Town of Natick, MA

“I’m the public face of my department, so professionalism is much more important.”

— Art Goodhind, Supervisor of Land, Facilities, and Natural Resources Natick, Massachusetts

Art Goodhind has pulled off a rare hat trick in his field – he has managed turf in three different environments: golf courses, a private university, and a municipal government. He added that last accomplishment in 2012, when he was hired by the town of Natick, Massachusetts after five years as grounds superintendent at Bentley University. Earlier in his career, Goodhind worked at Wahconah Country Club in Dalton and the Stockbridge Golf Club.

Natick Common

His current responsibilities are bigger and broader than ever. They include the maintenance of all athletic fields and recreational facilities in the town of 33,000 residents, spanning more than 65 acres and 42 locations. They include 21 baseball/softball fields, eight tennis courts, seven basketball courts, 16 playgrounds, one track, 15 flower gardens, and the town beach.

“My department is basically in charge of all the outdoor space, plus I serve as tree warden for all the shade trees on public land,” Goodhind said. A team of seven employees helps him with the year-’round responsibilities.

When Goodhind made the move from Bentley to Natick, he knew he would need to lean more on trusted resources.

“The amount of time I have in a day to think about turf is way less than it was in my previous positions,” he said. Fortunately, Goodhind was able to continue working with his Tom Irwin representative, Brian Luccini.

“Having Brian on my team, being that second set of eyes, is more important now that I have this diverse set of responsibilities,” said Goodhind. “I’ll call him and say, ‘How do you feel about this or that?’ It’s tricky on the municipal side because sometimes you have to do things at an unusual time of year because that’s the only time you have to do it. Planning and scheduling turf applications can be a challenge. The Tom Irwin planner really helps with that. It’s huge for me.”

Art Goodhind has found the leadership and presentation skills he developed through Tom Irwin’s professional development programs have been equally valuable in his current job.
“I have to work with more people – the department of public works, recreation and parks, the conservation commission, the school department,” said Goodhind. “I’m the public face of my department, so professionalism is much more important.”

Varsity Soccer Field, Natick

“Most of the time I spend talking with Brian is less about product and more about communication,” he said. “He does a great job of role-playing. If I have a meeting coming up with the finance committee or the selectmen, he’ll role play the questions they may ask – ‘Why do you need it? Why is that important?’ That has a lot of value to me. It enables me to be more spot-on when a question is asked – so it’s clear I am prepared and have the right information.”
In his new role, Goodhind has focused on establishing priorities and making gradual improvements.

“We have a pretty good budget for a municipal organization, but we still have to stretch our dollars and prioritize our projects.” he said. “I have to be fiscally responsible and buy quality products and get great, consistent results. I get that with Brian and Tom Irwin.”

Goodhind is enjoying his new role, whether he’s handing out tree seedlings on Earth Day or wielding a chainsaw after a spring snowstorm.

“I learned a lot in that first year,” said Art Goodhind. “We’ve got our goals aligned and we know where we want to be.”

Art welcomes you to contact him if you have any questions about his experience with Tom Irwin: agoodhind@natickma.org

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