Anthony Williams, certified golf course superintendent and director of Golf and Landscape Operations at TPC Four Seasons Dallas at Las Colinas in Irving, Texas, and Nick Janovich, superintendent at Oglebay Resort and Conference Center in Wheeling, W.Va., have been named Grassroots Ambassador Leadership Award winners from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA).
The Grassroots Ambassador Leadership Award, presented quarterly in partnership with The Toro Co., recognizes and honors individuals who have demonstrated growth in advocacy and advancement of the GCSAA Priority Issues Agenda through congressional outreach and relationship development with a member of Congress. Through Toro, the winners will receive a trip to take part in the 2019 National Golf Day in Washington, D.C.
“Advocacy is one of the key ways we can serve members and advance their profession and the game.” GCSAA CEO Rhett Evans said. “We are fortunate to have highly engaged members, like Anthony and Nick, who are working with members of Congress to bring the issues that affect golf to their attention. We congratulate them on this recognition of their efforts.”
The GAL Award is part of the GCSAA Grassroots Ambassadors, a program that matches superintendents with members of Congress to build strong relationships with them. More than 300 GCSAA members currently serve as ambassadors.
The first quarter winner was Williams, who has a long history of advocacy on behalf of GCSAA and was the winner of the GCSAA Excellence in Government Affairs Award in 2014. That same year he became part of the inaugural group of ambassadors and was first paired with Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA).
“On the surface we were total opposites,” Williams said. “However, when we met in his district office we found that our sense of community was shared and more powerful than our differences. We became friends. Anything is possible if you stop and find common ground.”
After taking a break from the program due to health issues and moving to Texas, Williams is now matched with Rep. Kenny Marchant (R-TX).
Second quarter winner Janovich also became an ambassador in 2014 and is matched with Rep. David McKinley (R-WV). He has worked to develop “regular and meaningful communication” with McKinley’s staff. With his close proximity to Washington, D.C., Janovich has also opened a line of communications with other members of the West Virginia delegation, Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV). Add in trips to National Golf Day over the last several years, and Janovich has made 27 trips to Capital Hill on behalf of GCSAA and the industry in his role as an ambassador.
With his regular trips to Washington, he’s become a familiar face to those in the offices of the West Virginia lawmakers.
“We are at the point where they know me, why I’m there, what I want, and they are prepared with information,” Janovich said. “I’ve also been affectionately referred to as the ‘golf guy.’”