Sperber Landscape Companies names Jeff Berg as CEO

Berg joins Sperber after 18 years as a partner at the global consulting firm McKinsey & Company.

Jeff Berg

Sperber Landscape Companies, a commercial landscape maintenance company that ranked No. 8 on our Top 100 list this year, has named Jeff Berg as CEO.

Richard Sperber, who has been acting as the company’s interim CEO and is the founder, will continue his active leadership of the company in the role of executive chairman.

Berg joins Sperber after 18 years as a core leader and partner at the global consulting firm McKinsey & Company. His tenure at McKinsey spanned a wide range of services businesses, industries, and initiatives. Before McKinsey, Berg was a submarine officer in the U.S. Navy, having served onboard the USS Bremerton, a Los Angeles-class nuclear submarine, and with the Deep Submergence Unit, the Navy’s lone submarine rescue force.

“I have the greatest confidence in Jeff,” Richard Sperber says. “His career at McKinsey built an unparalleled understanding of services businesses, and I know that he, alongside our exceptional leadership team, will be a strong driving force for the next phase of Sperber’s growth.”

“It is truly an honor to be joining Sperber and leading a company filled with such passion and talent,” Berg says. “I believe we are in a unique position to build upon an iconic American legacy. The Sperber name is synonymous, not only with company culture and taking great care of people, but also with pioneering and disrupting the landscape industry. I look forward to building upon that foundation and honoring that legacy, while embracing next gen capabilities that allow us to work smarter and safer. It’s an exciting time to be in landscaping.”

Fairway acquires 2 companies in Florida

Fairway has added Your Green Team and Next Level Turf.

Fairway recently expanded its presence in the Tampa and Sarasota markets in Florida with the additions of Your Green Team and Next Level Turf.

“Expansion in Central Florida is key to our growth strategy,” says Greg Harbison, CEO of Fairway.  “We are pleased to bring two well-run and growing companies into the Fairway family. They bring unique service platforms and a focus on excellence that we are excited to build upon.”

“Deciding to partner with Fairway was strategic for our business to expand what we can offer to our customers, and at the same time, offer innovative sales methods,” says Shane Karlson, Founder and CEO of Your Green Team.

Brandon Melanson, CEO of Next Level Turf adds, “Being part of a dynamic organization is exciting to us so as we look to grow our business and continue to offer excellent customer service.”

By partnering with Next Level Turf and Your Green Team, Fairway strengthens their dynamic growth trend with the addition of more partners in an annual growing season market.


Mariani Landscape adds Borst Landscape and Design

Borst is based in New Jersey and is a full-service landscape design company.

Mariani Landscape, which ranked No. 11 on Lawn & Landscape's Top 100 list, has acquired Borst Landscape and Design, a full-service landscape design company in New Jersey.

“Borst Landscape & Design has been a respected member of the green industry for many decades. They share our values and consistently deliver a high level of service to their clients," says Frank Mariani, the company's chairman. "Their passion for creating outdoor living spaces that look beautiful, but also function properly, resonates with our mission at Mariani. We look forward to welcoming the Borst Landscape & Design team to our family."

With headquarters in Allendale, New Jersey, Borst Landscape & Design was founded in 1989 by President Mark C. Borst. In 1995, the organic landscaping program was introduced, providing a complete lawn care program for clients.  Today, the company focuses on maintenance and enhancements, including gardening, turf grass management, tree and shrub care, landscape lighting, seasonal enhancements, organic lawn care, as well as design build services. 

“We are incredibly excited to join the Mariani family," Borst says. "Not only because it means we are now part of a nationally-recognized group of industry leaders, but more importantly, because we share the same values of exemplary customer service and a deep commitment to excellence that they do.”

The acquisition news comes on the heels of record growth and major national expansion for Mariani. The company has also acquired the Berghoff Design Group and Designs by Sundown, two Top 100 companies from 2021.

For more news, visit lawnandlandscape.com
Michael Mayberry and Emil Motycka

Scythe Robotics adds Mayberry, Motycka to staff

The industry veterans will help Scythe roll out its fully autonomous commercial mower, Scythe M.52.

Scythe Robotics, a company developing commercial-grade autonomous mowers, has added a pair of experienced landscape industry professionals to lead its customer success efforts and product development. The company is working to develop its all-electric, fully autonomous commercial mower, Scythe M.52.

Michael Mayberry joins Scythe as customer success lead and Emil Motycka as senior product manager at the quickly growing Boulder County-based company that was founded in 2018.

