Photo by Jimmy Miller

LAS VEGAS – Former Major League Baseball pitcher Jim Abbott pitched in the gold medal game for Team USA in the 1988 Olympics. He threw a no-hitter for the New York Yankees in 1993, and he eventually had a career with four different teams in 10 seasons. It was certainly an admirable professional career.

But he still remembers having to learn how to throw and catch a baseball. Because Abbott was missing a hand, the transfer from his mitt to his throwing hand could’ve been clunky and awkward. Over time, he adjusted accordingly and it worked out well for him.

“I couldn’t play the game the way everyone else played it,” Abbott said during his keynote speech at the 2019 Irrigation Show. “That wasn’t a choice – that was a need.”

During his presentation, Abbott told hundreds of attendees at the Las Vegas Convention Center that everyone else in the building was also seeking ways to find new ways of doing things. That is, after all, why they attended a show – to learn about other methods and new products in irrigation, not to remain with the status quo. Using an acronym ADAPT – adjustability, determination, accountability, perseverance and trust – Abbott talked about the importance of “turning over the card.”

He remembers seeing the first baseball card with his face on it. He proudly showed some of his teammates and family members, but then he realized that eventually, everyone looks at the back of the card.

That’s where the statistics from previous years were listed – the good years and the bad.

 “If you were to see a career card for me, you would see that my baseball playing days held a little bit of everything,” Abbott said. “I come here this morning to tell you that we can do something about the challenges that come before us. Challenge takes on a lot of forms. What are you going to do about it? What action are you going to take?”

Couldn’t attend the Irrigation Show? Here’s just a bit of what he said:

MAKING THE SWITCH. Abbott said his life had always been about learning new ways, new strategies. He remembers his second grade teacher who taught him how to tie his shoes without one of his hands, a method he still uses today.

What Abbott found particularly striking is that his teacher had worked at night on his own to try and figure out a method that would work. “It was the smallest little adjustments that would open the biggest doors,” Abbott said.

DEALING WITH CYNICS. Abbott reminded attendees that, “when you bring a new idea home, you’re bound to get some skepticism.” Whether that foreign concept is a new irrigation skill or a one-handed pitcher throwing in a game, Abbott said there’s always going to be people who say “no” without hearing out the idea with open minds.

Abbott told a story about his high school football days when he was a quarterback. During his senior season, his team was one win away from a postseason berth against the crosstown rival. Win, and they’d make it to the playoffs; a loss would knock them out.

During a pep rally at school that day, opposing players had snuck into the high school with long socks on one of their hands to mock Abbott, making it look like they didn’t have a hand like him.

Abbott said he wasn’t sure if the hazing was meant to intimidate him or change how his teammates viewed him, but either way, the tactic was ineffective.

Keynote speaker Jim Abbott related his life in baseball to contractors attending the irrigation show: everyone is seeking a new way to win.

“Those things can work,” Abbott said, “only if you let them.”

STAYING STRONG. “In baseball, even a casual fan would know: What’s the difference between a good pitch and a bad pitch?” Abbott asked.

Then, he answered: “Not much.”

Just five days before Abbott threw his no-hitter against the Cleveland Indians, he faced that same lineup and pitched a total dud.

The lineup bashed him for several runs and knocked him out of the game early. Frustrated, Abbott left the dugout after throwing a fit and ended up running around the streets of Cleveland in a huff.

What he missed was his team coming back to score 11 runs and winning the game despite his blunders. Abbott’s manager called Abbott into his office and asked him why he wasn’t celebrating with his team. He advised the pitcher not to ditch out on his teammates ever again.

Days later, Abbott’s catcher met with him before the next game and told him to forget the other team entirely – he just had to trust his own abilities and try his best.

A few hours after that, Abbott’s teammates were celebrating one of his biggest career accomplishments with him – one that most pitchers will never experience at all.

KIOTI expands headquarters, product offerings

At its dealer event in Raleigh, North Carolina, KIOTI showed off new products and an expanded facility.

Photo by Lauren Rathmell

RALEIGH, N.C. – This November, Lawn & Landscape magazine stopped by KIOTI’s newly remodeled headquarters. The facility, which houses office space and a warehouse area, underwent a $13 million expansion. The 162,000-square feet expansion doubled the size of the facility creating new warehouse space to store machines and upgraded office areas. Equipment is shipped to the facility mostly constructed. At the North Carolina warehouse, finishing touches, like tires, are installed and machines are packed up and stored for shipment.

