Today is officially my last day with Sports Surface Design & Management. From Monday I have two months off before I head back to the UK to take up a position as a project/new business manager with the Sports Turf Research Institute in Bingley, West Yorkshire.
When I completed my PhD in 1986, my first job with the turf industry was a joint research project with this organisation so I have now come full circle. It's actually been nearly 30 years since I first arrived in New Zealand - in 1982 I unexpectedly won a Commonwealth Scholarship to study soil science at the then Lincoln College just outside Christchurch but I had no idea what I was letting myself in for and I didn't know a single person who lived in NZ. My entire knowledge of the country was summed up by some statistics on its meat and dairy industry gleaned from school geography lessons in about 1968 and a news clip about the 1981 Springbok Tour. I'll be leaving somewhat better informed!
So today ends nearly nine years with SSDM and over 21 years as a turf consultant in New Zealand. It has been a memorable journey.
I have many people to thank and I can't list everyone here. But in particular I would like to thank NZSTI for bringing me to New Zealand in 1991 and Recreational Services for having the courage to set up their own turf consultancy in 2003. I would also like to thank all the clients who have used me as a consultant - I hope I provided a good service and I hope I am leaving behind a good legacy.
SSDM will of course be continuing with business as usual once I have gone - Ewen Hodge will be taking over as the primary point of contact for now: ewen.hodge@SSDM.co.nz
I have many good friends and colleagues here and I know I won't be losing touch with this part of the world.