Catching up on saying goodbye

May 11, 2020

by Kristine Moncada

As regular readers of our blog may have noticed, we recently started a new feature where members of our group who leave write farewell blog posts. See the articles by Garett Heineck My time spent in the University of Minnesota Turfgrass Science Program and Yinjie Qiu How did I become a turfgrass guy? My story with turfgrass science. Well, in the past year, we had several other members of our team leave, yet we weren't able to bid adieu in blog form. As it did not seem likely we could get them to write farewell blogs now that they have moved on to bigger and better things, we decided they still deserve to have some recognition. Here are some highlights of the great contributions that four people who recently left made while at the University of Minnesota with the Turfgrass Science Team.

Dr. Brian Horgan

portrait image of Brian Horgan

Dr. Horgan had been a Professor of Turfgrass Extension and Research in the University Department of Horticulture for 15 years, but in August 2019, he left to become the Chairperson for the Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences at Michigan State University.  Truly, our team wouldn’t be where it is now if it hadn’t been for Dr. Horgan!  He helped build TROE, the Turfgrass Research, Outreach and Education Center, where our team conducts most of its research and holds our field days. Much of his work included research on the transport and fate of nutrients in turfgrass and lawn water conservation. Another influential initiative for which he was responsible was the forging of a strong University of Minnesota partnership with the golf industry in Minnesota and nationally. 

Dr. Jon Trappe

Jon Trappe standing in a field giving a talk

Dr. Jon Trappe came to our group after receiving his PhD from Purdue University and worked as a postdoctoral researcher for several years. He worked on a variety of projects including MnDOT roadside turf research, allelopathy of fine fescues, and homeowner outreach.  He is now working as a Technical Agronomist at Midwestern BioAg.

Dr. Dan Sandor

Dan Sandor standing in front of an irrigation display

Dr. Dan Sandor came to our group from the University of Arkansas. He was our social media pro and worked as a postdoctoral researcher on the Metropolitan Council project relating to lawn water conservation. Dr. Sandor is now an assistant professor of Turfgrass Science at Virginia Tech.

Dr. Chase Straw

Chase Straw taking measurements in a soccer stadium

Dr. Chase Straw came to our group from the University of Georgia where he worked on turfgrass and sports injury.  He used his sports turf background to continue that research in sports turf, and also started a project on using moisture sensors on golf courses for precision irrigation.  Dr. Straw’s new position is Assistant Professor of Turfgrass Management and Physiology at Texas A&M.

We wish all four of our former teammates the best of luck!  Much of the great work to which they contributed will continue. By the way, we have a number of other distinguished alumni (graduate students and postdoctoral associates) from our program; please check out our alumni page for details.

The future

What’s coming in the future for our team?  Well again, if you’re a regular reader of our blog, you will know that we recently hired two new people: Shane Evans, our Lawn Water Conservation Educator, and Gary Deters, our Field Facility Manager. We look forward to great new contributions from our new team members on our projects. Of course, the rest of the team will be working as diligently as always as well. Please continue to stay up to date on our work by reading this blog and by following our Twitter account (@UMNTurf)!