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People on the Move: Awards, promotions and hirings from John Deere, BrightView and more

March 18, 2020 -  By

John Deere named its 2020 John Deere Landscape Industry Scholarship winner: Renata Goossen from Kansas State University.

Goossen will receive a check for $2,500, which will contribute to furthering her education.

“We are inspired by Renata’s passion for the landscape industry, and we are honored to name her as our 2020 scholarship winner,” said Mark Schmidt, associate director of stakeholder relations and stewardship, John Deere. “Renata is an inspiration to her peers and her hard work, talent and devotion will certainly drive her continued success. We look forward to seeing the impact Renata will have on the industry.”

A junior at Kansas State University, Goossen is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in horticulture production, with a concentration in floriculture production. In addition to her role on the Kansas State University NCLC team, she is also an active member of the university’s horticulture club.

BrightView’s two most senior executives at BrightView, Jeff Herold and Tom Donnelly, will both celebrate their 40th anniversaries this month.

Herold is president and COO of the landscape maintenance business and Donnelly is president of the company’s landscape development business.

Takeuchi-US hired Jim Spicer as a new regional product manager for the Midwest.

As regional product manager, Spicer will be responsible for dealer sales training, supporting national accounts and national account training and growing the dealer retail business and market share within the Midwest region.

Spicer comes to Takeuchi with nine years of experience working on the dealer side. He recently was with a dealer in Bloomington, Ill., as a sales account and operations manager. Prior to that, he was a product support specialist working with a dealership in Farmer City, Ill.

While working with previous dealerships, Spicer received direct sales and service training from Takeuchi product managers as part of Takeuchi’s Sales School.

Takeuchi-US also promoted Henry Lawson and John Vranches to new leadership roles. Lawson has been named director of sales, while Vranches will be in a new role as divisional sales manager.

As director of sales, Lawson will take on all the dealer sales development and national account business and activity in North America. The position is accountable for achieving company market share objectives. This includes areas of dealer sales, such as budgeting, asset management and inventory audit responsibilities, in addition to directing and managing the national rental accounts for market penetration.

As divisional sales manager, Vranches will manage and direct both the regional business managers and regional product managers to develop and maintain support for the Takeuchi dealer network and the national account base in North America.

He also will ensure Takeuchi provides the highest level of products and support to the marketplace. Additionally, this position works alongside the regional business managers to develop new dealers across North America and provide proper support channels to Takeuchi’s customer base.

Ruppert Landscape promoted Jennifer Saah to vice president of accounting and financial risk management.

Saah has more than 12 years of experience in general ledger accounting, financial reporting and corporate accounting management. She holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting and economics from High Point University and is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). She joined the Ruppert organization in 2015, where she assisted with tax, compliance and related party accounting for Ruppert Cos., Ruppert Landscape’s parent company. In 2017, she was promoted to controller of Ruppert Landscape. That same year, she was awarded the company’s Corporate Impact Award for her outstanding dedication, contributions, and positive impact on the organization.

In this new role, in addition to continued oversight of the accounting and payroll departments’ core functions, Saah will provide strategic planning and oversight in areas including but not limited to treasury, insurance risk programs, corporate budgeting and internal controls.

Ruppert Landscape also promoted Tina Holt to director of payroll and benefits. She joined Ruppert in 2007, managing payroll for eight branches and 450 employees at that time. Since then she has evolved and adapted through periods of fast growth, acquisitions and system upgrades, now overseeing payroll and benefits for 25 branches and almost 1,700 employees. In 2012, she was awarded the company’s Corporate Impact Award for her outstanding dedication, contributions, and positive impact on the organization.

Ruppert promoted Darren Woods to controller. He holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Maryland, College Park and is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). He joined Ruppert in 2018 as assistant controller, directing all aspects of the general ledger, compliance, treasury, accounts payable and accounts receivable functions. His focus has been on understanding the company’s processes, systems and culture; building relationships with corporate and operational management; as well as evaluating and restructuring the accounting department to optimize effectiveness.

Finally, Ruppert Landscape promoted Mike Felts to vice president of human resources (HR) and information technology (IT).

