Anthony Williams, CGCS, director of golf and landscape operations at TPC Four Seasons Dallas at Las Colinas in Irving, Texas, and Nick Janovich, superintendent at Oglebay Resort and Conference Center in Wheeling, W.Va., have been named GCSAA Grassroots Ambassador Leadership Award winners.
The Grassroots Ambassador Leadership (GAL) Award, presented quarterly in partnership with The Toro Co., recognizes individuals who have demonstrated growth in advocacy and advancement of the GCSAA Priority Issues Agenda through congressional outreach and relationship development with a member of Congress. Through Toro, the winners will receive a trip to the 2019 National Golf Day in Washington, D.C.
“Advocacy is one of the key ways we can serve members and advance their profession and the game,” says GCSAA CEO Rhett Evans. “We are fortunate to have highly engaged members like Anthony and Nick who are working with members of Congress to bring the issues that affect golf to their attention. We congratulate them on this recognition of their efforts.”
The GAL Award is part of GCSAA’s Grassroots Ambassador program, which matches superintendents with members of Congress to establish strong relationships with them. More than 300 GCSAA members currently serve as ambassadors.
The 2018 first-quarter winner of the GAL Award was Williams, a 22-year association member, who has a long history of advocacy on behalf of GCSAA and was the recipient of the GCSAA Excellence in Government Affairs Award in 2014. That same year, he became part of the inaugural group of ambassadors and was first paired with Rep. Hank Johnson from Georgia.
“On the surface, we were total opposites,” Williams says of Johnson. “However, when we met in his district office, we found that our sense of community was shared and more powerful than our differences. We became friends. Anything is possible if you stop and find common ground.”
After taking a break from the ambassador program because of health issues and relocating to Texas, Williams is now matched with Rep. Kenny Marchant.
Second-quarter winner Janovich also became an ambassador in 2014 and was matched with Rep. David McKinley of West Virginia. Janovich, a 12-year GCSAA member, has worked to develop “regular and meaningful communication” with McKinley’s staff. With his proximity to Washington, D.C., Janovich has also opened lines of communication with other members of the West Virginia delegation, Sens. Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito. (Hear from Janovich about his advocacy efforts in Opportunities in golf advocacy from the March 2018 issue of GCM.) Add in attendance of National Golf Day over the past several years, and Janovich has made 27 trips to Capitol Hill on behalf of GCSAA and the industry in his role as an ambassador.
With his regular trips to D.C., Janovich has become a familiar face to those in the offices of West Virginia lawmakers.
“We are at the point where they know me, why I’m there, what I want, and they are prepared with information,” Janovich says. “I’ve also been affectionately referred to as the ‘golf guy.’”