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Industry roundup: Blue Thumb announces acquisition of LiquidArt
Beth Hyatt | September 26, 2017
Liquid Art: Pondless Fountains

Photo: Blue Thumb

Blue Thumb recently announced its acquisition of LiquidArt Foundations, a manufacturer of custom fountain boulders supplying the water garden and lawn and garden marketplaces.

Blue Thumb says that with the addition of LiquidArt, the company will be able to offer all markets the most comprehensive lineup of professional-grade fountains in the industry from a single source.

Blue Thumb says they are widely known in the water feature industry for their extensive line of professional Pond Builder equipment, and for other products focused on helping the landscape installer and retailer be more successful at promoting and selling water features.

“The synergies between the two long time leaders in the industry open a wide range of new possibilities for the growth of Blue Thumb and offers our customer base a larger, more diversified product offering,” noted Kip Northrup, president of Blue Thumb. “Our seasoned team at Blue Thumb, combined with years of market experience, translate to a better customer experience, stronger product offerings and increased quality, and we are very excited about that.”

When it first introduced its products in 2004, LiquidArt says it pioneered the manufacturing of bubbling boulder fountains. The company says it has long been revered as one of the most installation-friendly, highest quality fountain brands in the water garden market today.

“We are thrilled with Blue Thumb acquiring the LiquidArt brand,” said Steve Stamback of LiquidArt. “We see endless possibilities to the market potential that now exists for our product lines. More importantly we believe we will be able to service our customers better with a stronger infrastructure and forward-thinking management that Blue Thumb provides.”

NALP offers new staff training workshops

During this year’s LANDSCAPES 2017, the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) will host two workshops with green industry professionals. This event is NALP’s networking and educational conference that is held in conjunction with the GIE+EXPO trade show on Oct. 18-20 in Louisville, Kentucky.National Association of Landscape Professionals

On Tuesday, Oct. 17, NALP is partnering with Jeffrey Scott to present Effective CEO/COO (GM) Partnerships: The Power of Collaborative Leadership.

On Wednesday, Oct. 18, NALP will partner with Ken Thomas and Ben Gandy of Envisor Consulting, Inc. to present the day-long Account Manager Workshop.

The CEO/COO session will include a panel of industry CEOs and their seconds in command discussing how they create strong working partnerships. Companies include: Drost Landscape, Sun Valley Landscaping and Swazy & Alexander.

NALP says that attendees will walk away with strategic plans for the coming year, and an optional VIP dinner will be offered after the session.

Account managers have the opportunity to attend a day-long session that NALP says will help them hone and learn new customer service strategies that increase customer loyalty and generate higher profits.

“We find that companies are bringing more of their team members to LANDSCAPES,” said Sabeena Hickman, CAE, NALP CEO. “We want to provide the best education for every staff position, so that companies that attend reap immediate benefits from the strategies their team has learned.”

At the Platinum level, LANDSCAPES 2017 is sponsored by John Deere, with additional support by Caterpillar as Gold Sponsor and Bayer as Silver Sponsor.

For Landscape Industry Certified recertification, education is approved at one CEU per hour of instruction attended.

Project EverGreen launches second annual “Our Winning Green Space” contest

Project EverGreen has partnered with Exmark Manufacturing, the Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA) and The Foundation for Safer Athletic Fields for Everyone (SAFE) to launch the second annual “Our Winning Green Spaces” contest. The contest will run from Oct. 1 to Dec. 15.

Non-profit agencies, public works departments and municipal parks and recreation departments can enter the contest to have a chance at winning an Exmark commercial mower package including Lazer Z X-Series zero-turn and Commercial 30 walk-behind mowers, as well as a “Healthy Turf. Healthy Kids.” renovation project for their city.

The online submission process requires an essay and photos that explain why their city deserves the new equipment and renovated playing field, and how it will assist them in maintaining a healthier, safer area for kids to play.

Submissions can be made , and the winner will be announced in January 2018.

“Project EverGreen is thrilled to partner with Exmark and STMA on this opportunity to raise awareness of our ‘Healthy Turf. Healthy Kids.’ program and the importance of safe, natural grass play fields for kids,” said Cindy Code, Project EverGreen executive director. “It’s also a fun opportunity for cities to share their story and compete for a field make-over.”

Jimmy Simpson, STMA board member and certified sports field manager, also views HTHK as a way to educate the public on the importance of safe athletic fields.

“Our partnership with HTHK helps parents, participating athletes and fans to understand that a well-maintained surface helps to protect athletes from injury,” adds Simpson. “Exmark’s generous mower package will greatly assist with essential ongoing maintenance to keep the surface safe.”

The winner last year was In Memory of Community Garden and the Warrendale Community Organization in Detroit, Michigan. The two non-profits are headed by Joe and Barb Matney, and they work with the City of Detroit to transform vacant lots into community gardens and “pocket parks.”

“We feel very blessed to have won the Project Evergreen ‘Our Winning Green Space’ Contest,” says In Memory co-founder Barb Matney. “The mowers have allowed us to continue to improve our community and maintain safer, more accessible and much-needed outdoor gathering spaces for Detroit residents enjoy.”

Toro awarded contract by The National Joint Powers Alliance

The Toro Company was officially awarded a national cooperative contract by The National Joint Powers Alliance (NJPA) for commercial turf maintenance equipment, residential and landscape contractor products, commercial and residential irrigation solutions and Boss snow and ice management products.The Toro Company

This multi-award contract was approved on Aug. 18, and is valid in all areas where local law and statutes allow cooperative purchasing. The contract is also valid for use in both the United States and Canada, which marks the first cooperative option applicable in Canada for the popular turf care and landscape equipment manufacturer.

“We’re excited about the opportunities that this new partnership with NJPA will produce,” explains Richard M. Olson, president and CEO of The Toro Company. “Offering top-quality Toro equipment to the 40,000+ members of NJPA means that municipalities, educational entities and non-profit organizations across the continent will now have increased access to a diverse lineup of Toro and Boss products.”

NJPA serves the educational, governmental and non-profit sectors, and the group says that prospective suppliers go through an application and selection process to ensure that NJPA continues to connect their members with premium providers.

“The Toro contract represents and demonstrates the exceptional quality and performance that our members have come to expect from NJPA contracts,” said Tony Glenz, contract manager at NJPA. “We’re committed to continuing to offer the best solutions to our members, and this new partnership with Toro will help do just that.”

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