As President of our Section, one of the privileges I enjoy most is to congratulate a fellow Professional when they have been honored for their achievements at the highest level.  I am proud to say that our own Matt Brown of the Highlands Golf Course in Gearhart, Oregon has been bestowed the 2016 National Merchandise of the Year for Public Facilities.  Matt’s tireless efforts have set him apart in the world of merchandising, as he has seen success both in the shop, through mail order business, and over the internet.  He spends countless hours finding creative and unique ways to increase his sales and drive profit to his business.  His success is inspiring to all of us, as we compete for merchandise sales in a market that is as competitive as it has ever been.  I look forward to seeing Matt’s formal ceremony at the 100th PGA Annual Meeting in New York City this November.  Congratulations, Matt!

It is also time to point a very important group that has taken a part of our Pacific Northwest Section and made it even better.  This group is the PNWPGA Special Awards Committee, a group of PGA Professionals that encompass all corners of our vast Section.  They work behind the scenes, reviewing our Awards process and making it even better.  Over the past few years, our Awards Committee has taken a hard look at how the award winners at our Chapter and Section levels are determined.  The nominating form and process have been modified and improved to most clearly identify the best possible candidates for each award.   Our timelines have been changed to better align our Awards winners with National deadlines and to allow us to properly recognize our winners.  A PNWPGA Awards ceremony has been organized each year, to honor our deserving Professionals in our Section with family, friends, and peers in attendance.  This group has networked with multiple National Award winners, who often sit on the National Awards Committee, to help our candidates have a better chance to move ahead and win National Awards.  All these efforts have come to bear fruit, as we have seen an increase in the Professionals in the Pacific Northwest Section win National Awards.  In 2013, Kathy Gildersleeve-Jensen of Indian Canyon GC was named National Teacher of the Year and Roger Wallace of Polson Bay GC was named the Bill Strausbaugh Award winner.  In 2012, Amy Pendergast was named National Merchandise of the Year for Resort Facilities, and in 2010 Tom Davidson also won this award.  Before these recent winners, it had been far too long since a PNWPGA member was a recipient of a National Award.

Your Section Board has a working mantra of “Continuous Improvement”, and our Special Awards process was targeted a few years back as having “room for improvement.”  The goal was to have a process that was transparent, consistent across all Chapters, and would give our candidates a better chance to be awarded on a National Level.  This group includes many people, as the Committee has changed over the last few years to include new leaders in the various Chapters.

So, now seems a good time to give a shout out and “Thank You” to the group that has made this part of our Section stronger over the past few years:  Greg Manley from Meridian Valley CC, Greg Morris from Iron Horse GC, Scott Swanson from Yakima CC, Bob Turnquist from the Oregon Golf Club, Justin Parades from Persimmon CC, David Owens from Hamilton GC, Darin Vaughan from Twin Lakes Village GC, Mike Hegarty from Wildhorse Resort GC, and Scott Swanson from Yakima CC. This is just one of many important Committees that VOLUNTEER their OWN TIME, out of their already busy schedules, to make the PNWPGA the best Section in the US.  So on behalf of your Board of Directors and the Membership of the Pacific Northwest PGA Section, we thank you!

Best,

Bryan Tunstill, PGA