Felts has held numerous positions during his nine years with the company, including estimator, production manager, operations manager and branch manager in the Maryland landscape construction branch and most recently, as corporate administrative manager.

Prior to joining Ruppert, he held positions as a partner in a general contracting company in North Carolina, a small business financial advisor and served six years as a sergeant in the U.S. Army, deployed to Afghanistan for two of those years. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business management from Virginia Tech.

In his new role, he will focus on both strategy and structure as it pertains to the two departments. The HR team will continue to build efforts around recruiting, training and retaining talented employees. The IT team will focus on the security and the strategic growth of the company’s processes and systems.

Agrisel USA, which specializes in the formulation and distribution of value-added products to dealers and distributors in the agricultural, poultry, turf and ornamental, golf course, home and garden and specialty pest control markets, appointed two new staff members: Bob Forreider and Bobby Hopkins as sales representatives for the Southern U.S. territory.

Forreider joins the company with more than 20 years of experience in various industry segments. In his new sales position, Forreider will be responsible for promoting and selling Agrisel USA products within the turf and ornamental, pest control, agricultural and specialty markets throughout Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina and north Georgia.

Prior to joining Agrisel USA, Forreider worked the last 15 years in technical sales for industry-leading companies including Terminix, York Distributors and Ensystex in Arizona, California, Utah and Nevada.

Hopkins joins the company as the new sales representative serving Florida, southern Georgia, southern Alabama and Texas. Hopkins will be responsible for driving territory sales and expanding market penetration of the company’s portfolio in the turf and ornamental, greenhouse, horticultural, agricultural and specialty crop markets.

For the last 25 years, Hopkins has worked in the crop protection segment, holding various sales and marketing roles for Oil-Dri Corporation, Sipcam Agro USA, Sipcam Italia and Sipcam Australia. He also owned and operated a company in North Florida called Fleet Pro for 10 years.

BioSafe Systems hired Jon Konya as a technical sales representative in the Great Lakes region.

Konya studied botany and forestry in Wyoming and Florida. He has a degree in commercial and industrial photography. He was the sales manager for Twixwood Nursery in Berrian Springs, Mich. He also worked for the Michigan Peat Co. in Sandusky, Mich., as a sales and technical representative.

BioSafe Systems also promoted Patrick Clark to technical marketing manager. He will be based in Newark, Del., while supporting the agriculture and horticulture segments of U.S. and Canada. Clark started at BioSafe Systems in March of 2017 as a technical sales representative for the agriculture segment in the Northeastern region of the U.S.

Clark’s primary role will be the key liaison amongst the research and development, sales and marketing departments. He will be providing technical oversight for the marketing and design team, assist in management of products through their life cycles, provide technical product and agronomic support to the sales force, assist in the coordination and management of product research trials, conduct technical product and industry-related trainings, contribute to developing market and brand strategies and product programs, assist the regulatory department in technical support of product labels, represent the company and its value within the industry and more.

Conserva Irrigation named one of its franchise owners as Outdoor Living Brands’ Franchisee of the Year: Jason Butler.

Butler is a franchise owner of two Outdoor Living Brands’ concepts, including Conserva Irrigation and Outdoor Lighting Perspectives, owns Conserva Irrigation of North Atlanta since 2017 and has driven his operation to be one of the top three in sales in the system.

He has earned his franchise territory a spot on the Best of Gwinnett list by Guide to Gwinnett for three consecutive years. As owner of his own data and marketing company, Butler has learned to prioritize quality customer service and take a hands-on approach to business. As a result, he brings the same dedication to his franchise territory and local community as he does to Conserva Irrigation, which secured his position on the company’s Strategic Advisory Board in 2018.

The Lawn Care Association of Pennsylvania named Tom Knopsnyder as its vice president at its annual conference on Feb. 15.

With more than 30 years of experience in the industry, Knopsnyder will put his knowledge and expertise in the industry to good use and to help improve lawn care companies across the entire state of Pennsylvania.

Keith Schweiger recently joined the Calsense team.

Calsense is a partner with the Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense program in promoting water-efficient products and services.

Schweiger, whose experience ranges from sales to owning and operating an irrigation contracting firm, will manage technical sales in Colorado and Utah for the manufacturer of the CS3000 irrigation controller.

