Industry roundup: BrightView aids in creating community gathering space

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Updated May 24, 2018


Photo: BrightViewPhoto: BrightView

Before the recent tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, BrightView says students were working to create an outdoor learning space, but the ground was not well-graded and the students couldn’t maintain the area.

The Parkland community was shocked by the events of Feb. 14, along with BrightView business developer Michael Lashbrook, who grew up in the area.

“It hit close to home – one of my good family friends was there,” he said. “After it happened, we all felt terrible. I was just trying to think of ways that I could help. Knowing that BrightView has the capabilities, I reached out to my friend to find out what we could do.”

BrightView says that within a week it had connected with the school and after several conversations, the decision was made to focus on the outdoor learning space.

“It was a place where we could make a more immediate impact,” Lashbrook said.

BrightView said the area wasn’t quite finished but it had already contained several hand-crafted elements created by students, including raised beds, a hydroponic garden, solar-powered electric panels and a telescope observatory.

“Initially, we came with the idea of creating a physical memorial garden for them, but the more we became involved with the students, we all came to the conclusion that what was most important was for them to just have a community gathering space,” said Bryan Walters, BrightView account manager. “This was a way to bring the students and faculty together to finish a project they had already been working on and to create a space they can use to reflect and move forward.”

BrightView said it also became apparent that the school wanted to keep the structures that were already in place and the foundation of what they created.

The company said it agreed to re-grade the entire garden and existing walkways, add additional paver walkways, design a reflective tranquility garden as a healing space for students and teachers and create and install a Florida-native educational garden and butterfly garden.

The project kicked off on April 14, and BrightView said its team members were joined by more than 20 faculty and students to take part in the construction. BrightView says everything used that day was donated by the company’s suppliers.

The company says a key piece of the area was the reflective and tranquility garden. The garden features colorful plant material and a water feature in the center. Seventeen glazed, solid granite stones line the pathway to symbolize the 17 students and faculty who lost their lives that day.

“The weight and mass of the stones were selected to represent the solidarity of unwavering placement of their lives in the community,” Walters said. “After everything was said and done, this became more than just a student project, but a day of healing, laughter and fun for everyone. This entire project was our way to help the community and be there for our neighbors.”

A dedication ceremony was held at the school on May 16 as a way to thank everyone who was involved with the project.

“Every single day, I have students come up to me and express their appreciation of the garden area,” said Brandon Kyle Jeter, a science teacher at Marjory Stoneman Douglas. “Nothing makes me feel more fulfilled than seeing entire classes utilizing the space. I firmly believe that use of the reflection area is going to become incredibly important moving forward.”

Coava Coffee’s new café location adds LiveWall indoor living wall

Coava Coffee’s new West Side location on Jefferson Street in Portland, Oregon, recently installed a LiveWall indoor living wall. Coava Coffee says this move was an expression of their organic brand that they hope will attract and engage customers as they enjoy their coffee in the café’s upper-level seating area.

Photo: LiveWallPhoto: LiveWall

“Living walls, also called green walls, are structural systems that cover walls with growing plants,” said Dave MacKenzie, president, LiveWall, LLC. “Living walls transform unadorned walls into vertical gardens. In retail environments, living walls make interior spaces more appealing and relaxing.”

“We are not just selling top-tier specialty coffee,” said Matt Higgins, founder and president, Coava Coffee Roasters. “We are offering hospitality, creating a welcoming ambiance where our customers feel like friends invited to hang out in our cafés. I had seen green walls in larger spaces, and that got me thinking about featuring a green wall as a unique living work of art our customers can experience as they savor a great cup of coffee.”

The six-foot-high vertical garden was completed in October 2017 and spans 17 feet along the back wall of the café’s upstairs seating area. The green wall, Coava Coffee says, has 52 total LiveWall modular planters with inserts that contain the growing medium and plants.

Blossoms Floral provided and maintains the plants, according to Coava Coffee. The plants are a mix of more than 100 Pothos ‘Neon’ and Pothos ‘Silver Cloud’ plants arranged in a pattern of wide stripes in alternating dark and light green colors.

“Coava Coffee has direct relations with small rural growers, and the green wall suggests and reinforces the direct connection between Coava and the source farms,” said Mark Annen, AIA, NCARB, Annen Architecture and Design, the project architect. “In addition to expressing the Coava brand and creating captivating visual interest, the green wall fulfills an important architectural function.”

Annen says the upstairs section of the café has a low ceiling that hides the mechanics, and the green wall balances the weight of the concrete floor and ceiling and creates a sense of openness.

Don Trotter, owner of Oregon Restaurant Equipment, was responsible for the selection and installation of the green wall system.

“Price and ease of installation as a turnkey system were key factors in the specification of LiveWall,” Trotter said.

“We trusted Don’s recommendation,” said Annen. “LiveWall looked to be a well-designed system that could be maintained under the demands of a commercial application. The hardware, planter hanging system and irrigation lines are simple but solid in construction.”

