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Green Media, a division of M2MEDIA360 -- publisher of Landscape and Irrigation, Arbor Age, Outdoor Power Equipment and SportsTurf -- is proud to announce the 2010 selections for "Most Influential People in the Green Industry."

Most Influential People in the Green Industry

Green Media, a division of M2MEDIA360 — publisher of Landscape and Irrigation, Arbor Age, Outdoor Power Equipment and SportsTurf — is proud to announce the 2010 selections for “Most Influential People in the Green Industry.”


Green Media’s “Most Influential People in the Green Industry” were nominated by their peers for their ongoing contributions to the Green Industry. Nominations were reviewed by Green Media’s in-house panel, and the 2010 selections for “Most Influential People” were chosen from throughout the Green Industry.


The professionals selected for this honor exemplify commitment to the Green Industry, and have exhibited a widespread influence on their peers. Green Media congratulates all of those chosen for this year’s list of “Most Influential People in the Green Industry.”


 


 Bob Curry
Bob Curry is the president of Covermaster, Inc., and has been an innovator and leader in the sports turf industry for almost 40 years. In 2008, he was presented with Sports Turf Managers Association’s (STMA) most prestigious honor, the Harry C. Gill Memorial Founder’s Award, which recognizes longtime service and commitment to the organization. In STMA’s lean early years, he paid board members’ expenses to board meetings to help out the cash-strapped organization, and played an integral role in the STMA headquarters transition from outside management to its own staff, devoting much of his personal time to making the transition seamless.


 


Green Media: You were nominated by your peers as one of the “Most Influential People in the Green Industry.” How do you feel that you influence other industry professionals?


Curry: I feel my involvement with the Sports Turf Managers Association has made people more aware of our industry. And, equally important, what the benefits a safer playing surface means to all levels of turf sports. Since my early involvement in the industry, I see more individuals stepping up as volunteers to help the industry move forward.


 


GM: What do you feel has been your biggest contribution to the green industry so far? And what do you see as your role in the future of the industry?


Curry: Helping out wherever I could, getting involved in various committees and giving back in terms of time and travel. As more and more people get involved in the industry, and offering to help, I see my role a little less active but still my primary goal is to gain the recognition our turf managers deserve for the important role they play in producing top notch and safe turf surfaces — often at times when budgets are tight and with lack of supplies and personnel.


 


GM: Who has influenced you both personally and professionally?


Curry: My biggest influence in this industry is the people I have met. All the friends I have made through the years are the most rewarding thing a person could ask for. You will never find a more dedicated group then turf groundskeepers willing to learn and improve their trade.


 


GM: What dreams do you have for the industry? What changes are necessary to make those dreams a reality?


Curry: As a member of the STMA, I want to see it grow in membership. Easier said than done but, if one was to look closely into what the association offers in terms of education, certification programs and sharing knowledge, it is one of the best bargains for anyone in the turf industry.


The STMA is constantly improving the services they provide members. It is truly a source of knowledge to the sports turf industry. For this reason, the growth in membership will be achieved. Reaching out to the international markets throughout the world through chapter affiliations will help grow the association in the future.


Another important part of growth in the future is helping sports turf managers gain the recognition they deserve for the job they do. People watching turf sporting events assume that’s the way the turf should be; they do not realize the time, work and effort that go into creating that safe playing surface. The STMA is helping gain this recognition but it will be a never ending process.


 


GM: What advice do you have for green industry professionals who want to become influential leaders themselves?


Curry: Get involved. It’s as simple as that.


 


 Art Evans
Art Evans, the founder and chairman of the board of Dixie Chopper, pioneered the development of the commercial zero-turn lawn mower. In 1980, Evans built the first Dixie Chopper zero-turn mower in a barn on his parents’ property outside Fillmore, Ind., embarking on a journey that has changed the way Americans mow grass while helping make Dixie Chopper a household name as the manufacturer of “The World’s Fastest Lawn Mower.”


Green Media: You were nominated by your peers as one of the “Most Influential People in the Green Industry.” How do you feel that you influence other industry professionals?


Evans: Honestly, I was simply stunned by this nomination. I think our track record at Dixie Chopper has been one of constant innovation ever since we built our first zero-turn mower in April 1980. Many of our innovations and upgrades have been copied in the industry, and like they say, “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” So I guess I am flattered, as well as stunned to be included on this list.


 


GM: What do you feel has been your biggest contribution to the Green Industry so far? And what do you see as your role in the future of the industry?


