SALTEX 2023: The Preview

With SALTEX 2023 only a few days away, James Kimmings spoke with the Grounds Management Association (GMA) CEO, Geoff Webb and two of the Learning Live Speakers to discuss what people can expect from the show… The Clubhouse, climate change and female pioneers are all discussed within.

Geoff Webb, Grounds Management Association (GMA)

Geoff started by giving us a preview of what people can expect from The Clubhouse which has been introduced for SALTEX 2023 as a social space: “Feedback from the 2022 event, highlighted that networking was the second most important thing that people wanted from the show. The Clubhouse is designed to be a relaxed social space and it is great to have something on the show floor. It is going to have a bar and plenty of places to sit as well as a private area to hire called The Trophy Room – an area that people can book for networking and meeting opportunities.”

Another brand-new introduction to SALTEX for 2023 is the Community Sport Zone and Geoff explained why this area was important to develop: “We are always looking to bring new ideas and this zone will be of specific interest to grassroots, community football and rugby. In the zone, located alongside the GMA Hub, will be compact tractors from Campey Turf Care and Iseki, combination grooming tools such as Quadraplay, tractor mounted slitters from Greentek Solutions, tractor mounted fertiliser spreaders, cricket mowers, roller mowers from Trimax and lots more other exciting equipment. The machinery on display has been curated from the GMS’s Pitch Advisory Service expert recommendations in their grass pitch reports and provides an excellent shop window.”

“We also have National Governing Bodies from a wide range of sports available on both days to discuss possible grants and funding. The hope is that people will not only go away with knowledge from the experts, but also a potential grant from someone like The Football Foundation.”

Geoff also previewed SALTEX as a whole and what he hopes it will offer to both visitors and exhibitors: “A lot of people in the industry view SALTEX as their own turf show and this will be the 77th year. All the industry’s hottest topics will be covered by over eighty speakers across the three stages throughout. If you have an issue, we want to supply an expert who can give people hints and tips to take back to their own organisations. This year, exhibitor numbers are up on 2022 and this continued growth is positive. .”

Zibby Parker, Essex County Cricket & Felixstowe & Corinthians Cricket Club

Zibby is set to attend her first ever SALTEX this year to take part in a panel discussion titled: Meet the team behind the Women’s Ashes’ pitch delivery. She will be joined by fellow team members Meg Lay, Jess Jackson and Jasmine Nicholls and told us what to expect: “We are all really passionate that we don’t want this summer to be a one-off; we want to run with it and keep the momentum going. We want to promote that working in the sports turf industry is for everyone. It is one of those industries that people don’t really know a lot about.”

“We have a nice mix of sports on the panel; Meg in cricket and Jess is from a school background managing a variety of sports across the year. It should give a wide range of different opinions from different sectors.”

“We want to really put it out there about how much of a fantastic job it is, regardless of gender – there are not enough people within the industry! We need to reach out to schools and colleges to really show that the industry is something that people love and there are opportunities for people.”

“It is also important to note that you don’t have to have an interest in sport to do the job and to love it. I have daughters and I am more or less certain that they have never had someone from a grounds background at a career talk. It would be really good to get young people involved in work experience. You need to experience it to learn how fantastic it is.”

Jim Dale, Senior Meteorological Consultant at British Weather Services

Jim is a passionate Meteorologist, who is attending SALTEX to discuss what he describes as ‘Climate Changed’ – as he believes that the climate is ramping up. “The seminar content is relevant to everyone, as climate change is affecting everyone. I have recently spoken to several news outlets about climate change and I want to spread the message as far as I can.”

“A big part of the seminar will be the Q and A. Everyone has different reasons why climate change might affect them and I want to try and answer any questions that anyone has on the topic. I will be offering take-it-or-leave-it tips which delegates can take on board and back to their organisations.”

“A few years ago, I wrote a book called ‘Weather or Not’ about the climate reaching a tipping point and I will be referencing a lot of information from that. I am aware that people don’t always want to discuss climate, so I will aim to make the seminar direct and informative.”

Article by James Kimmings

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