Golf Course Management

FEB 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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18 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 02.18 Onward and upward Before he helped elevate equipment managers to a new level, Mike Kriz assisted on a project that soared with unparalleled speed. Familiar with the SR-71 Blackbird? During the Cold War, it was a U.S. Air Force long-range strategic reconnaissance aircraft that oper - ated at a record-breaking, mind-boggling speed (more than 2,000 mph) and altitude (more than 80,000 feet). A former Air Force sergeant, Kriz served on the ground support equipment team for the SR-71 from 1981 to 1984. "I found it exotic," Kriz says of the SR-71. "It was real slick. And it was rewarding to be part of it." Inspired by his two uncles who served in Vietnam, Kriz signed up for the Air Force straight out of high school in 1975. It took him to multiple locations for work, including Hickam Air Force Base (AFB) in Hawaii, where he met his future wife, Carrie. Ultimately, Kriz landed at Beale AFB in Marysville, Calif., where he encountered the SR-71. The son of a mechanic who was raised in Chadron, Neb., Kriz retired from the Air Force at 39. But he wasn't about to plop down in a rocking chair for a life of relaxation. "I always had a wrench in my hand," Kriz says. He took jobs in Toledo as a maintenance supervisor at an aluminum die cast plant before moving on to a turf equipment shop. In July 1999, Kriz got closer to home by accepting a position as the "mechanic" — the title of the job when he took it — at Arrowhead Country Club in Rapid City, S.D. In time, that label would change. In September 2006, 12 people participated in a conference call to discuss launching an equipment technicians' asso - ciation. Kriz was among those on the call. Soon, the Photo by Hannah Hunsinger

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