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John Reitman

By John Reitman

SBI goes online again in 2021, applications due Sept. 2


Wake Forest's Bill Davis, Ph.D., leads a session on negotiating in 2017 (above), while (below) Paul Latshaw (left) and Chad Mark negotiate a deal during the 2015 edition of SBI. Photos by John Reitman

The 13th annual Syngenta Business Institute will be a virtual event in 2021.

The Syngenta Business Institute is a multi-day event that is part of Syngenta's ongoing effort to grow the professional knowledge of golf course superintendents and assist them with managing their courses. Through a partnership with the Wake Forest University School of Business, the program provides graduate school-level instruction in financial management, human resource management, negotiating, managing across generations and cultural divides, impact hiring and other leadership- and professional-development skills.

Applications for the 2021 SBI are open for golf course superintendents through Sept. 2. The event is scheduled for Dec. 2, 6-10. Click here to apply.

060821sbi2.jpg“Based on the overwhelmingly positive feedback from the SBI class of 2020 and with the health and safety of our customers in mind, we will be hosting the Syngenta Business Institute virtually for another year,” said Stephanie Schwenke, turf market manager for Syngenta. “From our survey of the 2020 attendees, they all wanted more education, so we are increasing the class hours to 15 hours."

The 2021 program will be held via Zoom, beginning with an introductory social networking session on Dec. 2. Educational courses will then be hosted in three-hour sessions Dec. 6-10. Faculty from the Wake Forest University School of Business will present the curriculum, which will cover the following topics: work/life balance, negotiations, financial management, tools for managing employees, leading across cultures and generations.

“The Wake Forest and Syngenta teams couldn't have been happier with the level of participation, energy and involvement from superintendents in the first virtual SBI last December,” said Ken Middaugh, faculty director for SBI. “The faculty were impressed that many were eager to stay ‘overtime’ to discuss issues with them and other participants, adding significantly to the experience. A post-event survey showed they wanted even more time and virtual opportunities to learn and a desire to expand the scope of the program. Based on that feedback and the active engagement of the cohort, we decided to expand the length and scope of the 2021 Syngenta Business Institute to allow for more education, more time with professors, and more time with each other.”  

Alumni of the SBI class of 2020 also shared praise for the virtual program. 

“[SBI 2020 was] beyond my expectations,” said Amos Stephens, superintendent at Settlers Bay Golf Course in Wasilla, Alaska, and SBI class of 2020 alumnus. “I questioned the Zoom format; and surprisingly, with it being my first time using the technology in this format, it was more than above my expectations. I learned aspects in each of the sessions that I have already brought to our operation. If you are serious about your career, you should look seriously at SBI to advance your knowledge, network and resume.”

To facilitate deeper interaction among attendees, the class size for SBI 2021 will be limited. The program is only open to individuals employed in the U.S. as a superintendent, director of agronomy or at an equivalent level. 

Applications must be submitted online by midnight PDT on Sept. 2. Click here to apply.

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