The facility opened for a tour during KIOTI’s annual dealer meeting and awards ceremony, a three-day event the company hosts each year.

“With the expansion of our North American headquarters, our new Canadian distribution center and a brand new product line in ZTRs, KIOTI has truly embodied amplification this year,” said Peter Dong-Kyun Kim, president and CEO of Daedong-USA, KIOTI Tractor Division. “And, we are always impressed by our dealer’s ability to amplify sales year over year. That’s why ‘amplify’ was the perfect theme for our annual dealer meeting. We have our strong network of committed dealers to thank for a year of continued success.”

New products. The event gave dealers a chance to get up close to new equipment offerings for 2020 as well. Hosted at Broadslab Distillery, a UTV course was set up as well as various equipment stations for ride-and-drive time with the machines.

KIOTI’s headquarters in North Carolina underwent a $13 million transformation, doubling the overall size of the facility.

The CS2220 and CS2520 sub-compact tractors feature a new platform, optimized design with integrated joystick valve and a Daedong engine. These tractors also feature a standard USB and 12v power outlet for increased convenience.

The new CX2510 compact utility tractor offers a twin pedal HST and tilt steering wheel for better accessibility. The new CK2610SE will incorporate a standard cab with AC and heat.

KIOTI also has plans to launch two new mid-mount mowers with drive-over decks for the CS Series SM2454 and SM2460.

“Our amplification efforts don’t stop with 2019, much bigger things await us in 2020 with the launch of a number of new products,” Kim said. The CEO also mentioned expanding into other compact equipment product areas for 2021.

The dealer event ended with a dinner and awards ceremony honoring various dealer achievements throughout the year.

Bland Landscaping acquires Landmark Landscape Services

Both companies are based in North Carolina.

APEX, N.C. – Bland Landscaping Company, a North Carolina provider of commercial landscaping management services, has acquired Landmark Landscape Services of Huntersville, North Carolina. 

Landmark, founded in 2006 by its owner Mark Michel, provides landscape maintenance, enhancement and irrigation services.

“We are thrilled to partner with Landmark,” said Kurt Bland, Bland Landscaping’s President and CEO. “Since 1976, Bland Landscaping has built a brand centered around quality work, attentive customer service and a commitment to excellence in everything we do. Mark and his team have an impeccable reputation and share our passion for landscape management. As Bland Landscaping continues to scale and expand our regional presence, Landmark provides a key branch location in the fast-growing metropolitan area north of Charlotte.”

Bland Landscaping, based in Apex, is a full-service provider of landscape design, installation, enhancement, and maintenance services. Its customers include offices, hospitals, universities, municipalities, and homeowner associations statewide, including the Triangle, Triad, and metropolitan Charlotte regions. The company ranked No. 79 on Lawn & Landscape’s 2019 Top 100 list. 

Bland Landscaping was founded in 1976 and ranked No. 79 on Lawn & Landscape’s 2019 top 100 list. meanwhile, Landmark Landscape Services has been in operation since 2006.

“I’m very proud of the great business we have built at Landmark,” Michel said. “Bland Landscaping shares our employee- and customer-focused values and has the systems to support significant growth for our combined companies while providing vast opportunity for employees to further their careers. Our clients in the thriving north Charlotte market will benefit from the expanded and enhanced services that result from this new partnership. I am thrilled for what our future holds and look forward to leading the new Huntersville branch of Bland Landscaping as branch manager.”

Bland Landscaping has an in-house team of more than 300 landscape experts that includes professional turfgrass and horticulture managers, landscape designers, chemical technicians, and floriculturists. Second generation owners Bland and his brother, Matt Bland, CFO and COO, lead the company.

Bland Landscaping continues to seek acquisitions of other maintenance-focused commercial landscape management providers, with a focus on companies based in North Carolina and South Carolina.

Davey Tree acquires assets from two companies

B. Haney & Sons Tree Service and Amy S. Greene Environmental Consultants will rebrand with the changes.

KENT, Ohio – The Davey Tree Expert Company acquired certain assets of B. Haney & Sons Tree Service, which is based in the greater Chicago area, as well as Amy S. Greene Environmental Consultants on the East Coast.

B. Haney & Sons provides residential and commercial tree care, plant health care and wood waste recycling services at its Lombard, Illinois, office. The firm has 12 employees who will continue with Davey in the operation, which will become the Davey Lombard Residential/Commercial services office.

