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Park Planning and Maintenance Academy

August 5-8, 2024

Registration opens on Monday, February 12th.

Early registration ends Friday, June 28th.

The Park Planning and Maintenance Academy is an intensive training program for park professionals seeking to improve their performance and enrich their organizations. After completing the Year 1 and Year 2 curriculum, participants receive a certificate of completion and are known as Graduates.  Any graduate can return for the Graduate year which offers a new set of classes each year that are specific to current needs, issues and trends in the park industry. The  Graduate year is back for 2024!!!

PPMA is produced by the Southwest Park and Recreation Training Institute and made possible by our sponsors highlighted below.

Years 1 and 2 will be held Monday-Thursday, August 5-8.  A welcome reception at the hotel on Monday, August 5 at 6 p.m. is for all attendees.  Check in early and sign up for door prizes.

****If you are flying, please be sure to pick a later flight on Thursday so you don’t have to miss the closing banquet.

The registration fee is $450 and includes the welcome reception, all classes, bus tours and lunches.  Hotel rooms with breakfast buffets are available through the link for Hilton Doubltree.  DO NOT delay in making your hotel room reservations.  This hotel fills quickly in the summer and our block fills fast as well.

Itinerary of Events:

All classes, lunches and the departure and return for the bus tours will be at the Hilton-Doubletree Hotel.
Meals included:  Breakfast (for those staying at the Doubletree) and all lunches.  Dinner on Tuesday and Wednesday night on your own.

Monday, Aug. 5, 6 p.m.

Welcome Reception and Check In

Tuesday, Aug. 6,

7:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.

Opening and Classes all day. Buffet lunch provided. Dinner on your own at surrounding restaurants or hotel restaurant.

Wednesday, Aug. 7,

7:30 a.m. – 4:30/5 p.m.

Bus Tours for Year 1, Year 2 and Graduates all day.  Box lunches provided on all tours.
6-8 p.m. Our sponsor, Turf2Max will be sponsoring a bus to Stanley Marketplace with education on soils along the way.  Enjoy dinner, drinking and shopping on your own.  Fun place to hang out, relax and enjoy conversations.  (Optional – please sign up at registration table)

Thursday, Aug. 8,

8 a.m.-11:45 a.m.

Morning classes.   11:45 a.m.-1 p.m.  Banquet lunch and certificate awards.
(Please make airline flights after 3 p.m. if possible)

Contact Mendy Putman, Conference Coordinator


Scroll below to the Year you want to register for and use the registration button for it.



Year 1 establishes a baseline of understanding the fundamentals of park maintenance, design and resource management through a broad spectrum of topics. Year 1 offers 1.5 CEUs.

Year 1 topics:

  • ADA Requirements and Elements of Playground Design
  • Understanding Irrigation Hydraulics and Design
  • Understanding GIS Systems
  • Athletic Field Maintenance – Best Practices and New Ideas
  • Principles of Using Maintenance Contracts
  • Aboriculture 101
  • Principles of Park Planning and Design Practicum

Field study destinations include:

  • Turf! Turf! Turf! – A Tour of the Aurora Sports Park, Aurora CO
  • Snowboarding to Mountain Biking – Ruby Hill Park is Amazing!, Denver CO
  • THINK BIG! Planning and Development of Legacy Park Projects: A tour of Phillip S. Miller Adventure Park and Festival Park, Castle Rock, CO
YEAR 1 Registration


Year 2 dives deeper into advanced subject material designed to build upon the foundation established in Year 1.  Year 2 offers 1.5 CEUs.

