Young Alum of the Month: Tony Gordon

Tony Gordon
Title and Company: 
Assistant Manager Arenas at Melbourne Cricket Club
Urbandale, Iowa
Major and Graduation Date: 
Horticulture-Turfgrass Management Option, May 1999
Major Job/Position Responsibilities: 

The Melbourne Cricket Club is responsible for the preservation, presentation and development of the Melbourne Cricket Ground. My role is to help plan and implement daily, short-term and long-term procedures and practices to ensure the MCG remains Australia's premier sporting ground. We host approximately 50 Australian Rules Football Matches including the Finals and Grand Final. Our staff of seven then converts the arena for the summer Cricket season with Portable Pitch Technology. It is rare for a week to go by without an event, and usually several, so there is never a dull moment.

What you like most about your job/position: 

We have a really good team to work with and also have great support from the rest of the MCC. It is a working environment anyone would be lucky to have. On such a public stage, and such a prominent facility, almost everyone you meet has an opinion or comment on how we have presented the surface and what we do. It is a great feeling to know that I have direct impact on how the arena performs and looks during the match. It is forever a challenge to fit in all the maintenance practices that you know the surface needs between events, really keeps you switched on.

What advice would you give to current students: 

I would make sure to travel outside the US, even if it is just for pleasure. It will get you to look at things differently. Learn a foreign language or two, the rest of the world's people are. Try to gain experience in other areas of your field that may or may not be directly related to your major, anything that will set you apart from the crowd in your future job hunt.


Favorite ISU Classes:
Hort 451: Professional Turfgrass Management - Dr. Christians' course considered information we had learned in areas of study such as soils, plant propagation and even business as we looked at the more specialized practices used in our industry. Several guest speakers gave insight about what to expect after graduation and on the job in the real world.

Chem 231: Elementary Organic Chemistry - Something about the systematic and logical approach to the nomenclature and structure of organic compounds really appealed to me and several others in the class who formed a very successful study group. Some of the rules are still in my mind as I read turf chemical labels today.

Hort 496: Horticulture Travel Course - Dr. Christians and Dr. Nonnecke headed up this course back in 1998. Over a semester, we studied Scotland's culture, geography and history. At the end of the term we took a two-week study tour of the country and I was even able to play golf at St. Andrews. We also visited Iceland briefly as part of the travel arrangements. It really opened my eyes to different ways of thinking and living.