We’re officially collecting submissions for the 2020 Top 100 list! If you think you may make the list, be sure to send us your information through the survey we set up here: bit.ly/2020Top100. Or, you can download a paper questionnaire here: bit.ly/Top100Download. The list will be published in our May issue, so you can find out where your company and other businesses in the industry rank.
Don’t wait! The deadline for submissions is Friday, Feb. 7, 2020.
Join the conversation on LinkedIn! We’ve started a page to share magazine content and better engage with our audience. Join here: bit.ly/2O1SnYo
On Instagram, we like to highlight the events we attend and the places we travel. We were on site in North Carolina a few months ago attending KIOTI’s national dealer event and tested out some UTVs. @lawnlandscape
What is your New Year’s resolution for your business? Tweet your answer to @lawnlandscape
Head to bit.ly/LLPodcasts to check out the latest from the Lawn & Landscape Radio Network. Recently we checked in with some of the 2019 Turnaround Tour winners.
Former MLB pitcher Jim Abbott kicks off Irrigation Show
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Abbott, who notably played professional baseball with one hand, was the keynote speaker at the December show in Las Vegas.
LAS VEGAS – Former Major League Baseball pitcher Jim Abbott pitched in the gold medal game for Team USA in the 1988 Olympics. He threw a no-hitter for the New York Yankees in 1993, and he eventually had a career with four different teams in 10 seasons. It was certainly an admirable professional career.
But he still remembers having to learn how to throw and catch a baseball. Because Abbott was missing a hand, the transfer from his mitt to his throwing hand could’ve been clunky and awkward. Over time, he adjusted accordingly and it worked out well for him.
“I couldn’t play the game the way everyone else played it,” Abbott said during his keynote speech at the 2019 Irrigation Show. “That wasn’t a choice – that was a need.”
During his presentation, Abbott told hundreds of attendees at the Las Vegas Convention Center that everyone else in the building was also seeking ways to find new ways of doing things. That is, after all, why they attended a show – to learn about other methods and new products in irrigation, not to remain with the status quo. Using an acronym ADAPT – adjustability, determination, accountability, perseverance and trust – Abbott talked about the importance of “turning over the card.”
He remembers seeing the first baseball card with his face on it. He proudly showed some of his teammates and family members, but then he realized that eventually, everyone looks at the back of the card.
That’s where the statistics from previous years were listed – the good years and the bad.
“If you were to see a career card for me, you would see that my baseball playing days held a little bit of everything,” Abbott said. “I come here this morning to tell you that we can do something about the challenges that come before us. Challenge takes on a lot of forms. What are you going to do about it? What action are you going to take?”
Couldn’t attend the Irrigation Show? Here’s just a bit of what he said:
MAKING THE SWITCH. Abbott said his life had always been about learning new ways, new strategies. He remembers his second grade teacher who taught him how to tie his shoes without one of his hands, a method he still uses today.
What Abbott found particularly striking is that his teacher had worked at night on his own to try and figure out a method that would work. “It was the smallest little adjustments that would open the biggest doors,” Abbott said.
DEALING WITH CYNICS. Abbott reminded attendees that, “when you bring a new idea home, you’re bound to get some skepticism.” Whether that foreign concept is a new irrigation skill or a one-handed pitcher throwing in a game, Abbott said there’s always going to be people who say “no” without hearing out the idea with open minds.
Abbott told a story about his high school football days when he was a quarterback. During his senior season, his team was one win away from a postseason berth against the crosstown rival. Win, and they’d make it to the playoffs; a loss would knock them out.
During a pep rally at school that day, opposing players had snuck into the high school with long socks on one of their hands to mock Abbott, making it look like they didn’t have a hand like him.
Abbott said he wasn’t sure if the hazing was meant to intimidate him or change how his teammates viewed him, but either way, the tactic was ineffective.
Keynote speaker Jim Abbott related his life in baseball to contractors attending the irrigation show: everyone is seeking a new way to win.
“Those things can work,” Abbott said, “only if you let them.”
STAYING STRONG. “In baseball, even a casual fan would know: What’s the difference between a good pitch and a bad pitch?” Abbott asked.
Then, he answered: “Not much.”
Just five days before Abbott threw his no-hitter against the Cleveland Indians, he faced that same lineup and pitched a total dud.
The lineup bashed him for several runs and knocked him out of the game early. Frustrated, Abbott left the dugout after throwing a fit and ended up running around the streets of Cleveland in a huff.
