Thursday, May 14, 2015

TSTC grad Mitch O'Brey headed to ANGC

Every once and a while, we run into individuals who teach us a valuable lesson about stepping out of our comfort zone and taking a shot at something beyond our perceived limits. We don't often expect that lesson to come from a 21-year-old youngster. Congratulations to GCSAA Student Member Mitch O'Brey who took his longshot earlier this year and applied for an internship at Augusta National Golf Club.

Within minutes of seeing the position posting, Mitch and his instructor at Texas State Technical College, Joe Todaro, started polishing his resume and networking within the industry to come up with a game plan.

“Mitch told me from day one he wanted to work at Augusta National.  I agreed it would be a wonderful experience, but warned him that a lot of people share that same dream and he might focus on some of the great courses here in Texas.  But, one evening...I saw a tweet about the Augusta internships.  I shared the tweet with Mitch, who texted back immediately and said he already saw it and was working on his resume!”

Joe, a current board member of the North Texas GCSA admits he was skeptical about Mitch's chances but encouraged him to go through the process for the experience, “Even though I thought his chances were slim, I wanted him to try it anyway.  I am extremely excited and proud of the initiative Mitch demonstrated in pursuing this position.  Working for Augusta National is a dream most won’t realize.  Mitch worked very hard during his time as a student, and I expect nothing less from him as an employee of ANGC. In our program, we stress the importance of networking and interpersonal communication skills, something Mitch excels at.”

The process was arduous and thorough, but in the end, the longshot from the small turfgrass program in Waco landed the job and will soon be arriving at Augusta for a what will certainly be a career-changing year. Mitch graduated from TSTC with his degree in Golf Course and Landscape Technology in April and hopes the year in Augusta will get him off to a great start toward his ultimate career goal of becoming a Certified Golf Course Superintendent. The internship runs through the 2016 Masters which will certainly be the ultimate experience of the internship.

"I've always admired Augusta National from watching the Masters year after year. My dream from day one at TSTC was to go to the historic course, and I couldn't have picked a better school to help me accomplish my dream."

Mitch started in the golf business at Lake Park golf course in Lewisville, Texas where he found a love and respect for the game of golf. “I started out as an outside services attendant then moved up into the pro shop as an Assistant Golf Pro... Then, Josh Seale, the Assistant Superintendent now at Indian Creek Golf Club told me about TSTC and before I knew it, I was on my way to Waco to learn what it takes to become a superintendent.”

As I write this, Mitch and his mother are in the car driving to Augusta to get started later this week. Mitch credits his parents and family for all of the help they have provided and the encouragement to follow his dreams. One of Mitch’s favorite quotes is, "You don't know what could be on the other side of that door until you try to open it." Pretty insightful stuff from someone at the beginning of their career.

Way to go, Joe. Great work encouraging your students to excel and being a helpful resource to their careers.

Congratulations again to Mitch on your terrific opportunity and thanks for the lesson!

(Something tells me Mitch will be a bit too busy to be doing much tweeting over the next 12 months, but you can follow him on Twitter (@mjobrey27). You can also learn more about the TSTC Golf Course and Landscape Technology Program at the TSTC website. The program is also a good follow on Twitter, too: @GLM_TSTC.)