Join us and other industry professionals Feb. 19-21, 2020 at the Wyndham Orlando in Orlando, Florida for the first ever Lawn & Landscape Technology Conference. This three-day event will combine high-level educational programming on technology and software, along with an exhibit hall featuring industry-leading technologies, solutions and services for landscape professionals.
The Lawn & Landscape Technology Conference will bring together landscapers and lawn care operators to learn from industry experts as well as fellow professionals who have successfully integrated software and technology into their companies to operate more efficiently.
In addition to the educational program, attendees have access to the exhibit floor, where they can discover some of the best software and technology serving the professional lawn care market.
“As the landscape industry is increasingly being transformed by technology, we felt the time was right to bring this event to the industry,” says Lawn & Landscape Editor Brian Horn. “This is an opportunity to come together with your peers and discover new ideas, tools and processes that can give your company a competitive edge.”
The Lawn & Landscape Technology Conference educational program has been developed by the conference advisory board, in partnership with the editorial team behind Lawn & Landscape magazine.
For more information and to register, check out the conference page at bit.ly/lltech20.
See you in Florida!
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Coming off two successful years, Bobcat isn’t resting on those recent wins.
Over the next eight months, the company will launch 21 different models in five product categories and has increased its focus on integrating new technologies into its equipment.
“In my 21 years here, this is the most ambitious we’ve ever been,” said Mike Ballweber, president of Doosan Bobcat North America, during the company’s Next is Now media event in September at Bobcat’s new training center in Denver.
Scott Park, CEO, entered the role in 2013, and at that time, the company was coming out of the recession.
But now, coming off its two best years financially in 2017 and 2018, Parker is pushing change at the company through new products, a new training center and working with new technologies like remote control loaders.
“Let’s keep it going, but we need change,” Parker said. “We needed to do something to ensure we had growth and sustainability.”
One change is Bobcat’s re-entering of the compact tractor market, which it left in 2013 after about six years of involvement. Parker said Bobcat needs to be in the market if it wants to be a global leader in compact equipment. Bobcat has an OEM relationship to manufacture its current models, which are available now, and will begin to manufacture its own in 2023.
Unlike the prior dip into the compact tractor market, the company plans to stay a lot longer this time.
“Bobcat is here to stay in this business,” Ballweber said. “We want to be one of the names that is recognized in the compact tractor market. We know that will take time.”
Ballweber said the company is still considering more changes, one of which could include entering the lawn mower market.
The tractor offering will also allow dealers to develop relationships with large-acre owners who want to use the tractors at home, along with further developing their already established landscaper relationships as a one-stop-shop for all compact equipment, Ballweber said.
Below are the new products Bobcat is rolling out. For more on this event, visit bit.ly/llbobcat.
NALP names CEO
Britt Wood started Oct. 7 in the role at the National Association of Landscape Professionals.
The National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) has named Britt Wood to the position of chief executive officer.
Wood brings more than 24 years of experience to the role in which he will oversee an association that represents a million landscape, lawn care, irrigation and tree care professionals across the country. He assumed his new role on Oct. 7 and will attend LANDSCAPES 2019 in Louisville from Oct. 15-18.
“Britt’s depth of leadership experience and proven track record of delivering results across various industries throughout his career will be huge assets as he focuses on building on NALP’s many successes and guiding our association into new areas of opportunity and growth,” said Jeff Buhler, NALP president.
Andrew Ziehler, NALP’s incoming president, agreed, noting, “Britt’s extensive association background and industry relations experience will be invaluable in growing our membership, strengthening relationships with associations at the state and national levels and delivering innovative programs to landscape contractors and their business partners to help them grow. We are fortunate we will have him at the helm.”
Prior to joining NALP, Wood spent more than two decades in trade association executive leadership roles, most recently as senior vice president of business development and industry relations for the Consumer Healthcare Products Association. Previously, Wood held positions with the International Foodservice Distributors Association, American Society of Civil Engineers, Loss Prevention Foundation and the Retail Industry Leaders Association.
“I look forward to working closely with our dedicated board and staff to continue to grow our membership by further enhancing NALP’s value to the lawn and landscape community,” Wood said. “We will work diligently to continue to enhance the good work that has been done in advocacy, education, standard setting and workforce development in an effort to make NALP even more valuable to our members.”
