Industry news roundup: Horizon announces variety of promotions

Updated Oct 10, 2022
Rippe, Stephens, Hudson, and Thornton
Shown left to right: Rippe, Stephens, Hudson, and Thornton of Horizon Distributors, Inc.

This week Horizon Distributors, Inc., a wholesale distributor of landscape and irrigation supplies, announced several significant promotions, as well as multiple new store locations. These changes are effective January 1 and represent the significant growth and expansion at Horizon that is creating these opportunities.

Shawn Connors, general manager South Division, has announced his retirement effective May 1, 2023. Connors has dedicated 26 years to the Horizon business and has been instrumental in growing the business from seven stores in Phoenix to 83 branches in 12 states. Richard Thornton, region manager, has been promoted to general manager South Division, which includes Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, and Texas. Thornton has been in the green industry for 24 years, eight years as region manager for the Arizona and Nevada regions.

Phil Stephens, currently general manager West Division, has been promoted to vice president of Horizon. Stephens will take over all field management, with the three division general managers reporting to him.

Jeff Clay will remain as president of Horizon but will now be free to pursue strategic corporate initiatives. 

Eric Rippe, currently region manager, has been promoted to general manager and will be responsible for sales and operations in California, Oregon, and Washington. Rippe has been with Horizon for 23 years and held multiple positions in sales and management.

Chris Hudson has been promoted to Senior Director of Supply Chain and will manage all aspects of product procurement, including sourcing, purchasing, pricing, and data. Hudson has over 30 years of experience. This change is effective immediately and will serve to help Horizon streamline the procurement process.

Finally, Horizon is opening six new stores over the next two months, including their first store in the Raleigh market. All stores will carry a complete selection of irrigation, fertilizer, pesticides, landscape lighting, hardscape, and power equipment and will be open merchandised for a faster transaction for the landscape professional. New locations are in New Braunfels (San Antonio), Brookshire (Houston), Denton (Dallas), Spokane Valley, and Woodinville (Seattle), which will be a “megastore” with over 20,000 square feet of warehouse space.

“I can’t express how thrilled I am for the future of Horizon,” says Jeff Clay, president. “We are promoting from within and opening an unprecedented six stores in two months, all resulting in new opportunities throughout our organization.” Clay added, “Keep an eye on Horizon – we’ve got some exciting times ahead." 

SavATree merges with Central Texas Tree Care

SavATree has announced a merger with Texas-based Central Texas Tree Care. This merger marks SavATree's second office in the state.

Central Texas Tree Care specializes in general tree care and plant health care for discerning homeowners and commercial clients in the Austin area, making this merger a strategic fit with SavATree's growth strategy. Owners of Central Texas Tree Care Andy Johnson and Javier Robles, along with their dedicated team, will remain on board with SavATree as part of their ongoing commitment to building and maintaining quality relationships.

"Our partnership with SavATree, a leader in the industry, means that we can take our business to the next level. We're glad to be keeping our entire team onboard to continue the same relationships that we've built with our clients, and now provide them with expanded and enhanced resources," says Johnson.

"We are so excited to join forces with Central Texas Tree Care, one of the leading competitors in the Austin market with an experienced staff and significant industry expertise. Our teams share a deep commitment to our clients and to excellent service, and we're thrilled to begin serving our Austin clients' expanded offerings," says SavATree CEO, Carmine Schiavone.

Altoz hires service parts and accessories manager

Altoz, a manufacturer of outdoor power equipment, has announced that Rod Larson has joined the team as service parts and accessories manager. Larson has more than 35 years of experience in the industry. 

“Rod’s extensive experience and strategic vision are assets that will benefit our dealers, customers, and organization,” said Karl Bjorkman, Altoz sales and marketing director. “As the service parts and accessories manager, Rod will focus on working with research and development to grow the Altoz accessories line, managing inventory, and administering programs for service parts and accessories.”

"This position is a great fit for me with my experience in outdoor power equipment and powersports. I'm eager to make a difference and increase Altoz's parts and accessories offerings. I'm fortunate to work for a company that has a sincere dedication to their employees, dealers, customers, and community," Larson said.

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