People on the Move: Stihl SE mourns president; Davey Tree; Ruppert; Masterblend

March 23, 2016 -  By

Bob Noble Jr., president of Stihl Southeast, passed away unexpectedly March 8.

Stihl Southeast President Bob “JR” Noble Jr. unexpectedly passed away on March 8. As a wholesale distributor serving Florida, Georgia, Alabama and several of the neighboring islands, Noble Jr. was promoted from sales manager to president in 1999 when his father, Stihl Southeast founder Bob Noble Sr. retired. “This is without a doubt the most difficult few days I have experienced,” said Noble Sr. “JR was not only my son, he was a great friend and leader. He absolutely loved his employees and was very proud of the accomplishments our company experienced since he became president. I am going to miss him every day.” Randy Lail assumed the position of president of the company. He previously served as vice president. Lail holds a bachelor’s in accounting from the University of Central Florida and is a certified public accountant.

The Davey Tree Expert Co. promoted Patrick Covey to president and chief operating officer of North American operations and promoted three other employees.

     Covey joined Davey in 1991 as internal auditor and held various roles on the way to his 2014 promotion to president and COO of the company’s U.S. operations. Covey earned a degree in business from the University of Wisconsin and is a certified public accountant. Covey is a member of the board of trustees for the Arbor Day Foundation and is a board member of Environmental Design of Houston, Texas.

     Joseph Paul was promoted to executive vice president and CFO. Paul joined Davey in November 2005 as treasurer and, most recently, served as CFO and secretary. He has more than 25 years of financial experience, including work with Deloitte & Touche and AccessPoint Openings. He received his MBA in finance and two undergraduate degrees in both accounting and finance from The University of Akron.

     Gregory Ina was promoted to corporate officer. Ina is currently serving as vice president and general manager of The Davey Institute, the company’s research, development and innovation division. Ina has both a master’s and bachelor’s, specializing in geographic information systems, from Kent State University. He began his career 21 years ago in the Davey Resource Group as a geographic information systems intern.

     Donald C. Brown was appointed to the board of directors. Brown is executive vice president for finance and administration and CFO for FedEx Freight. He graduated from Kent State University with a bachelor’s in business administration. He is also a member of the board of advisors for Miller Transfer & Rigging and serves as an advisory board member of the Kent State University College of Business Administration National Advisory Council.

Ruppert Landscape hired two new employees at its Washington, D.C., landscape management branch and promoted one employee at its North Carolina landscape construction branch. It also added two employees and promoted two others at its Georgia landscape construction branch.

    Jobe Axley was hired as area manager at the Washington, D.C., landscape management branch. Axley has more than 15 years of industry experience and is a North Carolina Certified Plant Professional. She holds a bachelor’s in art history and museum studies from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and an associate of arts and sciences degree in Horticultural Studies from Forsyth Technical Community College.

     Deborah Stipa was hired as a business developer for the Washington, D.C., landscape management branch. Stipa has more than 12 years of business development experience in the renewable energy and contracting/restoration industries. She holds a bachelor’s in business administration from Towson University.

     Angela Howes was promoted to branch manager of the North Carolina landscape construction branch. Howes has been with Ruppert for 12 years. Most recently, she served as operations manager at the Virginia landscape construction branch. She’s also held positions such as business developer, purchaser, and national purchasing director and won the company’s branch impact award at the Maryland branch in 2009.

     Christopher Sirmans was hired as project manager of the Georgia landscape construction branch. He brings more than 20 years of experience in commercial construction and is a LEED Green Associate. Sirmans holds a bachelor’s in English literature from Georgia College and State University and a master’s in environmental design, planning and sustainability from The University of Georgia.

     Beau Britt was hired as assistant project manager of the Georgia landscape construction branch. He graduated from Georgia Gwinnett College in December of 2015 with a bachelor’s in business.

     Bradford Gilliam was promoted to senior estimator at the Georgia landscape construction branch. He joined the company in 2014 as estimator and holds a bachelor’s in business management from The University of Georgia.

     William Saxby was promoted to contract administrator at the landscape construction branch. He joined the company in 2010 as senior estimator. Saxby has more than 16 years of industry experience, is LEED AP certified and holds a bachelor’s in construction management from the University of Louisiana at Monroe.

Masterblend International added Kris Warren to its horticultural products sales team. Warren previously owned a wholesale greenhouse. For the past 30 years, Warren provided horticultural design, implementation and maintenance services to municipalities, park districts, private businesses and homes in multiple cities. She holds a degree in ornamental horticulture and actively volunteers in local events with horticultural focus.

Tyler Enterprises, a division of Masterblend International, added David Behm to its turf and ornamental products sales team. For nearly 20 years Behm held roles in the operations and management of golf courses and golf course resorts. Most recently, he served as director of grounds for Willow Crest Golf Club in Illinois. Behm has received multiple awards including Marriott’s “Golf Property of the Year” and “Property Leader of the Year.”

Farmside Landscape & Design hired Randy Novak as plant health care specialist. Novak has more than 10 years of experience in the green industry. “We’re excited to have Randy on board and eager to have him share his experience and formal education in plant and soil science to assist our current and future clients,” said President Miles Kuperus Jr.

The Toro Co. added Amy Cheek as district sales manager for its irrigation business. She has 19 years of professional sales experience in the irrigation and outdoor lighting industries. Cheek started in the industry as assistant office manager with North Florida Irrigation and later served as an outside sales representative for FIS Outdoor. Most recently, she worked as district sales manager for Vista Professional Outdoor Lighting.

About the Author:

Dillon Stewart graduated from Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, earning a Bachelor of Science in Online Journalism with specializations in business and political science. Stewart is a former associate editor of LM.

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