by Ray Benedetti
I had the pleasure of meeting Wilf Reimer at the WCTA year 2000 conference. It is always enjoyable to engage in conversation with new associates each year. Our conference provides the perfect atmosphere for us to learn from each other and build camaraderie.
Wilf Reimer is currently employed by the city of Surrey, and has worked as a Turf technician since 1972. He has spent several years in the past as a WCTA director and has always been an avid supporter of our association and of the direction we are heading. Wilf is quite impressed with the growth that the WCTA has seen since he was a director. He remembers only 150 delegates showing up in the 80's - now we have 1000 showing. "I feel that the family type of feeling is still with us today in our association."
Wilf's background is very extensive as it starts basically from day one. Right From childhood Wilf followed his father Jack Reimer (a well-known golf course architect and builder) all around North American Golf Course construction sites. "Every summer I spent time with my father working on these facilities. It was very rewarding for a youngster - we thought life at the country club was just great!" Wilf basically grew up on a golf course since he spent so much time around his father's activities. Jack Reimer is considered as one the pioneer's for Western Canada with construction sites all over the Fraser Valley area.
Wilf seems to be very proud to have taken part in many of Jack's accomplishments, however he made the decision not to follow in his father's footsteps. "People often ask me why I didn't follow in my Dad's footsteps - well - basically they are big footsteps to fill. It is a lifestyle where you're on the road a lot for 3 or 4 months at a time, making it less rewarding family wise." Wilf decided that the sacrifices and the risks that one must take when in the construction business were not for him. "I was looking for something more down to earth and stable, and working with the corporation of Surrey gives me that stability that I wouldn't have if I was out building golf courses." Wilf chose to concentrate more on family life, opting for better job security, which took the risk factor (that many of us know all too well) out of the equation.
Wilf entered the Turfgrass industry without any formal education. He has since taken university courses to further his Turfgrass knowledge. Wilf has attained a Horticulture diploma through the University of Guelph. "Taking courses by correspondence gave me the flexibility to achieve my goals without disrupting my work or family life."
Wilf feels that the various conferences and seminars that are now available are also enormous opportunities for those with a thirst for knowledge. "Some of the information from conferences has been crucial to my work," Wilf notes. "New technological advances that are occurring in our industry are increasing our demands for upgraded training. All the people that have contributed at the conferences over the years have given us this accumulated information 'package' that can be adapted to our individual needs and put to valuable use. Over the years we realize that a huge amount of effort has been put out scientifically by these speakers and we can absorb as much information as we wish. We can now fix virtually anything that the public does to our fields because of the products that are now out there. The Corporation of Surrey is very supportive of conferences, extra courses and any other appropriate training."
As a turf technician for the City of Surrey, Wilf performs various cultural practices, fertilization, and irrigation on athletic fields. Recently they upgraded their irrigation system to make it computer controlled. With the real time weather station they have cut down on water usage and improved distribution uniformity. "We are doing our scientific best to meet the growing need for conservation."
"The attitude is finally changing with respect to City budgets. They are now realizing the impact of the various important cultural practices that we perform. Rather than cutting back to the point of shooting yourself in the foot five years down the road, the importance of our playing fields in the community is getting more recognition." Wilf feels that there are no shortcuts where the environment is concerned - "you gotta pay for the cultural practices." The benefits, environmentally and socially, of these playing fields are enormous. The Vancouver area has had an IPM program for several years, which is also paying off environmentally.
Wilf taught basic and advanced Turf Management at Kwantlen College alongside Bob Wick. "It was challenging yet very rewarding. The experience of standing up in front of 20 or 30 people helped my public speaking ability and increased my self-confidence." Wilf recommends public speaking to some degree. "Communication is now a major factor involved in creating good relationships with the public - especially when it's demand versus budget constraints." Wilf admires the philosophy of Kwantlen in finding teachers experienced in the industry in order to send the students out into the work force knowing the ins and out's (realities) of the workplace.
Wilf enjoys family life with his wife Barbara and his step son Dustin (11). He also has a 27 year old son - James. Wilf is a musician (guitar) in his spare time. He also takes pleasure from flyfishing, home gardening and basically anything else outdoors.
Wilf Reimer's mentors are Henry Staff, Bob Broome and of course his father Jack Reimer. Wilf is a hands on guy who loves to be out in the field. "Turfgrass is my first love and I couldn't think of doing anything else."
Turf Line News June/July 2000
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