People roundup: Ruppert Landscape recognizes employees and announces promotions

Tina HoltTina Holt

Ruppert Landscape has promoted Tina Holt to director of payroll and benefits and Darren Woods has been promoted to controller.

Holt joined Ruppert in 2007 and managed payroll for eight branches and 450 employees at the time. Since then, she has adapted to the company’s growth and acquisitions. She now oversees payroll and benefits for 25 branches and almost 1,700 employees.

She has also been awarded the company’s Corporate Impact Award in 2012 for her dedication, contributions and positive impact on the organization.

“In addition to directing payroll to ensure accurate and timely processing every week, Tina has played a critical role in strategizing, designing, administering and monitoring all Ruppert health benefits plans,” says Jennifer Saah, vice president of accounting and financial risk management. “She is personally committed to ensuring that all employees understand and utilize their earned benefits while monitoring plan performance and protecting company assets to limit waste or fraud.”

Darren WoodsDarren Woods

As for Woods, he joined Ruppert in 2018 as an assistant controller, managing all aspects of the general ledger, compliance, treasury, accounts payable and accounts receivable functions.

He has a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Maryland, College Park and is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).

“Darren has a strong aptitude for financial reporting accuracy and process efficiencies, which we will leverage in process improvements and stability in reporting as we grow,” says Saah. “As we position ourselves for additional growth and complexities within the accounting environment, Darren will lead the team and resources to best support operations and continue to strive for excellent customer service to our branch teams.”

Also, earlier this month, Ruppert Landscape honored its employees at its annual award banquet.

“We are honored to recognize stand-out employees throughout the company whose remarkable talent and contributions have benefited our customers and our employees,” says Phil Key, company president. “We are grateful for their service and truly proud of their achievements.”

April Rose received the Clyde Vadner Award.April Rose received the Clyde Vadner Award.

The company presented the Clyde Vadner Merit award to April Rose, operations manager at the Texas landscape construction branch, who has been with the company for over 11 years. This award recognizes individuals who have contributed continuous long-term hard work, dedication and skill.

The Achievement Award was given to Sam Wells, branch manager in the Raleigh, North Carolina, landscape management branch, who has been with Ruppert for over seven years. This award is presented to an employee who has made a significant contribution in 2019 through outstanding job execution and high-quality results.

As for the Distinction Award, this award is given in appreciation of an employee who has shown exemplary dedication to the principles and ideals of the company. This year, the award was given collectively to the team members of the Alexandria Landscape Management Branch.

The entire Alexandria Landscape Management Branch earned the Distinction Award.The entire Alexandria Landscape Management Branch earned the Distinction Award.

“In 2019, the Alexandria branch broke multiple division records, including a new highwater mark for profit margin, while maintaining an exceptional contract renewal rate, which is indicative of the team’s focus on providing great customer service,” says Tom Barry, president of the company’s landscape management division. “All of these accomplishments are admirable in and of themselves, but none of this would have been possible without the exceptional teamwork this group has exhibited. That’s why it was important to us to recognize the entire team, and not just one individual as we do with the Achievement and Merit Awards.”

Additionally, Ruppert also presented Branch Impact awards to a number of employees whose contributions positively impacted their individual branches.

Below are this year’s 24 recipients:

  • Mary Angebranndt (purchaser), a 16-year employee, received the honor for the Georgia landscape construction branch.
  • Bobby Burbank (contract administrator), a 29-year employee, received the honor for the Maryland landscape construction branch.
  • Christa Bush(area manager), a one-year employee, received the honor for the Alexandria, Virginia, landscape management branch.
  • Roger Crandell (area manager), a three-year employee, received the honor for the Richmond, Virginia, landscape management branch.
  • Matthew Davidson (area manager), a 10-year employee, received the honor for the Forestville, Maryland, landscape management branch.
  • Luis de la Luz Cruz (field manager), a three-year employee, received the honor for the Charlotte, North Carolina, landscape management branch.
  • Stephen DeWeese (area manager), a 10-year employee, received the honor for the Lilburn, Georgia, landscape management branch.
  • Dan Flake (production manager), a three-year employee, received the honor for the Virginia landscape construction branch.
  • Lawesley Fox (field manager), a one-year employee, received the honor for the Fredericksburg, Virginia, landscape management branch.
  • Arnoldo Gonzales (field manager), a one-year employee, received the honor for the Texas landscape construction branch.
  • Michael Jones (business developer), a seven-year employee, received the honor for the Gainesville, Virginia, landscape management branch.
  • Ron Kuczinski (area manager), a six-year employee, received the honor for the White Marsh, Maryland, landscape management branch.
  • Eric Long (enhancement manager), a seven-year employee, received the honor for the Laytonsville, Maryland landscape management branch.
  • Ben Ramos (field manager), a nine-year employee, received the honor for the King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, landscape management branch.
  • McKenna Rowles (field manager), a one-year employee, received the honor for the Raleigh, North Carolina, landscape management branch.
  • Martin Sánchez (area manager), a nine-year employee, received the honor for the Toughkenamon, Pennsylvania, landscape management branch.
  • Christy Schinella (maintenance division administrator), a nine-year employee, received the honor for the corporate office.
  • Scott Sindall (area manager), a three-year employee, received the honor for the Frederick, Maryland, landscape management branch.
  • Nicolas Tardif (field manager), a two-year employee, received the honor for the Washington, DC landscape management branch.
  • Chris Truax (shop manager), a six-year employee, received the honor for the Baltimore, Maryland, landscape management branch.
  • Adonis Vaughn (field manager), a two-year employee, received the honor for the Mableton, Georgia, landscape management branch.
  • Wade Waller (business developer), a two-year employee, received the honor for the Richmond South, Virginia, landscape management branch.
  • Melissa Walter (branch administrator), a one-year employee, received the honor for the Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, landscape management branch.
  • Sean Walters (project manager), a seven-year employee, received the honor for the North Carolina landscape construction branch.

