Those associated with the daily operations of stadia and arena management or the maintenance of sports surfaces or facilities, will have the opportunity to learn from the industry’s leading opinion formers, further their career prospects and see new products and services from prominent suppliers when SALTEX opens its doors at the NEC, Birmingham on November 1 and 2.
This year, the show floor will be bursting with everything a visitor needs to increase their efficiency and improve operations and will contain a plethora of exhibitors representing the likes of play equipment and services, turf maintenance equipment, fencing and landscaping, sports surface design, research and consultancy, seeds, turf, aggregates and treatments, and facilities services management.
As well as a wide range of new and innovative products being on display within the three large halls, visitors to SALTEX will have the chance to see many of these products in action through outdoor demonstrations, which will be taking place on a grass area directly outside the SALTEX halls 6,7 and 8.
There will also be a number of education opportunities through Learning LIVE - SALTEX’s all-encompassing, free-to-attend education programme. Learning LIVE will take place in four dedicated seminar theatres situated on the show floor, and will feature a wide range of topics which could be particularly beneficial when it comes to the installation and maintenance of sports pitches.
ROOFS AND PITCHES
Justin Smith, head of estate development at the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club will be offering an insight into the club’s second retractable roof project, which will cover court one. Visitors will learn more about the roof’s design criteria as well as the logistics of installing it as Wimbledon continues to host The Championships.
Darren Baldwin, head of playing surfaces and estates at Tottenham Hotspur FC along with Karl Standley, head groundsman at Wembley Stadium, are set to delve into the logistics of how the stadium has adapted since Spurs moved its home games to Wembley. Visitors will also gain an exclusive update on the development of Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium.
From across the pond, Allen Reed, director of stadium grounds for FC Dallas, is discussing pitch preparation in the Major Soccer League (MLS), while Adam Witchell, head groundsman at Forest Green Rovers FC, will be explaining how the club achieves a pesticide-free and environmentally-friendly pitch.
Mark Pover, facilities investment strategy manager at The Football Association (FA), will be participating in a panel debate entitled ‘Funding the future of natural turf.’ With so much money being invested into artificial turf, SALTEX visitors will have an opportunity to ask the funders if there is a danger of natural turf being left behind.
Commenting on the panel debate, Mark said: “We haven’t forgotten the fact that the majority of football matches in this country are played on natural grass. We have just shy of 800 artificial pitches on our 3G register suitable for affiliated matches and we are continuing to invest in these but there are approximately 23,000 natural grass pitches. Clearly these are very important, as is the quality, so we will continue to improve and use natural turf pitches to keep people playing and also attract new players.
“We are currently spending two million pounds a year on natural turf pitch improvements and I believe that SALTEX is the ideal place to update the industry so that visitors understand exactly what we are doing and the targets we have set. It is also a good opportunity to address some of the negative rumours that are circulated annually and reinforce our commitment to natural turf.”
TURF CARE ADVICE
Elsewhere, Lee Marshallsay, grounds manager at the prestigious Charterhouse School will be offering some inside knowledge on how excellent sports facilities are integral to selling a school and attracting pupils.
For face-to-face turf care advice, visitors can speak directly to one of eight Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG) regional pitch advisors linked to The FA, the ECB, and the Football Foundation-funded Grounds & Natural Turf Improvement Programme. This feature will be available through the free Ask the Expert advice centre located on Stand E180.
Directly next to the Ask the Expert advice centre, industry expert Frank Newberry will be hosting 15-minute one-to-one Job Clinic sessions on the IOG Hub between 9am and 3pm each day. There are five sessions available, which include information on: perfecting your CV; proactive job search and cover letters; doing well at job interviews; negotiating your package and being a better interviewer (for employers). To book an appointment with Newberry, visitors are advised to go to the IOG information desk on the IOG Hub as early as possible to avoid disappointment.
Located in the centre of the UK, whether you are travelling from overseas or within the UK, the NEC is incredibly easy to get to by car, rail or air.