At this year’s annual Principals Meeting and Success Celebration held in Daytona Beach, Florida, LandOpt recognized the top performers in the LandOpt Network and discussed the company’s overarching commitments to growth, continued success, coaching, education and strategic training.
Each year, LandOpt says its network GMs and sales professionals take part in a team-building activity to foster peer relationships.
“We do something different every year, whether it’s a scavenger hunt, team karaoke or even LandOpt Olympics,” said Andrew Dickson, LandOpt product development manager.
This year’s activity required participants to break into teams and go on a scavenger hunt. During this hunt, they had to locate and assemble bike pieces hidden throughout the Daytona Beach Hilton. To win, the group had to finish in the least amount of time, cross the finish line and pass assembly inspection.
Essay contest winners from the Boys and Girls Club of Volusia/Flagler Counties arrived and gathered on the clock tower steps, and Glenn Bertha, a success coach, introduced them to the individuals who had assembled their bikes.
“At the end of the day, team-building is only a complete success if the team is able to positively impact the community around it,” said Don Evans, LandOpt president. “Our teams do this every day in building great outdoor living spaces and environments. It turns out that building bicycles for kids is just as much fun.”
At the meeting, LandOpt also named the Contractor, Rookie Contractor of the Year, Sales Professional, Rookie Sales Professional of the Year and the President’s Award.
Contractor of the Year went to The Greathouse Company. The Greathouse Company says it differentiates itself from local competitors through proven business practices and specific customer relationship methods.
“We have trusted the process over the last four years of being in the LandOpt Network,” said Will Greathouse. “Our team buying into the system has been key to the process. We have pushed the processes and systems when recruiting and have built a team that believes in what we are trying to create.”
Rookie Contractor of the Year went to Pickel Landscape Group of Landenberg, Pennsylvania, a full-service landscape company that designs and maintains outdoor spaces for residents of southern Chester County, Pennsylvania, and northern Delaware.
Pickel says its philosophy of giving the client value and honesty has gone a long way toward creating loyal customers and a growth-oriented company culture. The company says its mission is to enhance the quality of clients’ homes by focusing on value and beauty.
Rookie Sales Professional of the Year went to Newton Emerson from Mountainview Landscapes and Lawncare of Chicopee, Massachusetts, while the Sales Professional of the Year went to Will Hickman, with Carolina Creations.
“It’s been a very long process for me personally,” Hickman said. “I’m honored beyond belief, honestly. I’ve been with Carolina Creations and a part of LandOpt for over nine years now, and I’ve been very fortunate to be in an office and a network with some amazing sales reps in that timeframe.”
LandOpt says the purpose of its President’s Award is to recognize the company that has shown the most significant growth internally and within the LandOpt Network, with a particular focus on quality over quantity.
Belknap Landscape Company from Gilford, New Hampshire, was given the award this year. Belknap is a family-owned business located in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire and was established in 1988 when owner Hayden McLaughlin purchased the original Belknap Nursery in Gilford.
“We have been continuously refining our internal processes to become more efficient with our systems and delivering consistent services to our clients,” said McLaughlin. “This (award) means very much to me and my staff. Belknap could not have achieved this without the strong staff that we have here. I stand proud beside all of them.”
Tony Massey, president of Massey Services, announced the promotion of Barry Neveras to senior director of purchasing. In this role, the company says Neveras will be responsible for all purchasing functions for the organization.
Before being promoted to this position, Neveras served as director of purchasing where he managed product ordering for service centers in seven states. Neveras joined Massey Services in 2003 as a senior manager trainee and has held various roles within the company.
“Barry has been an instrumental team member in operations and purchasing for many years and has demonstrated strong leadership and dedication,” said Massey. “He is committed to providing exceptional service to our team members and in building strong relationships with our vendors.”
Massey says, under the leadership of Neveras, the purchasing team recently launched the Enterprise Resource Planning System (ERP), which automated the purchase order process and resulted in significant cost savings and distribution efficiencies.
Neveras is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy and has a degree in resource management. He also served as a Naval Officer from 1982-1989.
Environmental Science, a business unit of the Crop Science division of Bayer, recently announced that Paul Giordana, Ph.D., is joining the Bayer Green Solutions Team.