Wood succeeds Carol Keeling, who served as interim CEO of NALP since February, following the departure of Sabeena Hickman, who led the organization for 11 years.
Sterling Investment Partners acquires HeartLand
HeartLand ranked 30th in Lawn & Landscape’s Top 100 list in 2019.
Kansas City – Sterling Investment Partners, a Westport, Connecticut-based private equity firm, has acquired HeartLand, a Kansas City-based commercial landscape management firm from Great Range Capital.
HeartLand ranked 30th on Lawn & Landscape’s 2019 Top 100 list with almost $54 million in revenue.
GRC leadership and HeartLand’s CEO, Edward Schatz Jr., formed HeartLand in 2016, and HeartLand’s first acquisition was Signature Landscape in Kansas City.
Since then, eight other companies have been acquired including its operating brands Keesen Landscape in Denver; Columbia Landcare in Columbia, Missouri; Hillenmeyer Landscape Services in Lexington, Kentucky; and JML Landscape Management in Pittsburgh.
“It has been a rewarding experience to help launch the HeartLand platform,” said Mark Robinson, principal, Great Range Capital.
“Partnering with the leadership teams, owners and employees of the nine completed acquisitions has been an honor. We’re proud that HeartLand has become a prominent player in the commercial landscape industry and are confident in their continued success,”
“Great Range Capital has been a true partner in establishing and growing our HeartLand organization into what it is today,” Schatz, Jr. said. “They have worked collaboratively with us to build a scalable foundation, in a way that truly embodies Midwestern values and upholds the legacies of our operating companies. Our future is bright”
HeartLand was jointly represented by CCG Advisors, an Atlanta-based investment banking firm, and Piper Jaffray.
BrightView acquires Pro Scapes in New York
Pro Scapes, now with roughly 150 employees, began as a one-man operation in the mid-1970s.
BLUE BELL, Pa. – BrightView Holdings announced the acquisition of Pro Scapes, a commercial landscaping company headquartered in Jamesville, New York. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Pro Scapes began as a one-man operation in the mid-1970s. Under the leadership of founder Rick Kier and his wife, Karen L. Kier, the company grew to become a leading grounds care provider in central New York. The company and its approximately 150 employees are committed to providing grounds maintenance, snow removal and irrigation services to their customers across commercial and industrial properties and upscale condominium complexes in Onondaga County.
“We are excited to welcome Pro Scapes, its employees and their customers to BrightView,” said Andrew Masterman, BrightView president and CEO. “Over the years they have invested in developing operational processes, customized technological solutions and employee training programs that fueled their steady historical growth. In addition to bringing our best practices to bear in the strategically attractive market of Central New York, I am certain that BrightView’s existing operation will learn many of Pro Scapes’ secrets for success, especially in their snow removal business.”
Kier said he is proud of Pro Scapes’ history and believes that BrightView’s strategic approach to intense customer focus fits well with his company’s established customer service philosophy.
“BrightView’s national presence and formidable resources open the door to exciting long-term opportunities for our team members and our customers alike,” Kier said. “I look forward to seeing the teams leverage our shared, customer-centric strategy, use of cutting edge tools and techniques and commitment to employee development to drive future growth.”
Bartlett Tree Experts acquires Urban Forestry Services
Jim and Annie Barborinas, former owners of Urban Forestry Services, will continue their roles as consultants and managers.
STAMFORD, Conn. – Bartlett Tree Experts has acquired Urban Forestry Services, a horticulture, arboriculture and urban forestry consulting company operating out of Mount Vernon, Washington since 1990.
The new operation will be known as Urban Forestry Services | Bartlett Consulting. This acquisition furthers the expansion of the company’s consulting division, which also includes HortScience | Bartlett Consulting, the United Kingdom and Ireland Consultancy team, and Bartlett Inventory Solutions.
“This acquisition is helping us meet our strategic goals for the growth of our consulting division,” said Nick Martin, director of Bartlett Consulting. “Urban Forestry Services has an amazing reputation, and their experience and professionalism will help take the consulting division to the next level. I believe their focus on proper tree selection, which is rooted in survivability, will help strengthen our overall approach to establishing and growing our urban forests.”