Schweiger, who left SiteOne Landscape Supply as a key account manager, is a certified landscape water manager, irrigation designer, landscape irrigation auditor, irrigation contractor and irrigation technician. He speaks at regional conferences on irrigation matters and says his focus will be ongoing training and support of customers’ sustainability initiatives.

Arborjet named three new hires: Jay Goughnour has been hired as a new regional technical manager/technical adviser; Jasmine Hart has been appointed as research associate; and Hayden Davis has been named as horticultural sales representative.

Goughnour will assist applicators in the field and support Arborjet distributors in the upper Midwestern states. He was previously a golf course superintendent for 12 years and a golf course owner for four years. He also held positions at SiteOne Landscape Supply and has been involved in the green industry for over 20 years.

Goughnour was past president of the Iowa Golf Course Superintendents Association and currently serves on the Iowa Turfgrass Institute Board of Directors representing the Iowa Professional Lawn Care Association. He attended Central Missouri State University.

Hart’s responsibilities at Arborjet will include cultivation and maintenance of all research plants, on-site greenhouses and outdoor nursery areas. She will also prepare media for pathology and oversee the upkeep of horticulture trials, including diagnosing disease and pest damage and appropriate data collection.

Hart previously worked as the Cultivation Lead of Compliance at Cresco Labs in Yellow Springs, Ohio, where she worked on the cultivation of medical cannabis, including pest/disease scouting and facility maintenance and compliance with all state regulations. She also worked at Michigan State University Extension as a research technician focusing on viticulture and entomology, and as a research assistant at Ohio State University, where she received her BS in horticulture.

Davis’ primary focus will be selling Arborjet and Ecologel products into applications for nursery, greenhouse, retail, and other specialty application areas. Her geographic focus will be on the Southeastern U.S.

She previously worked at Appalachian State University Sustainable Development Farm as well as Dewar Nurseries and fulfilled a Professional Plant Science Internship at Walt Disney World Co. She earned a Bachelor of Science at Appalachian State University in sustainable development and agriculture.

Kioti hired Sandy Call as its new director of parts and product support, overseeing the product support, field service, warranty, parts and training teams.

Call brings decades of experience from his more than 30 years in the automotive aftermarket industry, starting at the store level and working his way up to director of category management.

The Davey Tree Expert Co. President and CEO Patrick M. Covey has assumed responsibility as the chairman of its board.

Covey has 28 years of service at Davey and was named president and CEO in 2017. Covey assumes the chairman position during a time of growth and expansion, as Davey announced plans for an addition to its corporate headquarters and development of a new employee training and research facility in Kent last year. The company also achieved $1 billion in total annual revenue in 2018 and has closed on more than 20 acquisitions since January 2014.

Covey takes over as chairman from his predecessor, Karl Warnke, who is retiring as chairman, but will remain on the board. Warnke retired as CEO of Davey in 2017, and his years of service, including as chairman, is 40 years.

Over the years, Covey has served in various capacities with increasing responsibility in both the field operations and the operations support segments of the company. Covey joined Davey in 1991 as internal auditor. He transferred to eastern utility operations in 1993 and was promoted to administrative manager in 1996. He was appointed a team leader on the SAP implementation project and managed the systems and process team from 2000 to 2003. In 2003, he was promoted to vice president of southern utility operations, and in 2005, he was promoted to vice president and general manager of the Davey Resource Group. In 2007, he was promoted to executive vice president, operations, a title he held until he became chief operating officer, U.S. operations, in 2012. He was named president and COO of U.S. operations in 2014. In 2016, he was promoted to president and COO for all operations.

Covey earned a degree in business from the University of Wisconsin in finance, banking and accounting. He is a member of the board of trustees for the Arbor Day Foundation, is a board member of Environmental Design of Houston and serves on the board of directors of Akron Children’s Hospital and Bandit Industries. Covey is a member of the International Society of Arboriculture and Tree Care Industry Association. He is a certified public accountant and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

Sarah Webb

About the Author:

Sarah Webb is Landscape Management's 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. She can be reached at swebb@northcoastmedia.net.

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