Troy McQuillen lives a very short distance from Prospect Meadows on the north side of Marion. A wrestler and football player in high school, he could probably jog the short distance from his home to the facility.
“I’m 1.3 miles away from the complex,” McQuillen said Saturday during one of his many stops at Prospect Meadows. “Not very far.”
That’s a very good thing, because McQuillen, 35, is a busy guy and needs to save all the time he can. He has a young family with two kids, he’s the Vice President for Facilities and Security at Kirkwood Community College, and he’s also playing a prominent role at Prospect Meadows in a variety of ways.
In fact, the top officials at Prospect Meadows credit McQuillen for being one of the key people who helped the baseball and softball complex open its doors on time in late May.
“We are very fortunate at Prospect Meadows to have someone as talented and committed as Troy leading the way regarding the building of our complex,” said Tim Strellner, the chairman of the board. “The time and energy he has put toward this project has led to a first-class facility opening on time and on budget.”
McQuillen has a deep background in turf management and was teaching classes in turf management at Kirkwood when he first got involved at Prospect Meadows, which has artificial turf and natural grass on all its fields. In addition, he’s an expert in construction, engineering, building design and architecture.
All of those skills have been put to good use at Prospect Meadows, a sprawling complex that covers 128 acres in Linn County and appears to be growing on a daily basis.
McQuillen said it’s taken a diverse team to build Prospect Meadows and keep it headed in the right direction. They opened nine fields this year and plan to open eight more fields in 2023.
“We’ve really complemented each other well,” he said. “We have accountants, we have fundraisers. I’m the construction guy.”
McQuillen is a member of the Board of Directors at Prospect Meadows, helping to plan and steer the sparkling complex into the future.
McQuillen, who is from Cascade, got involved in turf management at an early age thanks to an uncle who runs a lawn care business in Cascade.
“That’s where it first started,” he said.
McQuillen worked in turf management at Thunder Hills Country Club in Dubuque when he was still in high school, then worked for the City of Cedar Rapids at Gardner Golf Course while a student at Kirkwood. He then worked at the Amana Colonies golf course and the Cedar Rapids Kernels, which is where his eventual connection to Prospect Meadows began.
The sports turf manager for the Kernels is Jesse Roeder whose father, Jack, is the general manager at Prospect Meadows and the former general manager of the Kernels. McQuillen got to know Jack Roeder, and Roeder approached McQuillen about five years ago when he had questions about turf management at Prospect Meadows.
McQuillen arranged to have his students in the Kirkwood turf management program get involved with Prospect Meadows as interns for class credit.
“The sports turf program at Kirkwood was growing,” McQuillen said.
“This was awesome, because it was a real-world experience to get students to help at Prospect Meadows.
“It was a really good fit, between what was going to happen out here and what the students were going to experience.”
Prospect Meadows needed expertise in irrigation systems, growing natural grass and maintenance. McQuillen and his students fit the bill and his role continued to grow from there.
“I told Jack I’d be happy to be a part of it,” he said, “and here I am today.”
McQuillen has been known to stop by Prospect Meadows after his two children, 8 and 5, are in bed and he has time to work on a few things.
He’ll also stop by in the morning on the way to Kirkwood, work the phones and communicate with emails and other methods.
Somehow, he finds time for it all. Living 1.3 miles from Prospect Meadows certainly helps. “Late nights, early mornings,” he said, smiling. “It’s a balance.”
It’s a balance that’s working.
“It’s a great thing to be a part of,” he said. “The people have been incredible, the community has been incredible. I’ve learned just as much as what I’ve put in. It’s been a great experience.”