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The big 5-Oh! for Landscape Management

September 16, 2012 -  By and

Here’s our list (in no particular order) of 50 people, issues, organizations and technologies that have influenced the Green Industry over the last five decades.

1 American Nursery & Landscape Association
Though it was founded 86 years before LM, ANLA has made quite an impact in the last five decades it’s been around. With a member mix that includes landscape design and installation firms, in addition to plant growers, distributors and retailers, the Washington, D.C.-based association has led the way on many legislative fronts, including immigration reform, guest worker program initiatives, water issues and others. It’s also provided public relations, research and education at events such as its well-known Management Clinic (which now has a new name and format).

Perhaps one of ANLA’s greatest influences was the establishment 50 years ago of its research arm, the Horticultural Research Institute, which has directed more than $5.4 million of industry funds through its competitive grants program. Research projects have covered the full range of production, environmental and business issues important to the Green Industry. For example, two current projects cover research on boxwood blight and biodegradable containers.

With ANLA’s recent announcement that it will be forming a new, yet-to-be-named association with OFA The Association of Horticulture Professionals, following several months of working together in a joint venture, one can only hope the best is yet to come.

2 Irrigation Association —
Launched in 1949, the Falls Church, Va.-based IA promotes efficient irrigation and water conservation, striving to ensure water will be available for generations to come. Today, more than 2,000 irrigation pros belong to the IA. Throughout the years, the association has provided continuing education, advocacy and professional certifications, and influenced legislation, best practices and standards.

3 Do Not Call list —
During the growth decades of the lawn care industry, one way to gain new customers in a business where volume and density rule was through telemarketing.  According to a 2002 survey conducted by the Professional Lawn Care Applicators of America (now part of PLANET), 55 percent of members had used telemarketing to sell to current and potential customers, with 20 percent using it as its main marketing method. That came to a halt in 2003, when Congress passed legislation enacting the federal Do Not Call registry, eliminating one of the lawn care industry’s most effective marketing methods.

4 Suburban development —
With the rise of suburbia in the mid-20th Century, aided by the increase in car ownership and the construction of the highway system, came common-interest developments, a category of housing that includes developments of single-family homes, condominiums and apartments. This type of housing—and the homeowner associations (HOAs) that came with it—has exploded over the last five decades. Though homeowners often criticize HOAs for their restrictive rules, the advent of HOAs has created a market segment for Green Industry services that didn’t exist before.

According to the Community Associations Institute, in 1970 there were about 10,000 communities with HOAs, accounting for 701,000 housing units and 2.1 million residents. By 2011 there were 314,200 such communities with 25.1 million housing units and 62.3 million residents.

5 Pesticide and fertilizer restrictions —
In 1991, Hudson, Quebec, became the first North American municipality to ban lawn care pesticides. Despite a 1987 ruling that said two state statutes preempted the Village of Wauconda, Ill.’s right to pass rules governing lawn care, it launched concern among U.S. lawn care professionals that soon they would have a patchwork of local restrictions to comply with, making their jobs much more difficult. The lawn care industry began supporting state pesticide preemption laws to make it illegal for cities to pass laws more restrictive than the state’s (the Supreme Court ruled in 1991 that federal law doesn’t preempt local jurisdictions from restricting the use of pesticides). Today, only nine states and Washington, D.C., don’t have a pesticide preemption law, and there are seven province-wide bans on the sale and use of “cosmetic” pesticides in Canada.

6 Stand-on, ride-on sprayers/spreaders —
The early lawn care operators (LCOs) could only dream of the high-end fertilizer- and pesticide-application equipment on the market today. Post-World War II equipment, much of it derived from the ag sector, included push drop spreaders and rotary spreaders. Next, motorized walk-behind machines hit the market, followed by stand-on, ride-on units by the late 1990s. Today, these machines are outfitted with luxuries such as ergonomic handlebars, fingertip controls, speedometers, pressure gauges and more, improving productivity well beyond an early LCO’s imagination.

“Chemical equipment companies have given us the tools to do our jobs more efficiently, reducing costs and making it easier
to accomplish our goals.”

