Want to keep up with the latest news in lawn care and landscaping? Check back every Thursday for a quick recap of recent happenings in the green industry.

Production of All-New Isuzu Class 6 Truck Begins in Michigan
Isuzu Commercial Truck of America, Inc. distributor of America’s best-selling low cab forward trucks, has announced that production of its all-new entry in the Class 6 medium-duty truck segment, the 2018 Isuzu FTR, began, Monday, May 8, 2017. The truck is being produced at a new 80,000-square-foot Spartan Motors facility in Charlotte, Michigan. The new truck assembly plant where the FTR is being produced represents a $6.5 million investment and has brought new jobs to the Michigan workforce.

Warnke Stepping Down as Davey Tree CEO
Karl J. Warnke, chairman and CEO of The Davey Tree Expert Company, is retiring as CEO effective July 21. Patrick M. Covey, current president and chief operating officer, will assume the CEO role upon Warnke’s retirement as part of the company’s executive succession plan. Warnke has been with Davey 37 years and will continue as chairman. Under Warnke’s leadership, total annual revenue grew from $308 million in 1999 to a forecast $900 million in 2017. During that same period, more than 3,200 new employees were added to the company, expanding the employee base to approximately 9,000 in 2017.

Casey Reynolds Named TPI Executive Director
Turfgrass Producers International appointed Casey Reynolds, Ph.D., as the association’s executive director effective May 1.  Reynolds comes to TPI from the position of assistant professor and turfgrass extension specialist at Texas A&M, where he coordinated statewide turfgrass research and extension programs. He was the creator and editor of the program’s website, AggieTurf, and developed much of its educational content. Prior to joining Texas A&M, he served as a turfgrass research and extension associate for North Carolina State University from 2003-2013. Karen Cooper was appointed assistant executive director and will be assisting Reynolds.

Aquatrols Promotes Matt Foster to President and CEO
Aquatrols, which was acquired by Rural American Fund in 2015, has promoted Matt Foster from chief operating officer to President and CEO. His new role follows a transition period during which longtime President Tracy Jarman and Director of Sales Andy Moore have been shifting from operational duties to help guide strategy as directors on Aquatrols’ executive board. Foster was most recently Global Director for Plant Health at FMC. He was also a golf course superintendent.

Survey: Americans Create Great Memories In Their Yards
A new survey conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of TruGreen finds that nearly two-thirds of Americans (65 percent or 162 million*) report that some of their favorite outdoor memories have occurred right in their own yards. While the survey found that some Americans may be “yardbodies” instead of homebodies in warmer weather, spending an average of 12 hours per week in their yards during the summer, much of that time may be spent working to maintain their lawns. Americans say that they or someone in their household spend an average of seven hours each week caring for their yards. Harris Poll conducted the online survey on behalf of TruGreen from March 17-21, 2017, among 2,173 U.S. adults ages 18 and older.

Other key findings of TruGreen’s Spring Survey include:

  • 87 million Americans (35 percent) consider flowers blooming to be the first sign of spring, while 42 million* (17 percent) feel getting their yard ready signals the beginning of the season.
  • 69 percent of Americans say having a green, healthy lawn is important to them and 32 percent admitted to sometimes being embarrassed by the state of their lawn.

Arborjet Now Accepting Scholarship Applications
Arborjet is seeking applicants for its 2017 “Taking Root” Scholarship Program. Now in its fourth year, the scholarship program will award 10 graduating high school seniors each with a $1,000 scholarship to pursue full-time studies in forestry, plant sciences, horticulture, entomology, environmental science or a related major at an accredited two-year or four-year college. Applicants must be graduating U.S. high school seniors planning to major in a forestry course of study or related major for the entire 2017-18 academic year.The application deadline is June 30, 2017.

HNA 2017 Announces Conference Sessions on Industry Hot Topics
Hardscape North America 2017, an ICPI event, has announced two of its conference sessions this coming October in Louisville that will address some of the hardscape industry’s most pressing issues. Led by first-time HNA speaker David Murray will cover “OSHA’s New Crystalline Silica Regulation.” Also new to the conference session agenda is Todd Bairstow, whose previous contractor briefing on “Lead Generation Myths” will now be a full conference session titled “Emerging Online Lead Generation Trends for Residential Hardscape Businesses.”

SiteOne Announces Seasonal Savings Event
SiteOne is partnering with Hunter Industries, Vista Professional Outdoor Lighting, Drift Roses and other industry leaders to provide offers across all product categories. Offers include $250 off the Hunter ACC99D commercial controller, a Buy One, Get One Free battery offer on Greenworks Commercial products, special pricing on landscape lighting and more. The promotion runs until May 31 nationwide.

Dr. Frank Wong Named 2017 TOCA Environmental Communicator of the Year
The Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association and Project EverGreen have announced Frank Wong Ph.D., senior regulatory affairs consultant for Bayer CropScience, as the recipient of the 2017 TOCA Environmental Communicator of the Year Award. Wong received the award, which recognizes individuals in the green industry for outstanding communications efforts regarding environmental issues, during the TOCA Annual Conference in Tampa. He is the 19th recipient of the award. A member of the Bayer family since 2011, Wong has extensive experience in both research and field settings. He is a frequent lecturer to green industry professionals in the United States and around the globe. Wong earned his bachelor of science in biochemistry at the University of California, Davis and his doctor of philosophy in plant pathology and horticulture from Cornell University. He started his career in academia working at the University of California, Riverside in 2001.

Registration Opens for 2017 ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO in LA
Registration is now open for the American Society of Landscape Architects’ 2017 Annual Meeting and EXPO planned for October 20-23 at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles. The 2017 theme, “Common Ground,” reflects how landscape architects design common areas — including streets, parks, markets and gardens — where people meet and interact, creating and celebrating community, according to ASLA President Vaughn B. Rinner, FASLA. More than 6,000 attendees are expected and more than 130 education sessions, field sessions and workshops will be presented during the meeting. The EXPO will feature nearly more than 350 exhibitors with thousands of new products, services, technology applications, and design solutions.

NCNLA Launches New Consumer Resource Website
The North Carolina Nursery & Landscape Association, Inc. has launched a new consumer resource website, NCGreenprints.com. With comprehensive instructions for improving outdoor spaces of all sizes, the site highlights the economic, social and health and wellness benefits of landscaping. This online resource was created to provide consumers with a one-stop resource for enhancing their outdoor spaces with locally grown plants.

TOCA Foundation announces marketing internship program
The Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association Foundation is creating a marketing internship program, beginning in 2018. This marketing communications internship program for TOCA will complement its existing publishing internship program, which has been sponsored by Bayer for many years. The marketing communications internship will include a stipend and attendance to the TOCA annual meeting in May 2018. The internship will be 8-10 weeks long. The deadline for applying to host the intern is mid-December. The host organization will be chosen by the end of this year. Student applications will open Feb. 1, 2018, and the selection will be in April.

ChemChina and Syngenta Deal Approved by Shareholders
State-owned ChemChina faces challenges to integrate Swiss agribusiness giant Syngenta in China’s largest overseas acquisition to date. China Inc. reached a new milestone in global acquisitions as shareholders of Syngenta AG approved a $43 billion takeover by China National Chemical Corp., sealing the country’s biggest foreign deal to date.

Read last week’s industry news: New NALP Board of Directors Took Office