In an effort to get some unfiltered feedback from the field, Jacobsen's Vice President of Sales Ric Stone recently worked undercover as an equipment operator for a week at Kiva Dunes, one of American's top resort courses.
Inspired by CBS' hit television show "Undercover Boss," Stone's idea was to work alongside a real maintenance crew for an entire week without them knowing his true identity. He believed his anonymity would give him a uniquely authentic experience and provide honest user feedback on Jacobsen equipment.
Kiva Dunes uses a fleet of Jacobsen turf equipment, including ECLIPSE walking greens mowers and ECLIPSE 322 riding greens mowers.
Kiva Dunes Superintendent Mike Rienzi played along perfectly and introduced Ric as a new member of the maintenance crew on the first day. "Nobody suspected anything," said Rienzi. "But they probably wondered why I was working him so hard. He held up pretty well, except for the blisters."
Ric's gnarled hands were the result of some very hard work: he was tasked with bunker raking, hole cutting, floor sweeping, greens and fairway mowing, machine maintenance, and a handful of other odd jobs around the shop.
At the end of the week over a pizza lunch, Rienzi revealed the true identity of Stone, and after a moment of stunned silence, the room filled with gasps, laughter and head shaking.
"Above all else, I came away with a great respect for operators. They have a true passion for presenting world-class conditions for their customers. It was an awe-inspiring week that will be with me for a long, long time," said Stone.