2019 — Carol Colein

Women in Irrigation Winners

Carol Colein

Winner of the Ivy Munion Langendorff Women In Irrigation Award for 2019

Carol entered the industry as a summer intern in 1969.  It was a “gopher” position.  The position left Carol with a lot of unused time in a day, which she used to badger people in the design department to teach her about design.  They did, and she was hooked.

Carol worked for thirteen years in the design division of A. J. Miller, which was connected to Sprinkler Irrigation Supply, located in Royal Oak, Michigan.  Carol developed a solid clientele of Landscape and Golf Architects who encouraged her to go on her own.  About that same time, Carol had an opportunity to meet Chet Sarsfield, Bob Cloud and George Bell at various conferences.  They told her about a burgeoning society of irrigation design professionals, under the banner of ASIC, and encouraged her to become an independent consultant.

C.J. Colein & Associates, Inc. was formed in 1981—believed to be the first female owned irrigation consulting firm, and first independent irrigation consulting firm east of the Mississippi River. She remained at the helm of the company for 25 years. After divesting ownership in her company, Carol continued consulting, focusing on golf course renovation projects.  In 2010, the depressed golf market helped nudge Carol toward retirement.  She and her husband travelled and generally were enjoying life when she read that ASIC was looking for a new Executive Director.  She said to herself, “how hard can that job be?” and soon found out.

Throughout her career, Carol benefitted from having outstanding industry mentors, most notably, Austin Miller, FASIC.  She in turn loved introducing others to the profession, including Geoff Graber, an ASIC Professional member since 1991.  Carol was a frequent presenter at Universities and technical conferences and also served on the IA Certification Board of Governors, IA Board of Directors, and ASIC Board of Directors, always with the belief she gained so much more from volunteering than the effort ever cost.

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