Year 2 topics:

  • Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Master Plans: Understanding this Fundamental Element of Park Planning
  • Irrigation Principles for Water Conservation
  • Best Practices for Chemical Applications
  • Risk Management
  • Customer Service: Dealing with the Public in the Moment
  • Tree and Hazard Assessment
  • Playground Safety and Audits
  • Principles of Athletic Complex Design Practicum

Field study destinations:

  • Eyes on the Prize – Westminster Center Park, Westminster, CO
  • Westminster Station Nature Play Park – How it Got Done!, Westminster, CO
  • Nature Up and Close and Personal – South Platte Park and Carson Nature Center, Littleton, CO
  • Next Level ADA Playground, Clement Park, Littleton, CO
YEAR 2 Registration


Graduate, Year 3 is a new and different curriculum of classes each year and offers the opportunity for any previous graduate of Year 2 to return and learn more. Graduate Year offers 1.6 CEUs.



Connecting the City – Building the Dallas Trail Network
Willis Winters, Ret. Dallas Park and Recreation Director

Irrigation Auditing
Paul Reed, Irrigation Designer, Kimley-Horn

A Path Forward – Backcountry Trail Planning, Design and Implementation
Chris Lieber, N.E.S. Landscape Architects

Advanced Usage of GIS Systems
Peter Bratt, Director of Operations and Skilled Trades Milwaukee County Parks

Employee Management and Recognition
Jill Beam, Ret. Dallas Park and Recreation

Homelessness Hurdles in Public Spaces
Facilitated Round Table Discussion

“Don’t Suck This Time”: Inspiring Organizational Excellence
Jason Genck, Practice Lead & Manager, Barry Dunn and Former Director of Westminster Park and Recreation

Field Study Destinations and Topics

Asphalt Pump Track Management, Anthem Community Park – Broomfield Park and Recreation
New Age Construction, Center Park – Westminster Park and Recreation
The Drone Farmers, Christopher Fields Softball Complex – Westminster Park and Recreation
Bluegrass Conversion – “The Good, Bad and Ugly”, Location TBA – Aurora Park and Recreation

Thank you to the 2024 Graduate Co-Chairs, Aaron Stafford, Steamboat Springs Park and Recreation and Kahai Sibley, Westminster Park and Recreation

GRADUATE Registration


The Park Planning and Maintenance Academy will be conducted at the Hilton DoubleTree Denver-Aurora at Iliff Ave. and Interstate 225.

Your safety while traveling is our priority. We have our guests in mind with the measures we have taken during this time:

    1. Our team members are receiving ongoing briefings and enhanced operating protocols
    1. We have increased the frequency of cleaning our public area (including lobbies, elevators, door handles, public bathrooms, fitness center, etc.)
    1. Sanitization stations for guests are available to sanitize key cards, phones, wallets, etc.
    1. Practice social distancing and reminding guests to practice social distancing
    1. All team members wearing protective facial masks

Only 2 miles north of Cherry Creek State Park. Those that wish to camp can easily do so, but reservations need to be made early. There many amenities to the hotel, as you can see below, with close by restaurants and conveniences. You are encouraged to secure a room as soon as possible to avoid any inconveniences in having to be at another location.

Airport Shuttle offered by the Doubletree only!  Please read, print and take with you on your trip if you are staying onsite!

Call the Doubletree a week prior to your arrival to check  their shuttle schedule.

The DoubleTree by Hilton, Denver
Aurora is pleased to offer complimentary airport transportation to and from the Denver International Airport (DIA). We also offer a complimentary 5 mile radius local shuttle, based upon availability.
13696 East Iliff Place
Aurora, CO 80014

Airport Pick Up

  • Call the hotel at 303-337-2800 and reach the front desk to let us know you have arrived. Please give us your name and phone number and we will let you know when the next shuttle will be there to pick you up.
  • After collecting your luggage, head over to East Baggage Claim, Level 5 ,and find Door 505. Then, make your way over to the 3rd island outside of the doors where it says “HOTELS”
  • Once our shuttle arrives, make sure the driver is heading towards the DoubleTree Denver Aurora and hop on aboard!

Airport Drop Off:

  • Upon check in, we are happy to arrange a shuttle departure time with you. Be sure to sign up in advance, so we can ensure we have space for you and we don’t leave without you!
  • We will drop you off at the East Terminal, Level 5, Door 505, at the 3rd island (where we picked you up!)

