Finlen, who also sent three of his assistants to the NCGA educational event, told Green Start attendees to do what they must to set themselves apart from their peers in order to stand out when sending out resumes for superintendent positions.
He suggested volunteering for as much extra responsibility as possible, substituting for others during committee meetings when possible and getting comfortable with the budgeting process.
Matt Muhlenbruch, one of Finlen's former assistants recently was named grow-in superintendent for the renovation at Poppy Hills Golf Course in Pebble Beach, Calif. And he was chosen to move on, Finlen said, because he had set himself apart from other applicants. "He got an MBA. It took him two years to do it, but he stood out from the rest of the people who applied," Finlen said. "Do something that makes you stand out from the crowd." The NCGA event typically is frequented by dozens of assistants working at courses along the Monterey Peninsula and San Francisco Bay areas. Leonard Carrera, however, came all the way from Hacienda Golf Club in La Habra Heights near Los Angeles, where he has worked for almost two years under superintendent Rafael Barajas, CGCS. "I'm fortunate to have a boss who values networking and attending meetings," Carrera said. "I'm eager to learn, meet new faces and take advantage of opportunities to further my education and my career." Dylan MacMaster, assistant to Steve Cook, CGCS at Oakland Hill Country Club in Michigan, said he took to heart messages by Finlen, Farren and Chris Condon of Tetherow Golf Club in Bend, Ore., all of whom stressed the importance of interdepartmental communications and doing all the extra things that set one apart from the pack when seeking to advance to the next level in their careers. "Anything you can do to separate yourself in this kind of environment," MacMaster said, "you need to do." The secret, Farren said, to setting yourself apart, is keeping an open mind and a positive attitude. "Wake up each day and see how many people you can impact and be a resource for," Farren said. "I think if you do that, it will take you a long way."
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