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People on the Move: Updates from Ruppert Landscape, Takeuchi, LandCare and more

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Pictured left to right: Mike Felts, region vice president, landscape construction division; Sean Davitt, branch manager, Maryland landscape construction branch; Nina Davitt, Sean’s wife; Bob Jones, president, landscape construction division. (Photo: Ruppert Landscape)
Pictured left to right: Mike Felts, region vice president, landscape construction division; Sean Davitt, branch manager, Maryland landscape construction branch; Nina Davitt, Sean’s wife; Bob Jones, president, landscape construction division. (Photo: Ruppert Landscape)

Ruppert Landscape hosts awards ceremony to honor employees

Ruppert Landscape, No. 13 on the 2023 LM150 list, welcomed more than 1,000 employees and their guests at its annual awards ceremony.

“This marks our 21st annual awards ceremony and we take great pleasure in acknowledging the exceptional talent within our organization,” said Phil Key, CEO of the company. “I am honored to be a part of such a dynamic team that continues to raise the bar on innovation and excellence.”

Clyde Vadner Merit Award

This award recognizes the individual who has contributed continuous, consistent, long-term hard work, dedication and skills that help to shape the company. This award is named in memory of Clyde Vadner, who played an integral role early in the company’s history in developing the training program which has helped develop the many leaders who make up the organization today. This year’s recipient was Sean Davitt, a 13-year employee who serves as branch manager at Ruppert’s Maryland landscape construction branch.

“Sean is a shining example of the qualities we like to see in our team—strength, tenacity, and leadership,” said Mike Felts, region vice president in the company’s landscape construction division. “He does not have an ounce of quit in him and his determination has helped him guide his team to new heights.”

Achievement Award

This award recognizes the employee who made a significant contribution in 2023 through outstanding job execution and high-quality results. This year’s recipient is Collin Fadrowski, a nine-year employee who serves as branch manager at the Camp Hill, Pa. landscape management branch.

“Collin earned this award for his dedication to his people, his passion for his craft, his love for his customers, his never-give-up mentality, and his desire to win,” said John Harich, region manager in the company’s landscape management division.

Distinction Award

This award is presented in appreciation for exemplary dedication and devotion to the principles and ideals of the company. This year, this award was presented to Ruppert’s new State College, Pa. team — formerly Scotts Landscaping.

“An important piece of our new strategy is growing through acquisitions to supplement our track record of organic growth and Scott Burk and his team were the first outside partners to join us,” said Key. “That partnership—and the changes that come with integration—could have taken many directions. The Scotts team has been supportive, embraced the process, and has added tremendous value. Scott’s Landscaping—which is now our new State College landscape management branch and Pennsylvania landscape construction branch—have been great partners and we’ve learned from each other along the way, which makes us a stronger company as a whole.”

Branch Impact Awards

The Branch Impact Awards recipients. These awards are given to the employee who make outstanding dedication and contributions to their branch. (Photo: Ruppert Landscape)
The Branch Impact Awards recipients. These awards are given to employees who make outstanding dedication and contributions to their branch. (Photo: Ruppert Landscape)

These awards are given to the employee whose outstanding dedication and contributions have made a positive impact on their branch. This year, 33 recipients were honored:

  • Liz Arellano, branch administrator, North Carolina landscape construction branch.
  • Matthew Benjamin, mechanic, Laytonsville, Md. landscape management branch.
  • Mike Burns, business developer, Dulles, Va. landscape management branch.
  • Glenn Butler, project manager, Georgia landscape construction branch.
  • Millie Chevez, HR and training specialist, corporate office.
  • Patty Christie, branch administrator, Charlotte, N.C. landscape management branch.
  • Sophia Ciallella, designer, Alexandria, Va. landscape management branch.
  • Brandon Collier, field manager, Lilburn, Ga. landscape management branch.
  • Anthony DaSilva, enhancement manager, Alpharetta, Ga. landscape management branch.
  • Hector Del-Cid, area manager, Gainesville, Va. landscape management branch.
  • Nik Dudukovich, estimator, Pennsylvania landscape construction branch.
  • Tim Evans, shop manager, Baltimore, Md. landscape management branch.
  • Nathan Fadrowski, area manager, Forestville, Md. landscape management branch.
  • Connor Givens, business developer, Raleigh, N.C. landscape management branch.
  • Paula Grady, business developer, Richmond East, Va. landscape management branch.
  • Ken Gray, area manager, King of Prussia, Pa. landscape management branch.
  • Jason Groff, business developer, Toughkenamon, Pa. landscape management branch.
  • Sidney Isaac, field manager, White Marsh, Md. landscape management branch.
  • Mike Lora, business developer, Camp Hill, Pa. landscape management branch.
  • Collin Ludwig, irrigation tech, Delmarva, Del. landscape management branch.
  • Salvador Magana, area manager, Wilmington, Del. landscape management branch.
  • Edward Maloney, field manager, Texas landscape construction branch.
  • Trevor Mann, project manager, Maryland landscape construction branch.
  • Jalyssa Martinez, branch administrator, Mableton, Ga. landscape management branch.
  • Randall McCoy, shop manager, Fredericksburg, Va. landscape management branch.
  • Robbie Murphy, estimator, Virginia landscape construction branch.
  • Ivan Nikolov, shop manager, Washington D.C. landscape management branch.
  • Kevin Rajk, area manager, Silver Spring, Md. landscape management branch.
  • Ryan Reese, shop manager, State College, Pa. landscape management branch.
  • Laura Serpico, project manager, Tennessee landscape construction branch.
  • Jesus Torres, shop manager, Durham, N.C. landscape management branch.
  • Chase Townshend, area manager, Richmond South, Va. landscape management branch.
  • Divan Van Eck, enhancement manager, Frederick, Md. landscape management branch.\

Takeuchi-US promotes Scott Utzman to attachment specialist

Scott Utzman
Scott Utzman

Takeuchi-US named Scott Utzman as its new attachment specialist. In this role, Utzman will be responsible for attachment sales and support for the company’s dealer and national rental accounts throughout North America. He will work with dealer management, sales personnel and customers to demonstrate, promote and support the Takeuchi attachment product line. Utzman will also train dealer sales personnel on attachment features, benefits and applications.

