MIAMI, Fla. — The National Hispanic Landscape Alliance (NHLA) has announced its new Board of Directors for the 2015-2016 term.

The NHLA’s new leadership reflects the diversity of the landscape industry, including a variety of national origins, both Hispanic and non-Hispanic.

This year’s board of officers includes:

  • President—Juan Torres, founder, Next Step Solutions, East Haven, Connecticut
  • President-Elect—Pam Berrios, president, Alexandria Lawn Service, Alexandria, Virginia
  • Secretary—Jose Arroyo, president, Jose’s Landscaping, Lyman, South Carolina
  • Treasurer – Domenic Chiarella, 7 of 7 Best Business & Life Strategies, Southbury, Connecticut
  • Immediate Past-President—Raúl Berrios, principal, Rulyscapes, Inc., Centreville, Virginia

Ralph Egües will continue to serve as executive director of the National Hispanic Landscape Alliance.

Additional directors that will make up the NHLA Board this year include:

  • Stephanie Carrillo of Ruppert Landscape (Garner, North Carolina)
  • Omar Cordero of LC Landscape (Denver, Colorado)
  • Josh Denison of Denison Landscaping Inc. (Fort Washington, Maryland)
  • Rafael Díaz of Diaz Group, LLC (Chicago, Illinois)
  • Ivan Giraldo of Clean Scapes Landscaping (Austin, Texas)
  • MJ Macias of Gachina Landscape Management (Menlo Park, California)
  • Mari Medrano Mejia of CoCal Landscape (Denver, Colorado)
  • Ken Taylor of John Deere (Cary, North Carolina)
  • William H. Walton III of Honda Power Equipment (Alpharetta, Georgia)

“It is such an honor to take on this role as president of the NHLA. During the last couple of years, the organization has made tremendous strides, implementing unique educational programs and facilitating beneficial peer-to-peer interaction, while effectively advocating for the best interests of our members and the industry,” said Torres. “Our board looks forward to continuing to develop programming that meets the specific needs of Hispanics in the landscape industry and helps them become more successful and grow as industry leaders.  We also look forward to continuing to help the broader industry better engage the growing number ofHispanics in our industry.”

In addition to developing new educational programs and announcing new equipment discounts for members, the NHLA in 2015 has been busy promoting the environmental and human health benefits of turfgrass use and opposing turfgrass limitations. The NHLA has simultaneously been working to support those who employ seasonal workers through the H-2B visa program by opposing the Department of Labor, which has continued to burden that program and make it too costly for many landscape companies to use.

The organization not only advocates on behalf of Hispanics in the industry, but also creates training programs and offers resources to ensure their success and that of business owners that are strengthening the U.S. economy and creating jobs. The NHLA plans to continue amplifying educational offerings that focus on the upward mobility of the Hispanic workforce and bridging the cultural gap that exists between those in leadership positions and their laborers.

The NHLA has experienced a sharp increase in membership enrollment in 2015 as leading manufacturers have extended members-only discounts and forward thinking dealers have leveragedthese incentives and worked with the NHLA to better engage Hispanics in their area.