Session 1 - John Neylan


John has worked extensively in the turf industry as a Turfgrass Agronomist for nearly 40 years. He has extensive experience in undertaking research and consultancy with a wide range of clients including golf, major sports stadia, local government and racetracks and has expertise in soils, sports turf profile design, drainage, water management and turfgrass evaluation. John has lectured in soils, drainage, irrigation management, environmental management and construction at several campuses. In addition, he has presented papers at numerous turf conferences and seminars and has written extensively with over 350 published papers and articles.

Session 2 - Ernie Gmehling

Ground Science - Managing Director

Ernie has a Diploma in Civil Engineering and has 40 years of experience in soil science. He is the Managing Director of Ground Science who have been servicing the turf industry for over 20 years. Ernie has been involved in a large range of turf based projects, typically as a materials technologist involved in material selection, QA testing, design testing, forensic investigations and problem solving on sporting fields and racecourses. He is a cricket soil specialist who has conducted numerous research trials into wicket soil behaviour and assisted turf managers of major stadium venues in understanding how to monitor and prepare cricket pitches, using science.

Session 3 - Ben Gibson

CEO | The Toolbox Team

Ben is an experienced golf and sports turf industry leadership coach, systems specialist and presenter. He has worked with hundreds of turf managers and thousands of their staff across Australia, New Zealand and the United States and used that knowledge and experience to build his business The Toolbox Team, health and safety compliance software The Toolbox and and the Australia/NZ Sports Turf Leadership Forum Series. His vision is to create physically and psychologically safer work environments for teams across the industry and provide a meaningful and sustainable solution. Ben appears regularly on industry podcasts, in state and national turf association magazines and has spoken at turf industry events in Australia, New Zealand, Asia and the United States. He has spent his career building and leading teams and holds a Master’s Degree in Business Leadership.

Session 4 - Steve Cole

General Manager | Lilydale Instant Lawn

Steve has 38 years of experience working in turf production and project management as well as Golf Course maintenance, major stadium surface construction, racetrack construction and turf farm development. He is trade certified and has an Associate Diploma of Applied Science - Turf Management.

Session 4 - Jeremy Cutajar

Manager | Marrondah Golf Courses and Sportsfields

Jeremy has 32 years of experience working in the Golf and Sports fields turf industry within Local government. Maintaining 2 public golf course and 62 sports fields including AFL , Cricket, Baseball, Soccer, Rugby, Gridiron, Athletics and more. As well as maintenance, Jeremy has project managed a range of Sports turf construction projects from minor projects to full sports precinct redevelopment. Jeremy is trade certified and has an Associate Diploma of Applied Science - Turf Management.

Session 5 - Jarrod Walsh | Keynote Speaker


Jarrod is a communications expert, as the voice of Live Sport in Australia, two decades working on national radio and engaged by brands around the country to communicate their message to key stakeholders, through SpeakGood – he shares his philosophy on communication and connection with you. SpeakGood is not just changing the way people connect and communicate, it is changing lives for the better.