Lawrence, Kansas, United States: Mike Kriz, retired equipment manager of Arrowhead Country Club in South Dakota, is the winner of the 2020 Edwin Budding Award from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA).
The Edwin Budding Award, named for the inventor of the lawn mower, 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.
Kriz has 36 years of experience in equipment maintenance. He spent 21 years in the United States Air Force as an aerospace ground technician, instructor and manager and was stationed in the United Kingdom for many years.
“I retired from the Air Force in 1997 as a ground equipment technician and fell into the golf industry by accident. I answered an ad I saw in a newspaper for a small engine mechanic position for Jacobsen, and the rest is history,” said Kriz, who has made several contributions to the equipment management profession on and off the golf course.
He spent several years teaching via the online forum Golf Techs, founded the International Golf Course Equipment Managers Association (IGCEMA) and has volunteered at numerous PGA tournaments.
After helping start IGCEMA in 2006, Kriz also served as Secretary, Treasurer, Board Member, Vice President and President. He was instrumental in developing the IGCEMA’s by-laws and working with its accountants and lawyer during the association’s operation and development.
Kriz assisted with the development of the IGCEMA Certificate Programme for hydraulic, electrical internal combustion engines, drivelines, cutting unites and sprayers, and he helped facilitate meetings with consultants during the programme’s development. Kriz taught numerous webcasts to IGCEMA members on electricity and other topics. He played a major role in assisting with the merger of the IGCEMA into the GCSAA in 2015.
“It’s the pinnacle award for technicians in the golf maintenance industry and it truly humbles me,” said Kriz. “My entire career I worked for the betterment of equipment managers and technicians worldwide.”
Kriz has travelled around the US and Europe training technicians and superintendents at local, national and international associations and chapters on equipment management. This includes a visit to Boston to exhibit at a school guidance counsellor’s conference to spread the word about the equipment management profession.
Kriz also continues to assist the golf courses in his area when needed. He has recently been a turf equipment specialist with Professional Turf Equipment Consulting.
Stephen Tucker, Equipment Manager at Four Seasons Resort Orlando, nominated Kriz for the award and has known Kriz for more than 13 years.
Tucker said: “The Budding award was developed to award someone who had gone above and beyond their regular job and I feel Mike fits this perfectly. I am impressed that despite Mike knowing he was coming up on retirement, he continued to share his knowledge with our industry.
“There is no doubt in my mind that today’s technicians are better off today because of the dedication, willingness and care that Mike has for his colleagues.”
Kriz will formally receive the award at the 2021 Golf Industry Show.