“The living wall meets our expectations and has been well-received by our customers,” said Higgins. “When we look at customer reviews on social media, they include positive comments and photos of the green wall.”

Drafix Software releases Version 24 of PRO Landscape

Drafix Software, Inc. has announced the release of Version 24 of its PRO Landscape design software.

The company says Version 24 is a complete software package offering photo imaging, CAD and professional proposals. Drafix Software says PRO Landscape has helped landscape designers, contractors, architects, garden centers and others in the landscape design field create professional level designs that are easy to understand.

The company says PRO Landscape also contains the companion app for Android and iOS tablets that provides mobility and design flexibility for the user.

Photo: Drafix SoftwarePhoto: Drafix Software

The company says Version 24 has added new images to the library with each version and has added an additional 1,000 items, which brings the total up to over 18,000 high-quality images of plant material for all climate zones, hardscapes, light fixtures, water features and more.

The company says Version 24 updated by adding more CAD tools to make it easier for designers to include the design elements possibly needed for particular projects.

“For Version 24, we made a huge effort to add the tools our customers are asking for,” says Pete Lord, president of Drafix Software. “The new Intelligent Sketch tool and the enhanced soldier course tools are in part, a direct response to customer requests. We value customer feedback very highly and try to accommodate our customers whenever possible; Version 24 has most definitely filled many of those requests.”

With the Intelligent Sketch, Drafix Software says the command allows the designer to use a stylus or mouse to “sketch” the lines they would like to draw and then have those lines automatically smoothed and easily editable.

The company says Version 24 also adds the ability to convert 2D CAD lines to other line types with a single click. Version 24, Drafix Software says, adds other features such as hybrid line type, quick quote, foundation auto-align and enhanced plant search.

Version 24 is available now and is fully compatible with Microsoft Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 10.  The company says PRO Landscape can run on a Mac if the appropriate Windows software is installed, and the companion app runs on either iPad or Android tablets.

Version 24 sells for $1,495, has no monthly fees and includes lifetime, free technical support. Depending on their current version, PRO Landscape users can upgrade to the newest version starting at $295. 

Project EverGreen sponsors Environmental Communicator Award with TOCA

The Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA) and Project EverGreen recently announced Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan as the recipient of the 2018 TOCA Environmental Communicator of the Year Award.

The groups say the award recognizes individuals for outstanding communications efforts regarding green space and environmental issue, and it was presented during the TOCA Annual Conference in Cincinnati. Duggan is the 20threcipient of this award.

The City of Detroit’s Bradley Dick (right) accepts the Environmental Communicator Award on behalf of Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan from Project EverGreen’s Cindy Code. Photo: Project EverGreenThe City of Detroit’s Bradley Dick (right) accepts the Environmental Communicator Award on behalf of Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan from Project EverGreen’s Cindy Code.
Photo: Project EverGreen

Duggan has served as the mayor of Detroit since 2014 and he announced an investment of $11.7 million to improve 40 neighborhood parks across the city of Detroit in 2016-17. Project EverGreen said they worked with the city, local businesses and community groups to renovate Pingree Park since last November.

Due to budget constraints, the city’s parks have been in decline but as downtown Detroit experienced a renaissance, Duggan’s wanted to make sure the neighborhoods didn’t get left behind. BrightView says the 40 parks were chosen based on key criteria including those with the highest concentration of children and senior citizens close by.

Bradley Dick, director of general services department, accepted the award for the mayor and said, “Parks are the heart and soul of the city. The mayor’s progressive initiative to renovate 40 parks across the city help reduce blight and restore community pride.”

“Project EverGreen is pleased to recognize Mayor Duggan with this well-deserved honor,” said Cindy Code, executive director of Project EverGreen. “Well-maintained parks are transformational. They serve as community hubs, creating positive neighborhood relationships. Additionally, Pingree Park, along with the 40 other renovated Detroit parks combined, absorb almost enough carbon to offset an average car traveling 53,438 miles.”

Previous Environmental Communicator Award recipients include:

  • 1999 – Mark Welterlen, former publisher Grounds Maintenance magazine
    2000 – Bill Love, W.R. Love Golf Architecture
  • 2001 – Tim Doppel, Atwood Lawn Care
  • 2002 – Doug Fender, former executive director, Turfgrass Producers International
  • 2003 – Allen James, former CEO, RISE
  • 2004 – Rod Dodson, Audubon International
  • 2005 – Jeff Gullickson, Spokane Country Club
  • 2006 – Kevin Trotta, grounds manager/IPM specialist, Cornwall, NY
  • 2007 – Helen Stone, Southwest Trees & Turf magazine
  • 2008 – Allied Golf Associations of Colorado
  • 2009 – Drs. Larry Stowell/Wendy Gelernter, PACE Turf
  • 2010 – Christopher Gray, formerly Marvel Golf Club
  • 2011 – Anthony Williams, formerly Marriott Golf and golf course consultant
  • 2012 – Dr. Frank Rossi, Cornell University
  • 2013 – Phil Fogarty, Weed Man and Crowley’s Vegetation Management
  • 2014 – Brandon Horvath, University of Tennessee
  • 2015 – Dr. Brian Horgan, University of Minnesota
    2016 – Dr. Dave Shetlar, The Ohio State University
  • 2017 – Dr. Frank Wong, Bayer Environmental Science

WorkWave launches mobile app

WorkWave recently launched its mobile app called WorkWave: GPS Track, which is now available on both Android and iOS.