Jim and Annie Barborinas, former owners of Urban Forestry Services, will be continuing in their roles as consultants and managers with Urban Forestry Services | Bartlett Consulting. The pair first opened Urban Forestry Services in 1990 to provide tree inventories, tree risk assessments, horticultural consultation and landscape appraisals to the Puget Sound Region. Just a few years later, they opened a second business called Urban Forest Nursery to grow and sell wholesale trees meant for urban streets and landscapes, which they will retain.
In addition to certifications and close affiliations with a variety of professional organizations, the Barobrinases have been actively involved for many years with the TREE Fund, a non-profit organization dedicated to raising money for urban tree research and education.
Bartlett’s consulting division was established in 2018 with the acquisition of HortScience in Pleasanton, California. “Our evolution since the formation of Bartlett Consulting has not stopped, and the Urban Forestry Services | Bartlett Consulting team has added tremendous strength to our foundation,” Martin said. “This development will enable us to continue to grow and better serve all of our clients and the industry overall.”
RISE introduces new governing board at annual meeting
Nearly 185 manufacturers, formulators, distributors and other industry leaders attended the meeting in Arizona.
MARANA, Ariz. – RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment) welcomed new governing board members and recognized dedicated volunteers during its 29th annual meeting at the end of August.
Leaders at the meeting focused on heightening engagement and advocacy at the local, state and federal levels. Nearly 185 manufacturers, formulators, distributors and other industry leaders attended the meeting.
“Our members and partners, including our extensive grassroots network, have risen to address growing advocacy needs over the past few years,” said Gilles Galliou, RISE governing board chair and head of Region, Americas, at Bayer Environmental Science. “Looking ahead, we foresee a need for even more engagement to share the benefits of our industry’s products.”
The RISE governing board met August 26, and elected new members: Stephanie Jensen, BASF, holding a manufacturer seat; Karen Larson, Clarke, holding a formulator seat; and Scott Todd, Central Life Sciences, holding a manufacturer seat. The board also elected a new executive committee:
- Gilles Galliou, Chair, Bayer Environmental Science
- Sean Casey, Vice Chair, Nufarm Americas
- Karen Larson, Treasurer, Clarke
Outgoing Board members completing their terms are Darren Horst, chair, Central Garden & Pet; Abizar “Zack” Zaki, treasurer, FMC Corporation; and Jeff Alvis, AMVAC Environmental Products. Others continuing their terms on the board include:
- Daryl Allen, Corteva Agriscience
- Kathy Bishop, Lebanon Seaboard Corp.
- Bill Culpepper, SePRO Corp.
- Todd Ferguson, Primera, Inc.
- Michael Maravich, Sipcam Agro USA
- Neil Cleveland, PBI-Gordon Corp.
- Scott Reasons, Syngenta
- John Smith, WinField United
- SiteOne Landscape Supply
Nikki Haley to speak at the Work Truck Show 2020
The U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations since 2017 will be the keynote speaker on the morning of March 5.
FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. – Nikki Haley, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations since 2017, will serve as keynote speaker at The Work Truck Show 2020.
Her moderated conversation will take place the morning of Thursday, March 5, as part of the NTEA Annual Meeting (formerly President’s Breakfast & NTEA Annual Meeting). The 20th annual Work Truck Show runs March 3-6 at Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, Indiana. Educational sessions, the Green Truck Summit, and the Manufacturer and Distributor Innovation Conference begin March 3. The exhibit hall is open March 4-6. Registration opens this month.
In 2010, Haley was elected as the first female and first minority governor of South Carolina. She was reelected in 2014 and served as governor until becoming U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and joining President Donald Trump’s Cabinet and National Security Council in January 2017.
“We’re honored to welcome Ambassador Haley and look forward to learning about her experiences as she traveled the world to defend America’s interests and keep our country safe,” said Peter Miller, first vice chairman of NTEA’s Board of Directors. “During her tenure, she tackled difficult issues like national security, education, human rights and unemployment. Her strong and passionate leadership serves as an example of how even the most challenging obstacles can be overcome.”
