Ruppert Landscape employees were honored recently as the company presented its annual awards at the conclusion of its first ever virtual Management Development Days (MDD) conference.
Typically, Ruppert says MDD is a two-day training event where managers from across the company come together to learn from one another and celebrate accomplishments. With the challenges presented by the pandemic, and keeping employees’ health and safety top of mind, company leadership decided to opt for a virtual program this year, which was presented to over 500 employees on February 19th.
The company says the program featured 2020 highlights from company leadership, a look at the next five-year plan, a Q&A with CEO Craig Ruppert and more, culminating in the annual awards ceremony.
“While we missed seeing everyone in person, we have enjoyed re-imagining this event in a fun new format and were grateful for the opportunity to connect with our team members virtually,” says company president, Phil Key. “Perhaps the most rewarding part of the program was when we recognized stand-out employees throughout the company whose remarkable talent and contributions have benefited our customers and our employees. We are grateful for their service and truly proud of their achievements, especially during a year which put many obstacles in our path. This year’s MDD theme was ‘Adapt and Overcome,’ and these individuals did just that.”
Clyde Vadner Merit Award
This award recognizes the individual who has contributed continuous, consistent, long-term hard work, dedication and job skill that has helped to shape the company. This award is named in memory of Clyde Vadner, who early on in the company’s history played an integral role in developing the training program which has helped develop the many leaders who make up the organization today. This year’s recipient is Michael Vispi, branch manager in the Lilburn, Georgia, landscape management branch, who has been with Ruppert for over 17 years.
“One of the things that makes Michael stand out is that he’s constantly learning, knows where his challenges are and is always working to improve,” says Steve Faber, region manager in the company’s landscape management division. “His innate ability to connect with people makes him adept at bringing in new talent and developing his team, and he has greatly contributed to the branch’s outstanding contract renewal rate and highest-ever profitability in 2020. We are extremely grateful for his contributions and we look forward to many more years of his leadership.”
This award recognizes the employee who has made a significant contribution in 2020 through outstanding job execution and high-quality results. This year’s recipient is Paul Pestun, director of business development in the landscape construction division, who has been with Ruppert for over eight years.
“Paul is very tuned in to the needs and concerns of our customers, resulting in long-term relationships, repeat business and establishing ourselves in many new markets,” says Bob Jones, president of the landscape construction division. “His efforts helped the national construction branch set division records with large-scale projects in cities like Dallas, Austin, Oklahoma City and Lexington, Kentucky. His proficiency has allowed us to build an impressive backlog of work, putting us in a position to have a successful year right out of the gate. We are proud of all he’s accomplished and are excited to see what the future has in store for him.”
This award is presented in appreciation for exemplary dedication and devotion to the principles and ideals of the company. This year, the Distinction Award was collectively presented to team members of the accounting and payroll department.
“As our company has continued to grow, this team has evolved, expanded and reinvented itself,” says Key. “Throughout all the challenges of this past year, the accounting team, much like many of our teams in the field, didn’t have the luxury of working remotely. Their tasks required interaction and moving paperwork around, so they got creative and staggered their shifts to ensure that the team could continue to operate safely. This team works cohesively to solve problems, responds to their customers and helps our organization continue to meet our ever-expanding business demands and we look forward to their continued influence in making our company stronger and more efficient.”
Branch Impact Awards
These awards are given to the employee whose outstanding dedication and contributions have made a positive impact on their individual branch. This year, there were 27 recipients:
- Tony Aliquo (production manager), a four-year employee, received the honor for the Maryland landscape construction branch.
- Erick Arias (assistant project manager), a five-year employee, received the honor for the North Carolina landscape construction branch.
- Joe Beretz III (maintenance operations manager), a 12-year employee, received the honor for the Texas landscape construction branch.
- David (Ross) Bretches (enhancement manager), a six-year employee, received the honor for the Richmond South, Virginia, landscape management branch.
- Marvin Clermont (assistant branch manager), a five-year employee, received the honor for the Georgia landscape construction branch.
- Antoine Cooper (area manager), a five-year employee, received the honor for the Washington, DC landscape management branch.
- Wendy De La O (project manager), a five-year employee, received the honor for the Virginia landscape construction branch.
- Walter Dudovicz (area manager), a one-year employee, received the honor for the Fredericksburg, Virginia, landscape management branch.
- Isabel Flores (branch administrator), a four-year employee, received the honor for the White Marsh, Maryland, landscape management branch.
- John Gregory (field manager), an eight-year employee, received the honor for the Laytonsville, Maryland, landscape management branch.
- Art Haggan (field manager), a four-year employee, received the honor for the Mableton, Georgia, landscape management branch.
- Haley Jacobson (branch administrative assistant), a one-year employee, received the honor for the Alexandria, Virginia, landscape management branch.
- Tyler Johnson (area manager), a one-year employee, received the honor for the Raleigh, North Carolina, landscape management branch.
- José Javier Macias (field manager), a two-year employee, received the honor for the Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, landscape management branch.
- Jamie Martin (branch administrator), a one-year employee, received the honor for the Richmond East, Virginia, landscape management branch.
- Robert Micklis (area manager), a four-year employee, received the honor for the Charlotte, North Carolina, landscape management branch.
- Chris Moyer (branch administrator), a three-year employee, received the honor for the King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, landscape management branch.
- William (Billy) Nichols (field manager), a five-year employee, received the honor for the West Grove, Pennsylvania, landscape management branch.
- Josh Nuckols (area manager), a four-year employee, received the honor for the Richmond North, Virginia, landscape management branch.
