59th Annual WCTA Conference and Trade Show - Presenter Bios

59TH Annual WCTA Conference and Trade Show  - Presenter Bios
February 15-17, 2023, River Rock Casino Resort, Richmond, BC
Conference theme – ‘Oooooh, It’s Great to be Back!’

Opening Keynote, Ivanka Osmak

Evanka Osmak brings sports fans from coast-to-coast a healthy serving of fun, humour and insight as the co-anchor of Sportsnet Central alongside Ken Reid. Highlights of her career so far include hosting the 2010 Vancouver Olympics as well as sideline reporting at the National Bank Open.

Evanka is an upbeat, down-to-earth speaker who brings a bit of life to everything she does. She leaves audiences inspired to seek out what it is they truly are passionate about.  When not covering the latest sports stories on-air, she is busy with her two boys, teaches at the College of Sports Media and co-hosts a podcast, Moms in the Middle.  Evanka is an ambassador for Golf Fore the Cure alongside Golf Canada, is a committee member of the Sports Media Canada Luncheon and past board member of Special Olympics Ontario.

Dr. John Sorochan, University of Tennessee
’Sustainable Strategies for Reduced Turf Inputs’ and ‘My Neighbour the Turfie’

A native of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Dr. John Sorochan began working on the grounds crew at Earl Grey Golf and Country Club in 1988. He received his Ph.D. in Turfgrass Science from Michigan State University in 2002, and is presently a Distinguished Professor of Turfgrass Science and Management in the Plant Sciences Department at the University of Tennessee (UT).  Dr. Sorochan is also the Director for the UT Center for Athletic Field Safety and is responsible for the department's academic turf programs at both the undergraduate and graduate level, teaching several classes in the Turfgrass Science and Management Program. His research program coordinates investigations on environmental turf stress physiology including indirect heat, shade, drought, and wear stress for golf course, sports turf, and commercial and home lawn turf.  His research also includes athletic field management, including athletic field performance and safety, athlete to surface interactions, new cultivar and species evaluation for management and use, and sustainable strategies for reduced inputs for golf courses, residential turf, and sod production.

Dr. Manish Raizada, University of Guelph
How Can Turfgrass Help?’ and ‘The Past and Future of Biologicals on Sportsfields’

Manish N. Raizada is a Professor in the Department of Plant Agriculture at the University of Guelph, Canada. Dr. Raizada holds a PhD in plant molecular genetics from Stanford University and conducted post-doctoral research in microbial directed evolution at Caltech with Nobel Laureate Frances Arnold. The Raizada lab focuses on the discovery of probiotic microbes to combat crop disease and improve crop nutrition, and has worked on turfgrass for nearly 10 years. In its outreach activities, the Lab also empowers the world’s small scale farmers by developing low-cost Sustainable Agriculture Kits (SAKs), which have thus far impacted an estimated 272,000 rural peoples. Dr. Raizada has authored 98 scientific publications and has been invited on several occasions by the United Nations Food & Agricultural Organization to discuss how microbes (biologicals) can reduce the need for fertilizers.

David Phipps, GCSAA NW Field Staff
‘Robo-Golf: Autonomous Golf Maintenance is Coming’

David Phipps, a five-time winner of the GCSAA/Golf Digest's Environmental Leaders in Golf Award and 22-year GCSAA Class A member, has served as GCSAA Field Staff Representative in the Northwest Region since 2012.

Phipps’ efforts serving on the national and chapter GCSAA levels have earned him numerous honors and awards, including the Oregon GCSA's Richard Malpass Distinguished Service Award in 2000 and 2007, the Oregon Golf Association's Superintendent of the Year Award in 2009, the OGCSA's Michael S. Hindahl Environmental Stewardship Award of Excellence in 2011, and GCSAA's President's Award for Environmental Stewardship. 


Dr. Clint Mattox, US Department of Agriculture
‘A Collaborative Discussion on the Challenges of Snow Mold Control’ and ‘Weed Management – How Herbicides Work, New Technologies and Alternatives’

Dr. Clint Mattox graduated from Purdue University with a turfgrass science degree in 2000.  Upon graduation, he worked internationally on golf courses, primarily in Europe. From 2013 to 2022, he finished his graduate studies and a post-doc at Oregon State University where he focused on turfgrass disease, carbon sequestration, and annual bluegrass biology.  Since August 2022, Dr. Mattox has been working as a Research Weed Scientist at the USDA-ARS in Corvallis, OR focusing on managing weeds in grass seed production fields.

