Green people: News from landscaping’s senior executive ranks

Rob SchraderRob Schrader

Komatsu America Corp., a global heavy equipment manufacturer, announced that its CEO, Rod Schrader, has been elected to the board of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM).

AEM is the North American-based international trade group for the off-road equipment manufacturing industry (agriculture, construction, forestry, mining and utility sectors). AEM conducts business-development initiatives on behalf of all member companies in areas including public policy, market data, and exhibitions, as well as technical, safety and regulatory issues and education/training.

“With thousands of employees and hundreds of company-owned or affiliated locations across the U.S. and Canada, Komatsu has a responsibility to ensure the industries and communities where we do business continue to thrive and grow,” Schrader said.  “I’m ready to join the rest of the board and get to work.”

AEM President Dennis Slater said member companies’ representatives are essential to the success of the association’s programs.

Based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, AEM is made up of more than 900 companies and more than 200 product lines. The association also has offices in Washington, D.C.; Ottawa, Canada; and Beijing, China.

Komatsu America Corp. is a U.S. subsidiary of Komatsu Ltd., the world’s second largest manufacturer and supplier of earth-moving equipment, consisting of construction, mining and compact construction equipment. Komatsu America also serves the forklift and forestry markets.

Medrano chosen as Latino Leadership Institute Fellow

Marisol Medrano Mejia, head of human resources for Denver commercial landscaping company CoCal Landscape and a member of the board of the National Hispanic Landscape Alliance, has been chosen as a Fellow of the Latino Leadership Institute at the University of Denver.

Marisol Medrano MejiaMarisol Medrano Mejia

She was among 25 professionals chosen to participate in the institute’s intensive, nine-month fellowship program. The Latino Leadership Institute trains, supports and elevates professional and executive Latinos to positions of influence, according to a news release on Medrano’s selection.

As a new member of the LLI Fellowship Program, Medrano will receive personal assessments in branding strategies, community involvement and professional development. LLI says she will also be offered the training and tools to strengthen and promote her ability to impact and improve Latino communities.

“Through this program I’m looking forward to growing the strong, assertive, and self-assured Latina leader that’s within me,” Medrano said, “and developing the skills to mobilize others and maximize the good we can do in our community.

“My aim,” she said, “is to demonstrate that we, as a community, are a powerhouse and highlight our many contributions to this country.”

Medrano has 18 years of experience in the landscape industry. In fact, she grew up in the business. Her father, CoCal Landscape founder and co-owner Jesus “Chuy” Medrano, is a founding member and past president of the National Hispanic Landscape Alliance (NHLA).

A case could also be made that Medrano has already achieved considerable influence in the green industry. In addition to serving on the NHLA board, she has been active in industry education and advocacy.

“Mari has impacted the lives of many across the U.S. who have been inspired by her to aspire for more and to take advantage of opportunities and resources to achieve greater professionalism and business success,” said Ralph Egües, NHLA executive director.

He stressed that Mandrano’s selection by the Latino Leadership Institute Fellowship Program “is not only important for her personally, but also for the industry, as it helps to underscore the significant opportunities available for leadership and business success.”

Vacuworks names new European business director

Rob VerwilligenRob Verwilligen

Vacuworx Global announced recently the appointment of Rob Verwilligen as European business director. Based in the Netherlands, Verwilligen will manage sales and service, partner agreements and logistics for Vacuworx Europe.

Verwilligen has more than 20 years of experience developing sales relationships in the European market, most recently as director of sales and marketing for American Augers/Trencor. Previously, he served as director of sales, marketing and product support for Vermeer International BV.

With a broad educational background, including studies in engineering, Dutch law, and port and transport technology from the Maritime Institute, as well as many industry related courses and training, according to Vacuworx, Verwilligen is a perfect fit for his new role.

In addition to Verwilligen’s expertise in the global distribution of specialized utility and pipeline installation equipment, Vacuworx says, he also speaks five languages.

Founded in 1999 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Vacuworx engineers and manufactures heavy-duty material handling equipment for the oil and gas, water and sewer, highway and heavy construction, concrete construction, landscaping and manufacturing industries.

Morbark hires former Michigan House speaker

Kevin CotterKevin Cotter

Morbark, a manufacturer of equipment used in landscaping, tree care, forestry, sawmill and biomass markets, has named the former speaker of the Michigan House of Representatives, Kevin Cotter, as the company’s governmental sales manager. Morbark says Cotter brings a wealth of municipal and business expertise to the role.

“We’re excited to bring Kevin Cotter to our team,” said John Foote, Morbark senior vice president. “With his knowledge and experience, he’ll be able to jump in on day one to work with municipalities and increase Morbark’s market share in the industry.”

Cotter served as a member of Michigan’s House of Representatives from January 2011 through December of 2016, the past two years as House speaker. Before his political career, Cotter was a partner at the Kerr Law Firm PLLC in Mount Pleasant, Michigan.

Cotter holds a bachelor’s degree in entrepreneurship and business administration, in addition to a master’s degree in administration, from Central Michigan University. He earned his Juris Doctorate from Thomas M. Cooley Law School.

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