Lawn & Landscape names 2019 scholarship winner
Zach Jones is a senior at the University of Maryland and will graduate in spring of 2020. By Brian Horn
Lawn & Landscape magazine named Zach Jones the winner of the annual Richard Foster award through GIE Media’s Horticultural Scholarship Program. The award recognizes outstanding students planning careers in the landscape, lawn care or horticulture business. Jones will graduate in the spring of 2020 with a degree in plant science and a specialization in landscape management.
“With his work ethic and leadership skills, Zach is the type of person who will continue to represent the green industry in a positive way for years to come,” said Brian Horn, editor of Lawn & Landscape. “Zach’s passion for the industry is very clear through his course load at the University of Maryland, and his experiences outside of school.”
Last year, Jones was elected as the director of planning for Green Roots, a hydroponics club on campus. In this role, Jones communicates with more than 150 group members about meeting times and upcoming events. He was also elected vice president of philanthropy for his fraternity, Alpha Gamma Rho, a dual professional and social fraternity with a focus on agriculture.
“My goal is to work for a residential landscape company in a managerial position,” Jones says.
“In that role, I can perfect the art of working with clients, managing crews efficiently and making horticulturally correct decisions. However, my ultimate goal is to own a full-service landscape company. Prior to owning a business, I also plan to become a Certified Maryland Tree Expert and an ICPI Certified hardscape installer.”
The scholarship funds will help him start his business, he says.
“I can’t begin to express how humbled I am that I was chosen to receive the Richard Foster award,” Jones says. “Not only will it help with my college costs, but it will ultimately help me to start my own business by reducing my post-graduation debt.”
To be eligible for the $2,500 scholarship through GIE Media, Lawn & Landscape’s parent company, students must be enrolled at a recognized two-or four-year college or university working toward a degree in horticulture, environmental science or other field related to a segment of the green industry.
Clearent acquires controlling interest in Service Autopilot
All 90 Service Autopilot employees will stay on following the completion of the acquisition.
Payments solutions provider Clearent has acquired controlling interest in Service Autopilot, a field service management, software as a service business serving green-industry customers.
Clearent Software Holdings, a wholly owned subsidiary of St. Louis-based Clearent, announced the move as the latest example of its effort toward broadening its stable.
Service Autopilot will continue to operate out of its Richardson, Texas, headquarters. Its founders, CEO Jonathan Pototschnik and chief technology officer John Caldwell, will stay on as shareholders and continue to lead the company in their current roles. All 90 Service Autopilot employees will stay on following the completion of the acquisition.
Service Autopilot’s end-to-end solution allows customers to schedule, route and dispatch employees; job-cost, invoice and bill customers; and generate, capture and nurture leads, among other features. The program was launched in 2009 as a scheduling system for green-industry companies. Service enhancements include the addition of mobile functionality, a client portal, two-way QuickBooks sync and marketing and business automation.
This latest purchase broadens Clearent Software Holdings’ portfolio of independent software vendors in the field-services industry to reach green-industry customers that include lawn care, pool cleaning and snow removal companies. Service Autopilot will operate alongside FieldEdge, which traditionally supports mechanical contractors such as HVAC, electrical, plumbing and equipment repair companies.
Words of Wilson features a rotating panel of consultants from Bruce Wilson & Company, a landscape consulting firm.
We all know that proper diet and exercise leads to greater health, yet the Center for Disease Control reports that about 610,000 people die every year from heart disease. That’s 25 percent of all deaths in the U.S. With gyms, fitness centers, clean water, fresh fruits and vegetables so readily available, why are fatalities so high?
Because good information gets lost in the execution. It’s easy to gather information to get physically healthy but executing on that data is difficult. Unfortunately, the same struggle applies to making our businesses healthy. We know we should leverage useful data and the latest technology to drive the future of work, but doing so requires us to stop gathering information and actually get an execution mindset. What’s your mindset? Take this quiz.
Just do it.
Do you pursue growth as a list of action items? If so, your DIY approach means you may be aware of a need, like energy efficient technologies for example, but you may not have a detailed working plan for digital leadership that can be easily implemented or a way to measure its impact on your future work. That’s a just-do-it mindset. You don’t have a fully executable plan that empowers your team to create the desired results.
Just buy it.
