Blas Huezo of the Lakeside, Calif. club’s staff has been selected as the 2017 recipient of the Most Valuable Technician Award from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, after being nominated by Barona Creek’s Superintendent, Sandy Clark, CGCS. Kurt Lading from Indian Hills Country Club and Trent Manning from Ansley Golf Club were also finalists for 2017 recognition.
Blas Huezo, Equipment Manager at Barona Creek Golf Club in Lakeside, Calif., has been selected as the recipient of the 2017 Most Valuable Technician (MVT) Award, presented by the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) and Golf Course Management (GCM) magazine in partnership with Foley United.
Now in its eighth year, the award recognizes excellence among golf course equipment managers and the vital role they play in the golf course management industry. Equipment managers are nominated by their golf course superintendent, and a panel of industry judges narrows those nominations down to three finalists, who are then voted on by GCSAA members through the magazine’s website.
“It’s no secret how much golf course superintendents value equipment managers and the vital role they play in golf course maintenance operations,” said Rhett Evans, GCSAA CEO. “That’s why GCSAA members approved the creation of a membership classification for equipment managers in 2015—a classification that now boasts more than 800 members—and why we support programs such as the Most Valuable Technician Award.
“Blas Huezo is a well-respected figure in the golf industry in Southern California, and a deserving recipient of this year’s award,” Evans added. “We congratulate him, and thank Barona Creek superintendent Sandy Clark, CGCS, for nominating Blas for this honor.”
The son of a mechanic who spent time working in the golf industry, Huezo has a deep history in the business, working on the distributor side of the golf industry for both Toro and Jacobsen in addition to his day-to-day experience in the maintenance facility. The three-year GCSAA member has a well-earned reputation for giving back to the industry, mentoring other equipment managers in Southern California and volunteering his services at numerous professional golf events, including the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines and the 2010 U.S. Amateur at Chambers Bay.
“I’m certainly humbled by this recognition,” Huezo said. “There are so many worthy candidates from all over the United States. I’m honored just to be considered in the same company as those other equipment managers.”
Clark, a 27-year GCSAA member, said, “You’re not going to find anyone better than Blas. You might find some who are equally good, but you’re not going to find anyone better. I’m just so happy for him, and happy that others saw the same things in him that we all do around here.”
Jim Letourneau, President of Foley United, which has been the presenting partner of the Most Valuable Technician Award since its inception, said, “Foley United continues to be proud of its sponsorship of this award and are excited to recognize exceptional equipment managers such as Blas. He is an outstanding example of the kind of talented, dedicated people who work in these roles in golf courses all across the country, and we’re pleased that we can help honor him for his efforts and accomplishments.”
Also selected as finalists for this year’s Most Valuable Technician Award were Kurt Lading from Indian Hills Country Club in Prairie Village, Kan., and Trent Manning from Ansley Golf Club in Atlanta.
Previous MVT Award Winners have included:
2016 — Yvon Jeaurond, Victoria (B.C., Canada) Golf Club
2015 — Cory Phillips, Horseshoe Bend Country Club, Roswell, Ga., and the Golf Club of Georgia, Alpharetta
2014 — Joe Stefanick, Seven Lakes Golf and Tennis Community, Fort Myers, Fla.
2013 — Brian Heywood, The Valley Club, Hailey, Idaho
2012 — Jim Stuart, Stone Mountain (Ga.) Golf Club by Marriott
2011 — Gene Pascarelli, Colorado Springs (Colo.) Country Club
2010 — Ramon Salas, Azusa Greens Country Club, Azusa, Calif.