What he missed was his team coming back to score 11 runs and winning the game despite his blunders. Abbott’s manager called Abbott into his office and asked him why he wasn’t celebrating with his team. He advised the pitcher not to ditch out on his teammates ever again.
Days later, Abbott’s catcher met with him before the next game and told him to forget the other team entirely – he just had to trust his own abilities and try his best.
A few hours after that, Abbott’s teammates were celebrating one of his biggest career accomplishments with him – one that most pitchers will never experience at all.
KIOTI expands headquarters, product offerings
At its dealer event in Raleigh, North Carolina, KIOTI showed off new products and an expanded facility.
RALEIGH, N.C. – This November, Lawn & Landscape magazine stopped by KIOTI’s newly remodeled headquarters. The facility, which houses office space and a warehouse area, underwent a $13 million expansion. The 162,000-square feet expansion doubled the size of the facility creating new warehouse space to store machines and upgraded office areas. Equipment is shipped to the facility mostly constructed. At the North Carolina warehouse, finishing touches, like tires, are installed and machines are packed up and stored for shipment.
The facility opened for a tour during KIOTI’s annual dealer meeting and awards ceremony, a three-day event the company hosts each year.
“With the expansion of our North American headquarters, our new Canadian distribution center and a brand new product line in ZTRs, KIOTI has truly embodied amplification this year,” said Peter Dong-Kyun Kim, president and CEO of Daedong-USA, KIOTI Tractor Division. “And, we are always impressed by our dealer’s ability to amplify sales year over year. That’s why ‘amplify’ was the perfect theme for our annual dealer meeting. We have our strong network of committed dealers to thank for a year of continued success.”
New products. The event gave dealers a chance to get up close to new equipment offerings for 2020 as well. Hosted at Broadslab Distillery, a UTV course was set up as well as various equipment stations for ride-and-drive time with the machines.
KIOTI’s headquarters in North Carolina underwent a $13 million transformation, doubling the overall size of the facility.
The CS2220 and CS2520 sub-compact tractors feature a new platform, optimized design with integrated joystick valve and a Daedong engine. These tractors also feature a standard USB and 12v power outlet for increased convenience.
The new CX2510 compact utility tractor offers a twin pedal HST and tilt steering wheel for better accessibility. The new CK2610SE will incorporate a standard cab with AC and heat.
KIOTI also has plans to launch two new mid-mount mowers with drive-over decks for the CS Series SM2454 and SM2460.
“Our amplification efforts don’t stop with 2019, much bigger things await us in 2020 with the launch of a number of new products,” Kim said. The CEO also mentioned expanding into other compact equipment product areas for 2021.
The dealer event ended with a dinner and awards ceremony honoring various dealer achievements throughout the year.
Bland Landscaping acquires Landmark Landscape Services
Both companies are based in North Carolina.
APEX, N.C. – Bland Landscaping Company, a North Carolina provider of commercial landscaping management services, has acquired Landmark Landscape Services of Huntersville, North Carolina.
Landmark, founded in 2006 by its owner Mark Michel, provides landscape maintenance, enhancement and irrigation services.
“We are thrilled to partner with Landmark,” said Kurt Bland, Bland Landscaping’s President and CEO. “Since 1976, Bland Landscaping has built a brand centered around quality work, attentive customer service and a commitment to excellence in everything we do. Mark and his team have an impeccable reputation and share our passion for landscape management. As Bland Landscaping continues to scale and expand our regional presence, Landmark provides a key branch location in the fast-growing metropolitan area north of Charlotte.”
Bland Landscaping, based in Apex, is a full-service provider of landscape design, installation, enhancement, and maintenance services. Its customers include offices, hospitals, universities, municipalities, and homeowner associations statewide, including the Triangle, Triad, and metropolitan Charlotte regions. The company ranked No. 79 on Lawn & Landscape’s 2019 Top 100 list.
Bland Landscaping was founded in 1976 and ranked No. 79 on Lawn & Landscape’s 2019 top 100 list. meanwhile, Landmark Landscape Services has been in operation since 2006.
“I’m very proud of the great business we have built at Landmark,” Michel said. “Bland Landscaping shares our employee- and customer-focused values and has the systems to support significant growth for our combined companies while providing vast opportunity for employees to further their careers. Our clients in the thriving north Charlotte market will benefit from the expanded and enhanced services that result from this new partnership. I am thrilled for what our future holds and look forward to leading the new Huntersville branch of Bland Landscaping as branch manager.”