Dr. Gregg Munshaw, Pinnacle Ag Research Center
Problem Solving for the Golf Course Manager’ and ‘Problem Solving for the Sports Field Manager’

Dr. Gregg Munshaw, a Saskatchewan native, is the Chief Scientist at Pinnacle Ag Research Center near St. Louis, Missouri.  He has been in the turf industry for nearly 30 years and worked as a university professor for over half that time in the southern and transitional climatic regions of the United States. 

Munshaw is the author of numerous scientific and extension articles, and has delivered turf management education around the world.  He is particularly passionate about reducing turfgrass inputs and has previously served as the Director of Research for the Alliance for Low-Input Sustainable Turf, a non-profit dedicated to developing improved varieties.  In his current role he focuses on turfgrass stress alleviation testing new genetics, products, and practices to improve turf and soil health. 

Jason Pick, Olds College and Stan Kazymerchyk, Kwantlen University
‘Intro to Turf Management’  

This 1.5 hour immersive super session is designed for front-line golf and sportsfield management staff needing better turf management knowledge and understanding to perform their daily roles.  Delivered by the two top turf instructors in western Canada from Olds College and Kwantlen University, there is no prerequisite and the modest registration fee includes trade show access on Friday, February 17.  This seminar will cover all the basic fundamentals of turf management in an easy to follow format.  Both institutions have delivered industry leading programs in horticulture/turf management each with a long list of successful alumni excelling in the areas of golf course and sportsfield management. 


Dr. Nick Christians, Iowa State University
A Look at Soil Chemistry for Golf’ and ‘Top Tips for Topdressing Turf’

Dr. Nick Christians received his PhD from Ohio State University in 1979 and is a University Professor of Horticulture at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa.  

His area of specialization is Turfgrass Science with research focusing on the adaptation of grasses and grass cultivars to Midwestern conditions, pesticide use on turfgrasses with an emphasis on weed control and the effects of biostimulants on cool-season grasses.

Dr. Christians’ long list of awards include:
2012 Dean Lee Kolmer Award for Excellence in Applied Research
1999 Fred V. Grau Turfgrass Research Award
Outstanding Undergraduate Educator Award from the American Society Of Horticultural Science
Iowa State University Outstanding Advisor Award
1998 Iowa Inventor of the Year Award
ISU Teaching Excellence Award


Doug Wournell, Architect AIBC
'Synthetic Turf - When is it Time for the Rubber to Hit the Road?'

Doug Wournell is a practicing Sport Architect who has completed hundreds of sport and recreation projects in Canada and the US over the past 28 years, including over 115 synthetic turf field projects.  

Doug sits on the IAKS Experts Circle for synthetic turf and is a member of the Synthetic Turf Council and the American Sport Builders Association.

Trevor Warner, City of Woodstock Ontario
'On Being the 2021 Sport Turf Manager of the Year'

Trevor Warner, a long-time Sports Turf Canada member, was selected by his peers as the ‘Sport Turf Manager of the Year’ for 2021.  Warner says, “I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to play Junior College Baseball in Tennessee.  Our team was in charge of field maintenance and I enjoyed that type of work.”

He went on from this experience to the City of Welland, Ontario as a summer student, to an internship with Warner’s Athletics Construction (no relation), to the Canadian Baseball League, to 10 years at Mar-Co Clay Products.  With 23 years of sport field management under his belt, Warner is currently with the City of Woodstock, Ontario, serving as the Assistant Supervisor of Sport Fields. 

Terry Ormrod, Toro Irrigation
‘Irrigation Electrical Troubleshooting Part 1’ presented by IIABC

Terry Ormrod, from Kamloops, BC, is the Western Sales Manager for Toro Irrigation, a position he’s held since 2003.  

This 4-hour pre-conference seminar is part of a 12-hour Irrigation Industry Association of British Columbia course of study designed to teach the most effective steps to sort out confusing irrigation electrical problems.  Topics include how to properly use volt-ohm meters, how to diagnose wiring problems based on their readings and diagnosing field wiring problems without leaving the controller.

Terry will also provide more advanced methods of electrical troubleshooting, covering battery operated timers, D.C. solenoids and solar units, A.C. transformers and phasing, discuss fault finding equipment, amp readings and proper ground techniques.

Participants will receive 4 IIABC CEU’s for this session and may progress to Parts 2 & 3 after taking this course.  Space is limited to 30 attendees.

Shaun Dhaliwal, Health Canada Pesticide Compliance Program
‘Pesticide Regulations & Labels

Shaun Dhaliwal graduated from Simon Fraser University with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and works as a Health Canada Pesticide Compliance and Enforcement Officer in Burnaby, BC.

In this role, Shaun conducts inspections with pesticide manufacturers, retailers and users.  During his 14 years with Health Canada, he has also worked in a number national and supervisory roles. 


