Mark Twain described experience by saying, “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way.” This month’s employee spotlight features two gentlemen that have accumulated 88 years of experience working on or with golf courses. To put this into a better perspective, here are a few events that occurred 88 years ago:

  • Charles Lindbergh made the first trans-Atlantic flight
  • The first trans-Atlantic telephone call was made
  • Ford introduced the Model A
  • The first live television broadcast was demonstrated

A lot can change over such a long period of time. We are fortunate to have a sales team that is rich with experience, yet constantly seeking more knowledge!

Paul Taliaferro, Employee Since 2003

Paul is a sales representative for ATS, who assists customers in Maryland, West Virgina, and Ohio. He has been working in the turf industry in one way or another for most of his life. Paul was a golf course superintendent for 21 years and past President of the Delmarra Golf Course Superintendents Association. He has also hosted the Delaware St. Amateur at Maple Dale Country Club.

Why did you decide to go into the turf industry?
Early on, I was a caddie, then, I played golf. When I realized I did not have the temperament to continue to play golf, I did what I thought was the next best thing: become a golf course superintendent. I could still be near a course. After 21 years as a golf course superintendent, I decided I wanted to try sales in the turf industry. With the sales job, I could still be involved with golf courses and helping customers, but I would not have to work on my own golf course problems by myself.

What part of your job, do you like the most?
Being able to visit golf courses and helping customers solve their problems with my diagnoses and programs. I also like making friends with my customers.

If you were an element on the Periodic Table, which would you be?
My last name means bearer of iron or sword bearer, so, iron would be the element I would choose to be on the Periodic Table.

What has been your proudest moment in life?
The proudest and happiest moment of my life was the birth of my children. Watching them become successful in what they do and strive to do has also made me proud.

What has been your biggest success in your life and how has it shaped you?
To be able to have the respect and friendship of my customers tells me that I have been successful in life. My father once told me that he was very proud of my accomplishments, but, I am the one who is proud and thankful to have grown up in a loving family that helped to nurture my knowledge and skills.

If you could master one skill you don’t have right now, what would it be?
I have been deep sea fishing just a few times, but I think that I would like to be able to be a great deep sea fisherman and have my own charter boat. One of the most exciting times of my life was when I caught a 96-inch, 150 lb. striped marlin in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

Steve Honeycutt, Employee Since 2001

Steve is a sales representative for ATS, working in golf and athletic field sales in Ohio. He has been in the turf industry for over 30 years. He worked as a golf course superintendent for 9 years and has been with ATS since its beginning in 2001.

What attracted you to working with turf? 
I’ve been interested in the field since my first job as a teenager at a golf course. I couldn’t believe I was getting paid to have so much fun! I also enjoy being outdoors. I went to The Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute and furthered my interest by obtaining a turf management degree. I was a golf course superintendent for several years. After that, I worked in the industry with distributors until I started here at ATS.

What part of your job do you find most satisfying?
Interacting with customers is the most satisfying part of my job. They are my friends and I enjoy trying to make their job easier.

What does your perfect day look like?
My perfect day involves relaxing and camping at Delaware (Ohio) State Park. Spending the day unwinding with family and friends, enjoying nature and sitting around a campfire are the highlights of my summer. I used to camp a lot as a scoutmaster and liked it very much. I sleep better in a tent than I do my bedroom!

List 5 quirky things about yourself.
1. I’m building a model railroad.
2. I like science fiction movies.
3. I still have the car I bought when I was 23 years old (It’s 29 years old now!).
4. I’m a long range rifle competitor.
5. I actually use my Bowflex machine.

If you could personally witness an event in history, what would it be? 
It would be the signing of the constitution. Generations have benefited from the freedoms our founding fathers envisioned.

What words of wisdom would you pass onto your childhood self?
Get more education – you can never have too much.