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Volunteers helped design plans and renovate a homeless shelter in Colorado.

Plans for the less fortunate
A landscape designer helped rennovate a homeless shelter in Colorado

DENVER – In June, the AEC Cares group renovated the Beacon Place, a homeless shelter in Colorado.

AEC Care is a group led by Reed Construction Data, Hanley Wood, and the American Institute of Architects that links architecture and construction with their respective communities. Every year, the group renovates an area in the community as a way of giving back.

While the workers doing the manual labor play an important role, there are a lot of people behind the scenes who put in a lot of hours. Lawn & Landscape spoke with Jesse Young, founder of LandWise Landscape Architecture, who was part of the design team that drew up the plans for the project.

What kind of work did you do for the Beacon Place Homeless Shelter?
My design/build company, we are landscape architects as well as contractors, LandWise, provided all of the design drawings for the project, and managed the construction of the landscape renovation as well as the physical installation. We worked closely with a retired contractor, Duane Keesen, who provided a large portion of the construction as well. 

Why did you get involved with this project?
From the beginning I have maintained a vision for the company to be a top notch design/build company that contributes a well-above-average amount of resources and volunteer time back to not only our local Denver community, but also on an international level. I feel at this point in time, it is not enough to solely aim to be just an economically successful business. As a company policy, I sponsor each one of my full-time employees one full day of volunteering per season. As LandWise grows, I hope to be able to sponsor even more. 

How long did your volunteer work take?
For the Beacon House project, we have been working steadily since early March. The design process has been very unique as we have re-designed and revised constantly throughout the process in order to respond and adapt to weekly, sometimes daily, changes in material donations, labor provisions and budget constraints. 

Young also volunteered in Nepal

What are a few other charity/volunteer projects that you have participated in?
During the winter months we close our doors for business. Last winter, I took two separate trips to Nepal where I spearheaded a volunteer building project for a women’s shelter on a working farm in rural Nepal. On the first trip I went alone and worked with the local villagers to lay out the building site and construct the foundation courses for four buildings to be built using sustainable earth-bag construction techniques.

On the second trip in March, I returned to the same village with two fellow construction professionals from Denver and we managed 30 Canadian high school volunteers who assisted in the construction of the walls of the buildings. It was an education experience for us all and resulted in a lot of production, and the shelter buildings are now complete. I intend to sponsor various Nepal projects in the future through LandWise as well. 

Photos taken by Sam Sith, courtesy of Reed Construction;  Nepal photo courtesy of jesse young

Supreme Court turns down E15 challenge

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Supreme Court quietly rejected a challenge from automakers and small engine groups related to the sale of E15 fuel in June. The decision means a lower court ruling allowing the sale of the fuel stands, which paves the way for further expansion of the fuel.

E15 is a mix of 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline. It is an attempt to meet the Renewable Fuel Standard, a mandate that ethanol, advanced biofuels and cellulosic fuels be blended into gasoline at certain levels by goal years, that was created under the Energy Policy Act in 2005.

E15 is not approved for use in outdoor power equipment or auto engines built before 2001. Studies have shown that the higher levels of ethanol damage fuel lines and fuel pumps, and can cause engine failure.

For contractors in the field, though, this week’s ruling means more ethanol in the fuel supply sooner. “We’re deeply disappointed in the decision,” says Kris Kiser, executive director at OPEI.

Now, he added, “it all gets real.” He predicts ethanol will be incentivized to increase sales, retailers will expand the reach of blender pumps outside of the Corn Belt and, ultimately, there will be lawsuits over engine failures. “I don’t think anybody’s going to roll over on this,” he says.

E15 and the RFS pit powerful groups against each other – automakers, oil companies and the agriculture lobby all have a vested interest in where the legislation goes.

The next move for OPEI and other groups, Kiser says, is to lobby Congress to revamp or revoke the Renewable Fuels Standard. “Everybody knows there’s a problem, but nobody knows what the fix is,” Kiser says. “It’s a huge challenge.”

At the GIE+EXPO in October, OPEI will roll out a campaign to educate contractors, dealers and consumers about the dangers of E15 and how they can prevent engine damage, Kiser says. – Chuck Bowen

The Sweepstakes Award for best design and build construction was given to Falling Waters Landscape of Encinitas for the One 19 Living Studio in Cardiff by the Sea . Charles White, MTEK Studios

California landscapers honored

SAN DIEGO – The San Diego chapter of the California Landscape Contractors Association (CLCA) honored 19 local landscape contractors with 2013 Beautification Awards for excellence in landscape installation and maintenance. Thirty-nine awards were presented in 26 categories culled from 65 entries, which encompassed categories covering residential and commercial landscape construction, maintenance and renovation, along with water features, outdoor lighting and water-saving California-friendly landscaping.

