Mark F. Jordan, CGCS
Though little about GCSAA’s 2021 Annual Meeting was in-person, that didn’t mean it was totally devoid of the personal touch.
Take, for example, the circumstances surrounding the ascension of Mark F. Jordan, CGCS, to the position of the association’s 85th president. In normal years, shortly after the formality of elevating the acting vice president to the top role through election at the Annual Meeting — which is held in conjunction with the Golf Industry Show — the new president is escorted to the podium by the past presidents in attendance.
That, of course, was an impossibility this year given the coronavirus pandemic and the need to take GIS 2021 into the virtual realm, but the tradition wasn’t entirely abandoned. Just prior to Jordan’s introduction Thursday as president by outgoing president John R. Fulling Jr., CGCS, Jordan — natural resource leader at Westfield Country Club in Westfield Center, Ohio, and a 34-year GCSAA member — and meeting attendees viewed a short video featuring a dozen of those past presidents who in years past would have provided a white-blazer-clad escort. Instead, they had prerecorded messages of congratulations and support.
Clip No. 12 in particular struck a chord: John Spodnik, a 62-year GCSAA member and association president in 1969 who brought Jordan to Westfield CC in 1988, made the final video address to Jordan before Fulling ceremonially passed the gavel to his successor. Jordan said it’s his understanding that he and Spodnik represent the first two GCSAA presidents from the same facility in association history.
“I really appreciate that message from John,” Jordan said. “That ... surprised me. Thank you for that.”
Then, turning his attention to the video conference before him, Jordan looked ahead. “Thank you for your confidence in myself and the board in the coming year,” Jordan said. “I look forward to the opportunity. I know there are challenges, but I also know there will be opportunities that 2021 will present as well.”
In other Annual Meeting news:
- Kevin P. Breen, CGCS, golf course superintendent at La Rinconada Country Club in Los Gatos, Calif., was elected vice president.
- Kevin P. Sunderman, CGCS, golf course superintendent at Isla Del Sol Yacht and Country Club in St. Petersburg, Fla., was elected secretary/treasurer.
- Jeff L. White, CGCS, director of agronomy at Indian Hills Country Club in Mission Hills, Kan., was voted back onto the Board of Directors for another two-year term.
- T.A. Barker, CGCS, golf course superintendent at Fore Lakes Golf Course in West Jordan, Utah, and Paul L. Carter, CGCS, superintendent at The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay in Harrison, Tenn., were similarly reelected to two-year board posts.
- Marc Weston, CGCS, golf course superintendent at Indian Hill Country Club in Wethersfield, Conn., was elected to a one-year term on the Board of Directors. That represents the one year remaining on Sunderman’s term before his rise to secretary/treasurer. Jon M. Christenson and Christopher A. Reverie were also on the ballot.
- Fulling presented outgoing immediate past president Rafael Barajas, CGCS, with his traditional white blazer. Both men, masked for the blazer presentation, were at GCSAA headquarters in Lawrence, Kan. Each said his goodbye to the board — Barajas from his role as immediate past president, and Fulling as acting president. Fulling will fill Barajas’ vacancy.
Jordan used his newly assumed podium to issue a call to action for those in virtual attendance. Put simply, and after acknowledging calamities recent (the ongoing pandemic) and more distant (such as World War II) through which GCSAA has thrived, Jordan’s charge was to make an impact: “We have persevered though all those events,” he said, “and 2020 is no different. As we move forward in 2021, we’ll have many opportunities to impact many lives.”
Andrew Hartsock is GCM’s managing editor.