Industry Update


U.S. Lawns Holds Annual Conference

The 2010 U.S. Lawns annual conference was held in Orlando, Fla., and featured entertainment by comedian/magician Erick Olson, a speech by U.S. Lawns president Ken Hutcheson, a keynote address from Brian Holloway and sessions with Bryan Flanagan and Bob Alexander.

Two people were inducted into the U.S. Lawns Hall of Fame, Shawn Bone of Dayton, Ohio, and the late Alan Swinburne of Haines City, Fla. The company renamed the Rising Star award as the Alan Swinburne Rising Star Award to honor Swinburne, who lost his battle with cancer in 2010.

Willow Creek Aqua-Loc pavers in the parking lot of MRG Tool & Die.

Willow Creek Pavers Enable Expansion

When MRG Tool & Die, Faribault, Minn., wanted to double the size of its manufacturing facility, county zoning regulations required the company to reduce the amount of impermeable surfaces on its property. The solution the company chose was Aqua-Loc permeable pavers manufactured by Willow Creek Concrete Products, Kimball, Minn. JD Rynders, Inc., Prior Lake, Minn., installed 20,000 square feet of the pavers on MRG’s parking lot to meet the local zoning requirements.

Excel Installs New Testing Grounds

Excel Industries, Inc. has developed a new 20-acre mowing test facility near its production plant in Hesston, Kan. The area, which includes trees and slopes, was installed as an expansion of Excel’s current testing grounds. The mowing facility will be the centerpiece of Hustler Days 2012.

Distributors discuss the Plugr PL855 turf aerator with Nathan Antons, SourceOne national sales manager.

SourceOne Distributors Gather at GIE

The GIE+EXPO was the site of the first distributor meeting hosted by SourceOne Outdoor Power Equipment. Distributors were briefed on new product features and discussed the growing SourceOne product lines. The company received positive feedback on the growth of models in the Plugr line of aerators and its website change to Distributors also provided input on the Dealer of the Year award.

Rebecca Butler

Dixie Chopper Names National Sales Manager

Rebecca E. Butler was appointed to the position of national sales manager for Dixie Chopper. Previously, Butler had served as both a zone manager and territory manager. She joined the company in 2008 as the first female territory manager. She holds a degree in business management.

Rain Bird Announces Awards Program

Rain Bird announced the launch of the Intelligent Use of Water Awards program, an interactive grant program that will award more than $50,000 to water conservation and environmental sustainability projects that promote green spaces. Open to nonprofits, landscapers, homeowners, schools, community organizations or anyone with an appropriate project, the program invites the public to submit projects in need of funding at Winners will be announced on World Water Day, March 22.

Stens’ 2011 catalog.

Stens Offers 2011 Catalog

Stens’ 2011 catalog features over 6,000 parts and includes over 300 new product additions. It contains easy-to-use tabs by product categories, search capabilities by OEM and competitor part numbers, equipment and engine model quick reference charts and an easy-to-find new products section. For more information, call 800-457-7444 or visit

Isuzu Trucks Return from Nationwide Tour

Isuzu Commercial Truck of America, Inc. concluded its ECO-Advantage Tour, a coast-to-coast showcase for the emissions-reducing technology found on the 2011 Isuzu NPR ECO-MAX. Two upfitted versions of the truck visited over 200 Isuzu truck dealers. The lightweight ECO-MAX Tool Pro was upfitted with a recyclable aluminum utility body engineered by The Reading Group, LLC. The ECO-MAX Aero Body featured an aerodynamic van body designed by Supreme Corp.

Two Isuzu NPR ECO-MAX trucks traveled over 15,000 miles on the ECO-Advantage Tour.

Eagle Point Named Preferred Partner

Eagle Point Software was chosen as a preferred industry partner by Autodesk, Inc.. The Autodesk Preferred Industry Partner Program delivers tightly integrated, industry-specific software solutions that leverage the power of Autodesk’s 3-D modeling and simulation technologies to create competitive advantage for customers.

The Firestone SkyPaver

Firestone Selects VAST as Manufacturer

Firestone Building Products Co., LLC selected VAST Enterprises, LLC as its exclusive manufacturer of Firestone SkyPaver composite roof pavers. SkyPaver is an interlocking roof paver system manufactured in a blend of recycled car tires and plastic containers. The pavers offer several advantages for flat roof applications, including vegetative roofs and habitable roof spaces.

Ariens to Acquire Søvde

Ariens Co. announced it has reached an agreement to acquire Søvde, a power equipment distributor located in Rygge, Norway. The acquisition is expected to be complete in early February. Søvde will continue to operate as a two-step distributor between Ariens and independent power equipment dealers in Norway. Lasse Jonassen will remain as managing director of the company.

ArborSystems Donates Insecticide to Arboretum

ArborSystems announced the donation of Pointer insecticide to protect the ash collection at the Boone County Arboretum just outside Union, Ky. The company also donated tree care products for the arboretum’s white birch and oak trees. Central Lawn Care, Fort Mitchell, Ky., is the applicator for the 88 ash trees.

Discovery Education to Launch Program

Discovery Education is launching a new science-based curriculum in the spring for elementary students, geared toward helping them appreciate and take care of green spaces around the home responsibly. TurfMutt, a caped dog crusader, is the face of the new program and aims to get kids outside and help them understand the importance of green spaces. Visit and sign up for Mutt Mail, and visit to join TurfMutt’s blog.

Residex and Turfgrass Combine

Residex, LLC and Turfgrass, Inc. have officially combined both companies into one business. The new company will retain both former brands into the foreseeable future. The new headquarters for Residex-Turfgrass will be in Novi, Mich., and Chris Donaghy will serve as CEO, while Todd Griebe will be president. Jim Hespe and Janice Cronin will serve as vice presidents of operations and finance, respectively.

Vanguard Engines Win Award

The Briggs & Stratton Commercial Power Vanguard engine series was awarded the Power Equipment Trade 2010 Dealers Choice Award. Vanguard engines took home top honors in the wheeled equipment category, one of five award categories that also included accessory/attachment, business services, hand-held equipment and power sports/recreation. The awards, which honor innovative products, are nominated and voted on by lawn and garden power equipment dealers.