In our Beyond 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 Ken Mauser, who is our Western Territory Manager for the U.S. Ken discusses what brought him to the industry and how his 27+ years with Aquatrols has helped evolve his agronomic career.
What was your first position within the golf industry? Why is golf special to you?
After spending over 10 years as an agronomist in the ag industry after college, I took a position as a Distributor Rep for the old Western Farm Service, now known as Nutrien, from 1984 to 1986 in Oxnard, California. That was my first venture into the turf, landscape, and horticulture industry. As an agronomist, growing plants in general is special, but being able to use my agronomic experience to help a new group of plant growers, grass farmers if you will, was a nice change from the years of working agricultural crops.
What drew you to become a part of the Aquatrols team?
This one is easy. The reputation of Aquatrols and the Moore family in the T & O industry. Back in 1984, while with Western Farm Service, I met Andy Moore because Western was a distributor for Aquatrols. I got to know him, the company, and the products. Then in 1991, while I was with Grow More Fertilizers, the call came from Aquatrols that they were looking for a Territory Manager and was I interested. I said yes and applied for the position. The rest is history. Now, 27 years later I am still here enjoying what I do.
What are some differences that turf professionals face in the Western region of the U.S. versus other areas of the country? How do those differences affect how you approach solutions?
The biggest difference between the states I work in, and most of the remainder of the country, is the arid climate that we have. The lack of moisture is a huge differentiator. This lack of moisture creates many issues that the rest of the country doesn’t see or have to deal with. Simply put, we are a water and soil management company that produces products to help get water into and through soils. Though dry salty soils are not the best candidates for growing plants, they are the best candidates for the products that we provide. Our ability to solve the challenges that our customers are faced with makes for a large potential market and our team’s knowledge base adds to that value we present to our customers.
You’ve been with Aquatrols for 27 years. That is quite an accomplishment. What would you say is one of your favorite customer stories during your time at the company?
After all these years I am not sure I can pick just one favorite, but I can certainly pick one favorite topic. That topic is the many, many stories of customers who have moved off of our products to try someone else’s product or program and then a year or so later, come back to our products because they weren’t getting the same results. The consistent performance of our products under a multitude of different conditions and situations is a huge plus for us. These performance issues are one reason I have been around so long – Why leave the best?
Throughout your time at Aquatrols you have gotten to see a lot of change happen within the company. Can you touch on some of the innovation you have been able to be a part of?
During my 27+ years with Aquatrols, I have helped with the research, development, and successful launch of Primer Select, Aqueduct, Sixteen90, InfilTRx, Dispatch, and Revolution. Three of those were huge improvements and continuations in the progression of wetting agent usage in golf turf by Aquatrols. Robert A. Moore, the founder of Aquatrols, is considered to be the father of the soil wetting agent business. The development of soil wetting agents in the golf industry is often referred to as one of the biggest improvements to turf grass management products ever.
What does Aquatrols’ latest product Zipline offer your customers? How does it add to their programs?
Zipline is not a new mouse trap but it is a new version of the trap we already have. An improved and more advanced version. Zipline is an extremely good soil surfactant that manages water and water-repellent soil to a degree that allows for more uniform wetting and drying. Zipline offers the turf, landscape and sports turf industry a product that creates a more balanced air to water ratio and an improved root zone environment.
The “manure beer” additive is unique in that it provides the plant with a rich diversity of much needed secondary metabolites. The plant would normally get these metabolites from the natural breakdown of organic matter but during certain times of the year or under certain conditions the natural production of these metabolites can be limiting. Secondary metabolites are the triggers for the physiological processes that the plant needs to process nutrients and certain defense mechanisms against heat stress, water stress and salt stress. When the plant can’t get these triggers, it’s left without the necessary defenses and tolerances that help turfgrass thrive.
Zipline supplies these triggers irrespective of the challenges thrown our way by mother nature.
Lastly, what is the one thing about the Aquatrols brand and products that you always want new or potential customers to know?
That our main focus in product development is our customer. We want products that meet their needs and solve their problems. We want our products to be of value to them in more ways than affordability. They are our VIPs, that is what I want them to know. Our customers are very important people to us – But VIP has another meaning too.
V is for the Value we bring to the industry.
I is for the Innovation we bring in our product development.
P is for the Performance they get from the products we provide.
To learn more about the Aquatrols’ brand and vision, visit our “About Us” page at www.aquatrols.com/about