Evans: Truth be told, I could be the reason the industry has all the choices of zero-turn mowers it has today. I think we forced the engine manufacturers to put decent filters on their engines for one thing. And with our vision of building a mower that doesn’t break when you use it and remains a solid, productive unit long past the time it’s paid for, has raised the bar in the industry from a throwaway mentality to producing a piece of equipment that has a reasonable life expectancy.


As to the second part of the question, I think Dixie Chopper’s new four-wheel-drive zero-turn mower, The Dominator, could be a game changer for the future of mowing and mowing equipment.


 


GM: Who has influenced you both personally and professionally?


Evans: Professionally, I would have to say that Stan Morton of Track Vac — who happens to be a stockholder in Magic Circle Corporation (the parent company of Dixie Chopper) — influenced me the most professionally. He got me started building better and more productive zero-turn mowers.


Personally, it would have to be my father (Philip Evans, a lifelong Indiana farmer on whose property the Dixie Chopper manufacturing plant and national headquarters was built) who was my biggest influence.


 


GM: Tell us something about yourself outside of work that influences your approach in your professional career.


Evans: Outside of work, it has to be my passion for aviation and the discipline it takes to operate safely in that realm. There’s something about being down to earth and having your feet on the ground, yet having your head in the clouds that’s inspiring.


 


GM: What dreams do you have for the industry? What changes are necessary to make those dreams a reality?


Evans: A little less competition would be nice (he laughs). Right now, I think we’ve got too many players for it to be a good thing. But it’s a free country…or at least it used to be.”


 


GM: What advice do you have for Green Industry professionals who want to become influential leaders themselves?


Evans: First off, you have to have absolutely bullhead determination to succeed. And don’t ever take your eye off the ball. Overall, I subscribe to 7 basic business principles that have been the backbone of our success at Dixie Chopper. They are:


1. Treat people the way you want to be treated.


2. Set your standards higher than anyone else’s.


3. Don’t forget where you came from.


4. Be honest with the public. They are your customers.


5. Stand behind your product, even if it gets into your pocketbook.


6. It’s how you deal with your customers that sets you apart.


7. Listen to the customer. He usually will tell you what you need to know.


 


 Den Gardner
Den Gardner is executive director of the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA) and executive director of Project EverGreen.


Green Media: You were nominated by your peers as one of the “Most Influential People in the Green Industry.” How do you feel that you influence other industry professionals?


Gardner: As trite as it sounds, actions always speak louder than words. First, I’m humbled that people in the Green Industry believe I’m influential. That being said, when you run any non-profit like Project EverGreen or the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA), you have to take the passion you have and instill it in others. Having been involved in non-profits for more than 25 years, you learn in a hurry that to compel people who are extremely busy in their own careers and businesses, especially today, to take those steps above and beyond for the good of the industry takes extraordinary diligence. I’ve always said it’s not about me, but about how the people I work with every day react and innovate positively to today’s challenges. That’s the measuring stick by which I like to look at influence.


 


GM: What do you feel has been your biggest contribution to the Green Industry so far? And what do you see as your role in the future of the industry?


Gardner: I’m from the Midwest. We don’t spend a lot of time thinking about our biggest contributions. I’m too busy paying the mortgage, helping my adult-age kids (and grandkids) survive in this economy, and finding the right door that leads to retirement at the right time. I’d suggest starting organizations like TOCA and Project EverGreen from scratch and seeing the hundreds of volunteers believe in the missions of those groups has made it all worthwhile. It’s as simple as that.


 


GM: Who has influenced you both personally and professionally?


Gardner: If I begin to recite that people in the Green Industry who influenced me, we’d run out of space. So I’m going to make this personal — which is how it should be from my perspective. Four people: My parents, who taught me that humor and smart work and a never-ending drive to be the best I could be left an indelible mark on my entire life. My brother Dan, oftentimes known to my friends in this industry as my evil twin, for teaching me to always to look for the good in people, even when it’s at its most difficult moments. And my wife Sandy, who constantly reminds me through her words and actions that there is nothing you can’t do with the right attitude and belief in yourself.


 


GM: Tell us something about yourself outside of work that influences your approach in your professional career?


Gardner: My hobbies are golf and music. I’m a bogey golfer who’s always looking for that first hole in one and breaking 80. It’s the most humbling, yet exhilarating sport I can imagine. It’s like life: one good shot, one bad shot, two good shots, three bad ones — you get the picture. Every golf shot isn’t the best, but as long as you try to make it your best, that’s all that matters. And that goes for life’s challenges as well.


