Keynote speakers announced for 2021 Lawn & Landscape Technology Conference

Crystal Washington and Erica Orange will headline the event.

VALLEY VIEW, Ohio — Crystal Washington, technology strategist and futurist, and Erica Orange, executive vice president and COO of The Future Hunters, will be the keynote speakers at the 2021 Lawn & Landscape Technology Conference.

Washington’s opening keynote will discuss how to use technology to increase efficiency while improving performance, including task automation. Orange’s closing keynote will include several emerging trends that are shaping and impacting the future.

As a technology strategist and certified futurist, Washington takes complex social media, app and web topics and makes them easy to understand.

Washington’s clients comprise Fortune 500 companies including Google, Microsoft and GE. She is one of Forbes’ 50 Leading Female Futurists and the author of the books One Tech Action and The Social Media Why.

Erica Orange is executive vice president and chief operating officer of The Future Hunters, one of the world’s leading futurist consulting firms. She evaluates emerging social, technological, economic, political, demographic and environmental trends – and identifies the strategic implications of those trends for several influential Fortune 500 companies, trade associations and public sector clients.

Orange frequently speaks to a wide range of global audiences and has also authored numerous articles, book chapters and industry white papers on cutting-edge, future-focused topics.

The pair join an impressive list of industry speakers who have successfully integrated software and technology into their landscaping, lawn care and pest control companies.

Conference sessions and speakers have been carefully chosen by the editors of Lawn & Landscape, producer of the conference, editors of sister publication Pest Control Technology (PCT) and the 2021 Conference Advisory Board.

“With so many companies going remote in 2020 due to COVID-19, technology was needed more than ever for companies to function on a daily basis,” said Brian Horn, Lawn & Landscape’s editor. “Crystal and Erica will give the audience big picture perspectives on how 2020 changed the way businesses will operate moving forward and how to do so effectively.”

This marks the second year for the Lawn & Landscape Technology Conference, and will take place once again in Orlando, Florida, Aug. 31-Sept. 2, 2021 at a new location — Omni Orlando Resort at Championsgate.

Along with the new location, there is expanded education for pest management professionals powered by sister publication Pest Control Technology (PCT), and a virtual option is available for those unable to make the face-to-face event. Additionally, attendees will experience organized networking as well as access to an exhibit hall.

“This year’s conference offers a one-of-a-kind networking opportunity between two service industries that not only survived, but in many cases excelled, during the world-wide pandemic,” states Dave Szy, publisher Lawn & Landscape. “The exchange between professionals in both industries will be just as valuable as the education programming.”

Conference details are now available at

Attendee registration is open, and Early Bird Registration rates are now available until July 23, 2021. Registration information can be found at

Landscape Associates in Wisconsin joins Kujawa Enterprises

KEI is a partner company of Sperber Landscape Companies.

MILWAUKEE — Landscape Associates of De Pere recently joined Kujawa Enterprises, a Milwaukee provider in commercial landscape services, expanding service offerings into the Green Bay and Fox Valley Region of Wisconsin.

Landscape Associates, founded in 1990 by Gerry Andrews, has provided commercial and residential landscape management and construction services. Andrews will continue to provide local leadership of the company alongside his existing management team.

“This partnership secures the future for Landscape Associates and our employees,” Andrews said. “We’re excited to see the great things that are ahead of us.”KEI, family operated for 57 years, is a partner company of Sperber Landscape Companies and is a full-service four-season landscape management contractor.

“Gerry has done a wonderful job building such a well-respected organization,” said KEI President, Chris Kujawa. “KEI is excited to bring together two excellent family-oriented Wisconsin companies and we are thrilled to become a part of the fabric of the Green Bay community.”

This latest announcement comes on the heels of last month’s news that Sperber partnered with Northern California company Cagwin & Dorward.

Bartlett Tree Experts acquires Westree

The acquisition, completed May 3, is Bartlett’s latest in California.

STAMFORD, Conn. — Bartlett Tree Experts has acquired Westree, Inc., a tree care business that has operated in the Santa Barbara, California area for over 31 years.

