In our Behind The Drop Q&A series, we bring you brief interviews with some of the minds driving innovation at Aquatrols. We speak to a wide variety of folks who work here at Aquatrols, exploring topics from research, to conservation, to business.
Today we are featuring an interview with Ian Grove, who recently joined the Aquatrols team as a Territory Manager covering a section of the Eastern US. From his extensive experience as a golf course superintendent to his journey into the sales side of the industry, Ian discusses his transition to the Aquatrols team and how his passion for the industry all began.
What was your first position within the golf industry?
If you don’t count the summers of weed eating pond and creek banks at Willow Creek Country Club in North Carolina as a teenager, then it would be when I joined the Devils Ridge Golf Club staff in Raleigh, NC. Wonderful times learning the business while also attending Turf school at North Carolina State University. (GO PACK!!!)
What drew you to pursue a sales career within the industry?
I’ve had the opportunity to meet so many highly trained and talented people in the industry. Many of them were sales reps that used to call on me while I was a superintendent. It always excited me thinking about meeting new and different people, the challenges of solving problems, the thrill of the hunt, travel and building lifelong relationships.
How has your prior experience helped you in your current position?
Well first being a superintendent you really wear a different hat depending on the hour of the day. Whether it’s talking to salespeople or members, managing a team, hiring staff, putting together budgets and financial reports, analyzing data and solving problems. You truly must be well versed in many different fields. As a distributor rep, that really propelled me into relationship building and developing trust with my clients.
What excited you most about joining the Aquatrols team?
The vibe I got during the onboarding process was unbelievable. When I visited the home office you could almost feel it. Also, the opportunity to get back in my home state of North Carolina and rekindle some old friendships in the business was super exciting to me.
You have a lot of experience both in the field and on the sales side of the turf industry. When you were a superintendent did you use Aquatrols products and if so how? How would you use them differently now with your expanded product knowledge?
It really has come full circle. The first time I used Revolution as a superintendent was almost 20yrs ago, and now I’m able to be a representative of Aquatrols and support a product that I really, really liked back then. It is kind of an amazing opportunity!! The results we obtained from Revolution were exactly what we were looking for, I’m not kidding when I say this, we literally tried to use it with every spray we had. If I was still in the field, I’m sure Zipline would be something we would be using on a regular basis as well.
Being on the sales side now and seeing the superintendent’s job from a different angle, what is the best advice you can give to current superintendents?
Being a Golf Course Superintendent is an amazing profession!! The time I spent as a superintendent was some of the best times of my professional career, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. If you have reached superintendent status in this amazing industry, be proud of your accomplishments, lean on your distributor reps for advice and info, never stop growing, be an industry leader and grow the profession. The best feeling in the business is watching one of your assistants take that next step and knowing you helped them advance in this amazing profession!!
Lastly, what can you be found doing when you’re not working?
I love to be on the water with the family. Boating, fishing or just nestled up in a cove somewhere on a lake just relaxing and floating around!! Going to NC State football games, watching my youngest son play baseball and of course playing a round of golf with family or friends.