And then there’s music. I’ve been playing in a rock/blues/jazz band since high school. We wanted to start a band in high school, so we did. We needed a drummer so I said I’d be it. As an adult, a group of us decided to start another band (about 15 years ago). So we did. We did a Christmas CD to raise money for Project EverGreen and raised more than $8,000 of clear profit for the organization. Thank goodness I have lots of friends who bought the CD. If you ever see the band play, I’m the schmuck in the back trying to keep the beat on my drum set. This also is similar to my goals in life: keep the beat and don’t let anything get you too jazzed up that you miss the good notes.


 


GM: What dreams do you have for the industry? What changes are necessary to make those dreams a reality?


Gardner: Dreams for the industry and changes needed to make it a reality? That’s simple. Quit running your companies and organizations and associations with blinders on, and look for the greater good of the Green Industry. Yes, that’s very simplistic. A good friend of mine from a major Green Industry company likes to say that when Project EverGreen gets together for a board meeting, 35 people leave their “hats” at the door. We frankly don’t have enough of that today. Many people wear their own hat and don’t take it off unless absolutely necessary. That’s got to stop.


We live in a great country with great resources and green spaces that are the envy of the world. Let’s take all that’s good in this industry and channel it to consumers with one positive voice. None of us has all the answers for what ails us. We can, however, turn the tide in our favor by using end-users throughout the Green Industry to be a conduit to consumers to show the professionalism of the industry. I’m almost 60 years old. I’ve seen it all — well, at least quite a bit. And the best part is the brightest people in our industry have the wherewithal to shape consumer attitudes in a positive way. Will it happen overnight? Impossible. But you have to start somewhere, and without starting we’ll never get it done.


 


GM: What advice do you have for Green Industry professionals who want to become influential industry leaders themselves?


Gardner: On my desk is a sign that reads, “You can accomplish anything.” Let’s face it. I can’t. But I can sure as heck try. I try to run about 15 miles per week — using the word “run” loosely. If I get up at 5 a.m. each morning and run two or three miles, I’ve accomplished something for the day. My day’s complete no matter what else I do. I’m only half-kidding. My dad worked seven days a week his whole adult life — owned two businesses at once and had a sixth-grade education. Boy, did he accomplish something every day. He had no choice. But he taught me you can accomplish anything every day. So whether it’s something fairly insignificant like jogging a couple miles a day or creating a new product to revolutionize the industry, go for it. Failure’s not an option and is overrated anyway folks. Define your life each day and get after it.


 


 Dale Getz
Dale Getz, CSFM, the U.S. sports turf sales manager for Toro, was once the turf manager at Notre Dame, and now travels the country sharing ideas he’s learned.


Green Media: You were nominated by your peers as one of the “Most Influential People in the Green Industry.” How do you feel that you influence other industry professionals?


Getz: I really enjoy all aspects of the green industry and have been an arborist, a grounds manager and a sports turf manager but my true passion is sports turf management. I really think it’s the passion I have that allows me to help others in the industry. I’m blessed to have a job that allows me to travel to many different venues and pick up ideas that I can then pass to others.


 


GM: What do you feel has been your biggest contribution to the green industry so far? And what do you see as your role in the future of the industry?


Getz: I feel my biggest contribution was to be the chairperson of the certification committee of the Sports Turf Managers Association. As a committee, we strongly felt that for the STMA to move forward in terms of recognition from peer organizations, the industry and the public we needed a way to certify competence as a sports turf manager. That dream came true after 3 years of planning with our first Certified Sports Field Manager, Ross Kurcab of the Denver Broncos in January 2000. I hope my role in the future will be to continue to help when needed. I enjoy working on committees and projects as needs arise.


 


GM: Who has influenced you both personally and professionally?


Getz: Probably the most influential person both personally and professionally was a friend’s father who was the consummate ecologist and strong believer in protecting the environment and sustainability long before it was the “in” thing to do. His knowledge of our natural world inspired me to embark on a career in the green industry.


 


GM: Tell us something about yourself outside of work that influences your approach in your professional career.


Getz: One of my favorite hobbies is woodworking and while I’m not a Norm Abrams by any stretch of the imagination, woodworking, through the years, has taught me patience and attention to detail.


 


GM: What dreams do you have for the industry? What changes are necessary to make those dreams a reality?


