“The variety within the branch is what makes this job so much fun for me”

ICL’s Technical Managers Around The World
Thierry Girault

4 mins

When it comes to keeping plants and turfgrass in peak condition, ICL has the best specialist teams all over the world. Although ICL is a global player, we firmly believe in a local approach. Different countries have their own climate, their own challenges and therefore need different solutions. That is where the expertise of ICL’s Technical Managers over the world comes into play. We asked them about their backgrounds, motivations and specific challenges in their market.



One of those Technical Managers is located in the southwest of France and goes by the name Thierry Girault. 25 years ago, Thierry entered the world of turfgrass and ever since that day he has not been able to get away from it. “My drive and passion are still the same after that quarter of a century. We work with life, and that’s what makes work so special. The demand for green sports fields and beautiful plants will always exist. With our offer we ensure the best answer to the everlasting demand.”

Thierry does this in the role of, as he calls it himself, ‘turf doctor’. “That’s because I feed, heal, protect and regenerate grass. We don’t maintain all types of turfgrass, but only take care of the special types, such as golf and sports fields.

Furthermore, we offer a vast range of high-quality turf grass seeds and fertilizers, all of which make golf greens faster, sports fields stronger, and parks greener.” Thierry explains. There are many different methods of turf management. Every grass species is different, due to location, climate, environment, etc. “It is always a challenge to reason which approach works best for a specific sports pitch. The work is therefore very diverse and challenging.”


A very diverse job

Not only the different types of grass makes Thierry’s work diverse. The contact with many different types of people also makes the work fun and challenging. “One day I exchange experiences with a greenkeeper, the next day I have a conversation with a groundsman about the developments within the branch. The diversity in contacts is what makes this job so much fun for me.” Besides different types of professional relations, Thierry also works with colleagues from all over the world. And although the cultural differences can sometimes be quite large, according to Thierry this collaboration always goes well. “When we work together with colleagues from other countries, things always go well. Of course there are differences in the technical approach within the working methods, but these are often not unbridgeable. So we don’t know any major differences. We all work for ICL, it doesn’t matter where you come from. So the fundamentals and approach within the company is accepted and respected by everyone. That’s the great thing about working for this company.” he says.


The influence of climate (change)

And then there are local circumstances, like the weather or certain local animals or cultural aspects, that force you to anticipate. “The increasing climate change forces us to rethink our methods and adapt our advice. Climate change is not only affecting the maintenance of our turf, it causes much more. It creates new types of cryptogamous diseases, which have a strong pressure in certain periods. Our focus is on observing the emergence and spread of unwanted plants. These are very hard to see and almost impossible to fight. Climate change does have an effect on the ways in which we work.”


Laws and regulations

Besides global changes, Thierry sometimes encounters more local issues. Focussing on turf management, one of the biggest challenges for him right now is the application of a new law that will come into effect in 2025. This law, named after Senator Labbé, is to stop the use of plant protection products. “This means that we have to come up with new technical solutions. This is, for example, to limit the disease pressure on healthy plants or to reduce the damage to unwanted plants. As I mentioned before, climate change is causing cryptogamic diseases and causing unwanted plants. We often find these plants in new regions, in the north of France. This is new for us, because in the past we had the most disruption in the south of France. Measures are therefore also required in these newly added regions.”


When I look back on my time at ICL, I look back on a great period full of amusing challenges and pleasant collaborations. One of the projects that stands out for me and that I am proud of is an assignment I worked on in 2008. The aim of this project was to set up the ‘ProSelect’ range of grass seeds in France. I look back on this assignment with a positive feeling because the outcome is very positive. The range of grass seeds that we have prepared is nowadays recognised by specialists in stadiums and on golf courses. You could say that with ICL we are entering the Formula 1 of the turf world. Perfection of our products is our number one priority.