7 Outdoor Power Equipment Institute
The OPEI’s history goes back 60 years to 1952, when 11 mower manufacturers chartered The Lawn Mower Institute to focus on safety promotion and to work together on government issues. It adopted its current name in 1960 with a membership that includes engine manufacturers. In 1993 the membership expanded to include makers of portable power equipment. In addition to launching the industry’s first national trade show, the International Lawn, Garden and Power Equipment Exposition in 1984 (now part of GIE+Expo, which takes place annually in Louisville, Ky.), OPEI’s achievements include creating a safety seal and approving independent third-party voluntary testing for mowers. Today the association focuses on advocacy for issues such as fuel, water and regulations, ensuring lawmakers hear the voice of Green Industry equipment manufacturers when they’re creating public policy. It also promotes environmental appreciation and the value of green spaces through its TurfMutt educational program, in partnership with Discovery Education.

8 Two-way radios —
Some landscape contractors and lawn care operators remember a time when they stopped at pay phones to check in with the shop. That subsided in the late 1970s, when the Federal Communications Commission began to license business and commercial 800 MHz two-way radio systems. Soon after, walkie talkies were the norm—and by the 1990s and early 2000s Nextel handheld units and their push-to-talk feature and associated “chirp” were ubiquitous. By the mid-2000s, cell phones had prevailed and carrying two devices became cumbersome, rendering two-way radios obsolete.

9 National Turfgrass Evaluation Program
Founded in 1981, the NTEP turf research program has expanded to the evaluation of 17 turfgrass species in 40 U.S. states and six Canadian provinces. Each year NTEP collects and summarizes information such as turfgrass quality, color, density, resistance to pests, tolerance to temperature, drought and traffic. The data are used by plant breeders, turfgrass researchers, extension personnel, growers and consumers to identify suitable types of seed or sod.

10 GPS —
GPS technology, originally developed in 1973 by the U.S. Department of Defense, became operational in 1994. Within a decade, businesses with mobile fleets, such as those in the Green Industry, began adopting the technology for improved routing, job tracking and employee accountability.

“GPS has allowed us to more efficiently track and route our maintenance services.”

11 Business software —
Landscape companies lucky enough to be operating in the latter part of the 20th Century and beyond reaped the benefits of advancements in business software, which eliminates tedious accounting tasks (general ledger, payroll and taxes, anyone?). Office suites such as Microsoft Office—or today’s web-based alternatives—have increased productivity tremendously. Landscape industry-specific software programs include design software, property-measuring tools, and overall management programs that handle billing, routing, scheduling and more.

“Financial, estimating, pricing and tracking computer programs have improved so much to allow us as owners to truly know how we’re doing on a monthly basis instead of a ‘feel’ basis or typical year-end basis.”

12 Certification —
Over the last two decades, Green Industry professionals have had the opportunity to become voluntarily certified by trade associations. The goal of the programs is to raise the level of technical expertise and professionalism and gain traction among consumers.

On a national level, PLANET administers the Landscape Industry Certified program. The idea was first raised in the late 1980s and gained momentum in the 1990s under ALCA President Bob Maronde. The association retained a Texas A&M professor to help develop a test for the Certified Landscape Professional and formed a board of governors comprising all past presidents and Gary Thornton to oversee the project. By 1993, there were 24 CLPs. Today there are more than 5,000 people with Landscape Industry Certified designations worldwide. The California Landscape Contractors Association held the first Certified Landscape Technician exam in 1983. Certification sprung up as a result of the inability to get an apprenticeship program off the ground. Eleven years later ALCA purchased the rights to the exam and began to offer it to state.

13 Emissions/noise regulations —
Since the mid-1970s, communities have sought to ban—and sometimes succeeded in banning—the use of gas-powered leaf blowers. Hundreds of communities across the country have blower bans or restrictions on the books. As landscape contractors who operate in these areas say, these rules wreak havoc on efficiency (it takes about 40 percent more time to clean up debris with rakes and brooms versus blowers)—and profits. Some ordinances are outright restrictions; others incorporate operator training, time-of-use restrictions and buy-backs of older equipment, promoting new, lower-noise units. Noise pollution is typically the primary argument, but environmental health and emissions often creep into the debate, despite blower manufacturers’ dramatic reductions in noise and emissions levels.

