Golf Course Management

SEP 2018

Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.

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Page 49 of 101

46 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 09.18 Living the dream It took a few months for the numbers to be gathered and interpreted, but it only took a few weeks in the field — proposing the utter disruption of a superintendent's work habits (to say nothing of his work-life balance) — for VanBuskirk to get that feel - ing any entrepreneur craves: His pet project was going to work. Indeed, VanBuskirk and Ohlson, his vice president at Turf Cloud, felt as if it were only a matter of time before another Massachusetts-based turf/tech firm would reach out in some way. Founded in 2015, GreenSight Agronom - ics' business centers on drone systems, using daily flights and deploying the thermo-spec - tral cameras to deliver to superintendents all sorts of data and imagery relevant to turf health. e firm's proprietary software au - tomatically interprets and delivers that data on issues relating to evapotranspiration rates, soil temperature, water usage and soil compression, among others. Turf Cloud's dashboard just happened to be the perfect place to store GreenSight's data. "What they were doing was clearly ef - fective, and they knew their way around the golf course," VanBuskirk said of Green - Sight. "ey reached out in spring 2016, wanting to talk, but we were still so new. We hadn't had our slice of the entrepreneur - ial pie yet. It was just getting fun. "In 2017, I did a consultant gig for GreenSight, helped them sort a presenta - tion. ey circled back and made an offer. It made too much sense, so we accepted it. Our mission now is to build up GreenSight in the same way we did Turf Cloud. We just closed out our first quarter together, and I'm pretty comfortable with how it's working out." GreenSight ( ) acquired Turf Cloud in November 2017. e following month, GreenSight Ag was selected by Airbus, a leading aircraft manufacturer, to provide hardware, firm - ware and software tools for the Airbus Reli- able Aircraft Connectivity Demonstrator, a flexible new radio architecture designed to enable formation-flight, package delivery and Urban Air Mobility, in addition to the digitization of maintenance and flight-oper - ations support services. In February, e Toro Co. announced a strategic minority equity investment in GreenSight. According to Philip Burkart, vice president of Toro's irrigation and light - ing businesses, "We are intrigued and see great potential to align with GreenSight Agronomics to apply their technologies and analytics with our water management expertise." VanBuskirk said the entire company was thrilled by these developments, though turf remains the firm's broad focus. "GreenSight really gets the lifestyle- changing aspect here," VanBuskirk says. "ey get it on a product level. ey get it on a personal level. Gloria still has bad days, and they (GreenSight operators) have been great. Family comes first. ey talk it and walk it. I'm on the road a lot, but I get to work at home when I need an office day, or a family day. "I'm not sure what our marriage would have been like if Gloria hadn't gotten sick. Even now sometimes I slip up and get too heavy into all the calls and the emails. I can lose sight of the balance I'm look - ing to achieve. But generally I've been able to marry my loves for both worlds, turf and tech. People who know me, they joke around saying I'm living the dream. ey're not wrong." Hal Phillips is the managing director of golf and resorts for Mandarin Media, a public relations firm with offices in Portland, Maine; Park City, Utah; and Saigon, Viet - nam. He is the former editor of Golf Course News. VanBuskirk (center), along with Knochenhauer (left) and Powell, take a GreenSight Agronomics drone for a spin at Dedham Country and Polo Club. "Family comes first. (GreenSight) talk it and walk it," VanBuskirk says. "People who know me, they joke around saying I'm living the dream. They're not wrong." — Jason VanBuskirk

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