Source: Synthetic Turf Council (Atlanta, Ga.) - Held from March 5 - 7, the Synthetic Turf Council 's Spring Membership Meeting in Las Vegas attracted a record attendance of 226 individuals representing companies located throughout the world and of all types in the synthetic turf industry, including manufacturers, suppliers, installers, landscape architects and engineers, testing labs, and maintenance equipment and service companies. The theme of the conference was "Quality: Live it, Breathe it, Achieve it."

Enhancing the performance of synthetic turf sports fields was a major focus of the educational program. A session called "STC Guidelines for Synthetic Turf Performance" detailed the STC's new performance guidelines and applicable test protocols for multi-purpose sports fields. Moderated by John Baize of ACT Global Sports, the panel included Erle Miles of Testing Services, Inc., Rusty Abell of ISA-Sport and Eric O'Donnell of Sports Labs. Grove Teates of Alpine Services discussed "Specifying and Constructing Stable and Lasting Bases Under Synthetic Turf Sports Fields," and Rich Dunn of Hunter Industries presented on the "Benefits of Irrigation for Synthetic Turf Sports Fields."

Officials from FIFA, the international governing body for soccer, delivered several updates on the FIFA Quality Concept for Football Turf (synthetic turf). Johannes Holzmüller and Nicolas Evans applauded the STC for creating performance guidelines and test protocols for multi-purpose sports fields, and described the importance of these guidelines and regular maintenance to assure consistent performance throughout a sports field's useful life. Dr. Eric Harrison highlighted the exhaustive research that FIFA has conducted that has validated the safety of synthetic turf. FIFA has designated synthetic turf as the best alternative to natural grass in areas where grass cannot grow, withstand heavy usage or be easily maintained.

Environmental responsibility was another key focus of the meeting. David Nardone of Stantec Sport addressed the topic of "Sustainable Athletic Fields - A Case Study," highlighting its design of the most sustainable playing fields in the country at Battery Park City in New York. Dr. Davis Lee of the InnovaNet Group moderated the "End-of-Life Disposal, Recycling and Repurposing Options for Synthetic Turf and Its Components and Applicable EPA Regulations" panel, whose participants included Mark Heinlein of Turf Reclamation Services, LLC, Mark Mitchell of FieldAway USA and Russ Neuman of Textile Rubber and Chemical. Other highlights of the meeting included an Exhibitor Showcase, and a special report on the STC's growth and significant impact from STC Board Chairman, John B. Giraud of Target Technologies International, Inc. The STC's Annual Membership Meeting will be held in Dallas, Texas from October 1 - 3, 2012.

About the Synthetic Turf Council Based in Atlanta, the Synthetic Turf Council was founded in 2003 to promote the industry and to assist buyers and end users with the selection, use and maintenance of synthetic turf systems in sports field, golf, municipal parks, airports, landscape and residential applications. The organization is also a resource for current, credible, and independent research on the safety and environmental impact of synthetic turf. Membership includes builders, landscape architects, testing labs, maintenance providers, manufacturers, suppliers, installation contractors, infill material suppliers and other specialty service companies. For more information, visit www.syntheticturfcouncil.org.

Emily Attwood is Managing Editor of Athletic Business.