The acquisition expands Bartlett’s footprint across North America and bolsters the company’s presence in California, where it currently has nine offices. The acquisition further enlarges Bartlett’s tree care services in Montecito, Carpinteria, and throughout Santa Barbara.

“This acquisition allows us to really grow in this market,” said Peter Andreucci, vice president and division manager of Bartlett’s California division. “Westree has been a well-respected family business for a long time and was a good fit for us to acquire because they had a similar philosophy to ours; doing great tree work with a focus on providing scientific tree care, focused on safety and delivering excellent customer service.”

Bartlett has maintained a presence on the West Coast for over 40 years. The acquisition, which was completed May 3, is Bartlett’s latest in California.

“Growth through acquisition continues to be a strong path forward for us,” said Jim Ingram, president and COO of Bartlett Tree Experts. “We are excited about our expansion in new and existing markets, providing a full range of scientific tree and shrub care services for our customers to maintain beautiful, healthy landscapes.”

LOVING acquires Babcock Ranch Sod Farm

Babcock Ranch is an 18,000-acre, solar-powered town planned for 19,500 homes.

GASTONIA, N.C. — LOVING has acquired the Babcock Ranch Sod Farm located in Fort Myers, Florida. LOVING and Kitson & Partners worked on the framework of the arrangement to ensure a transition for employees, clients and vendors.

“We are beyond excited to build upon the rich history that has been created over the past 23 years at the Babcock Ranch Sod Farm,” said LOVING Founder and President Mike Haynes. “This is a farm that produces top-notch quality sod from a top-notch quality team. Syd Kitson and his entire team at Kitson & Partners have done a great job of continuing the legacy of the Babcock family. We are grateful and excited to continue to build upon the history that has been created over the years at this farm."

Babcock Ranch is an 18,000-acre, solar-powered town is planned for 19,500 homes and up to 6 million square feet of commercial and retail space at build-out.

LOVING is headquartered in Gastonia, N.C., and offers landscaping, outdoor living, and sod supply to both local and national homebuilding clients throughout the Southeast.

Schill Grounds Management acquires two Cincinnati companies

The company acquired Ward + Thornton Landscapes and Fredericks Landscaping.

CINCINNATI — Schill Grounds Management is expanding into the Cincinnati market with the purchase of two full-service landscaping companies that have served southern Ohio for a combined 90 years.

Schill has acquired Ward + Thornton Landscapes, which was founded more than 50 years ago and is based in Maineville, Ohio. Ward + Thornton provides full-service landscape, maintenance, snow management and design-build services to numerous customers in northeast Cincinnati and beyond.

Schill also purchased Fredericks Landscaping, which is based in Cincinnati and has been providing full-service landscaping and snow management to customers in central Cincinnati and northern Kentucky for more than 40 years. The southeastern Ohio acquisitions expand Schill’s presence beyond its primary markets of Cleveland and Columbus, and represent the third and fourth acquisitions Schill has completed in recent months.

Schill will operate out of the existing Ward + Thornton and Fredericks facilities, while approximately 200 employees from the companies will join the Schill family.

“We are delighted to show our new employees and customers in Cincinnati what makes Schill a best-in-class partner for year-round grounds management services,” said President Jerry Schill, who co-founded Schill Grounds Management over 25 years ago.

Mike Ward, the former owner of Ward + Thornton, will oversee the consolidated operations in the region in a new role as Schill’s market president for Cincinnati.

Makita breaks ground on new Atlanta facility

The ceremonial groundbreaking marks the beginning of construction for a new 600,000 square-feet facility.

HALL COUNTRY, Ga. — Makita U.S.A. held a ceremonial groundbreaking recently to launch construction of a new 600,000 square-feet facility northeast of Atlanta in Hall County, Ga. The new facility will be constructed on 80 acres of land and is part of Makita’s planned future development to address continuing growth in the United States.

