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Brian Horn | July 15, 2013

Strength in numbers

New Holland Construction and New Holland Agriculture are now under one umbrella, and make a push to get noticed in the market.

By Brian Horn


Abe Hughes, vice president of North America for New Holland, stands across the street from the original New Holland facility.

NEW HOLLAND, Pa. – New Holland is back. That was the message at a recent media event at the New Holland Construction and Agriculture Headquarters in New Holland, Pa. Company executives admitted the New Holland brand had been lying low recently, but that was now changing.

The construction brand moved its sales and marketing functions to New Holland, Pa., from Racine, Wis., where Case Construction is headquartered, to be closer to New Holland Agriculture. The move allowed New Holland Construction marketing functions in North America to be integrated into New Holland Agriculture’s new Pro Work Tools marketing segment group.

The Pro Work Tools market segment encompasses farmers, landscapers, municipalities, construction companies, grounds maintenance contractors and others who use tractors as well as light construction equipment in their day-to-day business operations. Now, some executives will be in charge of both the Agriculture and Construction brands, whereas before there was no crossover.

While the brands will stay separate, the goal is to eventually have the majority of dealers offer both Agriculture equipment and Construction equipment at the same dealerships. Previously, there weren’t many dealers who could offer that option.

That change will create a one-stop shop for landscapers, if they have use for both agriculture equipment like a tractor loader backhoe and construction equipment like skid-steers, said Abe Hughes, vice president of the company’s North American operations.

“They will have the full service capability of the dealer,” he said, adding that the availability to buy equipment in one place can create discounts by purchasing two pieces of equipment from the same dealer instead of one purchase from two dealers.


New Holland equipment was also on display for up-close viewing.

Company executives admitted New Holland may not be the first company that comes to mind when asked about construction equipment. But Hughes says that wasn’t necessarily the case when it came to landscapers, but there is still room to improve.

“We are going to grow that presence,” he said. The current portfolio of New Holland light construction products – skid-steer loaders, compact track loaders, tractor/loaders, tractor/loader/backhoes, compact wheel loaders, compact excavators and related attachments – will retain the New Holland Construction branding.

Other notes from the event:

  • New Holland is partnering with NASCAR for the True Blue Salute. Visitors to the True Blue website are invited to write a “thank you” letter to a member of the Armed Forces.

    For each thank you letter sent, New Holland will donate $1, up to $10,000, to the Fisher House Foundation. The non-profit Fisher House Foundation provides a home for military families to be close to a loved one during hospitalization for an illness or injury.

    The Fisher House Foundation will also receive proceeds from the auction of a New Holland compact tractor hood, autographed by the winning drivers of 16 races in 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
  • The new Workmaster 35 and 40 compact tractor models are new to the company’s tractor line, and are machines meant to get the job done without all the bells and whistles of a more expensive tractor, said Doran Herritt, brand marketing manager, <60 hp tractors. The Workmaster 35 and 40 models are offered with a choice of two transmissions. Operators preferring a traditional gear transmission can choose the 12x12 synchronized shuttle transmission.

    The synchronized shuttle transmission makes change of direction easy because there’s no need to come to a complete stop when shuttling.

    For those preferring hydrostatic drive, a two-pedal HST transmission with cruise control allows the operator to adjust speed and change direction using two foot pedals: one to move forward and one to move backward.
     
  • Editors participated in a product rodeo competition, involving a skid-steer obstacle course and using attachments to take balls off cones and drop them in a bucket. No one was physically injured during the competition. Their pride on the other hand may have been damaged.


Photos by Brian Horn



The water fight in Illinois

For the past several years, the Illinois Green Industry Association (IGIA), the Illinois Landscape Contractors Association (ILCA) and many industry participants and advocates have worked with the Irrigation Association (IA) to push for the renewal of the Illinois Irrigation Registration Law, which was set for repeal in January of 2013.

As of December, 2012, the law was extended for one year. Since then, a bill has passed that renews the law for another 10 years, when it will automatically expire again. As of this writing, the bill has yet to be signed by the governor into law.

However, the Illinois contractors who provide irrigation services can breathe a small sigh of relief – for now. Currently under the law, to install or maintain irrigation systems in Illinois, a contractor must register with the state and every contractor must have a licensed plumber on staff or on contract.

All employees must also be registered and carry their registration card while working. This ensures professionalism in the industry.

“We’ve got an industry with a lot of good people doing a lot of great work, but we also have fly-by-night contractors out there who are undercutting the profits of our law-abiding contractors,” said Chad Forcey, director of state affairs with IA.

“We’ve got to empower the state to be able to go after our competition who aren’t following the law and are giving customers bad workmanship, and licensing is how we ensure that the quality of workmanship, the professionalism, and the public safety, health and welfare are at the top of the list.”

Furthermore, Illinois contractors are facing competition from the Plumbers Union.

“The Plumbers Union made a statement that they want irrigation to be only licensed plumbers,” said Dean Goodenough, vice president of Goodenough, Inc., an irrigation design and audit firm in Maple Park, Ill.

“In 10 years, we’re going to go through this battle all over again, and depending on how hard the Plumbers Union pushes, it could be a real battle for the contractors who are not licensed plumbers.”

Other states are seeing similar situations. New York and Florida are both fighting to get licensing in the books, Forcey said. And Texas and Oregon are experiencing the same kind of interest from plumbers, who see the irrigation industry as a potential market for them to take over exclusively.

