Awards roundup: STMA names 2017 Sports Turf Managers of the Year

The Charlotte Knight’s field maintained by Matt Parrott. Photo: Laura WolffThe Charlotte Knight’s field maintained by Matt Parrott.
Photo: Laura Wolff

The Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA) and Minor League Baseball (MiLB) have announced the four winners of the 2017 ‘Sports Turf Managers of the Year.’

This program has been around since 2000 and honors STMA members who manage fields in Triple-A, Double-A, Single-A and Short Season or Rookie divisions. The winners are selected from a 13-member committee and each nominee is judged on their cultural practices, resource utilization, game day routine, staff management and their involvement in supporting the sports turf industry.

The award is sponsored by STMA and John Deere. This year, three of the four honorees are first time winners. They will be presented with their awards at the Major League Baseball Winter Meetings Banquet on Monday, Dec. 11 at Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in Orlando, Florida.

The winners are:

  • Triple-A – Matt Parrott, Charlotte Knights (Charlotte, North Carolina)
  • Double-A – Ray Sayre, Pensacola Blue Wahoos (Pensacola, Florida)
  • Single-A – Mike Williams, Charleston RiverDogs (Charleston, South Carolina)
  • Short Season or Rookie – Ryan Olszewski, Mahoning Valley Scrappers (Niles, Ohio)

Matt Parrott is the only two-time winner, having won the Double-A award back in 2011 as a member of the Bowie Baysox. He has also won the ‘Easter League Diamond Pro Sports Field Manager of the Year’ in 2011, 2014 and 2015.

Ray Sayre has earned the ‘Southern League Groundskeeper of the Year’ for five straight seasons and was just hired by the Philadelphia Phillies as heads groundskeeper at the Carpenter Complex in Clearwater, Florida, at the start of October. He had previously worked for the Pensacola Blue Wahoos for seven years.

A winner of many different accolades, Mike Williams has been a professional groundskeeper since 1993 and has worked for the RiverDogs since 2006. The RiverDogs’ playing surface has also been named ‘South Atlantic League Best Playing Field of the Year’ multiple times.

Finishing up his third season with the Mahoning Valley Scrappers, Ryan Olszewski is the head groundskeeper and assistant director of stadium operations.

“Our minor league members continually demonstrate uniqueness and skill while maintaining safe and playable surfaces,” says Kim Heck, CEO of STMA. “The high-quality submissions illustrate the individual merits for winners and we’re proud to honor their truly fantastic results.

NALP names Awards of Excellence, Safety Recognition award winners

At the annual Awards Dinner during LANDSCAPES in Louisville, Kentucky, on Oct. 19, the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) recognized a number of companies for numerous awards.

NALP presented 136 Awards of Excellence this year, recognizing exceptional landscape maintenance, design/build, lawn care and interiorscape projects. Click here to view photos from all the winning projects.

Walnut Hill Landscape Company accepts its Judges Award in Louisville. Photo: NALP/Philippe NobileWalnut Hill Landscape Company accepts its Judges Award in Louisville.
Photo: NALP/Philippe Nobile

Out of the 52 Grand award-winning projects, three were selected for the prestigious Judges Awards. Walnut Hill Landscape Company in Annapolis, Maryland, Southern Botanical in Dallas, Texas, and David J. Frank Landscape Contracting in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, were the three winners.

Ledden Palimeno Landscape Company received the new Houzz People’s Choice Award for Outstanding Water Feature. The company was selected by’s audience out of landscape projects from the 2016 Awards of Excellence.

There were 263 Safety Recognition Awards earned for the period between Jan. 1, 2016 and Dec. 31, 2016.

The following companies earned the ‘Best of the Best’ award, which goes to those that keep a gold level status in overall safety for three years:

  • Arlington Lawncare Inc. – Lake City, Pennsylvania
  • United Right-of-Way – Phoenix, Arizona
  • Trio Outdoor Maintenance – Mt. Clemens, Michigan
  • Greenleaf Services – Linville, North Carolina
  • Curby’s Lawn & Garden LLC – Olathe, Kansas
  • Clarence Davids & Co. – Matteson, Illinois
  • Alliance Landscape Co. LLC – Fort Worth, Texas

Advocacy awards were given to the following companies:

  • Federal Advocate of the Year – Tim Portland, Yellowstone Landscape
  • State Advocate of the Year – Bob Mann, National Association of Landscape Professionals
  • State Association Advocate of the Year – Mike Lehman, Singing Hills Landscape

Community Partnership Awards were presented to these companies:

  • LandCare
  • SunValley Landscaping
  • Swingle Lawn Tree and Landscaping
  • Summit Landscapes
  • Toledo Lawn
  • YardApes

The following companies were recognized for having the highest percentage of Landscape Industry Certified staff:

  • BrightView
  • Monarch Landscape Company
  • Gothic Landscape
  • James Martin Associates, Inc.
  • Pacific Landscape Management
  • Timberline Landscaping, Inc.
  • Weisburg Landscape Maintenance
  • Lang Landscape, LLC
  • Environmental Management Services, Inc.

Gothic Landscape, Kimberly Nurseries, Inc. and Kauai Nursery & Landscaping, Inc. were all honored for having the greatest number of newly certified staff in 2017. Environmental Stewardship Awards were given to TruGreen and Environmental Enhancements.

During the dinner, NALP also introduced its newest Trailblazers, individuals who are nominated for making significant contributions to the landscape industry.

Below are the new NALP Trailblazers:

  • Mark Ackerson, Ackerson Landscape, Raytown, Missouri
  • Paul Fraynd, Sun Valley Landscaping, Omaha, Nebraska
  • Loriena Harrington, Beautiful Blooms Landscape Design, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • Seth Kehne, Lawn Butler, Knoxville, Tennessee
  • Fred Peratt, Environmental Enhancements, Inc., Sterling, Virginia
  • Kurt Thompson, K. Thompson & Associates, Clover, South Carolina

Gachina Landscape Management honored by the Irvine Company

The Irvine Company held its Division to Division awards program, which honors one top service provider per category. Gachina was selected as the only landscape contractor.

The event serves as an opportunity to recognize the various service providers and the role they play creating exceptional experiences for Irvine Company customers.

Photo: Gachina Landscape ManagementPhoto: Gachina Landscape Management

“Gachina Landscape has provided exceptional quality of service and communication at competitive pricing for the last ten years in the Silicon Valley,” said Clint Collins, senior director of landscape operations for the Irvine Company. “They are used by Office, Apartments and Retail. They recently experienced the untimely loss of their founder and owner John Gachina, but have managed to not miss a beat under the new leadership of his wife Jackie Gachina.”

Gachina handles seven percent of The Irvine Company’s overall portfolio including 57 percent of the Northern California portfolio.

“Gachina Landscape is one of the leading commercial landscape companies in the Bay Area providing exceptional landscape maintenance and enhancements while delivering great customer service,” Collins said. “Over the years, Gachina has won us several landscape awards with the CLCA, California Landscape Contractors Association, on multiple Irvine Company projects as well as a national award with NALP, the National Association of Landscape Professionals. They provide exceptional landscape services to Irvine Company’s Office, Apartments and Retail division and we want to recognize them for their hard work and dedication.”

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