    Pete FrizPete Friz

Ruppert also recently added Pete Friz as the head of strategic initiatives. Friz holds an MBA from Loyola University and has over 20 years of business-to-business service experience. Specifically, he has almost a decade of tenure in the landscape industry, having held positions including director of operations and senior vice president with other industry organizations. In his new position at Ruppert, the company says he will focus on executing strategic objectives to accelerate the company’s growth, including process improvements, systems investments and training and integration programs, and will help develop leadership and management capabilities.

“Having previously worked for a large landscaping organization, Pete brings a unique and valuable perspective that becomes even more valuable as our company grows,” says Bob Jones, president of the company’s landscape construction division. “He will begin by spending his time evaluating our landscape construction division, focusing on project management processes and associated tools that will enable us to realize greater levels of efficiency and better position us for growth moving forward. He will also be spending time working with HR to help develop management and leadership programs.”

Takeuchi announces promotions and multiple new hires

Henry LawsonHenry Lawson

The company has recently promoted Henry Lawson and John Vranches to new leadership roles. Lawson has been named director of sales and Vranches will be in the new role of divisional sales manager.

Lawson will be responsible for dealer sales development and national account business for North America.

“I am honored and privileged to have the opportunity to serve as the director of sales for Takeuchi,” Lawson says. “We have a great team in the field, and a team of professional and courteous office personnel to support our dealers, national accounts and customer base. I look forward to working with each of them as we strive to continue to provide the best products and support in the industry.”

John VranchesJohn Vranches

As for Vranches, he will manage regional business managers and regional product managers to develop and maintain support for the Takeuchi dealer network. Additionally, he will work with regional business managers to develop new dealers across North America.

Takeuchi-US has hired Jim Spicer as a new regional product manager for the Midwest.

Jim SpicerJim Spicer

Spicer will be responsible for dealer sales training, supporting national accounts and national account training and growing dealer retail business in the Midwest.

He has nine years of experience working on the dealer side as he recently was a dealer in Bloomington, Illinois, as a sales account and operations manager. He has also been a product support specialist working with a dealership in Farmer City, Illinois.

During his time working with other dealerships, Spicer received direct sales and service training from Takeuchi’s Sales School.

Robert VistadRobert Vistad

“Having nearly two decades of experience on the dealer side will be beneficial in this position as Jim will work side by side with our dealers,” says Lawson. “Jim has also received a lot of training on our products from our product managers in the past, so he already knows our products well. The transition will be seamless.”

Takeuchi-US has also recently hired two new regional business managers for the West and Mid-Atlantic regions.

Dillon HeaddenDillon Headden

Robert Vistad will take on the West region while Dillon Headden will be responsible for the Mid-Atlantic. As regional business managers, they will be responsible for all sales development and activity in their respective territories. This includes dealer development, dealer recruitment, inventory control, collections (parts and machines), forecasting, program promotion and communication.

Vistad has been a sales manager for an equipment dealership and a senior account manager for a construction equipment distributor in the past while Headden was previously a territory account manager for a national rental company.

“We are excited to have both Dillon and Robert join our team and I look forward to working beside them to deliver Takeuchi products to the marketplace,” Lawson says.

Hyundai Construction Equipment Americas, Inc. adds vice president of CE Sales

Mike RossMike Ross

Mike Ross has been named the vice president of Construction Equipment Sales for Hyundai Construction Equipment Americas, Inc. (HCEA). Ross will report to the president of HCEA and be responsible for all aspects of dealer sales with his internal and field staff.


Ross is a West Point graduate who has 23 years of industry experience, including regional sales management, retail sales, product support and national account administration.

“Mike has well-diversified experiences in this industry, not only with sales but with product marketing and support,” says M.S. Kang, president of HCEA. “I believe that he will deliver customized value to dealers with his knowledge and experience.”



2019 North Carolina Industry Award winners announced 

The North Carolina Nursery & Landscape Association (NCNLA) recognized several industry professionals for their contributions to the North Carolina green industry in 2019.

