Turf Research Field Facility Manager

About the Job (NOTE: This position is no longer open)

Posted November 1, 2019. This position will support the management of research protocols under the general direction and oversight of the Project Investigator, as well as in performing experimental procedures directed by other turfgrass researchers on the team. This position primarily contributes to the field maintenance of The Turfgrass Research, Outreach and Education Center (TROE) at the University of Minnesota. This site includes both a USGA specification research green, a native soil research green, turfgrass research plots and turfgrass breeding nurseries, as well as an automated rain-out shelter that is used for research on turfgrass water-use and drought tolerance. In addition to facilities at TROE, other turfgrass research sites are located around the state of Minnesota including the Magnusson Research Farm near Roseau, MN. In the winter months, this position also includes maintenance of turfgrass research in controlled environments such as in the greenhouse and growth chambers.

A flexible schedule to accommodate various tasks is needed. This position may be required to work more than 8 hours per day in all weather conditions. Some weekend work may be necessary depending on the experiments in progress. This position also requires frequent travel within the Twin Cities metro region. There may be occasional overnight travel outside the Twin Cities metro area to assist with turfgrass research.

Required Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in horticulture, agronomy, turfgrass management, or related discipline; or a combination of related education and experience to total 4 years
  • Experience managing turfgrass surfaces such as golf course or sports turf
  • Experience operating turfgrass maintenance equipment and/or agricultural field machinery

Preferred Qualifications

  • Experience repairing and maintaining turfgrass maintenance equipment
  • Experience supervising or mentoring employees
  • Experience scouting for important turf pests and making pest management decisions
  • Experience with the operation, maintenance and auditing of irrigation systems
  • Demonstrated ability to work and communicate effectively with others from a variety of diverse backgrounds
  • Demonstrated organizational skills and multi-tasking capabilities
  • Minnesota Class B Commercial Driver’s License

Special requirements

This position requires lifting and carrying loads of at least 50 pounds and standing and walking for long periods of time in variable weather conditions. This position also involves applying pesticides and fertilizers. Candidate must have a Minnesota pesticide applicators license (Categories A and E) or agree to obtain one within 60 days of start date. This position requires independent vehicle travel. Candidate must have valid Class D Minnesota Driver’s license. This position involves operating field equipment such as mowers, tractors, and sprinkler systems.


Maintain field facilities (40%)

  • Fine turfgrass maintenance - set up of reel mowers, aeration and topdressing
  • Plot and breeding nursery maintenance - mowing, weed control, fertilization and fungicide and insecticide application as needed
  • Visual scouting of turf areas for biotic and abiotic stresses; identification of diseases using applicable techniques
  • Design new irrigation systems as needed
  • Maintain existing irrigation systems
  • Lead planning for long-term field facility equipment and infrastructure needs
  • Maintain turfgrass management equipment
  • Detailed record keeping of all field activities

Research activities (20%)

  • Lead industry-sponsored research trials, including project initiation and execution
  • Coordinate outside research space use planning for the turfgrass research group
  • Develop systems for communication with turfgrass research group about management protocols
  • Assist in installation of new turfgrass research trials
  • Assist in data collection on turfgrass research plots, including off campus (other research stations, roadsides, golf courses, etc)
  • Assist with controlled environment research data collection
  • Detailed record keeping of all research activities
  • When contributing to a research project, ensure data is organized and accessible; regularly review data collection methods for quality and accuracy
  • Present research results at biannual turfgrass research field day

Supervise student work (20%)

  • Hire student workers to assist in research facility maintenance
  • Train new employees
  • Coordinate field equipment safety for all turfgrass research group employees
  • Establish work flows and guidance documents for undergraduate students to follow for their tasks; meet regularly with students to provide support, guidance, and feedback
  • Delegate job assignments to employees, establish deadlines
  • Assign, schedule and supervise undergraduate student personnel to conduct routine field tasks
  • Instruct graduate students on correct field research protocols

Maintain controlled environments (10%)

  • Assist with propagation of plant material in the greenhouse during the winter
  • Maintain controlled environment spaces by coordinating with facilities staff

Logistical support and collaboration (10%)

  • Order materials needed for field facility operation; track expenditures to ensure grant funds are appropriately used
  • Seek industry support for products and equipment used in turfgrass management activities
  • Attend weekly turfgrass science lab meetings and provide regular updates at lab meetings on field trial progress, facility issues, and operations planning

About the Turfgrass Science Program

The Turfgrass Science program at the University of Minnesota is part of the Department of Horticultural Science in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences, and the University of Minnesota Extension.  At our Turfgrass, Research, Outreach and Education (TROE) Center on the St. Paul campus, we conduct research on turfgrass breeding and genetics, fate and transport of nutrients and pesticides, roadside turfgrass selection and management, low-input turfgrasses for cold climates, water conservation in turfgrass systems.  We have four full time staff, including faculty and research scientists; three post-doctoral research associates and numerous M.S. and Ph.D. students who support ongoing research.  More information about our program can be found at: www.turf.umn.edu and www.horticulture.umn.edu.  For more information about this position, please contact Eric Watkins, Professor (ph: 612-624-7496; ewatkins@umn.edu).

How To Apply

Applications must be submitted online.  Please visit https://humanresources.umn.edu/content/find-job and search for job opening 334109.

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