Getz: My dream is that sports turf managers, groundskeepers and other green industry professionals are duly recognized for the professionals they are. We have come a long way in establishing professionalism but we still have a long way to go. There is a big job ahead of us to educate the public on the complexity of green industry ecosystems and that managing these ecosystems properly will have a positive impact on our environment in terms of water usage, pollution abatement and carbon sequestration.


 


GM: What advice do you have for green industry professionals who want to become influential leaders themselves?


Getz: Do everything you do with passion. Question the status quo, challenge old ideas with new ones and always be a leader.


 


 John Gibson
John Gibson is president of Swingle Lawn, Tree & Landscape Care, Denver. Gibson is a past president of Colorado Association of Lawn Care Professionals, past GreenCO director, past PLCAA director, and past president of PLANET.


Green Media: You were nominated by your peers as one of the “Most Influential People in the Green Industry.” How do you feel that you influence other industry professionals?


Gibson: I have an intense passion for the projects I am involved in. I am a confident communicator who will “kick the elephants in the room” to prompt discussion on the journey to an agreed-upon communication/position for the industry.


 


GM: What do you feel has been your biggest contribution to the Green Industry so far? And what do you see as your role in the future of the industry?


Gibson: My biggest contribution so far? The relentless pursuit of a passionate, unified Green Industry voice to represent us in front of the challenges ahead. My role in the future? Continuing the dialogue among the many specialties of our industry — challenging those who want to be exclusionary in their approach to be inclusionary for the betterment of the industry as a whole.


 


GM: Who has influenced you both personally and professionally?


Gibson: Personally, Theodore Roosevelt. I have the ultimate admiration for a man whose foresight led to protecting some of our greatest outdoor places. I aspire to have an impact, if only a fraction thereof, on our industry’s future.


Professionally, each and every person I have ever volunteered or worked with, for, among, before or after in my career. The influence of all those who have been close to me has given me the perspective to enjoy the journey, not just the accomplishment of any specific goal.


 


GM: Tell us something about yourself outside of work that influences your approach in your professional career.


Gibson: One of my personal passions is wilderness backpacking. When most high school seniors were planning a trip to a beach location full of wild parties, I was influenced by a buddy, Jason, who had just achieved his ranking as an Eagle Scout. I loved the outdoors, but had very little outdoor experience. Jason took me on my first backpacking expedition as my senior trip — I had no idea what that week would unlock for my future. From that week forward, I began to challenge myself to explore, survive and then conquer unknown territory — especially above timberline — and that became an adrenaline rush like no other. After experiencing the exhilaration of discovery, I felt a great sense of accomplishment when I could sit back and reflect on where I started, the options for the various routes I had taken, and the successful completion of the trip. I soon recognized that there were many options to the successful completion of any expedition in my personal or business life. I experience a similar adrenaline rush when working with other industry professionals searching for the solutions to the challenges our industry faces. My love of adventure enhanced my time representing the Green Industries of Colorado during the drought, PLCAA during the merger with ALCA, and PLANET during the potential mergers with ANLA and TCIA. Just as in my wilderness adventures, there were, and are, many options to the successful completion of the expeditions.


 


GM: What dreams do you have for the industry? What changes are necessary to make those dreams a reality?


Gibson: My dream is that the fastest-growing segment of agriculture — what we call the Green Industry — will be recognized as not only a professional, but a noble, career choice. A commitment from all Green Industry professionals to speak with one voice that represents honor and integrity while displaying our value to ourselves, our community and the outdoor spaces that we enhance and protect.


 


GM: What advice do you have for Green Industry professionals who want to become influential leaders themselves?


Gibson: Spend some quality time alone in the great outdoors to discover a passion within for something you truly believe in. Make a conscious decision to apply your time and energy to positively influence others in support of your ideal.


 


 Judson Griggs
Judson Griggs, ASLA, CLP, is director of garden development, Lambert Landscape Company. Griggs is past president of ALCA (now PLANET), and has served on a variety of industry boards during the past 30 years. He is a registered landscape architect, PLANET-certified landscape professional, and PLANET Trailblazer.


Green Media: You were nominated by your peers as one of the “Most Influential People in the Green Industry.” How do you feel that you influence other industry professionals?


Griggs: One of my goals when I started in the Green Industry was to raise the bar when it came to professionalism. I saw too many people in the industry who did not portray themselves as professionals in the work they did or the way they carried themselves. I did not want to be considered a “landscaper.” I wanted to be known as a professional landscape architect and landscape practitioner. I have always tried to “dress for success,” and play the part of a professional. I have always strived to network where my clients would be and emphasize the fact that I am an equal — just in a different profession. I have tried to carry this same professionalism to all industry meetings and through my involvement in ALCA (now PLANET).


