Kansas, United States: Ed Ward, the equipment manager at city-owned Mariana Butte Golf Club in Loveland, Colorado, for the past 16 years, is the winner of the 2016 Edwin Budding Award from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA).
The Edwin Budding Award, named for the inventor of the lawnmower and presented in partnership with Ransomes Jacobsen, is given annually to an equipment manager or related innovator, technician, educator or engineer who has made a significant impact in the golf and turf business.
Ward’s career proves he fits the bill. More than 20 years ago, the now 70-year-old equipment manager initiated the development of two equipment lifts specifically designed for golf course machinery.
In addition, he has continued to help develop accessories for the lifts over the years. Trion Lifts Inc produced the lifts in Colorado before the company was acquired by Alabama-based Turf Pride USA in 2012. They are still sold worldwide, and are in use by two of Ward’s colleagues in New Zealand and Hong Kong.
“I am kind of flying on cloud nine right now,” said Ward, who is technically a Loveland city employee. “The last thing I ever expected was to win an award from the GCSAA. I let out a big yell when I hung up the phone after being informed by the GCSAA President. What an honour. I feel so lucky.”
Pete Grass, the GCSAA President, said: “We are pleased to be able to recognise an equipment manager who has added so much to the profession. Equipment managers are vital to the overall operation of any golf facility, and we are indebted to Ed for his accomplishments.”
Ward started working as an equipment technician in the golf industry in 1983. He is a licensed aircraft mechanic by trade and stumbled into the golf world by answering a business advertisement to be the mechanic at another Colorado golf course.
“I sometimes wonder how it might have turned out, but I couldn’t find a job right away as an aircraft mechanic,” said Ward, who still works full time. “I have no regrets. I made a living and have a home for myself.”
Ward receives an expenses paid trip to attend the 2017 Golf Industry Show in Orlando (February 4-9), where he will be formally recognised at the Opening Night Celebration, along with other GCSAA national award winners from the past year. It will be only the third time that Ward has had the opportunity to attend GIS in 33 years.