Ryan Bjorn didn’t play football while attending Old Town High School in the early 2000s, so he never dreamed back then he’d someday be working closely with the New England Patriots.
Bjorn, 34, found out life can take some unexpected turns en route to his new position as field superintendent at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, home of the defending NFL champions.
“I’m excited to be back in New England,” Bjorn said, summarizing his reaction to recently landing the job tending to the practice and playing fields used by the Patriots and the New England Revolution of Major League Soccer. “It’s a testament to growing up in Old Town. A lot of people might have negative connotations about the place, but to be educated in that system and grow up there was a great opportunity for me.”
Bjorn’s journey from Old Town to Foxborough began when he worked summers at Bangor Municipal Golf Course and Penobscot Valley Country Club in Orono after graduating from high school in 2003.
“I went to Vermont Technical College to be a landscape architect but it was while working at Bangor Municipal and Penobscot Valley I found out about the turf industry,” Bjorn said.
Seeing an opportunity in turf, Bjorn adjusted his educational and career paths. After earning an associate’s degree in landscape architecture at Vermont Tech in 2007, he went on to get an associate’s degree in turfgrass management in 2008 and a bachelor’s degree in plant and soil science from UMass in 2010.
While in college he interned with the grounds crew at Fenway Park in Boston then worked for a year on the grounds crew at Gillette Stadium. When no full-time opportunity presented itself in New England, Bjorn took a job tending the fields at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Germantown, Maryland.