14 Integrated Pest Management —
Tracing its roots to the post-World War II era, when many pesticides were available and resistance was rearing its head, entomologists began practicing “integrated control” in agriculture, using a mix of chemical controls and biological controls. IPM became a national policy in 1972 when President Richard Nixon asked federal agencies to apply the concept of IPM. In 1979 President Jimmy Carter established an IPM Coordinating Committee and mentioned it in his environmental message. Over the last three decades, familiarity with and practice of IPM has become the norm among all good Green Industry pros.

15 Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment —
The manufacturers and suppliers of specialty pesticides and fertilizers formed RISE in 1991 to advocate for the industry at a time when lawn care was under intense scrutiny by environmentalists and lawmakers (consider the Congressional hearings on lawn care and pesticide use in the early 1990s). The Washington, D.C.-based association monitors legislative and regulatory issues in the nation’s capital and in the states. In recent years, it has focused on grassroots advocacy at the local level.

16 Smartphones-
Half of U.S. mobile phone subscribers now own smartphones, providing these digital Swiss Army Knives are must-have items for businesses. Consider the number of devices a smartphone can replace for a few hundred dollars and a service contract: traditional cell phone, point-and-shoot camera, video camera, standalone MP3 player, GPS device, personal planner, radio, land line phone, home internet service and many more.

17 Water restrictions —
As the demands on water resources have increased over the last five decades and drought cycles rear their heads, state and local government have enacted outdoor water use restrictions to limit lawn irrigating, car washing, pool filling and other activities deemed “nonessential.” The bans (which can take the form of completely shutting off the taps, instituting odd/even water days or restrictions on the time of day) often backfire, spurring increased consumption.
Recently, the Green Industry, in this case led by the IA, has hit its stride in promoting preventive water-saving measures rather than reacting once crises hit. In 2005 it launched Smart Irrigation Month in July, the month where irrigation demand typically reaches its peak. The campaign is designed to improve consumer awareness about smart irrigation techniques, encourage industry members to adopt and promote smart irrigation practices and technologies and help water providers minimize peak water use.

18 Alex Shigo, Ph.D. —
Shigo, also known as the “father of modern arboriculture,” uncovered how trees process decay when he worked for the U.S. Forest Service in the 1960s and 1970s. When one-man chainsaws hit the market and he was able to cut trees longitudinally, he discovered trees’ ability to wall off decaying tissue, which he called “compartmentalization.” This information changed the way arborists assess and prune trees. After Shigo retired in 1985, he wrote and lectured, spreading his knowledge and mentoring tree care professionals around the world.
“His way of pruning was revolutionary.”

19 American Society of Landscape Architects
Dating back to 1899, the ASLA strives to “increase the public’s awareness of and appreciation for the profession of landscape architecture and its contributions to quality of life.” With more than 17,000 members and 48 chapters, its efforts over the last five decades have no doubt trickled down to benefit professionals that provide commercial and residential landscape maintenance, design/build, lawn care and irrigation services.
Recently, ASLA spearheaded the Sustainable Sites Initiative, which was conceived in 2005 to promote sustainable land development and management practices that can apply to sites with and without buildings. The U.S. Green Building Council, a stakeholder in the initiative, anticipates incorporating these guidelines and performance benchmarks into future iterations of the LEED Green Building Rating System.

20 Snow & Ice Management Association
SIMA was formed by eight contractors in 1996 to foster a professional image of the snow and ice removal industry. It held its first Snow & Ice Symposium in 1998. It also founded a certification program in 2001 that has grown to include nearly 200 Certified Snow Professionals. Over the last 16 years it has grown to 1,600 members and has improved contractors’ access to training and best practices information.

