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Companies in the News: Updates from Rain Bird, Scythe and more

August 3, 2021 -  By

The National Business Research Institute (NBRI) welcomed Rain Bird to the NBRI Circle of Excellence for the seventh consecutive year. The award recognizes organizations that demonstrate high levels of employee experience through rigorous, scientific, psychological research of their employees. Organizations must score at or above stretch performance at the 75th percentile of their industry.

Rain Bird is compared to, or benchmarked against its industry which is a subset of NBRI’s Big Data of 10.5 billion survey answers. NBRI commends the leadership of Rain Bird for their commitment to continuous improvement of its employee experience.

Scythe demonstrates its autonomous mower prototype at a Yardmaster job site in Columbus, Ohio, as part of its nationwide tour (Photo: LM Staff)

Scythe demonstrates its autonomous mower prototype at a Yardmaster job site in Columbus, Ohio, as part of its nationwide tour (Photo: LM Staff)

Scythe Robotics is hitting the road this summer to offer in-person demos of the landscape industry’s first fully autonomous commercial grade mower.

Landscape contractors can receive a hands-on demonstration of the Scythe self-driving 52-inch battery-powered stander mower in Chicago, Dallas and Houston.

The Scythe Road Show Schedule includes:

  • Aug. 4 – Grapevine, Texas (Dallas)
  • Aug. 5 – Houston

There is no fee to attend, and contractors can register here.

The demos will allow contractors to see and operate the mower and view its striping capabilities, how it automatically adjusts cutting patterns and check out the mower’s safety and eco-friendly design, including zero emissions. Contractors will also be able to ask questions of the Scythe design team during the events.

Landscape material marketplace GoMaterials released a report detailing the severity of the 2021 plant shortages, aimed at helping the industry map the impact across the U.S. South.

Based on proprietary sourcing data from thousands of landscaping jobs, the report includes rich information on specific sizes, plant species and pricing trends impacted by the shortages. As per the data in the report, plants and trees currently in short supply are selling for on an average 20 percent higher prices compared to last year.

Plant shortages in recent years have been exacerbated due to the simultaneous effects of COVID-19, extreme weather events and changing consumer preferences. GoMaterials’ 2021 report explores the role played by the twin effects of the pandemic restrictions as well as the Texas Snowstorm.

“Most of the wholesale suppliers and landscapers that we work with have been impacted by the shortages, and lack of information on the exact details about sizes, species in short supply and pricing is adding to the confusion. This report is our way of helping our friends and coworkers from the industry,” said Marc Elliott, CEO of GoMaterials. “More than 60 percent of industry partners we spoke to expect the shortages to persist for at least two years. GoMaterials is constantly evaluating the situation by working closely with our nursery partners to build awareness and more efficient supply channels.”

Landscaping companies can now download the report to learn more about items and sizes in short supply, pricing increase trends and substitution alternatives. The new report also helps wholesale nurseries benchmark their prices based on the data in the report.

Case Construction Equipment has named its 2020 “Diamond Dealer” and “Gold Dealer” award recipients as part of its North American Construction Equipment Partnership Program. The awards recognize dealerships across the U.S. and Canada for excellence in five categories including sales performance, marketing and communications, product support, parts support and training.

The 2020 Diamond Dealer award winners are: ASCO Equipment (Texas), Groff Tractor (Pa., Md., N.J.), J.R. Brisson Equipment (Ontario, Quebec), Longus Equipment (Quebec), McCann Industries (Ill., Ind., Mich.) and Redhead Equipment (Saskatchewan).

The 2020 Gold Dealer award winners are: Crawler Supply (La.), Eagle Power & Equipment (Del., Pa.), HiTrac (1974) (Winnipeg, Manitoba), Kucera Group (Ontario), Lawrence Equipment (Va., N.C.), Medico Industries (Pa.), and Monroe Tractor (N.Y., Mass., Conn.).

The Mi-T-M Corp. is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2021.

The company was founded in 1971 by A.J. Spiegel, who engineered and developed the very first 1000 PSI self-contained, gas-powered pressure washer.

Today, Mi-T-M is an industrial equipment manufacturer and more than 450 dedicated employees build hundreds of products every day.

Doosan Bobcat North America held a groundbreaking ceremony to commemorate the start of construction for a new $70 million, 600,000-square-foot manufacturing, warehouse and distribution addition to the current office and manufacturing complex in Statesville, N.C.

The expansion project will double the facility’s footprint to nearly 1.2 million square feet and add 62 acres to the current 92-acre campus, making it the company’s largest manufacturing campus worldwide.

