Mowing My Way to Success

Submitted by Mark Christopherson

Whether it is a riding mower, a stand mower or just a small push mower, I have always enjoyed mowing and operating lawn equipment. In the beginning of my senior in high school, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I had to make the choice of either going to college or going straight into the workforce. I made the choice of going to college and becoming the first in my family to go to college. I didn’t have to look too hard to find the college that was right for me. My landscape horticulture teacher at Auburn Career Center is an alumnus of ATI and had nothing but good things to say about the school and the people that work here. So I went to the open house in November and from then on I was hooked. Once I found the major I was interested in, my senior year flew by and I was excited to continue my education at Ohio State ATI as a turfgrass management major with a turfgrass equipment manager certificate.

People always told me that college would be scary, and they weren’t wrong. With the new places and the new faces, it was a little scary, but once I got settled in and started meeting people it became less scary. College is a lot different than high school. The environment is completely different. In high school you must be in every class every day, but in college you don’t have the same class every day. College is about learning and preparing you for your future career. One thing to do while in college is to get out and network with industry. Networking is so important in whatever job field you choose. The best part about Ohio State ATI is that they specialize in hands-on learning. Students here experience the work they will do in their field and apply what they learn in the classroom. Another unique part about ATI is they require you have a paid internship as a graduation requirement. Your advisor and professors will help you find an internship in your field of study.

I completed my turfgrass management internship with the Lake County Captains between my freshman and sophomore years, and I will complete my turfgrass equipment manager certificate internship this summer at Quail Hollow Resort. The opportunity to have an internship is so amazing, because you get to gain knowledge from industry professionals while getting paid. I was an assistant grounds manager with the Lake County Captains in Eastlake, Ohio. As an assistant I oversaw day-to-day operations, like  mowing, fixing the game mound and bull pen mounds, and repairing wear and tear in the field. I also earned a lot about mixing and spraying of fertilizers and pesticides. Working on a baseball field, we were required to be there for the games. I usually worked 8 am to 1 1pm, 7 days a week. Baseball takes a lot of work and preparation. Most people don’t understand how much happens behind the scenes. During my next internship at Quail Hollow Golf Club, I am focusing more on the equipment and less on the turf. I am working as a golf course mechanic. I will be working on the mowers, sharping blades and bed knifes, and keeping the mowers operating, so we can keep the course looking good. I am excited to see where this internship leads me.

The Ohio State University ATI sets you up for your future. There are endless opportunities for internships and jobs that students are prepared to apply for after graduation. I am walking out of college with a diploma, a certificate and a full-time job! If you work hard, show that you want to learn, and be there, you will have no problem getting an internship and have it turn into a full-time job.