For the many, many people Kay has worked with, her positive attitude, responsiveness and people skills have earned her a reputation of “Quality Support with a Trademark Smile!”
“Kay has been the backbone of our Association for years,” said Michigan Sports Turf Managers Association (MiSTMA) President Dan Zwick, who is the Parks and Facilities Maintenance Director for Holland Charter Township.
“Her attitude, character and kindness were what made Kay such a positive influence with our Association. MiSTMA would not be where it is today if not for Kay.”
Matt Byma, the Turf and Athletic Field Specialist for Calvin University, has served on the MiSTMA Board for two years and said Kay makes an immediate impact on those who meet her. “What I admired and valued most about Kay was her always big smile and warm welcoming spirit when registering you at an event and handing out lunch,” he said. “She is the epitome of brightening up a room!”
Kay is retiring after a career that started with the Michigan Turfgrass Foundation and has included providing service and support for multiple non-profit associations and various industry groups. Kay didn’t start out with a specific interest in turfgrass, or irrigation and she isn’t a golfer, but she found her people skills translated into helping both individuals and associations. “It really comes down to communication and building relationships,” she said. “I’ve worked with some great individuals and Boards over the years.”
“I developed my own business of being a secretary for various associations and small non-profit organizations that needed somebody to manage their day-to-day activities,” she said. “They were comprised of volunteer Boards of Directors who worked hard at their full-time jobs, so they needed a person to be the daily contact. They also needed somebody to help them find answers and I tried my best to help them get the answers they needed and to also provide some ideas for them to consider.”
“When I started with MiSTMA, my first phone was a Nextel that squawked when you used it and it was very noisy. “I’ve met some really great people and have had some really fun times,” she said. “I remember being down at the University of Michigan for a MiSTMA event and we decided to grill lunch for the attendees. Well, the grill went up in flames and lunch was a little late that day. It is one of many cherished memories.
Kay has worked in some office environments, but mostly has served MiSTMA and other associations from her home office. She was doing remote work long before the global pandemic, and she likes the advent of Zoom and other platforms because she can see the people she is communicating with.
Kay resides in Lansing and is a Michigan State University graduate with a degree in education. She started her own business 36 years ago. Over the years she has worked with groups in sports turf, golf, turfgrass, irrigation, well drillers, fundraising, education, law enforcement and more.
As she retires, Kay said her fondest memories will be of the many wonderful people she has had the good fortune to meet and work with! “I hope they will remember me as someone who helped both them and their associations move forward and attain their goals.”
Kay and her husband Jim have two fur baby dogs (Sugar and Spice) and they don’t have elaborate retirement plans. “I don’t like sitting still so I plan to do some volunteer work, maybe at an animal shelter or with at-risk elementary schools” she said. “Jim is retired too, so maybe a little travel and cheering on our Spartans, but mostly I think we will stay around here and try to give back.
We know she will do it all with a positive attitude and her trademark, effervescent smile. Kay has battled lung cancer in recent years and has two years in remission under her belt. “It’s not the magic five years yet, but I’ve got two and we are staying positive,” she said. “That’s the way I’ve always tried to live my life!”
Feel free to say “hi” to Kay at firstname.lastname@example.org.