Industry roundup: Keystone launches new version of design software tool

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Photo: Keystone Retaining Wall SystemsPhoto: Keystone Retaining Wall Systems

Keystone Retaining Wall Systems recently launched KeyWallPRO, an updated version of its KeyWall software tool for design professionals.

The company says KeyWallPRO is advanced software that provides design and analysis for gravity walls and soil reinforced wall sections for all Keystone structural units and most common soil reinforcement materials.

The company says the new software combines popular features from existing Keystone KeyWall and KeyDraw software tools to enable the design of complete MSE wall systems in accordance with the latest engineering techniques, standards and methods.

Additionally, Keystone says the KeyWallPRO supports pinned, lipped and lugged products across the full line of Keystone Retaining Wall Systems and Keystone Hardscapes structural walls.

“I have designed with Keystone retaining wall products for decades with very positive results, and I’m very impressed with the new KeyWallPRO computer program,” said Tim Gary, PE, regional manager of Triad Engineering in Sterling, Virginia. “It is well-thought-out, simple to use and comprehensive in its capabilities.”

“Although packaged as proprietary software, it allows great flexibility (in retaining wall design),” said Sean Chiang, Ph.D., PE, vice president of Ground Engineering in Englewood, Colorado. “The use of this software has improved our design efficiency.”

Keystone says the KeyWallPRO software is available for download on two registered computers for a one-time fee of $9.99 that includes free future software updates.

NALP and National Association of Realtors release 2018 Remodeling Report

The National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) and the National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently released their 2018 Remodeling Report: Outdoor Feature.

The groups say this report looks at 13 outdoor residential projects and 10 commercial property projects and highlights the reasons why property owners complete these projects, the financial and emotional value these remodels bring and the increased happiness the finished projects bring to homeowners.

Logo for The National Association of Landscape Professionals“Realtors understand that a home’s first impression is its curb appeal, so when it comes time to sell, a well-manicured yard can be just as important as any indoor remodel,” said NAR president Elizabeth Mendenhall, a sixth-generation realtor from Columbia, Missouri, and CEO of RE/MAX Boone Realty. “Even homeowners with no immediate plans to sell can gain more enjoyment and satisfaction from their home by taking on a project to revive their outdoor spaces.”

When asked which outdoor projects produce the most substantial financial payouts at resale, NAR says it ranked standard lawn care service at the top, which the group says recovers 267 percent of the project cost at resale. NAR names landscape maintenance and tree care as the next, and the group says both recover 100 percent of the cost at resale. NAR says installing an irrigation system recoups 86 percent.

When it comes to the enjoyment homeowners gain from these projects, NAR says a fire feature and irrigation system tied for first, both receiving a perfect Joy Score of 10.

Eighty-three percent of homeowners who installed a fire feature said they have a greater desire to be home since completing the project, according to NAR.

NAR also adds that 69 percent of homeowners who installed an irrigation system said they feel a major sense of accomplishment when they think of the project. The next most appealing projects, according to NAR were a new wood deck (Joy Score of 9.8), a water feature (9.8), statement landscaping (9.7) and an overall landscape upgrade (9.6).

“This report validates that landscaping is an investment worth making, offering the immediate benefits of increased enjoyment of your property, as well as desirable long-term value that holds if or when it comes time to sell,” says Missy Henriksen, vice president, public affairs, NALP. “From lawn and tree care to installing a new fire or water feature or landscape lighting, there’s no shortage of opportunities to enhance your landscape and to reap the benefits these upgrades provide.”

The report for this year also covered outdoor projects for commercial properties. The report states that 43 percent of realtors have suggested a commercial client improve the curb appeal of a property before listing it for sale.

The report shows that the most frequently recommended projects are standard lawn care (39 percent), completing a landscape management service (27 percent) and an overall landscape upgrade (26 percent).

“It is not just homeowners that need to think about curb appeal when it comes time to sell; a beautiful exterior is just as important for commercial property owners,” said Mendenhall.“In fact, 81 percent of realtors said they believe curb appeal is important in attracting a buyer.”

Mirimichi Green adds two new members

Mirimichi Green announced the addition of two new members to their team. Erica Backus will serve as the new products analyst intern and Michael Gill will serve as the new inventory specialist.

Erica BackusErica Backus

The company says Backus assumed the position of product analyst intern in May 2018 and has an interest in analytics and a passion for environmental economics. Backus has past experience in customer service and social media focused marketing, and she is working on obtaining a B.S in business administration with majors in economics and finance and a mathematics minor at the University of South Carolina Wilmington.

Backus has also studied abroad at Kedge Business School in Marseille, France. She grew up in Portland, Connecticut, and she currently lives in Wilmington, North Carolina.

“I just recently discovered my passion in applying economics to sustainability to make people see ‘going green’ is not only beneficial to the environment but also financially advantageous,” Backus said. “I hope to learn about Mirimichi Green’s sustainable process of manufacturing effective products, help educate people about the benefits and tap into new markets. I am so excited to be a part of a company that shares my values and contribute to its growth.”

Michael GillMichael Gill

Gill relocated from Weirton, West Virginia, and joined the Mirimichi Green team as an inventory specialist in March 2018. In this new role, the company says he will manage on-site inventory, track inventory maintenance and control equipment flow, investigate inventory discrepancies and oversee inbound and outbound shipments.

Gill has 10 years of experience in day-to-day operations in the landscaping industry and industrial work in manufacturing plants.

“I’m very thankful to be able to work for a company who genuinely cares so much about the environment,” Gill said. “It’s awesome to see people’s reactions when they try Mirimichi Green for the first time. They’re amazed by the results and practically fall in love with our products.”

LaurelRock Company announces Kehoe’s promotion

The LaurelRock Company recently announced the promotion of Peter Kehoe to the position of vice president of operations.

Pete KeyhoePete Keyhoe

In this new role, the company says Kehoe will oversee all internal divisions, including design/build for production. LaurelRock notes that this August will mark Kehoe’s sixth anniversary with the company.

LaurelRock says Kehoe is an expert in plant and turf health care, as well as a skilled production manager. The company says he is highly regarded by clients for his proactive approach to managing landscape crews and delivering excellent customer service.

“Pete has been an invaluable asset to The LaurelRock Company over the years,” says Burt DeMarche, LaurelRock Company president. “It is with great pleasure that we recognize Pete for his efforts and his dedication – not only to the company but to the core principles for which the LaurelRock Company is based upon.”

Along with his role at LaurelRock, the company says Kehoe has been an active volunteer with the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP).

Aspire Software Company welcomes four new team members

The Aspire Software Company recently announced the addition of four new team members: Charlotte Watson, database administrator; Sharon Dujon, account manager; Todd Weedman, client service software specialist; and Peggy Hughes, accounting specialist.

The Aspire Software Company LogoPrior to joining Aspire, Watson worked at a global healthcare organization. She joins the software development team to ensure Aspire clients will experience consistent application performance.

Dujon is an industry veteran with expertise in management and systems. The company says Dujon is a great addition to the Aspire deployment team and will help Aspire clients install the systems and make it work.

The company says Weedman joins the AspireCare customer support team and will provide training and technical support.

Hughes brings more than 30 years of contractor accounting experience to the team and is a key addition to the Aspire deployment team. Her expertise, Aspire says, adds more depth supporting Aspire clients in managing their accounting systems.

In the past three months, the company says its Aspire Software Company has added more than 200 combined years of experience to improve client experience and results.

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