Please note:

  • Space is limited on our shuttle, so please make sure you speak with our team for pick ups and drop offs in order to ensure a seat.
  • Our shuttle is available during specific times. Please speak with our agents to learn more!
  • DIA is approximately 20-40 minutes from our hotel, depending on traffic.
  • SuperShuttle is available at $22.00/per person/one way. Their phone number is 303-370-1300 or visit
  • Taxi services, including Uber and Lyft, are also available.

Thank You to Our PPMA Sponsors

PPMA has various sponsorship levels available, contact Mendy Putman, PPMA Conference Coordinator (719) 651-2125 for sponsorship opportunities during the event.


LL Johnson, Professional Turf Products and the Toro Company recognize the importance of quality professional training. We are thankful for the opportunity to help bring the Park Planning and Maintenance Academy to you, the members of the parks and sports turf industry. Many challenges lie ahead in your diverse profession. The knowledge you gain in the PPMA courses and the professional networking you develop with on another will go a long way to give you the resources you need to help solve your problems and create new opportunities. We want to be a resource to you as well, with state of the art equipment and management resources designed for your current needs and future demands. Enjoy the PPMA courses on line this year and we look forward to meeting you in person. Please let us know how we can make your job easier.

Dan Melchior, LL Johnson Distributing, Denver CO.


The Rain Bird Company was founded in 1933 during California’s agricultural boom. The Intelligent Use of Water is Rain Bird’s guiding philosophy and continues to influence all aspects of our business. Rain Bird has developed the industry’s most comprehensive line of water-efficient irrigation solutions for everything from homes and schools to parks, sports fields, golf courses, and farms. With efficient irrigation products and practices, it is absolutely possible for people to reduce outdoor water consumption by 25 percent or more without having to give up the plants, trees, and gardens that add so much to our lives. Rain Bird supports customers by offering in-field troubleshooting, training, and product-specific information. We consider it a privilege to work in an industry that values the outdoors, and our most precious resource – water.

Andrew Barber, Public Agent and Specifications Manager, Rocky Mountain Region


Turf2Max changes the composition of the soil from fine particulate to larger particles allowing essential water, air and nutrients to infiltrate deep into the root zone creating deeper vigorous root systems.

These root systems result in thicker, greener ground coverage.  Turf2Max is better, easier, and more economical than any machine aeration.  It also eliminates waterlogged soil by increasing percolation.

No other product on the market reduces soil compaction and soil bulk density to a depth of 8” or more.

John Buchanan, Chief of Operations,T2m Sales, LLC


Musco has shaped the history of sports lighting since 1976. The company’s TLC for LED™ technology delivers unmatched light quality, control, efficiency, and reliability. Offering permanent and temporary lighting systems for new and retrofit projects, we bring first-hand knowledge and experience with the many issues that impact players, spectators, neighbors, television broadcasts, and staff. We are happy to consult with you on any lighting project you may have now, or in the future.
Edwin Arceo, Sales Representatives, Denver, CO


At Kimley-Horn, one of the nation’s premier engineering, planning and design consultants, our professionals are experts in many disciplines yet share one passion, making our clients successful. We combine creative yet practical solutions, a sense of urgency and focus on bottom line value to meet your specific project needs.  With offices nationwide, let Kimley-Horn be your one-stop consultant for superior solutions in a wide range of services.

Paul Reed, Irrigation Designer


A leader in the equipment rental industry, Sunbelt Rentals is constantly advancing the idea of how a company can best serve its customers, communities and the planet.

With a vast network of locations across North America and an expansive portfolio of products and services, we deliver solutions to support any job.

Dan Newby, Regional Sales Manager-Government


It is the policy of the SWPRTI that if a prepaid attendee to PPMA wishes to cancel their registration; cancellation requests must be received at least two weeks prior to the PPMA starting date in order to qualify for a full refund. Emergency cancellations will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

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