Kentucky alum earns national recognition for sports field excellence

Source: Sports Turf Managers Association

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – A University of Kentucky alum has earned national recognition for sports field excellence.

The Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA), which oversees sports fields worldwide and prioritizes athlete safety, has named recipients of the 2020 Founders’ Awards, recognizing those members who have made significant contributions to STMA and to the profession.

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Marcus Dean, a UK alum, is the winner of the Dick Ericson Award which recognizes a member who effectively manages sports fields and their facility and exhibits the qualities of a true team leader.

According to STMA, the association’s highest honor, the four Founders Awards are named after pioneers and innovators who had a major impact on the industry. Dean joined Advanced Turf in 2018 following an eight-year stint as Sports Field Manager at UK.

The other 2020 honorees are:

  • Bradley Jakubowski, Instructor of Plant Sciences, Penn State – William H. Daniel Award
  • Tim VanLoo, CSFM, D&K Products – George Toma Golden Rake Award
  • Abby McNeal, CSFM, CPRP, City and County of Denver Parks – Harry C. Gill Award

“These talented individuals exemplify excellence in our field and display a commitment to the profession that is worthy of the four men the awards are named after,” says Jimmy Simpson, CSFM, President of the STMA Board of Directors. “Our association and members are stronger for the examples they have set and the enthusiasm, professionalism and dedication they exude.”

Winners will be honored virtually during the 2021 STMA Conference and Exhibition on January 12-13. For more information on the conference, click HERE.

Additional information on each award:

  • Dick Ericson Award – recognizes a member who effectively manages sports fields and their facility and exhibits the qualities of a true team leader. See a list of current and previous winners.
  • William H. Daniel Award – recognizes an individual who has made significant contributions to the industry through research, teaching or extension outreach. See a list of current and previous winners.
  • George Toma Golden Rake Award – validates the ‘and then some’ attitude of a sports field member in “on the job” activities and in community service. See a list of current and previous winners.
  • Harry C. Gill Memorial Award – established to honor an individual for their hard work in the sports field industry and to acknowledge their dedication to STMA. See a list of current and previous winners.
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Erica joins the ABC 36 family as a Co-Anchor of Good Morning Kentucky weekday mornings from 5am-7am with Cody Adams and Good Day Kentucky weekday mornings from 9am to 10am. Erica also anchors News at Midday from 12-12:30pm. She is also a Web and Social Media Content Producer. Erica graduated in three and a half years from Michigan State University with a Bachelor's degree in Broadcast Journalism and specialization in Women, Gender and Social Justice. Although she hails from Michigan, Erica has worked as a News Reporter/Sports Anchor for the CBS-affiliate in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. Prior to that, she worked for a PBS-affiliate there covering all types of news – even providing live reports for The Weather Channel during her first hurricane. She then moved to Lake Charles, Louisiana and worked as the Weekend Anchor/Reporter at KPLC, the NBC/FOX/CW affiliate. Erica comes to Lexington from the Huntington area where she worked at WSAZ, an NBC/CW affiliate in West Virginia, as a weekday evening anchor covering the tri states of Ohio and Kentucky as well. In addition to her background on TV, Erica has worked in radio, served as the PA announcer for the Class A "Lansing Lugnuts" and hosted Carnival parades in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Some of her favorite hobbies include running, reading, hiking, spending time with her husband and taking pictures of their furbabies. Erica is big on community involvement, having served as a board member for Dress for Success, volunteered as a Big with Big Brothers Big Sisters, worked on the Mayor's Armed Forces Commission in Lake Charles and hosted countless events. She hopes you can connect with her on Facebook: EricaBivensTV and on Twitter: @ericabivens or Instagram: erica.bivens. You can also email her at Please send all event inquiries via email. Erica is excited to explore Lexington and the outdoors and - of course - meet all of you!