21 Leaf blowers —
Since consumers and landscapers began dismantling a blowing device used to apply pesticides and turning it on their leaves in the late 1960s and early 1970s, leaf blowers have been used to efficiently clean up landscape debris. (Green Industry studies estimate blowers take one-fifth the amount of time to clean up debris than the hand tools they replaced.) After seeing the demand, handheld equipment manufacturers responded with units specifically for this purpose and have been adapting and improving them ever since with different options: handheld or backpack; two-stroke or four-stroke engines; gas-, electric- or battery-powered. Despite the gripes of some environmentalists and neighbors, today’s blowers are cleaner and quieter than their predecessors, and getting better all the time.

“Blowers are the most important tool on the truck, whether you’re mowing, trimming or doing tree work. They make cleanups much easier.”

22 HGTV-
At the end of 1994, as the E.W. Scripps Co. was shifting its focus from newspapers to television, it launched Home & Garden Television (HGTV), the first cable station dedicated to gardening, landscaping, home decorating and home maintenance. Five years later, HGTV was available in 48.4 million homes. Now it reaches 99 million. HGTV showed homeowners the possibilities, made landscaping trendy and set the stage for the many home improvement channels that followed.

23 Project EverGreen-
About 12 years ago, the Professional Lawn Care Applicators of America (PLCAA, now part of Planet) gave $50,000 to form the EverGreen Foundation to replace PLCAA’s Research and Education Foundation. In late 2002, the group renamed itself Project EverGreen and refocused on programs that promote actively managed green spaces. Its flagship program, GreenCare for Troops, which connects volunteer service providers with military families in need of Green Industry services, was honored by First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House in April as part of a program clelvrating organizations and programs that benefit military families. Today, as a nonprofit organization, it’s funded by industry suppliers, service providers and individuals.

24 University programs —
In addition to churning out future leaders, the Green Industry has university programs to thank for extension services, horticultural research and turfgrass research projects, including breeding, management trials and pesticide and IPM studies.

Advances in turf breeding date back to the 1970s, when Reed Funk, Ph.D., discovered the ability to make turfgrass hybrids with work on Kentucky bluegrass at Rutgers. In the early days, turf researchers focused on quality; today, they emphasize drought tolerance and pest resistance.

Many schools have added business management courses to their curricula over time, as the industry has shown a need for that content. PLANET’s Student Career Days event, which 62 colleges attended this year with 817 competing in 28 technical and business management events, is a good example of how Green Industry university relations

have evolved. The event started as ALCA Field Days in 1977, with 18 students and five schools participating.

25 Franchising —
Though it’s clear franchises aren’t for everybody and they aren’t all created equal, their penchant for proven systems, marketing support and increased spending power have provided a path to success for many Green Industry professionals.

Franchising in the lawn care sector of the Green Industry goes back to the year LM was founded, when Daniel Dorfman began selling franchises for his year-old company, Lawn-A-Mat. It grew quickly, with 300 franchises by 1967. Perhaps growth was too quick; the company got into trouble over the next two decades and franchisees eventually stopped paying their fees. However, it’s responsible for spawning many other successful lawn care businesses.
Lawn Doctor was founded in New Jersey in 1967 by Bob Magda and Tony Giordano. Three years later Weed Man opened its first location and started franchising in Canada in 1976 (it was 20 years before master licensee Turf Management Systems began franchising in the U.S.). In 1977 Bill Fischer formed Spring-Green Lawn Care in Naperville, Ill., and began franchising about a year later.
Other franchises popped up over the next three decades. In 1986 Tom Oyler founded U.S. Lawns as the first commercial landscape maintenance franchise in the Green Industry. ValleyCrest Landscape Cos. purchased U.S. Lawns in 1996. Scotts joined the lawn care franchising game in 2001.

26 Landscape Lighting-
Over the five decades since electrical contractor Bill Locklin created the concept of landscape lighting in 1959 after experimenting with efficient 12-volt light sources and coffee cans, the service has taken off, illuminating landscapes everywhere. Before low-voltage lighting was used in landscape settings, expensive, 120-volt hard-wired lighting was buried below ground. Until the mid-1990s, landscape lighting was thought of in terms of safety and functionality first. The industry has thrived over the last two decades thanks to lighting designers and contractors who sell homeowners the ability to enjoy their landscapes 24 hours a day. In recent years, the availability of white LEDs has revolutionized the outdoor lighting industry due to the technology’s “green” quotient- they use about 75 percent less energy than their incandescent counterparts which is attractive to homeowners.