Mayberry and Motycka will support M.52’s continued development and deployment. Scythe has surpassed 7,500 reservations for M.52 from landscape contractors across the United States and it is currently mowing with multiple partners across Florida, Texas, and Colorado.

Mayberry brings wide-ranging green industry experience to his role directing Scythe’s existing customer relationships to drive satisfaction and ensure successful robot deployment. Mayberry is a regular conference speaker and panelist who shares how technology can create new ways for the green industry to conduct business.

Rising from the field to executive leadership over the course of his decades-long career in the industry, Mayberry was most recently the Chief Technology Officer with Level Green Landscape in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, where he directed the company’s strategic efforts and found ways for technology to support business goals while enhancing the company’s products and services.

With more than two decades of experience in the green industry, Motycka is a seasoned product management leader with a proven record of developing innovative products that exceed customer expectations and drive business growth.

Mowing lawns from an early age, Motycka built a sizable local landscaping business throughout high school and college. This experience in the field launched him into product-focused roles at high-growth, venture-backed startups Rachio and Sunday as well as TruGreen, where he served as director of digital technologies. Throughout his career, Motycka has overseen the entire product development process, from ideation to launch, with a particular focus on defining and delivering a positive customer experience that aligns with business objectives.

Davey Tree acquires Mickman Brothers

Mickman Brothers’ team of approximately 80 year-round employees is enhanced by roughly 200 seasonal employees.

The Davey Tree Expert Company has added Mickman Brothers of Ham Lake, Minnesota, to its family of brands.

Founded in 1975 by brothers Chris and John Mickman, Mickman Brothers provides landscape, irrigation, landscape maintenance and snow removal services to the Greater Minneapolis-St. Paul area. Mickman Brothers also offers a garden center for their local clientele at which they grow most of the annuals and perennials they offer. Their family Mickman Christmas business, originated by John and Chris’s grandmother, has a national customer base of non-profit organizations and corporate clients.

Mickman Brothers’ team of approximately 80 year-round employees is enhanced by roughly 200 seasonal employees. All services will continue as part of the Mickman Brothers team within Davey’s Commercial Landscape Services service line.

“Davey has been the leader in the green industry for almost 150 years, so its knowledge of the industry and breadth of services will help propel Mickman Brothers to the highest levels of service to our clients," says John Mickman, CEO. “We are all thrilled with the career growth opportunities this merger will offer to our professional staff of dedicated employees. The Mickman Brothers team is thrilled about joining forces with our new Davey team members as we continue to grow our product and service offerings locally and nationally.”

“One of the strongest attributes we admire about Mickman Brothers, in addition to its amazing corporate culture, is its passion for supplying the highest quality products and services to its clients, a key value shared by Davey," says Mark Svozil, vice president and general manager, CLS at Davey. "Prior to this merger, Davey had already made a strong commitment to the Minneapolis-St. Paul market, making this the fifth location for Davey. Adding a brand the caliber of Mickman Brothers highlights Davey’s ongoing commitment to the region and should be great not only for Mickman Brothers’ clients but Davey’s as well. I am so excited to watch Mickman’s employees grow in their careers through promotions and educational opportunities, as well become employee owners of Davey.” 

United Land Services acquires Herbafex

Herbafex is a full-service landscaping company in South Florida.

United Land Services has acquired Herbafex, a commercial landscaping and pest control company based in Panama City Beach, Florida. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

United Land Services ranked No. 20 on Lawn & Landscape's Top 100 list last year. It reported a total revenue of $153 million.

United Land Services ranked No. 20 on Lawn & Landscape’s Top 100 list this year. It reported a total revenue of $153 million.

Founded in 1993, Herbafex is a full-service landscaping company specializing in commercial landscape maintenance, irrigation, pest control and landscape installation throughout South Florida. The company has 40 employees.

“United’s acquisition of Herbafex strengthens our position in the Gulf/Panhandle area of Florida in both the maintenance, installation, and pest control side of the business” says Bob Blandford, United’s CEO. “With Herbafex long standing reputation we will continue to grow in the Gulf/Panhandle area of Florida and add another well-run organization to our portfolio.”

The owners of Herbafex, Kevin Miles and Jeremy Gilliam will all stay aboard with United, as well as their entire management team and staff.

“We chose to join with ULS because of their steadfast commitment to their employees and the high value they place on customer service," Gilliam says. "We look forward to realizing the potential this union will afford us and our community."

McHale Landscape Design acquires Dalton Ventures

This is the third acquisition in five years for McHale, a family-owned company.