The three top awards are: Sweepstakes Award for best design and build construction to Falling Waters Landscape of Encinitas for the One 19 Living Studio in Cardiff by the Sea; President’s Award for best landscape renovation to Allen Landscape of Oceanside for Casa Sana in La Jolla; and the Judges’ Award for residential maintenance to Torrey Pines Landscape Co., of San Diego for its work at the Santoro Residence in Rancho Santa Fe.

Multiple award winners included: The Brickman Group of San Diego, and Torrey Pines Landscape Co., of San Diego, both with five awards; Allen Landscape of Oceanside and Backyard Vacations of Carlsbad, with two awards a piece.

Enchanted Landscapes of Rancho Santa Fe, Schnetz Landscape of Escondido, Columbine Landscape of Escondido, Summit Services of San Diego, Mark Schroeder & Co. of San Diego, Falling Waters Landscape of Encinitas, Heaviland Enterprises of Vista and Ciro’s Landscaping of Escondido, each won two awards.

Other companies receiving a single award included: Benchmark Landscape Services of Poway, Heritage Landscape Services of La Mesa, Nature Designs of Vista, New Way Landscape and Tree Service of San Diego, R.B. Prange of Encinitas, Silver Moon Lighting of San Diego and Waterscape Creations of Fallbrook.

A first place winner and second place achievement award were presented, although not all categories warranted both types of awards. For a complete list of categories and recipients, visit bit.ly/llsandiego.


OPEI announces new officers and directors

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) announced its 2013-2014 Officers and Board of Directors, which was unveiled during the OPEI Annual Meeting in Williamsburg, Va., in June.

Officers for the 2013-2014 year include: OPEI Chairman Todd Teske, chairman, president and CEO, Briggs & Stratton Corp.; OPEI Vice Chair Paul Mullet, president, Excel Industries; and OPEI Secretary/Treasurer Lee Sowell, President – Outdoor Products, Techtronic Industries, N.A.

“OPEI is entering this new fiscal year stronger than ever, both organizationally and financially,” said Kris Kiser, president and CEO of OPEI. “The OPEI Board reflects the impressive scope and breadth of our membership. Our membership is at a record high, representing small engine manufacturers with a range of power sources, utility vehicle manufacturers, and a myriad of small engine equipment manufacturers and suppliers serving a broad range of industries and uses.”

“OPEI’s long history and strong membership put us in a unique position to make sure we are bringing good quality high value products to the marketplace,” Teske said.

Continuing their service on the OPEI Board are: Immediate Past Chairman, Daniel Ariens, president & CEO, Ariens Co.; Marc Dufour, president, Club Car; Peter Hampton, president, Active Exhaust Corp.; Jean Hlay, president and COO, MTD Products; Steven Bly, executive vice president, Echo; Ed Cohen, vice president, Government & Industry Relations, Honda North America; Michael Hoffman, chairman, CEO, The Toro Co.; Tim Merrett, vice president, AT&T Global Platform Turf & Utility, Deere & Company; and Fred Whyte, president, STIHL.

New to the board this year are Tom Cromwell, president, Kohler Engines, Kohler Co. and John Cunningham, president, Consumer Products Group, Stanley Black & Decker.


Ruppert names new president

LAYTONSVILLE, Md. – Phil Key was promoted to company president of Ruppert Landscape.

“Appointing Phil to the position of president was the right move for our organization, said Craig Ruppert, founder and chief executive of the company. “He has been integrally involved with the planning, execution and success of the business over the past five years in his role as vice president of the landscape management division. He is widely respected within the industry and within our organization at all levels, where he’s demonstrated a strong ability to listen, motivate and build consensus. His business acumen, strategic thinking ability and strong leadership will help guide our organization to the next level of its development. I’m confident Phil has a firm grasp of our culture and values and will capably impart and strengthen those values as our company continues to evolve.”

Key will focus on and manage the overall operations of the company as it seeks to expand both its landscape construction and landscape management operations. Key is replacing outgoing president, Chris Davitt, who will be retiring at the end of 2013. Craig Ruppert will continue to serve as CEO, assisting in the strategic planning process and working with Key to ensure that customer service and employee development goals are achieved.

“After a thorough search, both internally and externally, we are fortunate and proud to be able to fulfill our company’s mission and promote Phil from within the company,” said Ruppert. “Chris has done an excellent job of preparing Phil for his new role and will assist Phil and our organization as an advisor through 2014.”

Key holds a bachelor’s degree in business from Western Maryland (now McDaniel) College and has been with the company for more than 15 years. He began his career as an intern in 1991 and worked his way through the ranks serving in virtually every position within the landscape management division up to and including branch manager and division vice president. He lives on Miller’s Island with his wife, Erika, and their three children.