In this role, Bayer says Giordana will help the company’s customers ensure success while supporting the broader industry through scientific thought leadership, training and education.
“Bayer is dedicated not only to providing best-in-class innovations, but also to offering the technical knowledge and agronomic expertise that help turf managers maximize the health and quality of their turf,” said Laurence Mudge, Bayer Green Solutions Team manager. “Paul’s expertise and proven technical skills will be a welcome and invaluable asset to Bayer customers.”
Bayer says its Green Solutions Team translates innovative research into practical, real-world solutions for managing tough turfgrass pests and stress, and the company says it helps look for new ways to manage the challenges that turf managers face.
Bayer says Giordano joined the company in 2014, serving as a technical services representative for Bayer Environmental Science Canada. In that role, Bayer says Giordano was responsible for coordination and education of research trials across business segments, competitive surveillance and innovation consultation. The company adds that Giordano also helped support business efforts by maintaining strong relationships with industry influencers and global researchers.
Giordano is a member of several industry organizations, such as the Ontario Turfgrass Research Foundation (Board of Directors), United States Golf Association, Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America and Soil Science Society of America.
Giordano has a doctorate in plant, soil and microbial sciences (2014), a Master of Science in plant pathology and a Bachelor of Science in crop and soil sciences from Michigan State University.
The Toro Company announced it has acquired L.T. Rich Products, a leading manufacturer of commercial zero-turn spreader/sprayers, aerators and snow and ice management equipment. Transaction details were not disclosed.
Toro says L.T. Rich Products is known for its Z-Spray line of stand-on spreader/sprayers for landscape contractors and grounds professionals.
“This acquisition builds upon many of our core strengths valued by professional contractors as we strive to help them drive greater productivity, profitability and efficiency in their operations,” said Richard M. Olson, chairman and CEO of The Toro Company. “The industry-leading Z-Spray line complements our current spreader/sprayer product offering to contractors, golf and grounds customers, while the innovative Snowrator is an exciting addition to our professional snow and ice management line. With our continued focus on innovation and technology, we believe these products have broad application across many of our professional markets.”
“With a shared commitment to innovation and serving customers, we look forward to having our products become a part of The Toro Company,” said Tom Rich, president of L.T. Rich Products. “We believe that Toro’s strong history, market leadership and resources will further enable our continued growth in the market.”
Twenty-three Ruppert Landscape employees were recently honored when the company presented its annual awards at a banquet held at the National Conference Center in Leesburg, Virginia.
“These awards highlight exceptional individuals whose superior efforts and skills have benefited our customers and our employees,” said company president, Phil Key. “We are truly proud of each of these individuals and what they’ve accomplished.”
Clyde Vadner Merit Award
The company says this award is one of the company’s top two honors and recognizes the individual who has contributed continuous, long-term, consistent hard work, dedication and job skill that has helped shape the company. Mark Innis, product manager in the Georgia landscape construction branch, was this year’s recipient and is a resident of Lawrenceville, Georgia. He has been with Ruppert for over 18 years.
“Mark exemplifies so many of the qualities that are the cornerstone of our Ruppert Values,” said Bob Jones, president of the landscape construction division. “His work ethic, high standards and dedication to the landscape construction jobs on which he’s worked have far-reaching effects, not only from the quality of his work but in setting an example for other employees.”
Ruppert says this award is also one of the company’s top two honors and recognizes the employee who has made a significant contribution in 2017 through outstanding job execution and high-quality results. Regina Brydges, business developer in the Richmond, Virginia, landscape management branch, was this year’s recipient and is a resident of Chesterfield, Virginia. She has been with Ruppert for over five years.
“Regina has led the division in new sales, with over one million in new sales for four consecutive years, and she is set to achieve that goal again in 2018,” said Kevin Hazelgrove, region manager in the company’s landscape management division. “Regina’s achievements stem from her competitive nature and her friendly and genuine approach with customers and prospects. She herself does not take credit, humbly attributing this success to her team, but she has played a huge role in the success of the Richmond branch.”
Branch Impact Awards
Ruppert says these awards are given to the employee whose outstanding dedication and contributions have made a positive impact on their individual branch. There were 21 recipients this year: