanded his industry awareness with Mar-Co Clay Products. He has been in the municipal environment with the City of Woodstock since 2014. Trevor is a strong believer of continual professional development and completed the Turf Managers’ Short Course at the Guelph Turfgrass Institute. Trevor is a long standing member of Sports Turf Canada and won the Sports Turf Manager of the Year in 2021. Trevor will be presenting at the Sports Field Management Association’s Conference in Florida in January.

Jason Winter

A versatile individual with a passion for golf, Jason Winter has been a golf course superintendent for the past 18 years and in the golf industry for 26 years in various roles. Born and raised in St. Thomas Ontario, Jason developed his interest for the game of golf from an early age. This early passion laid the foundation for his journey in becoming a Golf Course Superintendent. Jason is a graduate from the University of Guelph 94A diploma program, a graduate from the 2-year certificate program at the Pennsylvania State University and currently holds the designation of Master Superintendent with the CGSA. After working in the US for 5 years, Jason returned to Canada where he worked for Marriott Golf at the Rock Golf Club and most recently at Deer Ridge Golf Club in Kitchener. Throughout his career, a significant amount of his time has been focused around golf course construction, renovations and has undertaken several extensive projects. Outside of this, the focus for Jason has primarily been creating and maintaining championship playing conditions through sound agronomic programs and has hosted both provincial and national championships in his most recent role. Jason is looking forward to embarking on new adventures, remains steadfast in his pursuit of excellence and insists on having a positive impact on those around him. 

NIMBY Panelists:

Terry Piche

Terry Piche, CRFP, CIT is the director, training, research and development for the Ontario Recreation Facilities Association (ORFA). Terry has been in the business of recreation for over 30 years, having experience at all levels of operations and management. In his role at the ORFA, Terry works with experts in the fields of ice and refrigeration, aquatics, buildings and grounds, and management to help identify, document, and disseminate the latest information on recreation facility-related industry best practices. He develops leading edge education and training sessions, and teaches in several ORFA professional development courses.Terry has been an invited speaker at many recreation industry events across Canada and the United States. He holds both the Certified Recreation Facilities Professional and the NHL- recognized Certified Ice Technician designations.


Tracy Eso

Tracy Eso is the risk assessment and solutions manager in the Risk Management Department at Intact Public Entities. She has over 20 years’ experience in the insurance industry—with expertise in insurance claims, risk management, and captive insurance. Her focus at Intact Public Entities is to research risks that municipalities across Canada are facing, develop ways to mitigate those hazards, and educate municipal clients in best-practice solutions to create resilience in the face of an ever-changing risk landscape. Tracy is an instructor for the Insurance Institute of Canada and has spoken at various industry conferences on topics ranging from climate change to liability claims. 

Brad Putnam

Brad Putnam is the Manager of Recreation Facility Services for the Recreation and Park Services Division at the City of Peterborough. He is an experienced facilities management professional with a variety of experience in municipal facility operations and systems. Brad has established supervisory experience of various staff teams as well as third party services including contract development and management. 

Werner Schwar

Werner Schwar (OALA) is the Supervisor of Parks & Open Space Planning for the Department of Parks & Open Spaces Section at the City of Thunder Bay. He has extensive experience as a landscape architect and more. Werner has led many excellent city projects including a Jumpstart Accessible Playground and the Current River Greenway; one of the biggest urban parks in Canada.

OM246 Panelists:

Corrie Almack - photo credit to David Decorso

Corrie Almack is a professional agronomist and is the President and Owner of Almack Agronomic Services. He has been serving the golf and agricultural industries for over 40 years, providing soil analyses and designing nutrient management programs. Corrie holds a Bachelor's Degree in Agronomy and Crop Science from the University of Guelph and he serves on the Board of Directors for the Ontario Turfgrass Research Foundation. 


Steve Mann

Steve Mann has been co-consulting with DCS Agronomic Services for over a decade. He is an I.S.A. Board Certified Master Arborist with extensive experience evaluating the health, safety, and environmental significance of individual trees and stands of trees in both urban and rural settings. Steve specializes in large-scale tree inventory, evaluation, management, research, and impact studies. He has managed hundreds of projects related to the identification of important natural features and the significance and/or sensitivity of these features to development. He has developed numerous master plans, arboricultural management plans and replanting plans for golf courses, parks and municipal properties. Steve’s more than twenty years of industry involvement has enabled him to interact with numerous provincial and municipal officials on matters regarding tree conservation and large-scale planning applications. He has provided education and training across Canada on arboriculture and green site evaluations and taught a course on Soils for Horticulture at Humber College.

