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.

Target Specialty Products Acquires Residex
Target Specialty Products acquired Residex, a specialty chemical distributor. As a result of the acquisition, Target Specialty Products, founded in Gardena, Calif. in 1969, has doubled its market reach, expanding its footprint to the Midwest, Southeast and Northeast. Residex is based in Detroit and provides pest control and turf & ornamental products to the eastern half of the U.S. from 25 warehouse locations across 14 states.

STIHL Celebrates 90th Anniversary with Employee Party
STIHL celebrated its 90th anniversary on July 16 with more than 8,000 guests. The staff and their families as well as retirees were invited to the family fete at the founding company in Waiblingen-Neustadt, Germany. Since it was founded, STIHL has grown from a one-man business into a global outdoor power equipment manufacturer. Today, the company employs about 15,000 men and women and achieves an annual turnover of 3.25 billion euros.

Ariens Introduces EZ-Launch EFI Engine
Ariens introduced the AX EZ-Launch engine with EFI technology, designed for the Ariens line of Sno-Thro products. With the introduction of this new engine, Ariens is the first brand in the industry to apply modern automotive technology and offer an EFI solution for snow products, according to the company. The electronic system can start in extreme environments and run in different power modes for efficiency.

Isuzu Opens Center of Excellence in Pennsylvania
Isuzu Commercial Truck of America, Inc. opened its first Center of Excellence in northeast Pennsylvania. The complex — the first of its kind for Isuzu — has a 100,000-square-foot parts distribution center and a 30,000-square-foot training and technical assistance facility. The location in Jenkins Township/Pittston was chosen because the northeast has one of the highest concentrations of U.S. Isuzu dealerships, Isuzu commercial trucks in operation, and the company’s annual parts sales. Plans are underway for a similar second facility.

Overtime Relief Bill Introduced
The Overtime Reform and Enhancement Act is legislation that will initiate a three-year phase-in of the Department of Labor’s new overtime rule. The phase-in is designed to mitigate the impact of the new rule, and provide additional time for employers to make adjustments to comply with the new overtime threshold. NALP says they will continue to develop and encourage grassroots support for the legislation.

Performance Nutrition Announces National Sales Manager & Territory Sales Manager
Performance Nutrition, a division of LidoChem, Inc., announced the promotion of Randy Rider to National Sales Manager for Turf & Ornamental Products. Rider has worked for Performance Nutrition for the past six years, serving as a Territory Manager and, most recently, as Regional Sales Manager. A former golf course superintendent, Rider holds a BS in horticulture with an emphasis in turfgrass science from Oklahoma State University. Performance Nutrition has also announced the hiring of Ed Brockman as Territory Sales Manager for Turf & Ornamental Products, based in the Midwest region. Brockman has more than 20 years of experience in the industry and was the 2008 President of the Kentucky Turfgrass Council. He most recently worked at Sigma Organics as a distributor of turfgrass products and the Performance Nutrition line.

Dow Chemical & DuPont Deal Is Getting Closer
Dow Chemical CEO Andrew Liveris said he is reasonably confident that the merger between Dow Chemical and DuPont will get the green light by the end of the year. Then the company is planned to be split into three separate companies specializing in agriculture, chemicals and plastics, and specialty products. The new company will be called Dow DuPont and will have combined revenues of nearly $80 billion, according to Fortune.

SiteOne Acquires Bisset Nursery and Bisset Equipment
SiteOne Landscape Supply has acquired both Bissett Nursery and Bissett Equipment Companies. Bissett, started in 1963, has three locations on Long Island, NY and distributes nursery, hardscapes and landscape supplies, as well as equipment sales, rental and repairs to landscape professionals. The acquisition of Bissett provides SiteOne with its first nursery and equipment distribution locations in the Long Island/New York City metropolitan area.

Scotts Using Cash from TruGreen Deal for Hydroponic Gardening Firm
While reporting its third-quarter financial results, Scotts Miracle-Gro said it completed its contribution of the Scotts LawnService business into a joint venture with TruGreen. Expected earnings dilution from the transaction is likely to be slightly higher than expected in fiscal 2016 as the closing of the joint venture was delayed by about two months. With the aid of cash received from the joint venture, Hawthorne Gardening Company has acquired a 75 percent stake in Gavita, a Netherlands-based manufacturer of lighting and related equipment for hydroponic gardening, for $136 million. Hawthorne also signed an agreement to acquire Botanicare, which also deals with hydroponic gardening. Once the transaction closes, Scotts Miracle-Gro anticipates that Hawthorne will become its own reporting segment.

