Trent Manning may have walked away with the 2018 Most Valuable Technician Award, presented in partnership with Foley United, but two other outstanding equipment managers joined him among the finalists in this year’s competition: Patrick Drinkard from The Clubs of Cordillera Ranch in Boerne, Texas, and Hector Velazquez from Riverside Country Club in Provo, Utah.
The first equipment manager to complete GCSAA’s Turf Equipment Technician Certificate Program, Drinkard has made a huge impact on the operations at Cordillera Ranch, located in the Hill Country just north of San Antonio, since arriving at the club in October 2016. According to Cordillera Ranch assistant superintendent Kris Negley, who nominated Drinkard for the 2018 MVT, he completely reorganized the club’s shop upon his arrival, “making the shop space more efficient and effective given the limited working space he inherited.”
In addition to completing the GCSAA certificate program, Drinkard is also a Certified Master Technician through the Equipment and Engine Training Council, which requires a technician to be certified in eight categories: four-stroke engines, two-stroke engines, compact diesels, electrical systems, driveline and hydraulic systems, generators, reel technology, and mechanical systems.
Drinkard has been active in outreach to the industry. The four-year GCSAA member hosted a shop tour at Cordillera Ranch and was a presenter at the Lightning Round Learning! education session during the 2018 Golf Industry Show in San Antonio, hosted an online webinar for GCSAA, and is currently mentoring Cordillera Ranch’s new assistant equipment technician, Anthony Guajardo.
Hector Velazquez has long been a familiar face and an inspiring voice for the equipment manager in the golf course management industry. The four-year GCSAA member hosts a popular video series on the industry website TurfNet, is active on social media (@HectorsShop), and regularly puts on free, hands-on educational events for local superintendent chapters and his fellow technicians.
He has brought similar experience and inspiration to Riverside since joining the team. “I believe Hector should win the Most Valuable Technician Award simply because of what he brought to Riverside CC and how he helped turn things around within the first few months of employment,” said superintendent Eric Gifford, who nominated Velazquez for the award.
The inspiration Velazquez has instilled in others is front and center at Riverside, Gifford wrote in his nomination. “His presence has had a huge impact on our entire staff. They now love detailing the equipment and take more pride in the shop and our equipment than any other crew I have been a part of.”
Scott Hollister is GCM’s editor-in-chief.