One-on-one: Dan Bergstrom, head sports turf manager, Houston Dynamo

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Stadia caught up with Dan Bergstrom, a member of the Sports Turf Managers Association, to find out more about his move from the MLB’s Houston Astros to the MLS’s Houston Dynamo

Can you tell us about your career path to date?

My career path began with an agricultural background in Iowa, my home state. My passion to pursue turfgrass management as a career started during a summer job on a golf course in college, and as a result I switched to the Horticulture/Turfgrass Management degree program at Iowa State University. Since my graduation, I have been fortunate to work in professional and college athletics for more than 21 years, beginning with the NFL’s Cleveland Browns, continuing to the universities of Kentucky and Nebraska, then moving to Houston to work for the Astros for more than 12 seasons.

What are the main challenges of your new role, and what are you most excited about?

BBVA Compass Stadium [Houston Dynamo] has significant shade challenges, so successfully managing turfgrass through stadium shade issues and the constant push for field use and revenue generation are universal challenges for sports turf managers around the world. That said, this stadium does not have a retractable roof like Minute Maid Park [Houston Astros], so over much of the surface we’ll have more sunlight to work with than I’m used to. I’m excited about that.

What lessons have you learned in your career that will be useful in the new position?

At Minute Maid Park, we were tasked with growing the turfgrass indoors without sunlight, so many of the tips, tricks and ideas I gained in my ‘toolbox’ over those 12 years will come in handy at BBVA Compass Stadium in the shade. And of course, all the boardroom time with executives over the years will pay off as we learn together as an organization how to successfully manage the revenue and expenses for the business, as well as the teamwork and traffic management involved on a high-end natural grass playing surface.

August 25, 2016

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