Another Good Friend Makes a Big Move

So I think I am going to name 2017 the year of big moves. There has been a lot of moving around this year in the world of Turf grass. Many of the moves have been from one golf course to another but so far I have had 2 great friends make big leaps to new careers and it’s only May. The one I am referring to this week is John Cunningham. Currently he is the assistant GM at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis, but is making the move to General Manager of Aronimink Golf Club in Pennsylvania. (John introduced me to Thomas Bastis who I wrote about a few weeks ago here)

I have known John for around 13 years now when he was Superintendent at Black Diamond Ranch and I was the Equipment Manager at Hawks Ridge in Georgia. John needed an Equipment Manager and asked if I would be interested or if I knew someone that was. I turned him on to a good friend (also fellow Lake City Community College graduate and much older than me) of mine Howard Horne. Over the years we talked from time to time and always got together at GIS but in that time we also evolved. We got to be good friends, we developed a strong core of friends through the years that range from Equipment Managers, Superintendents, assistants, etc. When we get together now, much like I wrote in my previous post regarding Thomas, we are not job titles but we are all friends that enjoy each other’s company.

The great thing about our friendship is that we think a lot alike. While we are in 2 different roles in this industry I would venture to say that we both know what the other is thinking in any given situation. That has helped us with developing seminars that we have taught together at the Golf Industry Show and the Canadian Superintendents Association as well. While we have never worked at a club together we are all the time calling each other with new ideas on things and different business ideas.

John is in a big way responsible for me going into doing consulting and also for the development of Turf Addict. Our discussions always steam roll into a new business venture and some of my further developing my career stems from those discussions. We have been threatening to put together a Master Minds group to really continue to develop our skills and in addition to that help others as well.

Two years ago I nominated John for Turfnet Superintendent of the Year because I knew he was headed down the General Manager career track and I felt like all the work he has done for our industry on behalf of Superintendents, Equipment Managers, the clubs he’s been a part of and the many past interns and assistants that he has had and help mold, that he was a deserving candidate. He made it to the final cut and it was great seeing him amongst his peers and uncomfortable for receiving praise of a job well done.

John is truly a great individual. He doesn’t look for recognition or praise. He believes in the golden rule “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. John gives his time and full effort into every relationship he has and truly wants to see people succeed. The one thing is you have to be willing to work for it. He wants to see every effort given and he wants to see that drive from people. In return you will never see a person work harder to help you than him. I have seen him fly to past assistants golf courses to help advise them on a direction, I have seen him drive and fly miles to support a past staff member or friend, I have seen him cry with friends during tough moments, and I have seen his wrath as he jokingly influenced the wrapping of my SUV in the parking lot at GIS.

The fact is this that I have a lot of things in my life that I am thankful for and John Cunningham is a major one of those. Without him being someone I could talk to, rely on, or just bounce ideas off of I would be in a different place. I am a better me for having him as a great friend. Good luck brother and always here if you need anything!


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