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John Reitman

By John Reitman

Turfco founder was a true industry pioneer

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No doubt, someone would have recognized the void and filled it eventually, but it is difficult to imagine where the job of turfgrass maintenance might be today without the foresight of John Kinkead.

100819kinkead2.jpgThe founder of Turfco Manufacturing nearly 60 years ago, Kinkead died Oct. 1 at age 89. 

Kinkead had a passion for old, classic cars and old, classic republicans, and worked on the presidential campaigns of Dwight Eisenhower and Barry Goldwater.

His passing prompted an outpouring of condolences on social media.

Alex Stuedemann, CGCS at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Illinois said of Kinkead on Twitter: "Truly a leader and innovator for our industry."

While working at National Mower, which was started by his father, Kinkead founded two companies, Kinco and Turfco. The latter, the Minnesota company Kinkead founded that today includes topdressers, overseeders and blowers, started in 1961 with the first mechanized topdresser on the market - at the request of golf course superintendents.

That same company has grown into a manufacturer of several products with 16 design patents all aimed at helping superintendents do their jobs better and faster while also improving turf quality and playability. 

And virtually all of those innovations were developed based on superintendent feedback. For example, the company’s TriWave 60 Overseeder had floating heads that follow the contours of the ground and deposit the seed directly into the slit maximizing seed-soil contact. Its Wide Spin 1550 Topdresser delivers more seed over a larger area with increased dispersion precision.

The company also grew to eventually include a line of products for the commercial lawn care market that also includes sprayers, spreaders, edgers, sod cutters and aerators.

Chris Barnacle, a construction industry professional with JCB TC Harrison, said on Twitter that Kinkead and Turfco represented "a well-respected name of great products in the turf care industry . . ."

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