“Attachments are an essential and growing part of the compact equipment industry,” said Henry Lawson, director of North American sales for Takeuchi. “Scott’s extensive experience in product and attachment development will be vital as we continue to expand this segment of our business. We look forward to Scott’s contribution to our overall attachment sales and support efforts.”

Utzman joined Takeuchi-US in 2005 as the company’s regional parts manager. He was eventually promoted to assistant parts manager and national parts manager. From there, he applied his parts experience to a new career path as a customer support manager, eventually managing Takeuchi’s attachment program when it launched in early 2021.

“I’m really excited to continue working with customers and dealers to find attachment solutions that help them achieve their goals,” Utzman said. “I’ve been involved with Takeuchi’s Attachment Program from the beginning, ensuring that customers who purchase a Takeuchi-branded attachment get the level of quality and dependability that they’ve come to expect from us. Now, I’ll be out in the field, working with our dealers to help improve their customers’ productivity and get greater returns on their machine investments.”

Leadership updates from LandCare

Brandon De Young
Brandon De Young

LandCare promoted Brandon De Young as the newly appointed Northwest divisional vice president and welcomed William Cruz to lead the northern California business.

De Young joined LandCare in 2019 as the market vice president of the northern California region overseeing Sacramento and the Bay Area. Under his guidance, the region experienced rapid growth, facilitating a need for new branch operations within the market and expanded job opportunities. De Young graduated with a bachelor’s degree in landscape management from California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo. He began his career with a national landscape company in San Diego and later relocated to the Bay Area, before joining LandCare in 2019. As the Northwest divisional vice president, De Young will provide leadership to LandCare’s Washington, Oregon and northern California businesses.

“Brandon has been a rising star since joining the LandCare team,” said Mark Hopkins, LandCare’s COO. “His knack for expanding business and nurturing talent within his market has been exceptional. This promotion is not only well-deserved but also an exciting new addition for LandCare.”

William Cruz
William Cruz

LandCare brings William Cruz to lead the Sacramento and Bay Area branches as the NorCal market vice president. With 25 years of industry experience, Cruz holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from UCA University, El Salvador, and multiple landscape certifications, including CLP and QAL. Cruz joins LandCare after 19 years with his previous organization, where he served in several roles, spending the last five years as director of operations. In this role, he concentrated on the development of team members, growth and branch operations within the Bay Area.

“LandCare’s culture puts its team members first,” said William Cruz. “I’m looking forward to building and mentoring successful teams that truly care about providing exceptional service to every customer.”

Central Turf & Irrigation Supply creates new executive leadership position

Austin Marsteller
Austin Marsteller

Central Turf & Irrigation Supply recently appointed Austin Marsteller, turf category-chemical director, to its new executive leadership position of turf category business director.

Marsteller holds a degree in Turfgrass Science from Penn State University and an MBA from Louisiana State University-Shreveport and has been a part of Central’s growing turf division. Before joining Central Turf & Irrigation Supply his career was heavily focused on turf and ornamental on the manufacturer side.

“We couldn’t be more excited as Austin Marsteller expands his role, and the role of the turf category, here at Central. We are always looking to innovate and improve so that we can meet and exceed the needs of our customers and employees,” said Anthony Luciano, vice president of sales & marketing for Central Turf & Irrigation Supply. “I am confident with this new position that Austin will continue to be focused on the future growth of the category. Ensuring that both our internal sales teams and our customers have the expertise needed to continue growing in their markets.”

2024 Musser Award of Excellence recipient revealed

John Peppers, Ph.D.
John Peppers, Ph.D.

The Musser International Turfgrass Foundation has selected John Peppers, Ph.D. as its 2024 Award of Excellence recipient.

The award is given to outstanding Ph.D. candidates who, in the final phase of their graduate studies, demonstrated overall excellence throughout their doctoral program in turfgrass research.

Peppers received his bachelor’s degree in turfgrass science and master’s degree in turfgrass weed science at Auburn University. He earned a Ph.D. in plant pathology, physiology and weed science with a concentration in turfgrass weed science from Virginia Tech.

Peppers has already published 14 peer-reviewed research papers from his masters and Ph.D. projects and has five more currently in draft or under review on the topic of turfgrass weed science. He is an author of more than 50 scientific abstracts and has given approximately 60 research presentations nationally and internationally. He plans to focus his career on providing practical, research-based solutions for turfgrass managers.

“I am extremely honored to receive the Musser Award of Excellence,” Peppers said. “I have long admired many of the previous winners as these are some of the biggest names in turfgrass research. I am humbled to be mentioned among such a prestigious group. This achievement would not have been possible without the constant support of my wife Cynthia, my family, my fellow graduate students and Shawn Askew, Ph.D. and Scott McElroy, Ph.D.”

The criteria for selecting award recipients include graduate work, academic record, dissertation, publications, leadership and extracurricular activities. To date, awards have been granted to doctoral students from universities including Arizona, Auburn, Cornell, Georgia, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Carolina State, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Michigan State, Rutgers, Tennessee, Texas A&M and Virginia Tech.

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