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Design team

Dr Richard Gibbs

Dr Richard Gibbs

Head of sports surface design

Richard first worked with STRI on a joint research project when he was based at the University College of Wales in Aberystwyth in 1986. In 1990 he had a brief spell running the turf courses at Myerscough. He then moved to New Zealand in late 1991, where he remained for 21 years as a turf consultant before returning to the UK to join STRI in 2012.

Following the success of his work on the world’s first natural turf stadium pitch grown under a permanent fixed roof (Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin), his main focus nowadays seems to be working out how to grow grass in ever more challenging climates!

Dr Stephen Baker

Dr Stephen Baker

Head of sport surface technology

Dr Baker is the world's most widely known turf consultant and researcher. He joined STRI in 1980 has over 35 years' experience at the cutting edge of natural sports surface design, Stephen has unparalleled knowledge of developing elite pitches across the globe.

Stephen has been a senior turf consultant at recent FIFA World Cups, UEFA European Championships, Confederations Cup and World Club Championships. He has also worked on soil, turf and construction projects in Norway, Holland, Ireland, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, India, Brazil, Malaysia, Australia and the West Indies.

In his spare time Stephen loves to go on long walks and follows the fortunes of Bradford City.

Gordon Howat

Gordon Howat

Senior project manager

Gordon joined STRI after 16 years in sports turf construction contracting. Qualified in both Landscape & Amenity Management and Quantity Surveying, Gordon leads SSD in the UK & Ireland and has also worked overseas for STRI.

With a split work base of Bingley and Helensburgh near Loch Lomond, Gordon enjoys travelling and meeting new and existing clients. Despite all the driving he has managed to complete seven marathons and become a father to two girls, Lottie & Susa.

Dr Ian McClements

Dr Ian McClements

Senior consultant

Ian is an experienced Sports Turf Agronomist with over 20 years’ experience in the Turfgrass Industry. Ian’s work includes the provision of advice on the maintenance and construction of grass based sports facilities having worked with the GAA, FIFA and UEFA and was personally involved in the delivery of the pitches for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Being the R&A’s consultant agronomist in Ireland, Ian advises at many of the links golf courses in Ireland. He has also wide experience of undertaking feasibility studies for proposed new sports facilities and the upgrading of existing ones. Ian has also worked as lead consultant in a number of prestigious sports complex development projects as well as working as part of a design team providing specialist drainage and agronomic advice for sports facility provision.

Jonathan Tucker

Jonathan Tucker

Senior design consultant

Jonathan has 32 years of experience in Agronomy and Sports turf design within STRI, specialising in golf course architecture.

He is a senior member of the European Institute of Golf Course Architects (EIGCA) and has been involved in diverse projects on established golf courses including Masters planning, bunker and green redevelopment, safety reviews, drainage assessment/design and course extension.

Recently he was involved with the delivery of the Sport England Framework consultancy service as part of the Protecting Playing Fields strategy.

James Westwood

James Westwood

Senior design consultant

James started his consultancy career as one of the STRI Agronomist team, but for the past 25 years he has specialised in the design and construction of sports turf facilities.

During this time he has been involved in a wide range of projects including working for local authorities and private sports clubs, as well as some high profile and prestigious developments.

James has worked on numerous large scale projects in which he has been part of a design team acting as a pitch specialist and working closely with other team members including architects and engineers.

Lee Collier

Lee Collier

Senior design consultant

Lee has 10 years' experience in Sports Turf Design within STRI, specialising in stadium pitch design primarily on overseas projects and often as part of a wider architectural design team.

Recently he has been involved with the design and delivery of pitches for the high profile clients in Russia, the Middle East and China, which involves understanding and optimising conditions for turfgrass in challenging climates.

Lee spends his spare time walking the dog and cycling in between travelling.

Agata Kryjak

Agata Kryjak

Design and field technician

Agata holds a MA degree in Landscape Architecture & Design from Leeds Beckett’s University (2014) and MEng in Landscape Architecture from University of Life Sciences in Lublin, Poland (2010). In 2012 she co-authored a research monograph titled ‘Wells in the cultural landscape of Lublin region’ published by University of Life Sciences in Lublin.

Agata joined the Sports Surface Design (SSD) team in 2016 as a design and field technician. Her major role is turning sports fields into electronic 2D and 3D images on a computer using CAD Civil 3D software.

Outside of work Agata enjoys sailing and hill walking.

Greg Whately

Greg Whately

Design consultant

After graduating in 2012 with a BAgrSc Honours Horticulture, Landscape and Sports Turf Management from University College Dublin, Greg joined STRI as design consultant.

Greg’s work at STRI includes tournament delivery, pitch design, performance testing and project management. He has delivered international stadium pitches, major sporting tournaments, as well as global equestrian arenas.

Greg has a keen interest in rugby and continues to play when he is not jetting off around the world.

Ian Craig

Ian Craig

Project manager

Ian joined STRI as an agronomist in 2014 with 15 years' experience in the sportsturf industry. Having provided pitch consultancy at a number of high profile football events including the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, he joined the design team in 2016.

Ian has a BSc in Turfgrass Science from the University of Central Lancashire and has provided consultancy work in Asia, Africa, South America and throughout Europe.

When not involved on a professional level, Ian enjoys playing and watching football.

Michael Rowley

Michael Rowley

CAD design consultant

Michael joined STRI in 2014, as a CAD design consultant, after graduating in construction and engineering from Leeds Met.

He plays an important role in the design and development of STRI’s projects, ranging from simple earthwork and drainage modelling through to concept and schematic design layouts for large stadia projects. Michael is part of a team that incorporates the latest Auto CAD Civil’s and 3DS MAX software into the majority of projects. He is experienced in the delivery of light level analysis and 3D visualisations through the use of Hemiview and 3DS max software.

In his spare time Michael enjoys going to the gym and following the Bradford Bulls.

Neil Rodger

Neil Rodger

Design consultant

Neil began his career in sports surface consultancy after graduating from the University of Edinburgh with a degree in Geography.

He joined STRI after five years as a design consultant in Scotland working mainly on football, rugby and golf facilities.

With a background in rugby, Neil has previously represented Scotland 7’s in World Series tournaments in Wellington and San Diego and now spends his spare time swimming, cycling and running to keep fit.

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.@striturf Head of Research, Dr Ruth Mann, offers advice on putting together a #fungicide programme for your sports… https://t.co/aOVKvVG29v 09:58 AM Nov 22nd