“Today Makita begins a new phase of expansion with the construction of another new facility,” said Joe Blackwell, senior vice president operations, Makita U.S.A. “This is part of our continuing growth here in the U.S.A., and this new facility will further increase our operations, service and training capabilities. This means expanded service and support for our customers, while creating more jobs in the region.”

The new facility will serve as a distribution center, and will also include a sales and training center, customer service resources and a Factory Service Center. The location has adjacent space for future expansion up to 800,000 square feet.

The groundbreaking marks another milestone in Makita’s investment in the U.S.A. Construction of the Atlanta-area facility follows the August 2020 opening of a new distribution, training and service facility in Reno, Nev., and the 2017 opening of a similar facility in Wilmer, Texas. Makita’s distribution chain also includes operations in Mt. Prospect, Ill., Buford, Ga., and La Mirada, Calif. Additionally, the manufacturing and assembly plant in Buford is one of 10 Makita manufacturing facilities worldwide.

WorkWave acquires Slingshot

Slingshot will continue to support its customers operating on non-WorkWave platforms.

Holmdel, N.J. — WorkWave, a software company, acquired Slingshot, a provider of customer call center software combined with outsourced sales, lead, and customer response services.

“The need to grow their business — to attract, retain, and maximize each customer relationship — is what keeps every field service owner and executive awake at night. Slingshot is not just the market leader at helping its customers grow, it is the only organization of its kind in our industry that has a proven track record of using omni-channel communication software to close more deals for its customers,” said David F. Giannetto, CEO of WorkWave.

“By bringing such an outstanding organization into WorkWave, we will be able to provide unique integrations into our solutions that will increase the unparalleled advantage our customers have over their competition, reinforcing that WorkWave is the premier partner to service organizations.”

Customers can utilize this platform and the Slingshot team to enable or outsource their sales operation. Slingshot will continue to support its customers operating on non-WorkWave platforms, but integrations with WorkWave solutions will increase the value for customers using WorkWave .

“We’re thrilled to be a part of WorkWave’s industry leadership and portfolio of solutions, working together to provide strong, measurable value for our customers,” said Jon Soldan, CEO of Slingshot and now SVP of Slingshot Operations for WorkWave.

“Slingshot has always been about enabling conversations and more effective interactions between home service professionals and their customers, and by joining forces with WorkWave, we’ll be able to accelerate our goal of a tech-enabled contact center with 360-degree data and reporting, better scheduling and payment opportunities, and greater conversion for our customers.”

STIHL expands with opening of new Washington location

The Centralia, Washington, location boasts 100,000 square feet.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — STIHL expanded and relocated its STIHL Northwest branch operations with the opening of its new location in Centralia, Wash. The new facility increases warehouse space, as well as technology upgrades that will enhance the company’s ability to serve the 500-plus STIHL dealers in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska.

“We are extremely pleased to celebrate the opening of this new and expanded location,” said STIHL President Bjoern Fischer.

“This 100,000-square-foot facility represents our continued investment in the growth of locally owned STIHL Dealers and our confidence in the U.S. market.”

The new location adds more warehouse space with taller, longer racks and more efficient picking methods to speed up the fulfillment of dealer orders and deliveries.

Additionally, separate classroom, workshop and training facilities will provide STIHL Northwest the ability to offer their dealers enhanced training and technical service capabilities.

“The new facility more than doubles our warehouse square footage and gives us additional space for future growth,” said Casey Kralovetz, director of branch operations at STIHL Northwest.

“STIHL dealers are the core of our business and the new location with improved efficiency of our warehouse operations, enables us to deliver products to most of our dealers within 24 to 48 hours.”

Doosan Bobcat invests $70 million in Statesville, N.C.

The expansion will double the footprint, increase campus to 160 acres and add 250 jobs.

WEST FARGO, N.D. — Doosan Bobcat North America has plans for a $70 million expansion of its Statesville, N.C., manufacturing facility. The company plans to construct an additional 580,000 square feet for its manufacturing operations, which will create 250 new, full-time jobs over the next five years in Iredell County. The construction is expected to begin July 2021, with full project completion expected May 2022.