Finally, I have always tried to be a positive influence on other industry professionals. Too many people continue to complain about the state of the industry and their lack of success. To me, success comes with looking at the positive in your situation and in what is presented to you. You can dwell on the negative and remain where you are, or you can look at the positive and use that to your advantage to grow and succeed.


 


GM: What do you feel has been your biggest contribution to the Green Industry so far? And what do you see as your role in the future of the industry?


Griggs: I have gained so much from others in the Green Industry that what little I have done pales in comparison to what I have gained. Hopefully, my biggest contributions have been to raise the professionalism of the industry. Other contributions have come in the leadership of the design/build segment of our industry. Over the years, I have seen the scope and impact of design/build projects increase geometrically. Many of the top design/build contractors are now functioning almost as general contractors in creating magnificent gardens. Hopefully, I played a small part in that growth.


I see my role in the future of the industry as being a mentor to the newer contractors and students just considering a career in the Green Industry. I had many great mentors as I grew up in the industry. I hope to have a similar impact on others as my mentors had on me.


 


GM: Who has influenced you both personally and professionally?


Griggs: Personally, my father and grandfather had the biggest influence on me. My dad has always taught me to treat everyone with respect. He not only talked about it, but he lived it. To this day, I have never met anyone who had anything negative to say about my dad. My grandfather got me started in the profession. I would tend his rose gardens and cut his lawn. He was very demanding and wanted everything done to perfection before he would pay me for my work. I came to appreciate his reasons for that and have tried to bring that same attitude and level of expectations to every project I am involved in.


Professionally, there are so many people who have influenced me. I will mention a few, but there are many others that continue to influence me. Tom Lied was a true mentor to me. He taught me much about client service, great design and not being satisfied with the status quo. He always pushed me to look for more creative, unique solutions to our client’s projects. He also allowed me to get involved in ALCA. This broadened my perspective on what possibilities existed in the industry. There I met and learned more from some of the industry icons like Bruce Hunt, Gary Thornton and Landon Reeve. My involvement in ALCA also allowed me to meet and gain great friends like David Minor and Mike Rorie. They not only are friends, but they taught me the value of being great business people and watching the numbers to ensure success.


 


GM: Tell us something about yourself outside of work that influences your approach in your professional career.


Griggs: My family has always been a big part of my life outside of work. They are the most important thing to me. As my family has grown older and we get farther and farther apart geographically, it takes more work to stay close, but we remain a tight-knit family who remain great sounding boards for me. Beyond that, I have gained a passion for riding my bicycle. I find a long bike ride of 40 to 50 miles a great way to relieve the stresses of work and a perfect way to do some strategic thinking and planning. This “quiet time” has certainly helped me learn where to focus my efforts at Lambert’s. The biggest influence in my life though was when my wife, Terry, and I accepted Christ into our lives and became Christians eight years ago. This has made a huge difference in my decision-making, goal setting and what my priorities should be both personally and professionally.


 


GM: What dreams do you have for the industry? What changes are necessary to make those dreams a reality?


Griggs: My dreams for the industry is for us as landscape contractors, landscape architects or landscape management professionals to be considered as equals with architects, engineers and other professionals. When a new project is considered, I would like to see that a Green Industry professional would be part of any planning or development team that is assembled. In many cases, the Green Industry professional would be the one leading the team.


There is no reason that this can’t happen. In my short foray into the development industry, I had the great fortune of leading a development team to design, market, sell and build luxury condominium towers. There I was able to assemble a team of architects, engineers and a general contractor to build some incredible projects. It taught me to think much bigger than the way we think in the Green Industry. We all have more talent than what we are currently using. That is the change that has to happen for this to become a reality in the Green Industry — think much bigger than we do currently. We are all capable of doing some incredible things. If we all gain the confidence to take that step and move out of our comfort zones, the possibilities are endless!


 


GM: What advice do you have for Green Industry professionals who want to become influential leaders themselves?


Griggs: Think big! Never stop learning. Find some leaders in the industry to become your mentors. Give back more than you take.


 


 Karen McKie
Karen McKie is co-owner of Green Oak Nursery. McKie is past president of the Mississippi Nursery and Landscape Association. She is the recipient of the 1996 David E. Lai

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