McHale Landscape Design, a residential landscape architecture and design-build firm, has acquired Dalton Ventures, a residential estate garden care firm based in Middletown, Maryland.

This is the third acquisition in five years for McHale, a family-owned company. McHale ranked No. 64 on Lawn & Landscape's Top 100 list last year, pulling in $45 million in total revenue. 

Keith Bowman, president of business development at McHale, describes the acquisition as "a successful partnership with a company that shares our values, vision and culture."

McHale ranked No. 64 on Lawn & Landscape’s Top 100 list this year, pulling in $36 million in total revenue.

All Dalton Venture employees and owners will join McHale Landscape Design. The partnership further expands the McHale presence in residential communities around metropolitan Washington DC, Maryland, and Virginia.

"We are excited to combine two uniquely qualified companies which align strategically with McHale’s long-term growth plans," says McHale's Barrett Wolf, the director of business operations.

Charlie and Clayton Dalton, owners of Dalton Ventures, say they are thrilled to partner with McHale.

"Partnering with McHale Landscape Design is the best business decision we have made. The impact of the combined resources will be a huge benefit to our clients,” Charlie Dalton says.

PlanIT Geo joins Waverock Software

PlanIT Geo provides management and planning tools that help clients improve the quality of life of their constituents.

PlanIT Geo, an urban forestry software and consulting services, was acquired by Waverock Software, an enterprise software operating company. Support for urban forestry as essential infrastructure in liveable, climate resilient cities has skyrocketed over the past few years. Waverock’s growth investment and long-term access to capital and resources bolsters PlanIT Geo’s ability to meet the rapidly growing demand for smarter, more equitable green asset management.

Unprecedented federal investment, rising average temperatures, and development-driven deforestation, are all accelerating demand for green spaces in urban areas. PlanIT Geo is well positioned to address these needs by providing valuable management and planning tools that help clients improve the quality of life of their constituents. This acquisition and growth investment has strengthened that position.

Waverock Software specializes in acquiring and scaling market-leading software companies by providing long-term capital and operational expertise. Waverock’s team of former and active software and technology executives has substantial experience growing software organizations. PlanIT Geo’s technology, impressive list of marquee customers and partners, and mission-driven culture proved to be a perfect fit for Waverock’s vision.

“We were looking for a partner that shared our values, was growth-minded, savvy, and believes in the tremendous value of greening communities through trees and technology. We found that home in Waverock Software and are elated for this next phase of our story to deliver innovative solutions to our customers.” says Ian Hanou, PlanIT Geo founder & CEO.

“We are thrilled to partner with Ian and the team at PlanIT Geo, and to support the company over a long term. With over 83% of Americans and 75% of Europeans living in urban centers, the importance of green spaces within cities will grow and will receive increased funding. We feel fortunate to be joining forces with a technology and thought leader in this space,” says Mike Rozenfeld, CEO of Waverock Software.

Marvin Clermont

Ruppert Landscape expands into Tennessee, promotes several to new roles

Marvin Clermont will oversee Ruppert’s branch in Nashville, while others like the company’s new COO, Fred Key, also earned leadership positions.

Ruppert Landscape has expanded its landscape construction operations to include a permanent location in Nashville, Tennessee.

This branch joins 30 existing branch offices located in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, D.C., Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia and Texas, supporting both the landscape construction and landscape management divisions of the company.

“We have frequently stepped out of our geographic footprint when opportunities arise to take on large-scale landscape construction projects at a national level,” says Patrick Luzier, regional vice president in the company’s landscape construction division. “Our expansion into the Nashville market was initially determined by relationships we have with clients in other geographic locations, who reached out to us for projects in the Nashville market. The success of these initial opportunities and several subsequent projects, enabled us to develop a more permanent presence in the region.” The Tennessee branch is overseen by Marvin Clermont, who has recently been promoted to branch manager.

In his new role, Clermont will oversee all planning, budgeting and personnel development in the branch and ensure customer satisfaction on all landscape construction projects within the Nashville region.

Clermont holds a master's degree in City and Regional Planning from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Florida State University. He garnered several years of community development and project management experience before joining Ruppert’s Maryland landscape construction branch in 2015. He was promoted to production manager before transferring to the Georgia landscape construction branch in 2017. In 2021, he took the opportunity to relocate to Nashville to help open the satellite office in the role of associate branch manager.

“Marvin’s strong leadership and customer service abilities have played a key role in our ability to turn the Nashville satellite operation into a permanent branch,” Luzier says. “We are pleased to see Marvin take this next step in his career and know that the future of Ruppert in Nashville is in good hands.”