LandOpt CEO Tim Smith Stepping Down
Tim Smith is stepping down as LandOpt CEO after 12 years. LandOpt, founded in 2004, is a national network of landscape contractors. During his time as CEO, Smith helped the organization to grow to more than 30 U.S. locations. Smith, whose career included product manager for Eagle Point Software and owner of Evergreen Services, helped develop the model for the national network of contractors as well as refining and improving its system and personally coaching business owners to higher levels of success.

Jacksonville Cemetery Partners with Davey for Landscape Care
Evergreen Cemetery has partnered with The Davey Tree Expert Company — both were founded in 1880 — for full-service tree and landscape care at the cemetery’s 167-acre property, which is the final resting place to numerous notable Floridians. Michael Ondina, general manager of Evergreen Cemetery, said the agreement with Davey, effective July 1, marks the first time in the cemetery’s history it is outsourcing care of the overall landscape.

STEC Hires Sales Manager
STEC Equipment added Randy Cole as sales manager, working out of its headquarters in Anderson, South Carolina. Cole has a background in business development and customer/vendor relations. He has been involved with technology, as well as the landscaping and turf industry for years. He is a graduate of Appalachian State University and a native South Carolinian.

IPLCA Shutting Down; Joining with ILCA
The Illinois Professional Lawn Care Association (IPLCA) will be no more, effective September 12, 2016. The association was formed in 2007 to deal with issues and concerns important to Illinois lawn care professionals. The IPLCA’s leadership has decided it would be in the best interests of the industry to work with the Illinois Landscape Contractors Association (ILCA) as the strongest association to best advance the interests of lawn care professionals. To help build a bridge from IPLCA to ILCA, ILCA is offering a discounted first year membership rate. This only applies to IPLCA members who are not currently members of ILCA.

TaskEasy Delivers Over $20 Million in On-Demand Lawn Services
TaskEasy, Inc., has announced the completion of over $20 million in services ordered and delivered through TaskEasy.com. The services automation company took three years to reach their first $10 million in lawn mowing and snow removal, and needed just a few months to add the next $10 million in services performed. TaskEasy has mowed laws, plowed snow, and cleaned swimming pools in over 4,800 cities across all 50 US states. TaskEasy works with landscaping businesses with over 500,000 tasks performed a network of over 5,000 screened and insured vendors.

Full-Scale Fabric Building To Be Featured at MINExpo
Legacy Building Solutions is constructing a full-scale, stand-alone fabric structure completely inside the Las Vegas Convention Center for MINExpo September 26-28. The 20-foot by 30-foot building will be engineered and constructed by Legacy’s design-build team. The steel frames and PVC fabric panels will be manufactured at headquarters in South Haven, Minneanapolis , and then transported to Las Vegas. Once onsite, crews will install the building on the show floor. The complete assembly process will take three days.

Toro Announces New Water Efficiency Grant Program
Toro has launched the “Every Day. Everywhere. Every Drop Counts.” grant program to further awareness in water use efficiency. Individuals will nominate and vote for nonprofits to receive $30,000 in grants. All voting and sharing will take place through Twitter and Instagram, using the hashtag #ToroGives. Entries will be accepted via social media through August 31, 2016. The two nonprofits receiving the most votes during the contest period, will each receive a $10,000 grant. Two other nonprofits will be selected by a panel of Toro representatives to each receive a $5,000 grant.

OPEI Selects 2016-2017 Officers & Directors
The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) elected the officers and board members during the OPEI annual meeting held June 21-23 in Asheville, North Carolina.

  • Officers for the 2016-2017 year are: Chair: Tim Merrett, vice president, global platform turf & utility, Deere & Company; Vice Chair: Daniel Ariens, chairman & CEO, Ariens Company; Secretary/Treasurer: Tom Cromwell, group president–power, Kohler Company; Immediate Past Chair: Lee Sowell, president, outdoor products, Techtronic Industries, N.A., Incorporated.
  • New directors this year include: Bjoern Fischer, president, Stihl, and Jeff Hohler, president, consumer brands division, Husqvarna Professional Products.
  • Continuing their service on the OPEI board of directors are: Tim Dorsey, president, Echo Incorporated; Tom Duncan, president & CEO, Positec USA, Inc.; Edward B. Cohen, vice president – government & industry relations, American Honda Motor Company Inc.; Marc J. Dufour, president & CEO, Club Car – LLC; Peter Hampton, president, AActive Exhaust Corporation; Jean Hlay, president & CEO, MTD Products Inc.; Rick Olson, president & CEO, The Toro Company; Todd Teske, chairman, president & CEO, Briggs and Stratton Corporation; David Withers, president, Jacobsen, A Textron Company.

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