Do you get caught up in the hype and buy expensive software expecting magic to happen? This approach, “the more expensive the product, the more silver the bullet,” is doomed without a clearly defined digital strategy, process and a willing workforce to support it. The just-buy-it mindset tries to buy its way to future work, but money alone won’t solve the problem. A leadership team with an executable digital plan will.
Are you taking a wait-and-see approach or think embracing the digital renaissance is too expensive? If so, you’re robbing your business of its full potential and allowing your competition to outrun you while you remain frozen.
Which one are you? If you want to have an execution mindset organization, do this.
As a former Silicon Valley executive, I know there are a lot of “next big things” out there. It’s not easy to digest all the sales pitches, testimonials and sometimes nonsense. So, it may be time to humble yourself and realize that although you may be tech savvy, you may not have the experience or capacity to drive the digital transformation for the company on your own.
Get a plan.
There is a shift in how teams work and collaborate and in how empowered and informed customers research and buy. Execution-mindset organizations develop a strategic plan and a technological strategy that is in sync with the company’s goals and objectives, as well as in line with the demands of the marketplace.
Get it right.
You must take an honest assessment of your business to see if you have the tools in place to become a mindset-powered organization.
1. Does your software and technological infrastructure include the following tools?
- Organizational and project management
- Data storage
- Social media and online marketing
- Financial and integrated back end support
- Artificial intelligence that drives, enhances and scales your customer’s experience
If you want to successfully drive the future of work for your organization, get humble and seek professional help where needed, then get a digital plan and overall strategy that you can execute, and finally, get it right by empowering your business and teams to become an execution-mindset organization that leads the market toward future work.
Contact Brian Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org
Cream of the Crop features a rotating panel from the Harvest Group, a landscape business consulting company.
The entrepreneurial nature of the landscape industry creates an environment ripe with opportunities and financial success. Growth is at your fingertips if jobs, employees and company vision are in alignment.
Along with opportunity comes challenges. Surely, you’ve run into roadblocks that threatened to derail your growth plans. Have you ever experienced one of the following situations?
- Your design/build company is growing. You’re receiving more and more new client leads asking for design services and your production team is working like a fine-tuned engine. You’re wondering if this is the time to bring on another landscape designer to add to your team.
- It’s the middle of spring. Your landscape maintenance clients are asking for enhancements to improve their properties. Your account managers barely have time to breathe, much less do small designs for enhancements. You are debating whether you need to hire a full-time designer to support your account managers.
- You’re having a great year. Your lead times are good, your volume and profits are going up in unison and you continue to generate sales leads and great referrals from past clients. You could see adding another design salesperson as well as an installation crew to take the next step in the growth of your business. You also see storm clouds on the horizon with the potential of a recession in the next 18 months or so. Do you really want to add overhead now if you believe a recession is on the way?
The answer to each of these dilemmas could be the same. You may be able to solve each situation by having a freelance designer help you out of your jams. There are several ways to make it happen.
- Keep a designer on retainer and use them when needed.
- Hire a contract designer who may work for you on a short-term basis.
- Pay a designer on an hourly basis where you only pay for time spent designing. This cost can be passed on to the client either in design fees or as part of the lump sum cost of the project.
The beauty of using a freelance designer is that you haven’t added more long-term overhead to your financials either in salaries or in benefits. An added benefit could be that you find that the freelance designer is a great fit for your company and you may end up hiring them full time. Essentially, you have “test driven” the designer before making a long-term investment.
I compare it to what is happening in our “gig economy.” I’m sure you have all used the ride sharing services like Lyft and Uber. Why buy a car when you may only need to drive it occasionally? You would hate to buy an expensive vehicle and then watch it sit in your parking lot unused. In the same vein, you wouldn’t want to add an expensive employee only to see them sit idle much of the offseason.
If using a freelance designer sounds like a solution for your added design needs, where do you go to find that help? There are a few avenues you can explore to find the right person to help you.
- Search online for independent designers in your area.
- Contact your state or national landscape association to see if they have a list of freelance designers.
- Consulting firms may have design professionals that work with them.
I encourage you to look “outside the box” when it comes time to solving your landscape design dilemmas.
Contact Jud Griggs at email@example.com