WorkWave: GPS Track mobile app allows businesses to see entire fleet’s location from almost any device. Photo: WorkWaveWorkWave: GPS Track mobile app allows businesses to see entire fleet’s location from almost any device.
Photo: WorkWave

With this free app, WorkWave says customers using WorkWave’s GPS tracking can instantly access live, 24/7 tracking and visibility from desktop, tablet or phone to enable more effective management on-the-go.

“With many business owners spending time both in and out of the office, it is important to be able to access their fleet’s live activity, events and functions, even when they step away from their desk,” said Mike Profit, WorkWave’s chief product and service officer. “WorkWave is empowering business owners and fleet managers to make better-informed business decisions through live GPS tracking that’s easily accessible, reliable and accurate.”

“WorkWave: GPS Track is easy to use and responsive,” said Kevin P. Haley of Squier Lumber & Hardware, Inc., an initial user of the mobile app. “It provides that extra layer of visibility into our mobile workforce.”

WorkWave says the mobile app is available across their full suite of field service and last mile logistics solutions, including PestPac, WorkWave Service, WorkWave Route Manager and WorkWave GPS.

From the app, users can:

  • View breadcrumb trail activity
  • Instantly confirm live and historical vehicle position
  • Filter vehicles for fast lookup
  • Choose between a map or list view
  • Visualize events and driver behavior alerts through the notification area (speeding, braking, geofence, ignition on/off alerts, etc.)

“WorkWave’s mission is to provide companies with the software they need to efficiently run their businesses and provide exceptional service to their customers,” said Chris Sullens, CEO of WorkWave. “With enhanced mobility features, they can now run their businesses with increased visibility and peace of mind, whether at the office or on-the-go.”

Kubota announces $1 million donation to Lanier Technical College Foundation

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal recently joined leaders from both Kubota Manufacturing of America (KMA) and Kubota Industrial Equipment (KIE) as they jointly announced a $1 million donation to the Lanier Technical College Foundation in support of its Technology and Industry Building on its new campus set to open in January 2019.

As part of the Technical College System of Georgia, LTC says it serves Hall County and the surrounding area with career-technical education programs and customized business and industry training.

Photo: KubotaPhoto: Kubota

“This year marks an important milestone as we celebrate our 30th anniversary since Kubota started the business here in Georgia,” said Hirohiko Arai, Kubota Manufacturing of America and Kubota Industrial Equipment’s newly-appointed president as of January 2018. “There were only 44 members when we started, and now we have become one of the leading Kubota factories with over 2,500 team members. Looking into the future, we acknowledge that education for younger generations is indispensable as they will play a leading role in growing business for the benefit of society.”

“We are very pleased Kubota continues to recognize the importance of our work here in Hall County and we are thrilled that the company has pledged its support in such a monumental way,” said Dr. Ray Perren, president of Lanier Technical College. “We know Kubota will see a return on their investment for years to come as we train our student workforce for job opportunities with Kubota and beyond.”

Pioneer Landscape Centers celebrates 50 years

Pioneer Landscape Centers recently announced the company is celebrating 50 years in business.

With 36 retail locations across Colorado and Arizona and 20 quarries, Pioneer says each retail location carries over 3,000 landscape and hardscape materials in extraordinary colors, sizes and shapes.

Pioneer says it employs an innovative, consumer-centric marketplace concept that demystifies the landscape design process for all. Leading Pioneer is CEO Sagi Cohen.

With plans to open more stores in Arizona and Colorado, as well as garnering new territory in Texas, California and Nevada, the company says Cohen’s vision is for Pioneer to become the number one landscape materials supplier in the nation and a household name.

Cohen says he has repositioned Pioneer internally to focus on what matters the most: its people.

LandCare promotes manager in Palm Springs, California

LandCare announced that Tony Serna has been promoted to branch manager in its Palm Springs location. Serna joined LandCare in January 2017 as an account manager.

Tony SernaTony Serna

LandCare says Serna has deep roots in the horticultural side of the green industry, from working at his father’s nursery to earning a degree in environmental horticulture from College of the Desert.

Before joining LandCare, the company says he served as the head horticulturist at The Annenberg Foundation Trust in Rancho Mirage for five years, where he oversaw the care of over 70,000 plants of differing varieties. Currently, LandCare says Serna is working on an associate’s degree in business from College of the Desert.

“Humble, hungry, honest, smart and hardy: Tony’s been instrumental in the successful Palm Springs branch rebuild,” said Jim Kelley, Southwest regional vice president.

“Being promoted to branch manager was a goal I had set for myself when I started working for LandCare,” Serna said. “I want to win more customers by supporting my staff and providing excellent customer service to all of my clients.”

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