Although Hurricane Maria left Puerto Rico devastated last September, things are slowly but surely being restored, including its baseball stadiums.
The hurricane is considered the worst natural disaster in Puerto Rican history, having destroyed crops, shut down ports and knocked out power across the region.
Even seven months later, the U.S. territory is still working to repair all the damage.
“There are still street lights out and light towers blown down that haven’t been picked up yet,” said Murray Cook, president of BrightView Sports Turf. “There is still visible debris and damage in San Juan alone. By far, the island is still in recovery mode.”
Despite this, Puerto Rico was still set to host two Major League Baseball games on April 17 and 18. Two of the baseball stadiums were completely demolished, leaving San Juan’s Hiram Bithorn Stadium and one other stadium to be shared by the Puerto Rican Winter League’s four teams.
Many of the games were rescheduled for the afternoon to reduce the need for lighting since so many residents were still without power, including BrightView team members working on the Hiram Bithorn Stadium’s field.
“There are 560 light fixtures around the synthetic turf field at the ballpark,” Cook said. “Probably 85 percent of them broke and shattered, sending shards of glass all over the field. We had to bring in equipment to remove the debris – rubber, screws, glass and just all kinds of stuff. The contractor hired our local Puerto Rico branch to help on the field.”
After clearing the debris, the BrightView crews helped resurface the field, rebuild the pitching mound and trained the tarp crew.
The two major league games between the Cleveland Indians and the Minnesota Twins were the first regular season games the island has hosted since 2010. The MLB teams also used the trip to shine some light on the continuing struggles Puerto Ricans are facing.
“When you talk to everyone here, they all say, ‘We really need this game,’” Cook said. “They’re looking at this as though they are declaring that the hurricane hasn’t beat them – that they are okay.”
LandOpt adds new contractor to network
Environmental Enhancements, Inc. has joined LandOpt’s contractor network and services the DC metro area market.
The company was founded in 2001 and offers a full range of environmentally friendly landscaping services to both commercial and residential customers in the northern Virginia area. Environmental Enhancement’s services include maintenance, design/build, snow removal, pest control, irrigation, lighting and more.
“Being in the LandOpt Network will assist Environmental Enhancements with building a solid foundation for consistency in training, growth, accountability and profit,” said Fred Peratt, EEI owner. “Our primary focus over the next five years is to grow recurring maintenance revenue with geographic density.”
Peratt also hopes that LandOpt’s guidance will help decrease direct and overhead costs while providing growth opportunities for staff members.
Success Coach Mark Borrasso will be working with EEI to grow the business and says he is excited about what the business can bring to the network.
LandCare promotes account manager in Oregon
LandCare has also recently promoted Jeremy (Beau) Saucedo to branch manager at the company’s Portland Arbor branch.
Saucedo is a certified arborist and has over 15 years of experience in the field.
“Beau has shown exceptional leadership over the past year, and his passion for arboriculture makes him the perfect candidate to lead our tree team in Portland,” said Karen Wilkinson, regional vice president of the Northwest.
Saucedo was hired in 2015 as an account manager and quickly stood out as a leader.
“Watching my guys grow and knowing that people trust us with their properties and trees are the most rewarding aspects of my job,” he said. “That and getting to be outside everyday motivates me to make Portland Arbor one of the most successful branches across LandCare.”
Bayer names new head of turf and ornamentals business
Will MacMurdo has been appointed the head of Bayer’s turf and ornamentals business. He will be responsible for strategic planning and commercial operations.
His goal will be to advance the goal of providing solutions and trusted agronomic advice to customers in the golf course management, lawn and landscape and production ornamentals markets.
“We are thrilled to welcome Will into this new leadership role on our turf and ornamental business,” said Mark Schneid, head of Environmental Science North America. “Heaving led many parts of our Environmental Science business around the world, Will brings a perfect combination of deep knowledge of the green industry, a thorough understanding of the customers we serve, and the seasoned people and business management skills to lead our team in exceeding expectations.”
MacMurdo was previously the director of Environmental Science Canada. Before Bayer, he worked with Aventis and Rhone-Poulenc Canada. He has a Bachelor of Science from Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture.
Greenworks partners with Pace Inc. to benefit dealers in the West
Greenworks Commercial has partnered with Pace Inc., an outdoor power equipment distributor to benefit independent landscape dealers in the Western United States.
Pace Inc. will provide distribution, logistics, service and sales support for Greenworks Commercial’s 82-volt line and its Elite 40-volt system among independent dealers in Alaska, Arizona, California, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Washington.
Greenworks now has coast-to-coast distribution in North America.
“We are excited for the opportunity to partner with Pace Inc., one of the industry’s most trusted and well-respected distributors,” Tony Marchese, director of independent retail for Greenworks North America. “The experts at Pace Inc. will be great allies in helping us educate their dealers and end-users on how our two complete, easy-to-use outdoor power equipment systems can overcome their customers’ challenges, including evolving noise ordinances and environmental regulations throughout the Western U.S.”
Ditch Witch hosts annual equipment seminar
Customers traveled to Ditch Witch’s headquarters in Perry, Oklahoma, to participate in the annual Equipment Seminar on April 17 and 18.
More than 300 global dealership employees and their customers experienced an up-close look at next-generation technology and equipment enhancements driven by customers.
The program introduced customers to the latest Ditch Witch equipment, including the HX vacuum excavators, mini skid steers and the HDD training simulator along with hands-on demos. Attendees also went on a tour of Ditch Witch’s campus and facility.
“Our customers play a vital role in the development of our equipment,” said Dennis Wierzbicki, Ditch Witch president. “We value their feedback, and we are committed to offering products that help them conquer jobsite challenges. The annual Equipment Seminar allows our dealerships and their customers to see and demo the latest underground construction equipment and new technologies that were designed specifically with their productivity in mind.”