Across the industry

Departments - L&L Insider

November 1, 2012
Lawn & Landscape

Climbing the ladder

Hires, promotions and career advancements

Ruppert Landscape has added John Baker as network administrator at the company’s corporate headquarters in Laytonsville, Md.

Baker, a resident of Frederick, Md., brings more than five years of industry experience and has held positions as an IT help desk manager, project manager and network engineer prior to starting with Ruppert. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. In his role as network administrator, he will be responsible for all internal computer, server and network operations at Ruppert Landscape’s headquarters as well as the company’s 15 branches.

Kim Lewey , co-owner of Lewey Landscaping & LawnCare, a Raleigh N.C.- based, full-service landscaping and lawn care company, has been named president-elect of the 2012-2013 board of directors for the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) Greater Raleigh chapter.

Lewey has served on the local board of directors for four of the last five years in various positions including director of corporate relations and director of community relations.

In her new role, she will be responsible for leading organizational and various community outreach initiatives.

NAWBO Greater Raleigh equips Triangle area women entrepreneurs with the support, resources and opportunities necessary to grow their businesses and sphere of influence as community thought leaders.

James Whitaker was promoted to district manager of Heron Pest Control.

Whitaker began his career in the industry more than 24 years ago and has held many leadership roles such as sales manager, VP of operations, state certified operator in charge of lawn, GHP and termite, and then owning his own company, which he sold in 2009.

Whitaker joined the Heron Pest Control team in September of 2009 as a branch manager at its headquarters in Apopka, Fla., and was recognized as Heron Employee of the Year in 2011.

BASF goes biological

Florham Park, N.J. – In a billion-dollar deal, BASF acquired horticulture technology company Becker Underwood.

With the purchase, which is expected to close by the end of the year, the German manufacturer would gain access to a wide range of coatings and biological technology to complement its already strong foundation of insecticides, herbicides and fungicides.

The deal continues BASF’s move from a focus purely on plant protection to one on plant health.

We caught up with Nevin McDougall, senior vice president of BASF’s Crop Protection Group in North America to learn more about what this acquisition means for the company and the green industry at large.

You can read the full interview at by searching “McDougall.”

Lawn & Landscape: What motivated this purchase?

Nevin McDougall: I think the top line of the story here is addressing the changing needs of our customers and broadening our portfolio to have broader range of solutions to address the changing needs of the marketplace. Whether that’s the row crop market, the turf industry, landscaping, ornamentals – clearly our customers have a lot of changing needs.

Not only traditional pest management, but also nitrogen management, water management.

We felt the acquisition of Becker Underwood made a very nice complement for our existing activities.

L&L: Can you tell me why BASF is taking a stronger focus on plant health, and what that means for you guys in the current market?

NM: From past years of experience we’ve had in plant health, we see a growing opportunity to provide additional productivity or efficiency for our customers through products that provide more than traditional disease or insect control. With the acquisition of Becker Underwood, that allows us to tap into other technologies such as biologicals that may have other plant health effects that we can then commercialize and bring to a global market. We see that plant health as a fundamental growth driver in the future. 

L&L: Are we likely to see a move toward adjuvants being co-packaged with fungicides?

NM: That’s hard to say. It’s really dependent on the formulation tech, the active ingredient and the stability of the formulation development. In some cases that is happening, in other cases it’s not, so I can’t say it’s a general trend by any means.

– Chuck Bowen

Brackett resigns as TruGreen president

Hank Mullany takes over as interim head of the lawn care giant.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Less than a year after being named to the post, Tom Brackett (above) has resigned as president of TruGreen LawnCare.

The news was announced in an Oct. 12 SEC filing by TruGreen’s parent company ServiceMaster.

Brackett resigned effective Oct. 9, according to the filing, and will be replaced on an interim basis by ServiceMaster CEO Hank Mullany.

“Tom informed us last week of his decision to resign from the company,” said TruGreen spokesperson, Alison Boyle. “We’ve immediately started the process to search for a new president of TruGreen. We will look at all candidates and most likely hire externally.”

Brackett moved to TruGreen from Terminix when Stephen Donly resigned as president in May 2011. For seven months, he oversaw the lawn care company while continuing his role as president and CEO of Terminix. Brackett was named president in December 2011.

During his 20-year career at Terminix, Brackett helped the business grow to become the first pest control company to surpass $1 billion in revenues. He joined Terminix in 1992 as a branch manager in Miami, and was promoted to division vice president in 1997 and eventually, president and COO in 2006.