Companies in the News: John Deere reveals winner of “Small Machines. Big Impact.” contest; Ambius snags several Plantscape Awards; and more from Toro, LandscapeHub

July 25, 2018 -  By
Photo provided by John Deere

John Deere names Neil Behnke the winner of its second annual Small Machines. Big Impact. contest. (Photo provided by John Deere)

Neil Behnke, a volunteer with the nonprofit organization Black Forest Together, was chosen by the public as the grand prize winner of the second annual John Deere “Small Machines. Big Impact.” contest at the 2018 John Deere Classic Chairman’s Dinner.

As the winner, Behnke will take home his choice of a new model from the full portfolio of John Deere small-, mid- and large-frame G-Series skid-steers and compact track loaders (CTLs), with a WorkSite Pro attachment to help with his project, “Rising Above the Ashes.” This project helps residents of Black Forest, Colo., clear their land of dead, dangerous trees, resulting from the most destructive fire in Colorado’s history. The June 11, 2013, fire spread across 14,000 acres in 10 days, destroying more than 500 homes, causing $85 million in damage and claiming two lives.

As a result of the overwhelming response to the contest, John Deere also announced that it will help the two runner-up finalists in completing their community projects with a yearlong lease on a skid-steer or CTL from John Deere Financial. The runners-up are Kobus Appelgrijn of New Port Richey, Fla., and Anita Will of Ridgefield, Wash.

Through West Pasco Habitat for Humanity, Appelgrijn’s project, “Restoring Neighborhood Pride,” uses the help of over 50 volunteers to revitalize 40 badly deteriorating homes to help create a thriving community. Will’s project, “Trailblazing Outdoor Connections,” is transforming Whipple Creek Regional Park from a dilapidated area into a community staple, with more than 8,000 volunteer hours donated since restoration began in 2011, growing annual visits from 1,000 to 54,000.

Additionally, all three finalists will receive a $2,000 stipend to help in the completion of their projects, donated by John Deere and their local dealers. These finalists’ local dealers are: 4Rivers Equipment in Colorado Springs, Colo.; Dobbs Equipment in Lutz, Fla.; and Papé Machinery in Portland, Ore.

“These deserving finalists have inspired us with their enormous compassion and generosity,” said Graham Hinch, division manager, John Deere Commercial Worksite Products. “We are eager to follow their projects and see all that they accomplish in their communities using our G-Series machines.”

This year, with more than 370 entries, John Deere selected three finalists based on the potential impact of the project on their local community, how much the machine would be used to enhance the project and alignment with one of these John Deere Corporate Citizenship priorities: improve food security, education or community development.

Ambius took home 27 awards at this year’s AmericanHort’s International Plantscape Awards, held July 15 in Columbus, Ohio.

The organization presents the International Plantscape Awards annually, honoring outstanding interior plantscaping from across North America. Projects are entered into one of 10 categories and judged by veteran professional interior plantscapers.

The Ambius designers recognized include:

Platinum awards

  • Denise Centofanti, FMC Tower at Cira Centre South;
  • Denise Eichmann, Symphony Living Green Wall;
  • Denise Eichmann, Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal;
  • George Reader, Boston Properties-Reston Center; and
  • Marvin Storner, Wildlights St. Louis Zoo.

Gold awards

  • Amy Barnett, Dollywood Heartsong Theater;
  • Art Jimenez & Lynne Sutkowi, Alta At Camelback;
  • Charlee Storner, Children’s Hospital Exterior;
  • Charlee Storner, Clayton On The Park;
  • Chris Karl, Molasky Corporate Center;
  • Chris Karl, Rolling Hills Country Club;
  • Chris Karl, Marriott Newport Coast Villas;
  • Chris Karl, Pasea Hotel & Spa;
  • Janice Nath, VEBA;
  • Janice Nath & Jorge Alcaraz, Pendry;
  • Janice Nath & Jorge Alcaraz, Pendry Pool;
  • Janice Nath, Four Seasons Aviara;
  • Joanne Craft, Philanthropic Art Exhibition;
  • Joanne Craft, Haney Place Mall;
  • Laura Burns,;
  • Laura Burns, Bain Capital Ventures;
  • Michele Grusser-Garcia, XChange at Secaucus Junction;
  • Roberto Soto Major, Embassy Suites Boca Raton;
  • Troy Taylor, United Technologies Corp.;
  • Troy Taylor, United Technologies Corp.; and
  • Yuko Frazier, Hewlett Packard.

Charlee Storner, based in St. Louis, was recognized for her holiday designs at a children’s hospital with the Diamond award, one of the evening’s most prestigious honors.

The Toro Co. entered into a new partnership with Kinetic GPO, a cooperative purchasing organization established for public sector and MASH (Municipalities, Academics, School Boards, and Health and Social Services) entities across Canada.

The partnership will remain in effect until May 23, 2021, with an option to extend the term for an additional period of up to two years. Contract number 18-02 provides exclusive pricing and access to Toro groundskeeping equipment to public entities in Canada and helps these organizations reduce procurement costs by leveraging group purchasing power and simplifying the overall procurement process.

Included in the portfolio of products available under the contract are Toro’s line of commercial mowers, snow blowers and utility vehicles, among other product lines across Toro’s commercial, residential and landscape contractor (RLC) and Sitework Systems businesses.

“Kinetic is pleased to partner with Toro on this contract to streamline groundskeeping equipment procurement processes for our members,” said Chris Penny, CEO of Kinetic GPO. “Our evaluation team, which consists of several former procurement officials, stated that Toro’s response was as robust as any that they have ever seen. Public sector, MASH entities and nonprofits are able to leverage their spend—all while receiving the high levels of quality and customer service that Toro and their distributors are known for.”

The contract officially took effect on May 24.

LandscapeHub, an online marketplace for the nursery and landscape green industry, celebrated its first year as a company.

When LandscapeHub was first starting out, it had five suppliers and 10 buyers. Today, they have more than 100 suppliers and 1100 buyers.

Kelly Limpert

About the Author:

Kelly Limpert is a graduate of Ohio University, earning a Bachelor of Science in Strategic Communication from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism. Her background in online journalism and advertising aids LM in developing a strong online presence.

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