Bland Landscaping has an in-house team of more than 300 landscape experts that includes professional turfgrass and horticulture managers, landscape designers, chemical technicians, and floriculturists. Second generation owners Bland and his brother, Matt Bland, CFO and COO, lead the company.
Bland Landscaping continues to seek acquisitions of other maintenance-focused commercial landscape management providers, with a focus on companies based in North Carolina and South Carolina.
Davey Tree acquires assets from two companies
B. Haney & Sons Tree Service and Amy S. Greene Environmental Consultants will rebrand with the changes.
KENT, Ohio – The Davey Tree Expert Company acquired certain assets of B. Haney & Sons Tree Service, which is based in the greater Chicago area, as well as Amy S. Greene Environmental Consultants on the East Coast.
B. Haney & Sons provides residential and commercial tree care, plant health care and wood waste recycling services at its Lombard, Illinois, office. The firm has 12 employees who will continue with Davey in the operation, which will become the Davey Lombard Residential/Commercial services office.
Geoff Cowan, the operations manager of the Davey South Chicago R/C operating group, said B. Haney & Sons brings additional resources to serve existing clients of Davey’s several Chicago-area offices.
“Clients of Davey and B. Haney will benefit from the expanded service capabilities they offer,” Cowan said. “The technical knowledge, equipment, facilities and rich arboricultural history of B. Haney are a great complement to our existing offices here.”
Boyd Haney founded the company in 1940 as American Tree Service with a partner, whom he later bought out. He renamed the business B. Haney & Sons. It continued as a family owned enterprise until joining the Davey family of brands.
Former owner David Haney will serve as district manager of the new Davey Lombard office.
Meanwhile, Amy S. Greene Environmental Consultants will now do business as Amy Greene Environmental, a Davey company. Amy Greene Environmental provides environmental consulting services with an emphasis on natural resources analyses and permitting and environmental planning.
This includes wetland and stream delineation, restoration and mitigation consulting, along with endangered species surveys and consultation, and a wide variety of specialized permitting, planning and GIS services. Founded in 1986, the firm is based in Flemington, New Jersey, and operates in New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Connecticut and the surrounding areas. The firm has 29 employees.
“For the past 33 years, our staff has provided award-winning solutions to our clients throughout the eastern U.S.,” said Amy Greene, former owner and founder, Amy Greene Environmental. “We look forward to joining and strengthening Davey Resource Group’s team of dedicated natural resource consulting professionals. Additionally, our staff is excited about the employee-ownership and career development opportunities Davey offers.”
Greene will stay on as a consultant and assist with the transition of Amy Greene Environmental and its clients to Davey.
Karen Wise, the Davey Research Group’s vice president of environmental consulting, said clients of Amy Greene Environmental will benefit from the support Davey offers.
“The staff at Amy Greene Environmental are top notch. They use expertise and elite technical qualifications to provide high quality solutions. That makes them a perfect fit to join DRG,” Wise said. “What we have to offer are business systems, resources, and marketing support to grow and expand their reach. Clients throughout the Northeast U.S. will benefit.”
Joe Lustig will serve as area manager and will lead the Amy Greene Environmental operations. The team will continue to work out of its Flemington, New Jersey, office.
SavATree acquires Greenhaven Tree Care
This acquisition marks the company’s first branch in Kentucky.
BEDFORD HILLS, NY – SavATree acquired Greenhaven Tree Care of Louisville, Kentucky. This marks SavATree’s first branch in Kentucky as they continue their national expansion.
“Greenhaven Tree Care has long been a mainstay in the Bluegrass region,“ said Daniel van Starrenburg, CEO of SavATree. “They have an incredible reputation in the area for their highly trained and courteous crews. As we continue to grow the SavATree presence in this new region, their knowledgeable team will be a great asset. We’re excited to have so many people who share our values on board.”
Greenhaven Tree Care was founded in 1983 to provide the community with tree care and plant health care. Owners Robert and Patricia Rollins will remain to help ensure a seamless transition for clients. As part of the merger, clients will now have access to an enhanced range of services, including professional lawn care with a full complement of organic treatment options.
“We’ve always placed a great deal of focus on quality care for our customers and their environment,” Robert said. “We’re happy to have found such a great partner to carry on our mission and legacy.”
BrightView adds Orders to executive leadership team
Amanda Orders has been promoted to executive vice president and chief human resources officer.
