More than 4,200 attendees and 260 exhibitors packed the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla., Nov. 2-6, for the 2012 Irrigation Show and Education Conference. The event, held on the East Coast for the first time in eight years, was declared a success by Irrigation Association leadership.
The 2012 Irrigation Show featured a new two-day format, a change from the traditional three-day trade show format, that was welcomed by attendees and exhibitors alike. The Education Conference featured classes, technical sessions and seminars that offered industry professionals learning opportunities through technical training classes, idea and research sharing forums and "how-to" seminars. This year's event introduced additional social networking opportunities for attendees, including an international reception as well as opening and closing night events.
Desi Williamson, motivational speaker, author and entrepreneur, led the General Session as master of ceremonies. Dr. Charlie Hall, Ellison Chair of International Floriculture at Texas A&M, delivered the keynote presentation on macroeconomics in the landscape, horticulture and agricultural realms.
The General Session also marked several show highlights:
New Product Contest:
The New Product Contest, IA's annual recognition of the most innovative products released in the last 12 months, included a People's Choice award for the first time. Winners and honorable mentions were recognized in the following categories:
Irrigation Association Annual Awards:
- Agriculture Category-Winner: SonTek-IQ and SonTek IQ-Pipe, SonTek, a division of Xylem, Inc.; Honorable Mention and People's Choice Award: Jain GeneSys, Jain Irrigation, Inc.; Specialty Category Winner and People's Choice Award: Luxor ZD LED Lighting Controller, Hunter Industries, Inc./FX Luminaire; Honorable Mention: Water-Vac Solids Separation System, Fountain Bleu
- Turf/Landscape Category-Winner: Precision Soil Sensor, The Toro Company; Honorable Mention: ETwater SmartWorks Rainbird 50-Pin Replacement Panel, ETwater Systems, Inc.; People's Choice Award: LASCO Push Fittings, LASCO Fittings, Inc.
IA presented its annual awards, which recognize individuals and organizations for their efforts to advance irrigation practices, technologies and the industry overall. Winners were named in the following categories:
Smart Marketing Contest:
- Industry Lifetime Achievement: Ray and Sue York, Ewing Irrigation Products (Phoenix, Ariz.)
- Partner of the Year: North Carolina Green Industry Council (Raleigh, N.C.)
- National Water & Energy Conservation: Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County (Los Angeles, Calif.)
- Person of the Year: Dr. Freddie Lamm, Kansas State University (Colby, Kan.)
- Crawford Reid Memorial: Chris Le Conte, Smart Watering Systems (Milton, Ont., Canada)
Winners of the 2012 Smart Marketing Contest were also announced. The Smart Marketing Contest recognizes the best Smart Irrigation Month marketing ideas and campaigns in multiple categories. Winners were selected by a neutral panel of judges based on messaging, quality and creativity.
- Affiliate Winner: Municipal Water District of Orange County (Fountain Valley, Calif.)
- Contractor Winner: ValleyCrest Landscape Maintenance (Calabasas, Calif.)
- Manufacturer Winner: The Toro Company (Riverside, Calif.)
- Distributor Winner: CPS Distributors, Inc. (Westminster, Colo.)
Finally, IA introduced the 2012-2013 Board of Directors, who officially took office immediately following the show:
- President: Robert Dobson, CIC, CID, Middletown Sprinkler, Colo.
- President-Elect: Warren Thoma, Warren Thoma and Associates
- Vice President: John Vikupitz, Netafim USA
- Treasurer: Jay Robbins, CAIS, CID, Irrigation-Mart, Inc.
- Past President: Philip Burkart, The Toro Company
Incoming board members include John McHugh, CID, CLIA, of Kifco, Inc., Richard Restuccia of ValleyCrest Landscape Maintenance, and Jeff Tuel of Agri-Valley Irrigation.
The 2013 Irrigation Show and Education Conference will be held Nov. 4-8 in Austin, Texas. Look for updates at www.irrigationshow.org