27/28 ChemLawn & Duke family —
With their garden center and sod farm in Troy, Ohio, Paul and Dick Duke found customers were asking them to care for their lawns after they installed their sod. The father-son team founded ChemLawn Corp. in 1969 and steadily opened branches and sold company stock to employees and customers, breaking the $1 million mark by 1970. The Dukes reinvested in their company—and the industry—by developing equipment and methods that persist in the industry today.  Ecolab bought ChemLawn in 1987. In 1992 it was sold to ServiceMaster and merged with TruGreen (see No. 30), forming the lawn care behemoth TruGreen-ChemLawn. The company has since dropped the ChemLawn name.

“Companies that now have ChemLawn alumni at the regional or higher level are very fortunate.”

29 Trade press —
Landscape Management and the other trade media outlets that service the specialized Green Industry audience can take credit for helping usher along progress. Over the years we’ve delivered you the news (in an increasing array of formats), provided practical benchmarking data (i.e. the LM150 and State of the Industry reports) and shared numerous success stories and lessons learned. We’ve connected you with suppliers of products and services you need and we’ve helped trade associations get the word out on important issues. (In fact, our former publisher Bob Earley helped launch PLANET’s predecessor, the Professional Lawn Care Applicators of America, in 1979.)
Did you know we have our own association to improve the quality of media and marketing communications? Since 1990 the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA) has hosted an annual meeting and awards program (in which LM consistently takes home honors). It also annually awards a scholarship and recognizes a professional for excellence in environmental communications. It has about 170 members and nearly 30 sponsors.

30 TruGreen
TruGreen, which started in Michigan in 1974 as ChemGreen, has had a broad impact on the Green Industry as its largest company. ServiceMaster acquired TruGreen in 1990; two years later it bought ChemLawn, creating TruGreen-ChemLawn. In early 1998, the company entered the maintenance market, acquiring four landscape companies. Meanwhile, Houston-based LandCare USA had merged seven firms into a single national company. Both companies competed to make acquisitions until TruGreen announced in November 1998 it bought LandCare for $250 million. In July 1999, the merged firms, numbering more than 80 original companies, became known as TruGreen LandCare.

Last year, ServiceMaster sold TruGreen LandCare, with 60 branches in 17 states, to private investment firm Aurora Capital Group for $38 million.

“Any company that has sold or bought another company has
demonstrated to the rest of us owners the importance of creating value in your company.”

31 String trimmers-
In 1971 George Ballas of Houston created what he called the first Weed Eater with pieces of heavy-duty fishing line, a popcorn can and an edger. It wasn’t until two-stroke engine powered string trimmers came on the market later that decade that they began making landscape companies’ lives easier- and more productive- and their clients’ properties neater.

32 Big-box stores —
Home improvement behemoths weren’t even a blip on the radar when Lowe’s opened as a small North Carolina hardware store in 1946. Lowe’s went public in 1961, Sam Walton opened the first Walmart in 1962, and Menards (1972) and Home Depot (1979) followed. The home improvement industry’s come a long way from the mom and pops of yore. Walmart alone generated $420 billion in 2011, while Forbes says Home Depot, the largest home improvement chain, is on track to have 2012 revenue of $73.6 billion.

33 Professional Landcare Network-
The Green Industry’s most instrumental association, better known as PLANET, was born on New Year’s Day 2005. It was the result of a merger of the Associated Landscape Contractors of America (ALCA), founded in 1961, and the Professional Lawn Care Association of America (PLCAA), founded in 1979.
Today, PLANET provides services for 3,800 member companies; has a strong lobby on Capitol Hill; supports members in certification, education and safety; and cosponsors the annual GIE+Expo national trade show.