Hundreds of employees, along with elected officials and community and business leaders were on hand to celebrate the project with company executives.

The investment brings additional employment opportunities, economic growth and community involvement to Iredell County and the surrounding area.

The Statesville operation’s current team of 400 full-time employees will grow substantially through this project, which will result in the creation of 42 new jobs in the first two years and up to 250 new jobs in five years for a total of 650 employees at full capacity.

The hiring plan includes production, manufacturing engineering and operations positions, all of which offer competitive and comprehensive benefits packages, initial and ongoing training and the opportunity for career advancement roles. The company has been active in providing leadership and support for vocational and workforce development programs to support manufacturing, engineering and technology education. The project is slated for completion in fall 2022.

ManageMowed has strengthened its national presence in the first half of the year with several new openings and signed franchise agreements.

Coming off a strong Q4 in 2020, the brand looked to continue its rapid franchise expansion heading into 2021. With four new territory openings nationally in Colorado Springs, Matthews, N.C., West Central Houston and Oklahoma City as well as three new signed franchise deals for locations in Travis North and Wilco South, Texas and South Charlotte, ManageMowed is executing its strategic growth plan successfully with highly qualified franchise owners.

Well-positioned to plant new seeds across the country in the latter-half of 2021, target growth markets for ManageMowed include California, Florida, Alabama, Texas, South Carolina and North Carolina as well as in markets contiguous with its existing territories across the West Coast and the Rocky Mountain region.

Turf Masters Lawn Care, provider of lawn care services in the southeast, will award $60,000 in scholarships over the next five years to students pursuing careers in turf at Clemson University and The University of Georgia (UGA).

The scholarship program is part of Turf Masters’ continued commitment to the community and green industry.

The scholarships will be available to students beginning in the fall of 2022. Each year through 2026, two (2) $3000 scholarships will be awarded at UGA and one (1) $6000 scholarship at Clemson.

Students must meet the following criteria to be eligible:

  • Undergraduate, upperclassman
  • Horticulture and or crop and soil sciences major with an emphasis in turf, lawn care, pest control or ornamentals (UGA)
  • Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences major with an interest in turf (Clemson)

Turf Masters also plans to establish an internship program to begin in the summer of 2022 for students interested in a career in the turf industry.

As part of the controlled roll out of the recent global distribution agreement, Fecon added Vermeer All Roads.

With 15-plus locations throughout the Mid-Atlantic, Ohio Valley, Northeast and New England, Vermeer All Roads provides a robust line of mulching equipment that incorporates the best of Vermeer and Fecon mulching technology.

Vermeer All Roads dealerships will begin stocking Fecon-made forestry mulching tractors and attachments in addition to their full lineup of Vermeer branded forestry equipment, making it simpler for customers to find the equipment best suited to their needs.

In other Fecon news, Fecon is undergoing a rebranding effort, which stresses the user experience rather than mere machinery, for both experiences land clearing contractors and those new to the business, with a new website.

Emphasizing the safety, production and reliability inherent within each mulching tractor, mulching attachment, forestry attachment and accessory, the streamlined site is easily accessible from laptops or mobile devices. It includes intuitive architecture which is easier to navigate. An interactive “application roadmap” makes it fast and easy for users to find mulching solutions to suit their situation.

In addition to reducing the number of pages by more than 20 percent, the streamlined site includes links to informative and educational videos, Fecon Connect which identifies parts for all Fecon products, information on careers at Fecon, and much more.

David J. Frank Landscape Contracting has gone 2,190 consecutive days with no lost time due to accidents.

“Safety has been ingrained in our culture for years, so we have had long stretches without a lost-time incident before, but never anything like this,” said President David R. Frank. “It’s a testament to our team members’ dedication to keeping each other safe.”

With more t han 3,000 pieces of equipment and 250 landscape workers, David J. Frank is one of the largest landscapers in Wisconsin. Nearly 100 crews are dispatched daily to residential and public sites, where every project is different and presents their own set of unique safety challenges.

K-Rain Manufacturing‘s RPS Select rotor has won the Product Innovation Award at the EIRS trade show.

The International Sustainable Irrigation Expo (EIRS) is annual event held in Queretaro, Mexico featuring manufacturers’ irrigation products from around the world.

Sarah Webb

About the Author:

Sarah Webb is Landscape Management's former managing editor. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Wittenberg University, where she studied journalism and Spanish. Prior to her role at LM, Sarah was an intern for Cleveland Magazine and a writing tutor.

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