This new investment will enable the company to meet a growing demand for all Doosan Bobcat products, including its Doosan Portable Power equipment and the growing line of Bobcat grounds maintenance and landscaping industry products.

“This level of investment demonstrates our commitment to North Carolina, which has been an important manufacturing location for us since 2008,” said Mike Ballweber, president of Doosan Bobcat North America. “We are dedicated to the continued expansion of our compact equipment line to help empower our customers to accomplish more, and our Statesville location has been an important part of this success.”

Doosan Bobcat’s investment in the Statesville facility through construction of the new expansion spaces and equipment purchases will grow the floorplan from nearly 500,000 square feet today, to more than 1 million square feet when complete. The company’s acquisition of 68 acres adjacent to the current, 92-acre campus will allow for the addition of 500,000 square feet of attached manufacturing space and 80,000 square feet of attached warehouse and distribution space.

The Statesville operation’s current team of 400 full-time employees will grow through this project, which will result in the creation of 42 new jobs in the first two years, and up to 250 new jobs in five years.

Corona Tools names new president

Eric Prendeville bring over 20 years of experience to the role.

CORONA, Calif. — Corona Tools has named Eric Prendeville as the new president, effective immediately.

Corona is a unit of the Venanpri Tools division of the Venanpri Group.

Prendeville brings over 20 years of experience working with Stanley Black and Decker in several commercial and product development leadership positions.

He studied at Salisbury University, Perdue School of Business and holds a Bachelor of Science- Business Management with a Minor in Communications.

“Eric is a great addition to Corona and we look forward to his leadership & experience in the U.S./Can hand tools market as we continue to accelerate our global business growth by delivering world class solutions to our customers” said Tom Welke, CEO of Venanpri Group.

Corona also announced that Steve Erickson, current president at Corona, will be retiring effective June 1, 2021.

Lawn Oklahoma merges with Green Group

TULSA, Okla. — Green Group, a national turf care company, recently partnered with Lawn Oklahoma to further build on their entry into the Tulsa market.

Lawn Oklahoma specializes in lawn care, tree and shrub care and mosquito control services for commercial and residential properties in the Tulsa metro. Lawn Oklahoma merged into Green Group Oklahoma, taking on the Green Group name. The company retained all Lawn Oklahoma employees and is transitioning them to Green Group.

As part of the partnership, Green Group will expand service offerings to the Tulsa market.

“I’m thrilled to join forces with the Lawn Oklahoma team and to create a positive impact in the Tulsa lawn care market,” said Benjamin Allen, vice president of the Midwest Region for Green Group.

Caterpillar Foundation donates $3.4 million in COVID relief

The company is collaborating with relief organizations to provide essential medical supplies.

DEERFIELD, Ill.— Caterpillar and the Caterpillar Foundation, the company’s philanthropic arm, announced a series of targeted relief efforts to support countries struggling with a significant rise of COVID-19 cases.

As part of the Caterpillar Foundation’s ongoing response to COVID-19, it is collaborating with partners and relief organizations to provide essential medical supplies and improve equitable access to vaccines.

The Caterpillar Foundation is giving $1 million to help India’s health system deliver care to families and communities by funding medical equipment, including oxygen concentrators and oxygen plant optimization, as well as critical medical supplies. In addition to the Foundation’s efforts, Caterpillar India is providing an initial contribution of $1.4 million, enabling an additional supply of oxygen, donating beds with ventilator support to hospitals, supporting vaccination drives and setting up temporary relief shelters.

Additionally, in Brazil, the Foundation is donating $250,000 to help coordinate with local partners to deliver essential medical and basic service supplies to hospitals and communities.

The Caterpillar Foundation, through its partnership with the UN Foundation and the WHO Foundation, is supporting the COVAX initiative to promote equitable access to COVID-19 vaccinations with a $500,000 gift.

Additionally, the Foundation is investing $250,000 to support the Ad Council and COVID Collaborative’s COVID-19 Vaccine Education Initiative, “It’s Up To You.”

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