The Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado (ALCC) recently announced the recipients of its 2017 Volunteer Service Awards. This year, individuals were awarded the Bob Cannon Lifetime Achievement Award, the Outlook Emerging Leader Award, the Stanley Brown Associate Member Distinguished Service Award and the John Garvey Person of the Year Award.
Bob Canon Lifetime Achievement Award
Bill Cary, an educator at Pickens Technical College, and Kristen Fefes, CAE and former ALCC executive director, received the Bob Cannon Lifetime Achievement Award, which was named for ALCC founder Bob Canon in 1978.
The association says this award honors individuals who have given loyal, dedicated service to the landscape industry, contributed ideas, programs and other endeavors to benefit other ALCC members and have improved the professional image of the landscape industry.
For 25 years, Cary has taught horticulture at Pickens Technical College in Aurora; ALCC says he has been instrumental in developing industry certification programs that emphasize professionalism and also helped launch the ALCC’s Landscape Career Pathways Program, which equips high school students for landscape careers after graduation.
Fefes served as the executive director for ALCC for 18 years. The association says she guided ALCC through the major drought of 2002/2003 and worked with industry leaders, members and water providers to ensure the landscape industry played a part in the solution.
ALCC says that Fefes also spearheaded updates on the GreenCO Best Management Practices, as well as helped establish the BMP Training/Testing program. She has also worked on various legislative issues including maintaining the H-2B visa program. In 2015, she received the Lawn and Landscape Leadership Award, and in 2016 she received the American Society of Association Executives Award.
Outlook Emerging Leader Award
Matt Hiner, of Colorado Springs-based Hiner Landscapes, received the Outlook Emerging Leader Award. The ALCC says this award recognizes a person less than 40 years old working in landscape and horticulture who has made a significant contribution to the industry and to ALCC.
“Matt’s work ethic and fresh perspective are of great value to our industry,” said John McMahon, ALCC executive director. Hiner also serves on the ALCC board of directors.
Hiner entered the landscape industry while he was in high school. He then worked his way up in the field to become the owner of Hiner Landscapes. During the 2008-09 economic downturn, he was laid off from his job.
He took his last $300 to develop a logo that would be printed on business cards. After distributing them at a home and garden show, his business was launched. The association says Hiner’s business has grown steadily over the years, and he has also opened a retail water gardening store that sells supplies, fish and serves as the design center for the landscape business.
“My favorite project of all time was a 400-square-foot back yard where we met the client’s entire wish list,” Hiner said.
Hiner is actively involved in ALCC’s Southern Chapter in Colorado Springs and its annual Day of Service program event. This event is held on or around Earth Day and lets chapter members volunteer their expertise and time to improve outdoor spaces in the community.
Hiner managed the Day of Service project in 2016 at Harrison School District Two. He also oversaw the construction of outdoor learning labs (workstations) where students can learn basic landscape skills that enable them to begin a career in the landscape industry as soon as they finish high school.
Stanley Brown Associate Member Distinguished Service Award
Dave Nelson, former director of sales and marketing at CPS Distributors, Inc., was awarded the Stanley Brown Associate Member Distinguished Service Award.
ALCC says this award recognizes a supplier for outstanding commitment to ALCC and to the industry. The award was first given to its namesake, Stanley Brown, Jr., of Alameda Wholesale Nursery Inc., in 2008.
Nelson joined CPS Distributors in 1996 and worked in sales throughout Wyoming and Colorado. He served as sales manager and ultimately became part owner of the firm and the director of sales and marketing. He was involved with ALCC’s Southern Chapter during his career; he passed away about four months ago.
“Dave was one of our suppliers whose presence created solidarity, partnership and camaraderie within the landscape industry,” McMahon said.
ALCC says that Nelson was honored for fostering solidarity and partnerships in the landscape industry and for bridging the supplier and customer relationship to create a family by serving his clients “like a brother.”
His award was accepted by his wife Patti, son Patrick, sister Cathy and longtime friend and colleague Lowell Kaufhold, president of CPS Distributors.
John Garvey Person of the Year Award
Michael Womochil, program director for Agriculture, Energy and Natural Resources with the Colorado Community College System, received the John Garvey Person of the Year Award.
ALCC says this award recognizes an individual who has provided outstanding volunteer service during the past year. The association says the recipient of this award is someone who always steps up to the plate to help the industry, regardless of the amount of responsibility and effort involved. The award was named for its first recipient, John Garvey, CLT, and was created in 1997.
In 2014, Garvey helped launch ALCC’s Landscape Career Pathways Program, which was created in response to a shortage of skilled workers in the landscape industry. ALCC offers Career and Technical Education (CTE) teachers hands-on training in basic landscape skills that can be applied in the classroom through a partnership with Colorado Community College System.
The program teaches students the skills needed to be hired directly out of high school and begin upwardly mobile careers. By working with ALCC volunteers, Womochil created four landscape industry career paths, as well as executed the training program.
“Every high school student needs to connect with a career that feeds their passion,” Womochil said. “This connection with landscape was not happening in our Colorado high schools when we started the Landscape Pathways Program a few years ago. Now that has changed.”
Womochil works with 130 high school teachers in 115 schools through the Colorado Community College System, and delivers agriculture and horticulture programs to more than 6,000 students annually.
“Through our Landscape Career Pathways Program, ALCC is beginning to reach those 6,000 students thanks to our partnership with the Community College System and Michael,” McMahon said. “His commitment to bringing educators together with our industry will produce long-term benefits for the landscape industry statewide.”