34 State and local associations —
PLANET is valuable for contractors nationally, but don’t forget the state, local and niche associations that support tens of thousands of professionals closer to home. They give contractors regional insights through education, advocacy, networking and more. Contributing to the professionalism and quality of services of Green Industry associations is the Nursery & Landscape Executives of North America, nearly 100 members strong.

“Statewide turfgrass, landscape and nursery trade associations have made an impact advocating for the professional.”

35 Personal computer —
PCs have come far since the first personal computer was released in 1950. (For the record, it was The Simon created by Edmund Berkeley and had just 12 bits of memory.) Other computer models came and went, but 1977’s Apple II is considered the first PC as we know it. It was the first computer capable of producing color graphics
and the first to include a keyboard.
The rest is history.

“Whether getting rid of route cards, reducing paperwork, making design easier or any of the myriad reporting processes possible, there has been no tool more powerful developed for the landscape/lawn care business.”

36 H-2B program-
The H-2B guest worker visa program originated as part of the H-2 program created by immigration and Nationality Act in 1952. It allows foreign workers to be employed in the U.S. on a temporary basis. In 1990, Congress stipulated that as of 1992, no more than 66,000 H-2B visas could be issued annually. In 2004, the 66,000 cap was reached for the first time, and it’s been met consistently in the years since. Just as consistent, it seems, are proposed federal changes to H-2B, and the landscape industry’s opposition to them. Department of Labor figures show the Green Industry is the largest user of the H-2B program.

“H-2B and the hiring of immigrants has been the biggest change over the last 50 years.”

37  / 38 ValleyCrest Landscape Cos. & Burton Sperber —
When Burton Sperber and his father, Lewis, launched ValleyCrest in 1949, it was a small operation fueled by used tools and a pickup. More than 60 years later, the Calabasas, Calif.-based corporation is an $850 million business—and the nation’s largest privately held integrated landscape services firm.

Sperber was more than ValleyCrest’s founder; he was a landscape industry icon beloved in Los Angeles and revered throughout the industry for building a world-class company from the ground up. Sperber earned many accolades, including a spot in the Green Industry Hall of Fame in 2010. He passed away last year at age 82, leaving an indelible mark on the industry he helped shape.

39 Environmental Protection Agency
In the wake of growing concern about pollution, the EPA was established in 1970, to consolidate, in one agency, a variety of federal research, monitoring, standard-setting and enforcement activities. Related to lawn care, in 1972 the Federal Environmental Pesticide Control Act (FEPCA) amended the 1947 Federal Insecticide Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIRFA) to establish under the EPA a program for controlling the sale, distribution and application of pesticides through a registration process. The pesticides would be classified as “general” or “restricted,” the latter meaning they must be applied by or under the direct supervision of a certified applicator, affecting the way LCOs did business.

On the water conservation front, in 2006 EPA launched its voluntary WaterSense program, which includes labeling certification programs.  IA-certified irrigation contractors, landscape/turf irrigation designers, and golf and landscape irrigation auditors qualify to become WaterSense partners, allowing them to tap into the EPA’s consumer awareness campaign.

40 Zero-turn mower —
John Regier worked for farm equipment manufacturer the Hesston Corp. in Moundridge, Kan., when he created a device that enabled blades to counter-rotate with a system of pulleys and belts. In 1963, Regier applied that technology to a lawn mower, creating the first zero-turn. Regier called his mower The Hustler, because like the zero-turns of today, it reduced mowing time substantially. Now a standard zero-turn cuts mowing time in half versus a conventional mower.

“Hydraulic-powered lawn mowers took the belt-drive walk-behind mowers to faster, more efficient units, which allowed for larger zero-turns to carry operators and get things done faster.”

41 Sustainability —
“Sustainability” isn’t so much a buzz word in the Green Industry anymore as it is a reality. Rachel Carson’s book “Silent Spring” paved the way for change as far back as 1962, when it was published. The federal environmental regulations and pesticide restrictions it led to, in addition to the first Earth Day in 1970, piqued public awareness and inspired landscape and lawn care companies to become more environmentally conscious. Today, we’re living in a world of green roofs, reduced emissions, water conservation and less caustic chemicals.

