In the dynamic landscape of sports and leisure, professionals like Amy Dingle, Turf Agronomist at SPORTENG, play a crucial role in ensuring the fields we play on are nothing short of exceptional. In this interview, we delve into Amy's professional journey, her unwavering commitment to sustainability, and the instrumental role she plays in shaping the future of the field of play services.
Nurturing expertise: Amy’s journey of growth and excellence
Amy's journey began at the University of Melbourne, where her academic prowess earned her a spot in the top 3% of her Bachelor of Agriculture Degree. This commendable achievement also placed her on the prestigious University of Melbourne’s Dean's Honours List Award—an acknowledgment of her dedication to excellence.
However, Amy's pursuit of excellence wasn't confined to the University classrooms alone. Since joining the industry, she has actively engaged in educational workshops, including events like the Poa Annua research workshop and the nematode workshop organised by the Australian Sports Turf Managers Association (ASTMA).
"I’m always trying to expand my knowledge into new research or trying to strengthen my skillset for when I'm working with a client. I want to find answers to questions such as what is the latest in the industry, what direction are people heading in, and with which solutions," Amy notes, highlighting her dedication to staying at the forefront of her field.
Pioneering diversity: empowering change and collaboration
Mentorship also holds a significant place in Amy's journey. Her proactive approach led her to John Neylan, a well-respected turf agronomist within the industry, whose guidance has been pivotal in Amy's professional growth. This mentorship is a testament to her commitment to continuous learning and growth. In addition to this, Amy is also a participant in the ASTMA Women in Turf mentorship program. Collaborating with another female professional in the field, she contributes to a supportive network for problem-solving and growth. Inspired by the mentoring Amy has received through both aforementioned opportunities, she has recently become a mentor herself through participation in the University of Melbourne’s STEM Industry Mentoring Program. Through this program, she hopes to inspire other university graduates to consider entering the world of sports field consultancy and agronomy.
Amy's contributions have been integral to the growth of SPORTENG's Field of Play Team. Expanding from just two members to a robust team of eight professionals within a single year, their collective achievements have been underscored by positive feedback from clients and councils.
"The Field of Play Team has grown very quickly to fit the increasing demand we’re managing regarding turf agronomy work. SPORTENG has done a really good job of controlling the amount of work we have to deal with. When I started, I think they really held back on tendering for a lot of work because they knew that two people alone wouldn’t be able to follow the pace," Amy explains, emphasizing the team's commitment to delivering quality outcomes even amidst rapid expansion.
Beyond her immediate environment, Amy recognises the significance of representation. As one of the mere 1.6% of females in the turf industry, she envisions a collaborative effort between the turf and parks and leisure sectors to promote gender diversity and empowerment.
"I do think that this is an area that probably isn’t represented as strongly as it could be within the parks and leisure industries. I believe there is clear potential for creating momentum in using parks and leisure organisations’ influence in promoting women in the industry, not only based within councils but also in the turf industry. Joining both industries, which are very much linked together, could indeed be a good way to represent this cause," Amy states.
As a SPORTENG's Field of Play Team member, Amy knows the team's unique positioning within the parks and leisure sector. Distinct from other companies, the SPORTENG Field of Play team is supported by a team of Civil Engineers and is independent and prioritises clients' best interests without any product bias. This approach sets them apart and is a testament to SPORTENG's commitment to delivering value and innovation.
Driving sustainability: Amy’s commitment to a greener future
Amy's dedication to environmental sustainability is another dimension of her journey.
Actively involved in projects like the SPORTENG Recycled Glass Sand for Sport Surfaces and the Tahoma 31 Trial, she and her colleagues strive to bridge gaps in the industry for more sustainable and environmentally impactful solutions.
In her role for the Recycled Glass Sand for Sports Surfaces project, Amy played a pivotal role in data collection, interpretation, and setting up test plots to assess the efficacy of recycled glass as a growing medium for turf. This project is a prime example of how the turf industry can adopt eco-friendly practices by repurposing materials instead of extracting them anew.
The three trial plots being completed and ready to be covered with natural turf - Recycled Glass Sand for Sports Surfaces project.
Furthermore, Amy collaborated with SPORTENG Senior Turf Agronomist John Neylan on the Tahoma 31 Trial project. This initiative aimed to test a new turf species bred in the US known for its superior drought tolerance. Given the challenges of climate change and water restrictions, this project is a significant step towards adapting to a changing environment.
Amy's journey embodies SPORTENG's commitment to providing top-tier Field of Play services that combine expertise with sustainability. Her transformative story offers valuable insights into the world of Field of Play services. Her ability to assess the compliance and condition of fields across various sports and her deep understanding of the scope of work and associated costs required to bring a field to the desired level of performance match our comprehensive range of services. This ensures that we can offer our clients top-notch solutions for all their sports facility needs. With Amy as part of our team, SPORTENG provides both consultancy and design services and the practical know-how to transform sports fields into high-performance, compliant, and safe spaces for athletes of all levels. Our commitment to excellence is amplified through Amy's expertise, making us the go-to choice for all your sports facility requirements.
Amy worked with SPORTENG in providing condition assessment and feasibility study for the Field of Play redevelopment at the NSW Brookvale Oval.
Amy and her team also provided agronomic design, irrigation and drainage for the development of a hybrid turf, a natural turf and three synthetic pitches for the Home of Matildas at LaTrobe University.
For a deeper understanding of SPORTENG Field of Play services, check out the following articles on our blog:
Discover how Amy and the dedicated professionals at SPORTENG can enhance your sports and leisure spaces. Reach out to us for a complimentary consultation and experience the transformative power of innovation and dedication. Let us help you create spaces that exemplify excellence and embark on a journey of enhanced quality and sustainability.
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