L&L Insider

L&L Insider

A round up of industry happenings from around the country.

July 3, 2014
Lawn & Landscape Staff
Industry News

Service across the country

PLANET once again hosted its Day of Service on Earth Day, April 22. This year, 89 projects were conducted in 24 states, with the help of 2,200 volunteers at an estimated value of $400,000. Volunteers worked on projects at hospitals, schools, community gardens and other locations. Below is a small sample of projects green industry companies completed.

1. YardApes in New Milford, Conn., completed six projects. The company chose its projects from entries submitted from the community. Volunteers did work for a number of homeowners in need as well as the town football area and an animal non-profit.
2. Inside Out Design in Frankfort, Ky., added raised garden beds at Good Shepherd School to grow edibles to use in the cafeteria.
3. The National Hispanic Landscape Alliance (NHLA) provided a landscaping makeover for a Good Shepherd Housing Foundation (GSHF) home in Woodbridge, Va., for chronically mentally ill and at-risk residents on Earth Day. NHLA member companies removed undesirable vegetation and install new plants according to a landscape plan that beautified the GSHF Grayson Property and made the outdoors more functional.
4. HighGrove Partners in Atlanta chose to work with the Special Needs School in Gwinnett, Ga. The school had an entrance and several areas of its landscape that were barren. Plants and straw were installed while flowering trees were added to the drop off area and shade trees to the two playgrounds.

Photos courtesy of  YardApes, Inside Out Design, NHLA and HighGrove


Kerin: Brickman will remain landscape company

Executives from Brickman and ValleyCrest open up about the deal and the future of the new company.

By Chuck Bowen

CALABASAS, Calif., and ROCKVILLE, Md. – On the heels of the announcement that the two largest companies in the landscape industry will combine, the CEOs of Brickman and ValleyCrest spoke with Lawn & Landscape Editor Chuck Bowen about what the industry can expect from the new company.

Andrew Kerin, CEO of Rockville, Md.-based Brickman Group, said the combined company would remain focused on the landscape and snow industries. “We collectively are completely committed to the landscape and snow services industry and business we have today,” Kerin said.

Kerin also stressed that private equity group KKR’s acquisition of a majority stake in ValleyCrest is a merger. “I want to be very clear about this: This is not the new Brickman. This is Brickman and ValleyCrest coming together as a merger of equals to create the next -generation company,” Kerin said.

“We believe we are better together and that is capturing the best of both.” Kerin came to the Brickman Group in 2012 from Aramark Global Food, where he was group president. Before that, he was vice president with facility services firm Ogden Corporation.

The deal, expected to close in a few months, would have KKR purchasing a majority share in Calabasas, Calif.-based ValleyCrest Landscape Cos. from MSD Capital.

Combined, the two landscape firms will have nearly $2 billion in revenue and cover every major U.S. market. MSD and the Sperber family would maintain stakes in the new company, and Richard Sperber, son of ValleyCrest founder Burt Sperber, will no longer serve on the board. “We’re in a really neat period in the industry where the industry is growing, and people are investing in their landscape, they’re improving to a greater extent, so the timing of this is excellent in the sense that we’re in growth mode, there’s plenty of work out there and customers are more interested than ever in improving their properties,” said Roger Zino, CEO of ValleyCrest.

Kerin said he sees growth potential in many segments. “The short answer is we see it everywhere. We see it in design, we see it in building, we see it in the maintenance, we see it in being able to expand trust relationships by adding more service and more properties for those clients,” he said.

“And we’ve also found that we have a lot in common in terms of how we approach the market, so we have greater strength collectively than we had before.

Visit bit.ly/brickvalley for the full story.


Pat Jones inducted into TOCA Hall of Fame

L&L/GCI publisher was inducted for his many years of service to the green industry.

NEW ORLEANS – Publisher of Golf Course Industry and Lawn & Landscape magazines Pat Jones was inducted into the Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association Hall of Fame in May for his long service and dedication to the green industry.

TOCA – a trade group for editors, publishers and other communicators in the turf and ornamental industries – inducted Jones during its 25th annual meeting.

“TOCA celebrating 25 years makes me feel really old,” Jones said. “I will always remember the people who have come and gone. Especially all of their passion and good ideas.

“It’s amazing to me how much has changed in the past 25 years, but my job remains the same … to help other people every single day through communications.”

Jones was one of the founding members of TOCA, serving twice as the organization’s president. He began his career with GCSAA, eventually serving as its communications director. He also spent time working in public relations at a leading marketing communications agency and as a consultant. “One of the best things I can say about him is he’s a ‘real person.’ He’s learned the business step by step – some steps back with downturns (like all of us), yet more steps upward. And of course he’s ended on the upside,” said Jose Milan, director of green business operations at Bayer.

“Now, if only his golf game were a little better. … He is a unique individual and one that’s great for this industry.”