Tara Hughes, owner of Tara Hughes, LLC landscape company in La Grange, was given the Jerry Ragland Award. Established in 1999, the award recognizes an outstanding young professional in the landscape business.

Scott Myatt, Myatt Landscaping in Fuquay-Varina was presented with the Oakland Award. Established in 1978 by Oakland Plantation, the award is given to individuals for outstanding service to the nursery and/or landscape industry.Ncnlalogonobacker

Mark Weathington of the JC Raulston Arboretum, Raleigh, was given the Kim Powell Award. Established in 2004, the award recognizes an individual’s outstanding contribution to the association and industry, and more specifically, their involvement in program development and execution.

Tom Gilmore, former owner of Gilmore Plant and Bulbs, Liberty, was honored posthumously with the DS Copeland Award. Established in 1972 and named for the founder of Apex Nurseries, the award recognizes outstanding contribution to the nursery industry. Gilmore passed away Sept. 24, 2019. His son, Dell Gilmore, accepted the award.

David Hoffman of Hoffman Nursery, Rougemont, was given the Bill Wilder Award. Established in 1994 and named for the long-time Executive Director of the North Carolina Association of Nurserymen, the award recognizes qualified young men and women for outstanding service in the field of environmental horticulture, and for their inspiration to others starting out in the field.

Tara Mullis of Arbor Fields, Marshville, was given the Libby Wilder Award. Established in 1999 and named for long-time organizer extraordinaire for the North Carolina Association of Nurserymen, the award recognizes outstanding contribution to the nursery industry by a female.

North 40 Nursery, Morganton, was recognized with the award for the Grower of the Year. Established in 1994, the award recognizes a high level of professionalism in the management or ownership of a field or container nursery and exhibits leadership in the nursery industry through participation in local, regional, state and national organizations.

Skip Warrick, Scottree, Shelby, was given recognized as a Lifetime Honorary Member. The award recognizes lifetime contribution or achievement in the nursery and landscape industry.

Arborjet announces three new hires

Arborjet Inc. recently announced the hiring of three new employees.

“We are excited about hiring new talent to assure continued growth in 2020,” says Russ Davis, president and CEO. “Now in Arborjet’s twentieth year, I’ve been reflecting on how we’ve grown and where we’ll be 20 years from now, and how the company can really make the greatest impact. I’m proud to say that Arborjet continues its legacy of providing the highest quality products and services in the industry. We are truly developing technology and products for the benefit of our customers, our partners, and our planet.”

Arborjet Ecologel Cobrand Tag Rgb WebJay Goughnour has been hired as a new regional technical manager/technical advisor who will assist applicators in the field and support Arborjet distributors in the upper Midwestern states. Goughnour was previously a golf course superintendent for 12 years, and a golf course owner for four years. He also held positions at SiteOne Landscape Supply and has been involved in the green industry for over 20 years.

“I found a passion for turf in the golf industry, which eventually led him to expand his career interests and seek broadened expertise in tree care, irrigation, and landscape lighting,” says Goughnour. After the severe Midwest floods of 2008, he represented the National Golf Course Owners Association on Capitol Hill, Washington D.C., to explain to lawmakers “how golf’s exclusion from disaster-related tax relief was unfairly burdensome to golf course operators.”

Goughnour was a past president of the Iowa Golf Course Superintendents Association and currently serves on the Iowa Turfgrass Institute Board of Directors representing the Iowa Professional Lawn Care Association. He attended Central Missouri State University.

In research and development, Jasmine Hart has been appointed as research associate, whose responsibilities at Arborjet will include cultivation and maintenance of all research plants, on-site greenhouses and outdoor nursery areas. She will also prepare media for pathology and oversee the upkeep of horticulture trials, including diagnosing disease and pest damage and appropriate data collection.

The company says she looks forward to “expanding her expertise in the field and assisting the research and development team at Arborjet conduct ground-breaking research to help protect the urban and natural forests against pests and disease.”

Hart previously worked as the cultivation lead of compliance at Cresco Labs in Yellow Springs, Ohio, where she worked on the cultivation of medical cannabis, including pest/disease scouting and facility maintenance and compliance with all state regulations. She also worked at Michigan State University Extension as a research technician focusing on viticulture and entomology, and as a research assistant at Ohio State University, where she received her BS in horticulture.

Rounding out the new hires is Hayden Davis, whose role at Arborjet is horticulture sales representative. Her primary focus will be selling Arborjet and Ecologel products into applications for nursery, greenhouse, retail and other specialty application areas. Her geographic focus will be on the Southeastern United States.

She previously worked at Appalachian State University Sustainable Development Farm as well as Dewar Nurseries Inc. and fulfilled a Professional Plant Science Internship at Walt Disney World Co.

“When I was working on the Sustainable Development farm at Appalachian State, I became even more passionate about this industry, working alongside my peers doing what I love the most, being surrounded by plants and agriculture,” says Davis.

She earned a Bachelor of Science at Appalachian State University in sustainable development and agriculture.

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