Jeff Stauffer

Jeff Stauffer began working in the golf industry almost 40 years ago and graduated from the University of Guelph in 1993.  Jeff’s interest in maintaining golf courses while respecting the environment has included an eagerness to learn and willingness to share his own experiences to colleagues and the industry alike. During his tenures at both Rosedale Golf Club and Credit Valley Golf and Country Club, Jeff has consistently maintained a quality conditioned golf course ensuring the fundamentals of turf management are in place to align with the expectations of a supportive membership. Throughout these many golf seasons, Jeff’s philosophy of promoting healthy soils and environments has lead to success in growing healthy turf while maximizing the performance of resources and minimizing the reliance on others.



Mike Kooy

Michael Kooy is an independent agronomist and Masters of Science student in the Department of Plant Agriculture at the University of Guelph. Michael has been working under the mentorship of Corrie Almack for the past year. His MSc research has focused on disease forecasting a foliar disease of onion in the Ontario. 


Michah Woods

Micah Woods established the Asian Turfgrass Center (ATC) in 2006 to develop and provide turfgrass information for the golf and sports turf industry. Through the ATC, he provides turfgrass advisory and soil testing services to golf clubs, sports facilities, and select clients around the world. Since 2009, he has been an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of Tennessee. Since 2022, he has been director of the PACE Turf information service.





Media Sponsor:

Turf & Rec

Lanyard Sponsor:

 Vanden Bussche Irrigation - established 1954

Coffee Sponsors: 




Pastry Sponsors:

Alliance Agri-Turf / Knowledge to grow by


Plenary Sponsor: Available - please contact GTI@uoguelph.ca

Social Event Sponsor: Available - please contact GTI@uoguelph.ca

Breakout Room Sponsor:

 Weed Man

Breakout Room Sponsor: Available - please contact GTI@uoguelph.ca


Vanden Bussche Irrigation - established 1954

G.C. Duke Equipment Ltd.

ECHO Robotics

Mar-Co Clay


Dol turf

Turfgrass Solutions

Marmic Solutions

GT Golf & Turf, John Deere Golf


Evergreen Bioinnovations

Plant Products


Simplistic Lines


Ontario Seed Company


Door Prize Sponsors: 
 Vanden Bussche Irrigation - established 1954


If you are interested in donating a doorprize, please contact GTI@uoguelph.ca

Plant Products

Hutcheson Sand & Mixes






Rozanski Hall, University of Guelph

The Ontario Turfgrass Symposium is held at: 

  • Rozanski Hall (ROZH)
  • University of Guelph
  • 50 Stone Road E, Guelph ON

View the interactive campus map here.

Attendee Parking is available in lots ___, ____, and ____ on a first-come, first-served basis.
Exhibitor parking and loading is available in P5, off Trent Lane.

Hotels nearby include:


Campus map indicating Rozanski Hall (ROZH) and nearby parking lots





Designed for turfgrass professionals—in partnership with Sports Turf Canada, Ontario Recreation Facilities Association, Nursery Sod Growers Association, and the Professional Lawn Care Association of Ontario—the annual Ontario Turfgrass Symposium (OTS) is hosted by the Guelph Turfgrass Institute at the University of Guelph, an international leader in the turf sciences.

Take advantage of a great opportunity to grow as a turfgrass professional, network with colleagues in the turf profession, and expand your expertise. Attend a variety of high-quality sessions focusing on the areas of sports turf, recreational facilities, lawn care, golf course, and nursery sod.

For questions about the Ontario Turfgrass Symposium, please email gti@uoguelph.ca or call 226-971-1563


Ontario Turfgrass Symposium

Inclement weather policy: If the Ontario Turfgrass Symposium is cancelled due to severe weather conditions, 50% of a 1-day registration fee will be refunded for the date of the closure. The Ontario Turfgrass Symposium will not be responsible for travel or other related expenses incurred by the registrant. Announcements of campus closures are made at 6:00 am on the day of the severe weather event.  

Refund policy: A refund, less a 10% administration fee, will be issued if a written request is received by January 31, 2024. Refunds will not be issued after this date, but you may transfer your registration to another person if written notification is provided in advance. Those who register but do not attend will not receive a refund. 


The Ontario Turfgrass Symposium is organized and hosted by:

Guelph Turfgrass Institute, ORFA, NSGA, PLCAO, Sports Turf Canada