City of Iowa City employee Joe Wagner has been awarded the 2015 Meritorious Service Award by the Iowa Turfgrass Institute (ITI) for his outstanding leadership and vision, efforts to improve educational opportunities for those in the industry, and the mentoring he has provided other turf managers across the state. The award was presented during the 81st Iowa Turfgrass Conference and Trade Show held in Altoona earlier this month.
Wagner is the turfgrass specialist for Iowa City's Parks and Recreation Department and oversees maintenance of all City sports fields. He has been employed by the City since 1997.
Parks Superintendent Zac Hall noted that the award demonstrates the high level of respect Wagner has earned in the industry and with his peers. "The Meritorious Award is typically given to a professor or researcher, not an industry professional," Hall said. "Joe is one of only a few who has received this designation, and it speaks highly of the work he has done to promote and strengthen the industry."
He also stated that Wagner is one of only two individuals to have received all three of the state's top awards for turf management: the Iowa Sports Turf Managers Association (ISTMA) Sports Turf Manager of the Year Award in 2002, the ISTMA Golden Cleat Award for exemplary service to the association in 2009, and the Meritorious Service Award in 2015.
At the Jan. 26 ceremony, Wagner was recognized for his significant voluntary contributions and outstanding service to the ITI, including his efforts to expand the accessibility and availability of ITI turf management programs through Iowa's community colleges, his mentorship of people who are just starting their careers in sports turf management, and the support and leadership he has displayed while serving on the ITI board and as past president of the ISTMA.
The Iowa Turfgrass Institute provides education for professional turfgrass managers through the Iowa TurfÂ¬grass Conference and Trade Show in January and the Iowa Turfgrass Field day in July. ITI contributes to turfgrass research at Iowa State University each year, and administers more than $5,000 in turfgrass management scholarships. For more information, contact Jeff. R. Wendel, Executive Director of the Iowa Turfgrass Institute, at 515-635-0306 or e-mail email@example.com.