Auburn student wins Lawn & Landscape scholarship

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Landon Erbrick is the 2021 Richard Foster award winner.

December 31, 2021

Landon Erbrick

Since enrolling at Auburn in 2020, Landon Erbrick has been able to see all the different opportunities in the horticulture industry.

“This has allowed me to explore the different career options and learn where my interests are leaning,”says Erbrick, who was named Lawn & Landscape’s Richard Foster Award, which recognizes outstanding students planning careers in the landscape, lawn care or horticulture business.

As of right now, Erbrick has a strong interest in greenhouse and nursery production, but chose to major in landscape horticulture because it was prominent in his background.

“While in high school, I worked for Hand Landscaping, a hometown landscaping company, part-time for two years, all while maintaining my own yards in my self-start-up business,” he says. “These years helped me find my passion in horticulture, and I have been determined to grow my knowledge and experience ever since.”

Erbrick has an overall grade point average of 3.91 and a 4.0 Landscape Horticulture GPA. He ran his own company, Erbrick Lawn Care, from April 2016 to May 2020. He has taken four weeklong mission trips to Guatemala, where he helped build homes and churches, painted schools and distributed bags of food.

“Landon’s grades, work ethic and recommendations are top-notch and show his desire to have a positive impact in the horticulture industry,” says Lawn & Landscape editor Brian Horn. “We hope he can use the money to help him further his horticulture education.”

Erbrick is currently a sophomore with an expected graduation date of December 2023.

“This scholarship helps remove part of the financial burden from tuition and student loans, allowing me to focus more on my education,” he says. “I have also begun undergraduate research this fall, and this scholarship allows me to put more time and effort into performing efficient research, as well as publishing my work. I am extremely grateful for the consideration and generosity of the Lawn & Landscape scholarship committee.”

— Brian Horn

Garden Design acquires Western Landscape

Garden Design ranked No. 34 on the 2021 Lawn & Landscape Top 100 list.

Garden Design recently acquired Farmers Branch-based Western Landscape Corporation.

This acquisition will allow Western Landscape as a division of Garden Design, Inc. to grow as a landscape provider in the greater Dallas/Fort Worth market. Western, which employs 36, will continue to provide commercial services to resorts and hotels, office parks and gated communities.

“Western Landscape is a leader in the Dallas, Texas market and represents an important addition to our employee-owned company,” said Garden Design CEO William Davoli. “Over the past 20 years, Western Landscape has grown steadily and today is one of the region’s top landscape maintenance firms. We are delighted to welcome them to the Garden Design family.”

Western Landscape’s primary focus is commercial landscape maintenance, serving clients within a 30-mile radius of their base in Farmers Branch, north of Dallas, Texas.

Garden Design ranked No. 34 on the 2021 Lawn & Landscape Top 100 list. It provides commercial landscaping services in the Texas market with operations in Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio and Houston.

Bartlett Tree acquires Buena Vista Arbor Care

Buena Vista has operated for 26 years under the ownership of Vernon and Priscilla Esplin.

Bartlett Tree Experts has expanded its operations in the Pacific Northwest with the acquisition of Buena Vista Arbor Care in Corvallis, Oregon.

The expansion grows Bartlett’s operations into the Mid-Willamette Valley and to the Oregon Coast, where Buena Vista Arbor Care has operated for over 26 years under the ownership of Certified Arborists Vernon and Priscilla Esplin.

“This acquisition allows us to expand our services to customers in the mid-Willamette Valley, a beautiful area with agriculture, vineyards and a rich tradition of forestry and horticulture,” said Kevin Carr, district manager of Bartlett’s Pacific Northwest division. “We are excited to provide our clients in this new area with Bartlett’s full suite of scientific tree care services.”

A group of 12 arborists have joined Bartlett from Buena Vista, operating out of a new Bartlett office in Corvallis. The acquisition, which was completed Dec. 6, is Bartlett’s latest in the state.

Green Group expands into Florida

The company added Pearce Power Spraying and Pest Control to its family of brands.

Green Group has expanded into Florida with the addition of Pearce Power Spraying and Pest Control to its family of brands.

Located in Melbourne, Florida, Pearce has been locally owned and operated by David Pearce since 1990. The company, which offers lawn care and perimeter pest control to residential and commercial customers, is the first Florida location to join the Green Group family. The company will continue to operate under the Pearce name and service Melbourne, Palm Bay and the surrounding areas.

David Pearce, the founder of Pearce Power Spraying and Pest Control, credits his faith and patience for finding the right opportunity to carry on his hard-earned legacy.

“I have built this business from the ground up. Everything has been bootstrapped; I beat the pavement to make this company work and credit much of our success to my employees,” Pearce said. “I was considering a sale in 2017, but I couldn’t find a buyer with the heart and soul for my team that I was looking for. Green Group is about more than just profits. They are focused on the people. I have faith that my employees are in good hands.”

Green Group will retain all current Pearce employees, who receive a substantial increase in their benefits packages. In addition, the company will expand and hire additional employees in the coming year while continuing to operate locally out of Melbourne.

Senske acquires Custom Insect & Weed Control

Customers will now be serviced by Washington Tree & Lawn Care, a division of Senske Services.

Senske Services acquired Custom Insect & Weed Control based in Gig Harbor, Washington. Senske is a family-owned provider of premier lawn, tree and pest control services throughout the Western United States.

Founded in 1978 by Larry Morrison, Custom Insect & Weed Control has provided lawn care and pest control for more than four decades. When contemplating retirement, Morrison looked for a partner that shared his values.

Custom Insect & Weed Control customers will now be serviced by Washington Tree & Lawn Care, a division of Senske Services. Existing services will continue uninterrupted from the Lakewood, Washington location, and customers can take advantage of the expanded service offerings.