Geoff Cowan, the operations manager of the Davey South Chicago R/C operating group, said B. Haney & Sons brings additional resources to serve existing clients of Davey’s several Chicago-area offices.

“Clients of Davey and B. Haney will benefit from the expanded service capabilities they offer,” Cowan said. “The technical knowledge, equipment, facilities and rich arboricultural history of B. Haney are a great complement to our existing offices here.”

Boyd Haney founded the company in 1940 as American Tree Service with a partner, whom he later bought out. He renamed the business B. Haney & Sons. It continued as a family owned enterprise until joining the Davey family of brands.

Former owner David Haney will serve as district manager of the new Davey Lombard office.

Meanwhile, Amy S. Greene Environmental Consultants will now do business as Amy Greene Environmental, a Davey company. Amy Greene Environmental provides environmental consulting services with an emphasis on natural resources analyses and permitting and environmental planning.

This includes wetland and stream delineation, restoration and mitigation consulting, along with endangered species surveys and consultation, and a wide variety of specialized permitting, planning and GIS services. Founded in 1986, the firm is based in Flemington, New Jersey, and operates in New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Connecticut and the surrounding areas. The firm has 29 employees.

“For the past 33 years, our staff has provided award-winning solutions to our clients throughout the eastern U.S.,” said Amy Greene, former owner and founder, Amy Greene Environmental. “We look forward to joining and strengthening Davey Resource Group’s team of dedicated natural resource consulting professionals. Additionally, our staff is excited about the employee-ownership and career development opportunities Davey offers.”

Greene will stay on as a consultant and assist with the transition of Amy Greene Environmental and its clients to Davey.

Karen Wise, the Davey Research Group’s vice president of environmental consulting, said clients of Amy Greene Environmental will benefit from the support Davey offers.

“The staff at Amy Greene Environmental are top notch. They use expertise and elite technical qualifications to provide high quality solutions. That makes them a perfect fit to join DRG,” Wise said. “What we have to offer are business systems, resources, and marketing support to grow and expand their reach. Clients throughout the Northeast U.S. will benefit.”

Joe Lustig will serve as area manager and will lead the Amy Greene Environmental operations. The team will continue to work out of its Flemington, New Jersey, office.

SavATree acquires Greenhaven Tree Care

This acquisition marks the company’s first branch in Kentucky.

BEDFORD HILLS, NY – SavATree acquired Greenhaven Tree Care of Louisville, Kentucky. This marks SavATree’s first branch in Kentucky as they continue their national expansion.

“Greenhaven Tree Care has long been a mainstay in the Bluegrass region,“ said Daniel van Starrenburg, CEO of SavATree. “They have an incredible reputation in the area for their highly trained and courteous crews. As we continue to grow the SavATree presence in this new region, their knowledgeable team will be a great asset. We’re excited to have so many people who share our values on board.”

Greenhaven Tree Care was founded in 1983 to provide the community with tree care and plant health care. Owners Robert and Patricia Rollins will remain to help ensure a seamless transition for clients. As part of the merger, clients will now have access to an enhanced range of services, including professional lawn care with a full complement of organic treatment options.

“We’ve always placed a great deal of focus on quality care for our customers and their environment,” Robert said. “We’re happy to have found such a great partner to carry on our mission and legacy.”

BrightView adds Orders to executive leadership team

Amanda Orders has been promoted to executive vice president and chief human resources officer.

BLUE BELL, Pa. – BrightView, a commercial landscaping services company in the United States, announced that Amanda Orders, senior vice president of human resources for the company’s maintenance services segment, has been promoted to executive vice president and chief human resources officer.

Orders will serve on the company’s executive leadership team and report directly to President and CEO Andrew Masterman.

“Mandy is an exceptional human resources executive, leader and tireless advocate for our nearly 21,500 team members across the nation,” Masterman said.

“She has made significant contributions in every dimension of human resources for this company and will be a great addition to senior leadership.”

Orders will be responsible for the overarching BrightView People Strategy, which includes talent acquisition, compensation, benefits management, career development, performance management, succession planning, equity administration, retention, training, leadership and organizational development across all BrightView service lines.

Orders started with the company in 2012 as human resources vice president. She was promoted to senior vice president of human resources for maintenance services in 2016.

Prior to joining BrightView, Orders held leadership positions in human resources at Alliance Data, a provider of co-branded affinity credit cards, and the ScottsMiracle-Gro Company, a marketer of consumer lawn and garden products.

Orders, a graduate of the Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business, will work out of the company’s headquarters campus in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania. L&L