Toro Adds Financial Service Partners, Kicks Off Smooth Operator Tour

The Toro Co. has reached agreements with three additional financial service firms to support equipment and irrigation system sales through the company’s distribution channel. The new partners are VGM Financial Services, a division of TCF Equipment Finance, Inc.; U.S. Bancorp Business Finance Group, Inc.; and National City Commercial Capital Co., LLC, part of PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. With the assistance of local Toro distributors, the financing partners will provide customers with competitive rates and multiple sources through which they can acquire funding and develop a customized financing structure.

Toro has launched its Smooth Operator Tour, a nationwide event offering landscape contractors an opportunity to see and try the new GrandStand stand-on mower and the Z Master G3 series. Every stop on the tour, which continues through May, will be held at a locally owned Toro commercial dealership. For more information, call 800-348-2424, e-mail LCEproducts@toro.com or visit www.toro.com/smooth.

H-2B Legislation Introduced

Sens. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., and Arlen Specter, R-Pa., along with 18 other senators, introduced “Save Our Small and Seasonal Businesses Act of 2009” (S. 388) to extend the H-2B returning worker exemption for three years. Co-sponsors of the bill are Sens. John Barrasso, Richard Burr, Tom Coburn, Mike Enzi, Patrick Leahy, Jack Reed, Bob Bennett, Benjamin Cardin, Susan Collins, Orrin Hatch, Carl Levin, Olympia Snowe, Christopher Bond, Tom Carper, Mike Crapo, John Kerry, Joe Lieberman and Sheldon Whitehouse. Legislators can be reached through the congressional switchboard at 202-225-3121, and through the Professional Landcare Network’s Web site, www.landcarenetwork.org.

C.S. Trading Presents Sales Award

C.S. Trading LLC, based in Liberty, S.C., announced that Eckert Golf Sales, Winter Park, Fla., is the recipient of the C.S. Trading/Sisis North America award for the best overall sales in 2008. C.S. Trading is the sole U.S. distributor for Sisis turf equipment.

From left, Ian Camp, Frank Eckert and Paul Stephens.

Foley Helps Promote N.J. EMP

Foley Power Systems participated in several speaking engagements related to the generation of clean, energy-efficient power in New Jersey, in an effort to inform and educate the public regarding the New Jersey Energy Master Plan. The N.J. EMP proposes guidelines for reliable, efficient energy. Scott Yappen, Foley’s business development manager, joined a panel of experts speaking at the New Jersey Alliance for Action’s Utility Construction Conference. In addition, Foley has also promoted the N.J. EMP, and its recommendations for Combined Heating and Power (CHP), at several lunch-and-learn seminars with many of New Jersey’s leading consulting engineering firms.

Tom Lanman Vickie Wallace

Valley Green’s New Sales Reps

Valley Green, Inc. of Lolyoke, Mass., has hired Tom Lanman as sales representative for turf products in northern New England. Lanman has been in the industry for over 35 years, most recently spending 18 years with Lesco/John Deere.

Vickie Wallace has also joined the sales team of Valley Green. For the past few years, she has served as a turgrass consultant with Valley Green, but will now support sales in both the professional and retail turfgrass markets, concentrating her efforts within Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Wallace has previously managed sales territories with Turf Seed/Tee 2 Green Corp. and Lofts Seed, Inc. She has a bachelor’s degree from Penn State University and a master’s degree from the University of Rhode Island.

New England Grows Packs the BCEC

Nearly 13,000 green industry professionals attended New England Grows, held at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, Boston, Mass. The education program featured 30 sessions, including Greener Pest Management, How to Use Lean Principles to Optimize Business Success, Sustainable Design and Using Organics Effectively in the Landscape. The Essentials of Plant Identification, an interactive educational session led by Jack Ahern, University of Massachusetts, was back for a second year. It included a plant ID challenge on the exposition floor, with a grand prize raffle drawing for those successfully completing the challenge.

New Jersey Landscape Designer Creates Charitable Gardens

David Chewey and his team at Garden Associates Landscape Architecture, Somerville, N.J., have arranged to donate the design, project management, garden materials and installation labor to bring the historic Fleming Castle back to life. The castle was built around 1756 by Samuel Fleming and has been a museum since 2005. Chewey started Garden Associates in 1990 and created the Garden Beautiful charitable arm in 2007, donating services and resources to Eagle Scout projects, renovations for local parks, therapeutic gardens and more. Garden Beautiful coordinated with Doug Miller, Miller Landscaping, and Fred Hinslar, Green Piece Landscaping, to handle labor for the Fleming Castle project.

EPA Wetlands Exhibit Wins Three Awards

The Environmental Protection Agency won three awards for its wetlands exhibit at the Philadelphia Flower Show. The exhibit was called “L’acqua e vita. La vita e acqua.” (Water is life. Life is water.), in keeping with the show’s focus on Italy. It won the Philadelphia Horticultural Society Flower Show Award for best in show in nonacademic education; Garden Club Federation of Pennsylvania, special achievement award in education for exhibits under 1,000 square feet; and Garden Club of America, Bulkley Medal for a special exhibit of exceptional educational merit.

Stetz Joins American SportWorks

Mike Stetz has joined American SportWorks in the newly created position of director of commercial sales. Previously, he worked for E-Z-GO as corporate and government accounts manager.

Echo Announces Fleet Advantage

Echo Outdoor Power Equipment announced the Fleet Advantage program, which offers product discounts and Power Perks to members. It is open to any commercial landscaper, tree care service provider or municipality. For details, visit www.echo-usa.com/fleet.