Oregon restricts use of certain dinotefuran pesticides

SALEM, Ore. – The Oregon Department of Agriculture is restricting the use of 18 pesticide products containing the active ingredient dinotefuran while it continues the investigation of a large kill of bumblebees in Wilsonville and Hillsboro this month.

The ODA restriction focuses on ornamental, turf, and agricultural pesticide products that are used by both professional applicators and homeowners. Products with the active ingredient dinotefuran registered in Oregon for other uses, such as flea and tick control on pets or home ant and roach control, are not affected by the restriction. ODA’s concern is focused on those uses that may impact pollinators.

By statute, ODA has legal authority to establish limitations and procedures deemed necessary and proper for the protection of bees and other pollinating insects. The temporary rule, which goes into effect immediately, will be enforced for 180 days, by which time ODA is expected to complete its pesticide use investigations of the Wilsonville and Hillsboro incidents. Those investigations will determine if the pesticide applications were in violation of state and federal pesticide regulations, and will assist ODA in addressing any potential future actions. For more information visit bit.ly/llodapest.
Source: Oregon Department of Agriculture

Ferrandino & Son finds new VP of sales and marketing
FARMINGDALE, NY: Ferrandino & Son has hired Ryan Sklar as vice president of sales and marketing. Sklar brings a broad range of relative experience to Ferrandino & Son, including senior sales executive positions at Nautica and Tommy Hilfiger, and nine years as the vice president of operations at Capital Contractors, where he assisted with the operations and sale of many Fortune 100 companies in retail, healthcare, fitness, banking, technology, transportation and restaurants.

“As vice president of sales and marketing, Ryan will be crucial to our continued growth across our core services,” said owner and CEO Peter Ferrandino.

“Ryan’s background in consolidated, sustainable solutions will provide our business development team with the direction and leadership necessary to continue our exponential growth within our industry.”

Bobcat renovates Bismarck production facility
BISMARCK, N.D. – Bobcat Co. completed a $6.5 million renovation at its Bismarck, N.D., production facility. The Bobcat compact attachment production moved to Bismarck as part of an operations expansion last year.

It also provides a more collaborative environment for non-production positions, the company stated in a press release. Other factory operations include engine assembly; kitting and sub-assembly; parts control; warehousing; and some compact loader assembly. Future plans include phasing in Bobcat Tier 4 engine assembly.

The facility has 350,000 square feet of floor space and an additional 36,000 square feet of office space.

Non-production Bobcat jobs in Bismarck include engineering, aftermarket parts and service, finance, logistics, information technology, sourcing and human resources.

EP Henry provided paving stones for the walkways around the statue of liberty.

Hardscape manufacturer helps with Statue of Liberty project
NEW YORK – EP Henry, a Woodbury-based manufacturer of Hardscaping products, was selected to provide the more than 50,000 square feet of paving stones for the walkways surrounding the Statue of Liberty and the park. The statue reopened on July 4 after repairs from Hurricane Sandy were made.

“We’re proud to be part of such a meaningful project,” said J.C. Henry III, CEO of EP Henry. “As an American company with more than 100 years of history and New Jersey roots, we understand the impact that Sandy has had on our region. We are honored to have the opportunity to be involved with the restoration of such an important and iconic landmark.”

The Statue of Liberty restoration project is also the first customer for EP Henry’s new Hardscaping Center at Roxbury, N.J., which opened in May 2013. The center is the first of its kind for EP Henry, whose products are otherwise sold through a network of independently owned distributors in other markets throughout the company’s Mid-Atlantic service area.

John Deere introduces Flex Fuel Ztrak commercial mower for landscape contractors
CARY, N.C. – John Deere is expanding its line of ZTrak mowers by adding a Flex Fuel model to its fleet. The new Z925M Flex Fuel is compatible with ethanol blends up to E85, giving contractors a new alternative fuel option for their fleets.

“When we introduced the new line of ZTrak mowers last year, our intent was to meet the needs of every customer,” said Steve Wilhelmi, John Deere tactical marketing manager.

“The new Z925M Flex Fuel model continues that mission by appealing to customers who need or prefer to run on alternative-fuel platforms.”

The new Flex Fuel model is part of the M Series of ZTrak commercial mowers. With a 24.6 hp electronic fuel injected engine, the Z925M Flex Fuel can run on any blend of ethanol-mixed fuel, up to E85, and it has a top speed of 10 mph.

Offered in 54- and 60-inch widths, it comes equipped with a 7-Iron deck, for maximum durability.

The new model offers the option of an isolation seat or a fully-adjustable, suspension seat. Like the rest of the ZTrak lineup, the new Z925M Flex Fuel is an eligible purchase within the GreenFleet Loyalty Rewards program. L&L

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