- Rad Petkov (IT help desk lead), a one-year employee, received the honor for the corporate office.
- Jared Rothman (business developer), a five-year employee, received the honor for the Forestville, Maryland, landscape management branch.
- Donavon Stout (business developer), an 18-year employee, received the honor for the Toughkenamon, Pennsylvania, landscape management branch.
- Daniel Stutts (area manager), a seven-year employee, received the honor for the Lilburn, Georgia, landscape management branch.
- Dave Wakeling (area manager), a 17-year employee, received the honor for the Delmarva, Delaware, landscape management branch.
- Tyler Wertz (area manager), a four-year employee, received the honor for the Baltimore, Maryland, landscape management branch.
- Jeff Williams (shop manager), a six-year employee, received the honor for the Gainesville, Virginia, landscape management branch.
- Payton Zudal (branch administrator), a four-year employee, received the honor for the Frederick, Maryland, landscape management branch.
Ruppert Landscape also announced the promotion of Brian Kinsella to lead the company’s King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, location as branch manager.
Kinsella attended Rowan College at Gloucester County and is a Certified Landscape Technician (CLT). He has been with Ruppert for over 13 years, having joined right out of college as a crew member in the company’s Toughkenamon location.
He worked his way up to the level of enhancement manager and served in this role at both the King of Prussia and Toughkenamon locations at different times. He was recognized with the company’s Branch Impact Award in 2018 for his dedication and contributions to the Toughkenamon team.
In 2019, he took part in Ruppert’s associate branch manager leadership development program, which was designed to prepare talented team members to take on future opportunities. That opportunity arose in late 2020, as an opportunity presented itself in the King of Prussia branch with their existing branch manager, Tim Schofield, transitioning to the role of division project manager.
As branch manager, Kinsella will be responsible for the overall welfare of the King of Prussia branch, including the safety and development of his team, strategic planning and budgeting, training, customer service and day-to-day operations.
“Brian’s success can be attributed to his strong work ethic and can-do attitude. He is already making a big impact in the branch by recruiting talent to strengthen his team, and we’re excited to see him further develop and lead that team,” says John Harich, region manager in the company’s landscape management division.
“I’m excited to take on this new opportunity and honored to lead a great group of men and women towards future success and growth in the King of Prussia market,” says Kinsella.
Roger Zino named Gothic Landscape CEO
Gothic Landscape recently announced that Roger Zino, currently vice chairman of the company and veteran of the landscape business, has been named the CEO of Gothic Landscape.
Jon Georgio, Gothic’s current CEO, will remain chairman of the board. The company says Georgio will continue to be active in his areas of greatest passion, including a continued focus on distinctive customer relationships and the company’s unique family culture.
“Roger’s increasing involvement in our company has confirmed and further energized us all to the fabulous growth opportunities we have in front of us,” says Jon Georgio. “His experience in scaling service businesses, combined with his genuine passion for the landscape profession, comes at the perfect time in our company’s evolution.”
“I am deeply honored the Georgio family has entrusted me with the responsibility of continuing the company’s family legacy as the first non-family CEO,” says Zino. “In working closely with the company over the past 18 months, I have been equally impressed with all it has accomplished, as well as the unique potential it has in the coming years to expand its distinctive mark on the industry. The family’s willingness to continue to invest in its future and expand its vision of the company’s leadership, speaks to the multi-generational view the family has of its commitment to this business.”
Ron Georgio, the founder of Gothic’s maintenance division, will assume the role of vice chairman, serving in a key governance and special project capacity.
Nada Duna will continue in her role as chief operating officer of the maintenance division, which the company says has enjoyed unprecedented expansion over the past four years and is seen as a key growth area for the company.
“Being reunited with Nada in the landscape maintenance business is very exciting for me, but I know that I will have to be on my toes to keep up with her extraordinary energy,” says Zino.
Gothic Landscape says Zino has been very active in the company, particularly over the last six months spearheading several strategic capability building efforts.
“His experience has paired incredibly well with our team’s hunger to continue to excel,” says Jon Georgio. “It has been such a great match and frankly, a lot of fun to be a part of it. It is increasing my own energy level.”
The company says Zino is well known in the industry for his passion for the beauty of the landscape profession, his hunger to continually innovate and his history of driving extensive growth in the industry across many roles.
He served as president of ValleyCrest Landscape Maintenance, CEO of ValleyCrest Companies and as vice chairman of Brightview during the company’s integration. Prior to ValleyCrest, he was a partner at McKinsey & Co. and served a range of diversified businesses.
“It has been such a pleasure to get to know the people of Gothic and their tremendous value system,” says Zino. “It really motivates me to bring my best effort every day.”
Takeuchi welcomes Ian Poole as new insides sales rep
Ian Poole has joined Takeuchi-US as its new inside sales representative.
The company says Poole will be responsible for sales development and support for Takeuchi’s dealers and direct accounts. Additionally, he will support Takeuchi’s regional business managers in their efforts, including dealer development and recruitment, inventory control, forecasting, program promotion, communication and more.
“With more than 25 years of industry experience and an impressive track record in cultivating partnerships, territory development and area logistics planning, Ian was a clear fit for the role,” says Henry Lawson, director of sales for Takeuchi-US. “We are excited to have him on the team and can’t wait to see what he accomplishes here at Takeuchi.”
“I’m thrilled to be joining the Takeuchi team and putting my strategic planning and logistics background to work for a truly innovative global leader in compact equipment,” says Poole. “I’ve spent the majority of my career in sales positions and I’m excited to apply that experience and passion to my new role.”