Mario Lanthier, CropHealth Advising & Research
'CEC Point Central Pre-Conference Seminar’ and ‘Hard to Get CEC Points’

Mario Lanthier has been a popular speaker at WCTA, CGSA, ISA and many other conferences over the years, and taught the BC Pesticide Applicator Certificate course at the WCTA conference from 2003 through 2015.  He has been working in the horticulture industry since 1980 and his company, CropHealth Advising and Research, offers consulting services and pest management recommendations with or without pesticides.  

Mario is back to deliver a 4-hour pre-conference seminar, devoted to earning pesticide CEC’s/CEU’s for BC and Alberta applicators.   Focusing on ‘Application Technology’ and ‘Safety and Environmental Protection’ points categories, topics covered will include pesticide label wording, factors affecting the use of pesticides, sprayer maintenance and drift management.  The best part? Participants will free up their remaining conference time to choose from a wide variety of presentations without worrying about the need to collect more points.

For those who can’t make the pre-con seminar, Mario will also deliver a one-hour talk on the main show program covering the ‘Application Technology’ category.  Subject matter includes sprayer parts, sprayer maintenance, calculation of delivery rate and common mistakes of spraying.


Dr. Deborah Henderson, Institute for Sustainable Horticulture
'Where are things at with Bio-Control Research?'

Deborah Henderson has been the Director of the Institute for Sustainable Horticulture (ISH) since 2005 and LEEF Regional Innovation Chair since 2009 at Kwantlen Polytechnic University.  She received her PhD from the University of British Columbia (UBC) in 1982, and established E.S. Cropconsult Ltd. in 1989 to offer IPM and research services to both conventional and organic agriculture in the Fraser Valley.  Deborah developed an active research program in biological and non-chemical management strategies for pests and diseases to advance agriculture and landscapes towards ecologically sound alternatives. Her research at ISH develops microbial bio-controls and environmentally sound bio-products in partnership with agricultural industry partners. Her goal is to put more biocontrol options in the hands of growers.

Peter Sorokovsky, City of Burnaby Golf Operations
‘A Collaborative Discussion on the Challenges of Snow Mold Control’

Peter Sorokovsky’s career in the golf course construction and maintenance industry spans 30+ years, starting as an assistant irrigation installer at Predator Ridge Golf Course in 1988.  He completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Science, graduating from the University of British Columbia in 1992.  After several years working on different golf courses, including Northview Golf and Country Club which hosted 7 PGA tour events, Peter was promoted to assistant superintendent in 1998.  He returned to university (UBC) in 2002 and was accepted into a graduate program in the Agricultural department, graduating with a Masters Degree in Soil Science in 2005. In 2007, Peter joined the team at the City of Burnaby as the Golf Operations Superintendent where he is known for managing one of the busiest municipal operations in Canada with very little use of traditional synthetic fungicides.


Brent Husson, Coastal Irrigation
'Back to Basic Irrigation Repairs & Maintenance'

Brent Husson has been in the Irrigation Industry since 1987. He has travelled and worked in Tunisia, North Africa installing lawn sprinkler irrigation systems.  Brent has served as President of the Irrigation Industry Association of BC and has taught their Certified Irrigation Classes.  He  has also instructed at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in the Horticulture Department and taught several courses in the field of Irrigation, Drainage, and Landscape Lighting. 


Daren Collins, Victoria Golf Club
‘Robo-Golf: Autonomous Golf Maintenance is Coming’

Entering his fifth year working in the turfgrass industry, Daren Collins earned his BASc in Golf Course Operation and Grounds Management from Olds College in 2022, served as Olds College Turf Club Vice President in 2020 and is currently the Assistant Superintendent at the Victoria Golf Club.  A recent career highlight was competing in the 2023 GCSAA Turf Bowl.  Daren’s Linkedin profile states, “I understand that I still have much to learn and feel that the Bachelor of Applied Science in Golf Course Management would help me greatly in that process.  Creating a positive, safe, friendly work environment is something I strive to provide.”


Closing Presentation
John Cullen - A comic, curler, teacher, drummer, chummer.

John Cullen is the rare comedian that you watch and he's having so much fun on stage that you can't decide whether he's having more fun or you are. Comedy should be about having fun, after all, and John's had a lot of it, accomplishing many things in just 8 years as a stand-up comedian. His album, Most Likely to be a Comedian, went to #1 on iTunes and can be frequently heard on SiriusXM radio.

He has been praised for being "immediately likable" on stage, a statement he fully endorses. John makes audiences feel at ease, and would insist that he is enjoying himself as much as the audience is. He has toured across Canada and they might’ve liked him in St. John’s even more than in Vancouver, so that’s something.