Following the Annual General Meeting for GMA members, the GMA appointed two new members to its Board of Directors – Jim Buttar, Grounds and Technical Operations Lead at the Rugby Football Union, and Phil Fifield, Head Grounds Person at Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club.
The Annual General Meeting took place on 22 November, where GMA members were invited to vote on several resolutions including two nominations for new appointments to the GMA’s Board, as well as one nomination for re-appointment.
The first Board position up for nomination was for Sector Director for Professional Sport, currently held by David Roberts of Training Unlimited, previously Senior Manager of Grounds at Liverpool Football Club. With David having reached the end of his 9-year tenure in the role, his position was open for new nominations where Jim Buttar was voted-in to fill the vacant position.
Jim has over 26 years’ extensive experience of hands-on management in the sports turf industry, which began as an apprentice at a private school in Cambridgeshire.
Through his journey in elite football, combining his passionate approach, leading by example and with his management ability, Jim has successfully delivered surfaces for several leagues and competitions across the world. Including the English Premier League, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, UEFA European Championship qualifiers and World Cup qualifiers, and recently the African Nations Cup.
His latest role is leading the grounds team at the RFU managing the Twickenham stadium pitch, producing high quality surfaces for international and domestic competitions. Alongside this he has the responsibility of advising on strategy for the Rugby Grounds Connected programme for volunteer grounds people.
The GMA’s Board also approved the addition of another Independent Director, Phil Fifield. Phil has worked in the grounds management sector since his first day as an apprentice at Portsmouth FC in 2005 to his present role as Head Groundsperson at Brighton and Hove Albion FC.
Throughout his time in the industry, Phil has worked in all four professional leagues as a Head Groundsman and has also worked in consultancy and advisory roles. His time in the industry has seen him visit 30 countries across 5 continents as a turf-care professional.
His passion and drive to push himself and grow in his professional role has taken Phil to positions where he has been able to provide services, offer staff training, support tournament delivery and pitch development programs for a number of iconic sporting institutions, including FIFA, UEFA, CAF and AFC for men’s, women’s and youth events.
With a belief that the key fundamentals for growth and development in the sports turf sector are education, sustainability and staff welfare, Phil hopes to lend his expertise and experience to the GMA in helping build on these three foundational pillars, helping to develop the grounds care industry, and those within it, for a better future.
Along with Jim and Phil’s additions to the Board, existing Board member, Kimyo Rickett was successfully re-elected in her position as Sector Director for Local Authorities.
Commenting on the changes to the Board, GMA CEO, Geoff Webb says:
“Our Board is essential in steering the direction of the GMA and ensuring activity aligns to our strategy, so it is vital that we have experienced and knowledgeable Directors on the Board.
“Jim and Phil fit that description perfectly – both will bring insights and perspectives to the Board that will ensure the GMA delivers what it is that our members, and the wider industry, want from us. I’m also delighted that Kimyo will be staying on as Sector Director for Local Authorities. Her experience gained from over 30 years spent working for various Local Authorities and sporting bodies will ensure that this important sector within the wider grounds management community remains central to future GMA activity.
“Finally, I want to say a huge thank you to David Roberts who leaves the Board having come to the end of this 9-year tenure as a Board member. David has supported the GMA in making significant progress during this time and we are all extremely grateful for his contribution.”
You can find out more about the GMA Board, and its members, at: https://www.thegma.org.uk/who-we-are/whos-who/meet-board