Natural Forces Becomes Exclusive Marketing Agent for Rejex-it

Natural Forces, LLC announced that it will begin exclusive global marketing for all products in the company’s Rejex-it bird management line. The company is streamlining the marketing and ordering process so that all products from both Natural Forces and Rejex-it can be ordered by calling 866-53-BIRDS, at www.naturalforcesllc.com or through its office in Davidson, N.C.

News from John Deere

John Deere launched “The Prove It Tour,” which will take it to visit job sites, trade show lots and dealerships throughout the country to test the skills of real skid steer operators in the second season of its Web site campaign, www.skidsteersmackdown.com. Deere will put contractors behind the wheels of its skid steers to demonstrate the machines’ features.

John Deere Power Systems exhibited its Tier III/Stage III A engines and Interim Tier IV/Stage III B technologies at the World of Concrete trade show in Las Vegas, Nev. It displayed the exhaust filter it will use to meet the Interim Tier IV/Stage III B mobile off-highway emissions regulations for engines 174 hp and above, as well as engines from its PowerTech Plus family. The emissions regulations, which begin in 2011, require a 90 percent reduction in diesel particulates and a 50 percent reduction in nitrogen oxide.

AAT Supports Environmentally Responsible Organizations

Agrium Advanced Technologies has partnered with several environmental organizations as part of an ongoing initiative to become a leader in environmental stewardship and sustainability. AAT has made a three-year commitment to support the Environmental Institute for Golf’s E-Learning Webcast Series Grant and other initiatives. The company is an official “Sustainer” with Audubon International and also sponsors Project EverGreen and RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment).

Growth Products has launched a new Web site.

Growth Products Announces New Web Site

Growth Products, Ltd. launched its new Web site at www.growthproducts.com. It features a new look, easy navigation, information on the company’s products, Rate Application Calculator, searchable product catalog and more.

Oleykowski Joins UPI as Account Manager

Michael Oleykowski has joined United Phosphorus, Inc. as northern account manager, responsible for UPI’s turf/ornamental/PCO markets in the Midwest, Northeast and mid-Atlantic regions. Most recently, he was a sales and marketing manager for a green industry distributor, and he serves as the vice president of the New Jersey Green Industry Council.

Rain Bird Partners with APGA

Rain Bird and the American Public Gardens Association announced a partnership to celebrate the role of America’s public gardens in educating the public on the importance of environmental preservation through the formation of the first National Public Gardens Day on May 8. It will be supported by a local, regional and national awareness and education campaign that includes broadcast public service announcements, media partnerships, local and national spokespersons and media tours, all focused on communicating the importance of building sustainable environments through improved plant management and water conservation.

Wolf Mountain Reaches Agreement with TKI

Wolf Mountain Products has reached an agreement with Tessenderlo Kerley in which TKI takes an equity position in the company and Wolf Mountain acquires the fertilizer brand firsTurf from TKI. Wolf Mountain will be the supplier for TKI fertilizers for purchase sizes up to 275 gallons. TKI has manufacturing plants in 10 locations in North America.

Caroline René-Bazin

Forkster Celebrates René-Bazin’s Anniversary

Forkster, a division of Kaltec of Minnesota, celebrated Caroline René-Bazin’s first year with the company. She is responsible for sales and marketing of attachments and material handling for compact utility loaders in both national and international markets.

Bass Fishing Icon Visits Exmark Employees

Bass fishing icon Hank Parker visited Exmark’s manufacturing plant in Beatrice, Neb., to take a tour and help introduce Exmark’s 2009 Outdoor Tour and marketing campaign. Exmark will participate in more than 35 outdoor sports trade shows, introducing its mowers to hunting, fishing and boating fans. The tour includes a gear giveaway sweepstakes with more than $24,000 in outdoor products and an Exmark Arcade. To learn more, visit http://www.exmarkoutdoors.com.

GIE+EXPO Announces New Products Arena

A New Products Arena will be introduced at the 2009 GIE+EXPO. An enhanced feature of the trade show floor, the arena will be a larger and more comprehensive take on 2008’s New Products Live! Exhibitors will be able to introduce new products to attendees and the press on the arena stage during scheduled times, and products will be displayed in the arena throughout the show. A new, enhanced Web site that includes an online directory of exhibitors will be available June 1. A standard listing will be free to all exhibitors, with three other listing options available.

Whitacre Named CEO-Elect of Simplot

Bill Whitacre has been named chief executive officer-elect of the Simplot Co. Following a transition period, he will succeed Larry Hlobik, who has announced his intention to retire after serving as president and CEO for seven years. Whitacre joined Simplot in 2000 as president of the turf and horticulture business and was appointed to the position of president of the AgriBusiness Group in 2002. He has more than 30 years’ experience in the agriculture industry.

Kenworth Hosts Medium-Duty Chassis Update at Work Truck Show

Kenworth Truck Co. offered the latest information on its medium-duty trucks and participated in two hybrid truck ride-and-drive sessions during the Work Truck Show. Judy McTigue, medium-duty marketing manager, presented a Kenworth Chassis Update. A Kenworth T720 hybrid truck was available for test-drives during the Hybrid Truck & Alternative Fuel Ride-and-Drive.

News from Terex

Terex Aerial Work Platforms, a business segment of Terex Corp., announced that customers can now access service and parts manuals free of charge via DVD or the Genie Web site at www.genieindustries.com/manuals.asp. A DVD will now be included with all Genie boom, scissor and telehandler products, as well as Terex generator and light tower purchases, instead of a printed set of manuals. Other products will come with a flyer directing the customer to the Web site.

Genie debuted two new products at the American Rental Association trade show in Atlanta, Ga. Making their North American debut were the S-85 telescopic boom and the GRC-12 Runabout Contractor.