Chief executive Geoff Webb said the industry needs to engage with general public more to raise profile of the sector, user less technical language and explain how important the job is to sport and the community, at the event held at the home of the MK Dons, StadiumMK near Bletchley.
Real and synthetic turf, multi-use stadia, doing more with less and what players want from pitches were all discussed ahead of the IoG Awards held in the evening.
The conference featured top groundsmen and players. Chairman of the MK Dons Peter Winkleman spoke passionately about the importance of his stadium and sport in general in building a community.
And chair of The Parks Alliance Mark Camley also gave a speech about the importance of parks and the threat they are under because of budget cuts.
The conference was followed by the Institute of Groundsmanship annual Industry Awards, in partnership with the British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA), where more than 400 groundscare experts from both the professional and volunteer sector, as well as dignitaries from the governing bodies of sport, honoured the expertise, dedication and passion of the country's grounds profession.
The awards, held at Milton Keynes’ stadiummk, recognised leadership, innovation and outstanding achievement across every aspect of groundscare – from grassroots pitches to professional stadia.
They also celebrated the quality standards of groundscare achieved in public and private sports venues, and highlighted the progress of young/student grounds professionals as well as entrants’ innovative developments.
The winners of the 2014 IOG Industry Awards are:
- The IOG Vitax Amenity Grounds and Natural Turf Improvement Programme Volunteer of the Year - Winner: Robert Stretton, Aylestone Park FC, Leicester
- The IOG Toro Most Promising Sportsturf Student of the Year - Winner: Dean Bryce, Campbell Park, Milton Keynes
- The IOG Rigby Taylor/Top Green Young Groundsman of the Year - Winner: Martin Stephenson, Ashbrooke Sports Club, Sunderland
- The IOG National Governing Bodies Grassroots Sports Grounds Team of the Year – co-sponsored by the All England Lawn Tennis Club, the England and Wales Cricket Board, the Football Association, the Football Foundation, the Lawn Tennis Association, the Premier League, the Rugby Football League and the Rugby Football Union - Winner: One Leisure, St Ives, Cambridgeshire
- The IOG Kubota/Redexim Charterhouse Best Maintained Artificial Pitch of the Year - Winner: St George’s Park, Burton upon Trent, Staffs
- The British Sugar TOPSOIL Environmental Project/Innovation of the Year - Winner: Forest Green Rovers FC, Nailsworth, Glos
- The IOG National Governing Bodies Spectator Sports Ground of the Year – co-sponsored by the All England Lawn Tennis Club, the England and Wales Cricket Board, the Football Association, the Football Foundation, the Lawn Tennis Association, the Premier League, the Rugby Football League and the Rugby Football Union - Winner: Goodison Park, Everton FC, Liverpool
- The Souters Sports School, College, University or Sports Club Grounds Team of the Year - Winner: Harrow School, Middlesex
- The IOG Professional Cricket Grounds Team of the Year - Winner: Worcestershire County Cricket Club
- The IOG Mansfield Sand Professional Rugby League Grounds Team of the Year - Winner: Wigan Warriors
- The IOG Professional Rugby Union Grounds Team of the Year - Winner: Worcester Warriors, Worcester
- The IOG John Deere Professional Horse Racing Grounds Team of the Year - Winner: York Racecourse, North Yorks
- The IOG Headland Amenity Professional Tennis Grounds Team of the Year - Winner: Edgbaston Priory Club, Birmingham
- The IOG Campey/Imants Professional Football Grounds Team of the Year - Winner: Manchester United FC, Old Trafford
- The Alex R Millar DLF/Johnsons & Ransomes Groundsman of the Year - Winner: Tony Sinclair, Manchester United FC
- The IOG Everris & Syngenta Lifetime Achievement Award - Winner: Derek Walder
Winners of the BIGGA Awards
- The BIGGA BASF/Sherriff Amenity Young Greenkeeper of the Year - Winner: Stuart Imeson, Dunstanburgh Castle Golf Club, Northumberland
- The BIGGA Baroness Championship Greenkeeping Performance of the Year - Winner: Ian Kinley and team at Royal Porthcawl
- The BIGGA Ransomes Greenkeeping Achievement of the Year - Winner: Edward Ainsworth, Avro Golf Club, Stockport
Visit www.iogawards.com for more details.