“Our expansion and growth strategy focuses on companies with similar service lines and quality employees that can join our team,” said Senske’s Chief Operating Officer, Tim Ehrhart. “We look forward to providing fantastic service to our new customers.” This acquisition represents the sixth completed by Senske in the last 13 months.

SiteWorks becomes fully employee-owned

The company’s original founders told employees about the ESOP at their November meeting.

SiteWorks has become a 100% Employee-Owned Company. The company ranked No. 50 on our 2021 Top 100 list.

This announcement of the Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) was presented to all coworkers at their annual winter gathering in November.

An ESOP is an employee benefit plan, which provides company stock to employees as part of their retirement benefits. As a 100% employee-owned company, all of the SiteWorks stock is now held in trust by the ESOP exclusively for the benefit of all the coworkers who are employed by the newly formed corporate business entity, SiteWorks Holding Co., Inc.

As discussed in an openly shared conversation with the three original founders, namely Chris Malham (right), Rob Spoor (left) and Don McIntyre, they said that, “we instinctively knew our ultimate succession plan was to focus on the one buyer who absolutely stood to benefit most for their wholehearted contribution made to the ongoing success of SiteWorks: Our coworkers.”

In a joint statement, they said the process took eight months. They told attendees, “it was necessary to start transitioning the company as we began to consider our ensuing retirement years, and after declining two highly attractive offers to sell the company to strategic buyers, we knew we would be wrongfully settling and ‘selling out’ our coworkers, many who made career commitments to join us back when we modestly started in December 2004.

“We felt there was nothing improper about selling to an outside buyer, however after our research it appeared that very few seller transactions are beneficial to those who are left behind.

Therefore, instead of one day looking back and feeling disappointed, we thought to instead focus on what is ahead and establish something wonderful for those that we cared about. To us, it was a matter of taking less to do more.”

Kubota names new president, CEO

Shingo Hanada will serve as the new president and CEO of Kubota Tractor Corporation and Kubota North America.

Shingo Hanada

Kubota Tractor Corporation has announced the appointment of Shingo Hanada as the new president and CEO of Kubota Tractor Corporation and Kubota North America, based in Grapevine, Texas.

Hanada is a 32-year Kubota veteran who most recently held the position of executive officer, Kubota Corporation, and president of Kubota Holdings Europe B.V. and Kverneland AS in the Netherlands and has previously spent time in the U.S. in various roles.

In conjunction with this announcement, the current president and CEO Haruyuki (Harry) Yoshida will retire from the role of senior managing executive officer, Kubota Corporation, Japan, and the position of president & CEO of KNA and KTC. Yoshida took the presidency of KNA and KTC in January 2019 and has successfully built and enhanced the regional functions and operations of Kubota North America as the company continues on its high-growth trajectory.

The executive leadership announcements include a promotion for Todd Stucke, VP, sales and marketing, KNA, and senior VP, marketing, product support & strategic projects, KTC, will be promoted to executive officer of Kubota Corporation, Japan, serving as senior VP, sales and marketing, KNA, in addition to maintaining his role as senior VP for KTC. Stucke will be involved in Kubota Corporation’s operations and focus on building a robust business structure for the North American market, as the company continues to invest and grow in the U.S. and Canada.

Jobber partners with CompanyCam

The CompanyCam integration is available to U.S. Jobber customers on the Connect and Grow membership plans.

Jobber, a provider of home service management software, announced an integration with CompanyCam, a photo documentation and communication app for contractors.

Through the integration, service providers can take and share an unlimited number of photos with homeowners to keep them in the know.

This will help service professionals capture details on jobsites, communicate with crews and keep clients informed without having to leave the Jobber platform. “Documenting a job well done is an important part of running a great business but is often time-consuming and can take time away from doing the actual work,” said Sam Pillar, CEO & co-founder of Jobber.

“Teaming up with CompanyCam will help Jobber customers show off their great work, save more time in their day, and increase profitability by getting jobs done faster.”

Home service businesses can use this new partnership by connecting to the CompanyCam app in the Jobber app marketplace.

Once connected, service professionals can snap, edit and annotate photos in CompanyCam that automatically appear under the matching property address in Jobber.

Pros will be able to easily include the images and annotations in the customer invoices while also highlighting project timelines, before-and-after photos, galleries and reports.

“Partnering with Jobber is a no-brainer for us,” said Luke Hansen, founder and CEO of CompanyCam.

“With this integration we can double down on everything our users value — effective documentation, organization and visual-first communication.”

Irrigation Association selects new CEO

Natasha Rankin has nine years of chief executive roles.

The Irrigation Association Board of Directors has named Natasha Rankin as its new chief executive officer.

Rankin brings more than 25 years of experience to the IA, including nine years in chief executive roles.

Most recently, she served as the chief strategy officer/chief operating officer for the American Counseling Association, where she has helped the organization achieve record levels of membership and revenue growth. Previously, while at Bostrom Corporation, Rankin was executive director for the Employers Council on Flexible Compensation and the Greeting Card Association. During her career, she also served as executive director of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs.

“After a comprehensive selection process that considered many qualified candidates, the board is confident that Natasha Rankin is the right person to lead the IA into the future,” said John Newlin, chair of the CEO Search Committee and incoming IA president.

“Her wealth of experience with associations on multiple levels and her track record of success in developing and executing strategies to achieve growth and sustainability will be huge assets for the IA.”

In addition to executive roles, Rankin has extensive experience working with associations, including meeting planning, advocacy work, professional development and implementing membership growth strategies.

She has also been involved with the American Society of Association Executives, currently serving on the ASAE Foundation Innovation Task Force and on the ASAE Political Action Committee, where she is recognized as an APAC Ambassador.