BLUE BELL, Pa. – BrightView, a commercial landscaping services company in the United States, announced that Amanda Orders, senior vice president of human resources for the company’s maintenance services segment, has been promoted to executive vice president and chief human resources officer.
Orders will serve on the company’s executive leadership team and report directly to President and CEO Andrew Masterman.
“Mandy is an exceptional human resources executive, leader and tireless advocate for our nearly 21,500 team members across the nation,” Masterman said.
“She has made significant contributions in every dimension of human resources for this company and will be a great addition to senior leadership.”
Orders will be responsible for the overarching BrightView People Strategy, which includes talent acquisition, compensation, benefits management, career development, performance management, succession planning, equity administration, retention, training, leadership and organizational development across all BrightView service lines.
Orders started with the company in 2012 as human resources vice president. She was promoted to senior vice president of human resources for maintenance services in 2016.
Prior to joining BrightView, Orders held leadership positions in human resources at Alliance Data, a provider of co-branded affinity credit cards, and the ScottsMiracle-Gro Company, a marketer of consumer lawn and garden products.
Orders, a graduate of the Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business, will work out of the company’s headquarters campus in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania. L&L
Travels with Jim follows Jim Huston around the country as he visits with landscapers and helps them understand their numbers to make smarter decisions.
Thomas Edison understood failure so well that he became a champion at it. He knew that in order to succeed, failure was a necessary part of the process. He learned from his mistakes. They were stepping stones for him that led to his final destination. Consider this regarding baseball batting percentages – if you fail to get on base twice as many times as you succeed, you’re considered exceptional. Failure isn’t terminal – it’s essential.
Unfortunately, many green industry contractors do not develop the necessary mental toughness to persevere and turn failure into success. Here’s some of what I’ve learned working with hundreds of contractors over the last 30-plus years. I call the ones who hang in there and succeed true green industry entrepreneurs. The ones who don’t, I call casualties.
Those who are bad at failing practice the following:
Complain constantly and surround themselves with complainers (they host daily pity parties).
Blame others (they shirk responsibility and look for scape goats).
Seek the magic wand that will fix all of their problems (they avoid getting involved and finding viable solutions to their challenges).
Focus upon and get totally absorbed in daily minutia (they do not employ the D.A.D. principle – delegate and disappear, nor do they allow their team to make mistakes above the water line).
Think like a technician (they do not see the big picture, build their team and focus on threats and opportunities).
Do not listen to employees, customers, mentors, outside resources, etc. and do not seek new ideas, methods and technologies (they’re arrogant because they know it all).
Self-absorption (it’s all about me, me, me; not their team and coaching it to succeed).
Display a perfectionist mentality (they take great pains and give them to people).
Create a toxic culture due to their anger problem (their team walks on eggshells because the boss can blow up at any time).
Helter-skelter decision making (they do not submit all of their business decisions to a rational cost-benefit analysis process that makes sense to all concerned).
Lack positive realistic enthusiasm (they do not set realistic measurable and timeable goals for everyone to work towards).
Effective CEOs and managers are good at failing and practice the following:
Spend the majority of their time recruiting, training and coaching their team.
Set realistic goals that are measurable and have deadlines.
Allow their team to make mistakes that won’t sink the boat (they’re above the water line).
Create a positive company culture where everyone feels safe and appreciated.
Promote a career-path for all employees with well-defined skillsets to achieve for advancement.
Promote an atmosphere of constant improvement throughout the organization (new ideas are championed).
Master the business process and create systems to run it both efficiently and effectively.
Understand that a manager’s job is to “ensure that things get done right” and a leader’s job is to “ensure that the right things get done.”
Everyone in the green industry has the same opportunity. Your success, to a large extent, depends upon how you respond to failure. Do you see failure as a stepping stone to help you reach your destination? Or is it a setback that throws you totally off track and disillusions you?
Edison not only failed thousands of times when attempting to invent the storage battery, but he also failed over a thousand times when trying to invent the electric light bulb. Because he didn’t allow his darker side to prevail and give up, the world is a much brighter place. In the same light, if you approach failure as did Edison, your life and the lives of your employees, customers and fellow citizens will be much brighter. Fail boldly. L&L
Cream of the crop features a rotating panel from the Harvest Group, a landscape business consulting company.
It’s that time of year when you need to start thinking about having a “plan” for the coming year.
What are your goals 2020? How will you go about setting them?