“Earth Day and the environmental movement led to profound changes in how we value landscapes, what we include in them, how we care for them and why we landscape.”
42Smart controllers — Edwin J. Hunter founded Hunter Industries in 1981, but he has another claim to fame. In 1952, he launched Moist-O-Matic Co. (eventually sold to The Toro Co.), where he created the first irrigation controller, paving the way for “smart,” evapotranspiration (ET) rate-based controllers to hit the market 50 years later, changing the way landscapers irrigate.

43 CAD programs —
When the SKETCHPAD computer program was developed in 1963, it laid the foundation for modern CAD programs, which changed landscape design dramatically. The programs’ affordability and ability to run on personal computers enabled designers to do their own drafting work, eliminating the need for draftsmen. Today, many CAD programs work hand-in-hand with software that allows landscape designers to show 3D models of landscape-specific elements.

44 Social Media-
It’s hard to exist now without using social media. For some, it’s a compulsions, for others, a necessity. First it dominated social lives, today it also links the business world. The first social media site,, launched in 1994 and faded soon after. But today’s giants are going strong and boosting small businesses with their marketing abilities. LinkedIn and Twitter have 161 million and 100 million users, respectively. While Facebook, the granddaddy of them all, boasts 955 million active monthly users.

45 / 46The Brickman Group & Theodore Brickman Sr.
The Brickman Group, Gaithersburg, Md., launched with a “couple guys, a truck and some lawn equipment,” states the company’s website. It’s grown to an $844 million corporation. The company branched out to design/build in 1954 and strengthened its maintenance division in the 1970s, when it won an important contract—to maintain McDonald’s headquarters for life. Now Brickman operates in more than 29 states, providing services in every sector of landscaping.
Theodore Brickman Sr., a horticulturist for the Chicago Park District, founded the company as Theodore Brickman Landscaping in 1939 in Glenview, Ill. Brickman was a self-taught horticulturist who had a passion for plants. He chaired the company until his death in 1989, at age 82.

“Although they’re my competition, Brickman has certainly influenced the landscape industry. I see their processes throughout most of the mid- to
large companies I’ve worked for.”

47 The Occupational Safety and Health Administration —
Since it was established in 1971 by the Nixon Administration, OSHA has reduced on-the-job deaths and injuries significantly. To get an idea of its effectiveness, consider that in 1970 there were 14,000 work-related fatalities and 2.5 million job-related disabilities. Since then, workplace fatalities have plummeted by 65 percent and occupational injury and illness rates by 67 percent. In 1986, OSHA developed hazard communication standards, requiring employers to furnishtheir employees with information concerning the hazards of chemicals used in the workplace.

48 California Spring Trials-
The event dates back to 1967 when Goldsmith Seeds’ Glenn Goldsmith held the first “pack trial” in Gilroy, Calif., inviting seed brokers to view seeds in production. Today, many members of the horticulture industry trek down the West Coast for two weeks in April what’s now called the California Spring Trials to learn about new plant varieties, including availability and cultural issues. Over time, the trials have grown from just seed to include vegetative varieties.

49 Modular block retaining walls-
The first modular concert block retaining wall systems were developed in 1986. Their affordability, durability, easy installation and resistance to leaning and toppling made them a design/build game changer.

“The techniques used to build retaining walls have changed significantly and are now much safer, more reliable and easier to build than ever.”

50 The Internet-
When it comes to who invented the internet, your guess is as good as ours. The development of the World Wide Web has been attributed to everyone from the U.S. Department of Defense to British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee. One thing we do know about the internet- it changed the world.

“Via the compute and internet, access to real-time information, the capability to stare and track data and the ability to increase efficiency through mobility, it forced a cultural shift from the bricks-and-mortal cubicle culture to managing from anywhere.”

Marisa Palmieri

About the Author:

Marisa Palmieri is an experienced Green Industry editor who's won numerous awards for her coverage of the landscape and golf course markets from the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA), the Press Club of Cleveland and the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE). In 2007, ASBPE named her a Young Leader. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism, cum laude, from Ohio University’s Scripps School of Journalism.

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