Freetime: David Sikes, Sikes Paper Company, Volunteers At Golf’s Tour Championship
There is golf. And then there is golf with a purpose. David Sikes, owner of Sikes Paper Company of Atlanta, does both.
David, who is the 2016 president of ISSA and has served three terms on the ISSA board, is also one of the vice chairs of the Tour Championship by Coca-Cola, which is played at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta every year.
“The Tour Championship is the season-ending culmination for the FedEx Cup, so it’s an exciting tournament,” says David.
The Tour Championship was first played at East Lake in 1998, which has been the tournament’s permanent home since 2005. An avid golfer all his life, David is a former member of East Lake Golf Club. He started out as a hole captain for the Tour Championship.
“I hung around long enough to become a vice chair of the tournament,” says David. “I’m responsible for the tournament’s 600 volunteer marshals.”
His tournament role is not necessarily glamorous. During tournament week, David works six consecutive 14-hour days. He conducts volunteer orientation and training programs. He attends security briefings with PGA tour staff. He also is in charge of the evacuation committee.
“The weather is the one thing we can’t control,” he says. “We have eight-passenger vans strategically positioned throughout the course. If the siren goes off, I have drivers who are assigned to collect the golfers, their wives and their caddies. Then we reposition the vans to smoothly get the golfers back on the course after the severe weather passes.”
David is also responsible for the “mobile device committee.” They make sure the tournament patrons don’t talk on the phone or take pictures, which could interfere with play.
“We don’t talk to players, and we don’t take our pictures with them, because we are the ones who tell the fans they aren’t allowed to take pictures of the players,” says David.
He is proud of the job that the marshals do and says the hole captains have almost no turnover.
“Our retention rate is over 90 percent,” says David. “Most captains have been on the holes since the 1990s, and the camaraderie is terrific.”
David shares that they have never lost a golf ball.
“We have volunteers out there in the landing areas who watch the shots like a hawk,” he says.
One of the David’s main focuses is to make sure the players, fans and volunteers have a great experience.
“Volunteers are not just local. They come from all over the country, and pay for their own transportation and hotel rooms. They use vacation time to be at the tournament. So we thank them, thank them and thank them again,” he says.
Last year, the event contributed nearly $2 million to the East Lake Foundation, which supports a number of efforts including mixed-income housing, a charter school, community wellness programs, and the First Tee of East Lake, a national golf program which teaches life skills and leadership to children. Over $24 million has been given to charity since 1998.
“It is a very special time,” says David. “Even though I don’t get to personally see much of the golf, it’s one of the great weeks of my year. I’m a very lucky and blessed guy to be able to do this.”
Gretchen Roufs, a 25-year janitorial supply industry veteran, owns a marketing and public relations company in San Antonio. To suggest someone you think should be featured in “Freetime,” contact her at Gretchen@GretchenRoufs.com.
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