Even those who aren’t seeing these issues in their state just yet should be actively working with their associations and be concerned with the fate of Illinois’ outcome in 10 years, Goodenough said.

“Other states are concerned, because they don’t want plumbers to get a foothold that there’s a state that says only licensed plumbers can do irrigation,” Goodenough said. “Illinois is a very, very strong union state. The Plumbers Union basically runs the legislature.”

For the near future, it’s important that contractors are licensed and stay in compliance with state laws, Forcey said. In addition, becoming members of IA and local irrigation associations will help to affect the outcome of legislative issues that can have a significant impact on contractors’ businesses, such as the Irrigation Registration Law in Illinois.

“We believe there is business enough for everyone,” Forcey said. “We’re not the enemy of the plumbers. We’re not the enemy of landscape architects. We’re simply saying, ‘Look, we have a profession. It is a recognized profession. It is a certified profession. It is a licensed profession in many states and we’re going to protect it. We’re going to defend the rights of our members to conduct business and to preserve their livelihoods.’”

To get involved, visit www.irrigation.org.


– Heather Tunstall


 


Gillette

ServiceMaster appoints Gillette as new CEO
The ServiceMaster Co. appointed Robert J. Gillette as chief executive officer. He succeeds John Krenicki Jr., who stepped in as interim CEO in April.

Krenicki will continue to serve as chairman of ServiceMaster Global Holdings, the parent company of ServiceMaster, and will work closely with Gillette to ensure a successful transition, the company said in a statement. Former CEO Hank Mullany resigned in April, which is when Krenicki Jr. took over temporarily.

“We knew the CEO role at ServiceMaster would be a very attractive opportunity, and with Rob’s appointment we’re getting a world-class leader who will take the company forward,” Krenicki said. “He’s a proven leader with broad experience in a variety of industries and a track record of delivering top-line growth, margin expansion and operational excellence.”

Gillette is the former CEO at First Solar, a manufacturer of solar cells and solar power plants. At First Solar, he expanded and refined the company’s global manufacturing capabilities and led the company to approximately 50 percent revenue growth, according to the company’s statement.

Previously, Gillette spent 12 years at Honeywell International, including roles as president and CEO of two of the largest divisions, Transportation Systems and Aerospace. Before Honeywell, he spent 10 years with GE, serving in variety of field and leadership roles, including general manager of GE Plastics South America, based in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Gillette is a graduate of Indiana University, with a bachelor’s degree in finance. Gillette said he’s excited about leading ServiceMaster.

“I’m looking forward to being a part of a winning team at ServiceMaster, and it starts with building a culture that puts our customers first in everything we do,” Gillette said. “We’re going to keep working hard to win the confidence and trust of our customers and deliver reliable and consistent performance for our investors.”


Letters

Frightening future I was forwarded a copy of your article in Lawn and Landscape titled “Strangled” (May 2013). I found it interesting, a bit scary and all too true. I am a 1965 graduate of the Horticulture Department of Iowa State University and spent 37 years in the greenhouse industry after my first five years after college were working in international development.

I retired from the Fred C. Gloeckner & Company six years ago and accepted a very part-time position as the Executive Secretary of the Commercial Flower Growers of Wisconsin (CFGW) (Wisconsin’s greenhouse trade organization).

Over my 37 years in the greenhouse industry, I saw the gross income, compared to the value of the dollar, continue to decline. Many of the crops that were once grown and added to the gross income are no longer profitable. Currently more than 90 percent of CFGW’s members grow only bedding plants which means, “All of our eggs are in one basket.”

If the weather during our short spring season is cold and rainy, it’s a long dry spell until the next spring. I can understand why they no longer hire university and college graduates when they are not making an income equal to that they would have to pay those students.

A couple of years ago I was asked to speak to a senior Horticulture class at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. The instructor asked that I talk about the employment options for those graduating students. I asked the CFGW board for their suggestions. The consensus of our 9 board members was to tell them to stay in school and get an MBA. If our board does not have a more positive outlook who would? In my 53 years in school and the Horticulture industry, I’ve seen a number of increases and declines in enrollment in Horticulture but I am not sure this time is the same. Despite the fact that I made an above average income working in Horticulture I am not sure, if I had a high school student, I would recommend that she/he major in Horticulture today.

Sorry for my rambling. It was good to read your article and see the topic that I’ve been worried about for a number of years, discussed.
John Esser, executive secretary, Commercial Flower Growers of Wisconsin


Parting gift
I wanted to pass along my thanks for posting the article (“Back from Boston,” June 2013) about Boston online so promptly. My dad got a kick out of seeing that. Last Friday at noon he went to heaven. I am glad he got to see that first.
Donna Dowell, Dowco Enterprises


New app fan
My name is Kendall Hines and my family owns a Lawn Doctor franchise in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I never miss an issue and love how you guys are adding video interviews and soundbites. Thanks so much!
Kendall Hines, manager, Lawn Doctor of SE Grand Rapids


Sound the alarms
I received your complimentary copy of Lawn & Landscape.  Thank you for including my article (“Wide and Shine” April 2013).  I appreciate your continued interest in my work.  I’m sorry that I could not submit more article material; however, my business continues to grow (at somewhat alarming rate).  I am currently behind in installations and the phone continues to ring.  I think I’m seeing a bit of a turn in the economy for the good.  The best news is that I still have a passion for lighting.
Jim Calhoun, Northern Lights, Mountain View, Calif.