Helmut Ullrich wins Edwin Budding Award

Editorin People

Helmut Ullrich, retired senior product manager for The Toro Co., is the winner of the 2021 Edwin Budding Award from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA).

The Edwin Budding Award, named after the inventor of the lawn mower, is given annually to an equipment manager or related innovator, technician or engineer who has made a significant impact in the golf course and turf industry.

Helmut Ullrich, a native of Germany, received an undergraduate degree in agricultural engineering from the State College of Germany and obtained his master's degree in business from the University of Minnesota. He joined Toro Company's international group in 1974 as a European field service manager. In 1980, after a corporate restructuring, he transitioned to the role of product manager with the responsibility of managing the commercial division product portfolio. Helmut retired from The Toro Company in 2020 after serving the company for forty-six years.

"When GCSAA President Mark Jordan called me about winning the Budding Award, I was in complete awe. It was totally unexpected. It made me feel appreciated and gratified for all the hard work during my career at Toro," Helmut said. "At the same time, I must say that I could not have accomplished this without the support of a talented team."

While working at The Toro Company, Ullrich made many groundbreaking achievements in product development and was a significant part of product innovation. He worked for Toro for 46 years before retiring from his role as a senior product manager in October 2020.

"He has been instrumental in shaping Toro and the industry with his work on golf course maintenance equipment," said Tony Ferguson, Toro senior product marketing manager. "His focus and dedication have built his legacy as synonymous with green mowers."

In 1986, Ullrich was asked to focus his efforts on golf course equipment, including fairway mowers and greens mowers. This line of equipment was previously not profitable, and it was up to Ullrich to turn that around. He applied his engineering and business education, and within a couple of years, he improved the financial situation and established a positive trajectory, which continues today.

"GCSAA members have benefitted from the positive impact Helmut Ullrich has made on the golf course maintenance industry," GCSAA CEO Rhett Evans said. "Ullrich's contributions are remarkable and will continue to influence the industry well into the future. Congratulations to him for this well-deserved recognition."

Helmut formally received the Budding Award at this week's 2022 GCSAA Conference and Trade Show in San Diego which ended last week.