Ruppert’s Tennessee branch serves large-scale landscape construction projects in the Nashville, Memphis, and Knoxville regions.

elsewhere at ruppert, the company recently promoted Fred Key to the position of chief operating officer in the company’s landscape management division. This position has been newly created to help support the division’s current scale and future growth.

“Fred’s tenacious leadership style has helped drive the division’s success over the years and will undoubtedly continue to do so from this new position of expanded influence,” says Tom Barry, the landscape management division president.

Key has over 30 years of industry experience and has been with Ruppert for 21 years serving in a variety of positions including crewman, foreman, area manager, controller, division administrator, branch manager, region manager and region vice president. Key holds a bachelor’s degree in business from Salisbury State University and is a Certified Landscape Professional. In 2009, he received one of the company’s top honors, the Clyde Vadner Merit Award, which is presented to the individual who has demonstrated consistent hard work and dedication leading to exceptional contributions to the organization. In 2019, Fred graduated from Harvard Business School’s Owner/President Management (OPM) program, completing a significant multi-year investment in his management education.

In his new role, Key will continue to oversee the Northern Virginia, North Carolina and Atlanta regions and will now also oversee the Central Virginia region, working closely with the region managers to influence operational decisions to help better serve our customers and team members. In addition, he will now be working with the company’s business development team to help support division-wide sales efforts.

Additionally, Ruppert Landscape recently promoted Dave Sharry to the position of region manager in the company’s landscape management division. In this capacity, he will oversee landscape management operations in the company’s Central Virginia region, which includes the Fredericksburg and Richmond North, South and East locations.

Sharry has been with the company for over 11 years, has over 30 years of landscape industry experience and is a U.S. Marine Corps Reserve veteran. In his first year at Ruppert, he was recognized with the company’s Branch Impact Award for his outstanding dedication and contributions to the organization. In 2018, the original Richmond branch split into North and South locations to accommodate growth in the region, and as the newly appointed Richmond South branch manager, he played an integral role in supporting a smooth and profitable transition.

“The Richmond South branch’s success can be largely attributed to Dave’s strong customer relationships and military-influenced leadership style,” Key says. “He sets high expectations while still making time to help each individual team member and support neighboring branches. We feel confident that he will continue to support and grow the Richmond and Fredericksburg teams in this new capacity.”

In his stead, Rob Groves has been appointed branch manager in Richmond South. In this role, he will be responsible for the overall welfare of the branch, including the safety and development of his team, strategic planning and budgeting, training, customer service, and day-to-day operations.

Groves has been with the company for over 15 years and holds a degree in ornamental horticulture from Pennsylvania College of Technology. He began his career at Ruppert as an enhancement field manager in the Gainesville branch, worked his way up to area manager, associate branch manager, and became branch manager in Richmond North in 2018. He led the branch until last year when he explored other opportunities within the company, supporting division IT projects and irrigation operations in the region, but embraced the opportunity to return to the branch manager role.

Project EverGreen, SiteOne Landscape Supply team up for new incentive

To attract new GreenCare for Troops volunteers, SiteOne will give out $250 discount coupons.

SiteOne Landscape Supply and Project EverGreen have announced a new incentive to attract and retain volunteers for the GreenCare for Troops (GCFT) program which provides complimentary landscape and lawn care services to families of deployed military personnel.

Volunteers who register with the GreenCare for Troops program in 2023 and agree to help at least one military family with free lawn and landscape services will be rewarded a single use $250 discount coupon toward products purchased in-person at any SiteOne’s stores.

“It’s important for military families to enjoy healthy yards and lawns and to come together as a family during times of uncertainty when a member is deployed,” says Kevin Laycock, director, category management at SiteOne Landscape Supply and current board president of Project EverGreen. “GreenCare for Troops allows volunteer companies to maintain the turf and health of the family’s yard which supports Project EverGreen’s mission. Quality turf provides the Earth with carbon sequestration and clean air for families."

The GCFT program has matched lawn and landscape professionals with deployed military families for 17 years. It’s a natural way for landscape companies to share their knowledge and skills of healthy yards and landscapes with military families during a stressful time. By providing a safe and healthy yard for families to relax and play, military families enjoy the environmental and health benefits of a greener, cooler neighborhood and community.

Project EverGreen will send new volunteers an email verifying their SiteOne account has been loaded with the coupon. Volunteers must be a registered SiteOne customer to redeem the coupon. If volunteers do not have an account, registration is free and can be done online.

May 2023
Explore the May 2023 Issue

Check out more from this issue and find you next story to read.