Business planning is the process of creating a vision of the future, aligning your people, processes, and systems, and creating the necessary steps/goals towards that future. Business planning answers these three primary questions:
Current Reality – Where are we today?
Goals – Where do we want to be in the future?
Action Plan – How are we going to get there?
Getting from here to there.
Now, let’s dig into the steps to creating an annual business plan. A critical path item as you work through this process is to tackle each of the three primary questions separately. The thinking process or mindset for each of these is different.
Step 1. Start with the current reality.
Before you can determine where you are headed, you must first determine where you are at.
Where are you at? What is your “here?” What is current reality? By definition, current reality is the total of all the elements, metrics and factors, internal and external, that are present at a given point in time.
We know that operating from an awareness and acknowledgment of who, what and where your business is, as well as being aware of the factors going on around you, is the only way to be truly in touch with current reality.
You need to be brutally honest with this process in order to create the platform for identifying the goals in Step 2 that will make a real difference in getting you from here to there.
Step 2. Set your goals.
These can be: How much do I want to try to grow my business; and how much profit do I plan to make?
To define them, ask yourself three things:
How will this change the company?
When will it happen?
Who will make this happen?
Describe it. Answer basic questions like:
How many employees will we need?
Who are your customers?
What will you sell them?
Finally, keep your goals simple and few. One of the key benefits of goal setting is to help you focus. Trying to pursue too many goals at the same time can be as bad as not pursuing any.
We recommend from three to maybe five upper-level goals, which all support your top-level strategic plan.
Step 3. Action planning.
Having clear goals is critical. They are also the precursor to the important question of – How am I going to get to THERE?”
First things first, now that you have established your goals. Ask yourself if your goals are S-M-A-R-T:
Specific – What is expected, why is it important and who is going to do it?
Measurable – How will I know if it’s done? How will I know if we’re on track?
Achievable – Is it possible and realistic to succeed?
Relevant – Will achieving this goal drive you toward a meaningful objective?
Time-Based – Specifically, when will the goal be met… or be un-met but finished?
It is an essential part of creating an action plan to achieve each goal to identify...
The Who – Who will champion this initiative?
The Why– Why are we doing this?
The What– What steps and metrics are we implementing?
The When– Can you give it a timeframe?
If so, it can be a SMART goal. If it fails any one of these tests, then try again. This 3-step model is a clean and simple planning process, and it can give you a quick win for 2020.
If the system works for you, use it to create annual and quarterly goals to plan out your growth from year to year and from season to season. 2020 is coming. It’ll be here sooner than you think. But you still have time to plan for your success. L&L
As the calendar turns to 2020, a new decade may mean new goals, maybe even loftier than ones you set the last time we entered a new decade. Back then, some of you were still digging out from the Great Recession.
I joined Lawn & Landscape in July of 2010, and while the industry has changed since then, a lot has remained the same. I never heard too many contractors claiming gloom and doom back then, and I don’t now.
Usually, they were optimistic about their businesses, except for labor – that outlook has unfortunately stayed pretty gloomy. Something else that hasn’t changed is that the landscapers who want to learn are the ones who are going to succeed.
As Lawn & Landscape starts a new decade, one of our resolutions is to develop new opportunities for those eager to learn. That means providing education in a number of different ways, and adapting on the fly if need be.
As you’ve probably seen, we are launching the Lawn & Landscape Technology Conference Feb. 19-21 in Orlando. You can learn more at
bit.ly/lltech20. A late development at the conference was the inclusion of Lawn Care Spotlight sessions – three sessions dedicated to lawn care education. We added these in because of the turnout at our Lawn Care Virtual Conference in November, which is our cover story this month. It was a sign there was a need for lawn care specific education in the industry, so we shifted course.
Show them you are a real person, providing an important service to the community.
Each type of company that specializes in a green industry service, like lawn care, has specific challenges, but lawn care operators have an extra layer of challenges – the public’s perception of the work they perform.
Other parts of the green industry have public issues to deal with like noise and pollution from equipment, but the pressure from anti-chemical activists seems to be at a more intense level. LCOs have to perform the work well and then explain to the customer, or the customer’s neighbors, what they applied, how much and why.
One of the main takeaways from the virtual conference on how to change the public’s perception is to get involved in your local community and make friends with local representatives. Show them you are a real person, providing an important service to the community. Educate them on who you are and what you do.
Hey, not a bad New Year’s Resolution if you ask me.