Want to keep up with the latest news in lawn care and landscaping? Check back every Thursday for a quick recap of recent happenings in the green industry.

NALP, Business Owners Not Giving Up on H-2B Reform Legislation
The National Association of Landscape Professionals and many of the companies that it represents continue to battle for a more stable and workable H-2B seasonal non-immigrant program. The NALP on its blog, shared that this past Nov. 2 more than 200 individuals, mostly small business owners, met with key members of Congress and their staffers to push for reform legislation for the H-2B program, in particular a lifting of the cap with limits H-2B visas to 66,000 annually. With the U.S. unemployment rate hovering just over 4 percent, which is considered full employment, thousands of landscape business owners are struggling to find enough employees to meet the service demands of their customers, never mind growing their companies. Ohio Congressman Steve Chabot, an H-2B supporter and chair of the House Small Business Committee, praised the group for its persistence in seeking H-2B reforms.

Schill Grounds Management Expands in Cleveland Market
Schill Grounds Management, based in North Ridgeville, Ohio, recently acquired and is renovating a 20,000-sq.-ft. facility in nearby Middleburg Heights. Schill chose the site because of its “exceptional highways access and a reputation of being business-friendly.” The company offers a full range of grounds management, snow removal and sustainable services. Schill hopes to create over 50 new jobs in the area after work on the property is completed in late November.

5th Grader’s TurfMutt Entry Results in Outdoor Classroom
A new outdoor classroom debuted at Guardian Angels Catholic School in Clearwater, Florida, thanks to a $10,000 grant from TurfMutt, an environmental stewardship and education program managed by the OPEI Research and Education Foundation, and with some help from Massey Services, headquartered in Orlando. The new outdoor space is the result of one fifth-grader’s creativity and hard work. Student Marissa Weber of Palm Harbor, Fla., won the TurfMutt “Be a Backyard Superhero” contest earlier this year. Her winning entry depicted TurfMutt and the Outdoor Powers along with her original character “Earthy the Worm” fighting Dust Demon, a TurfMutt-branded evil character, to encourage healthy soil.

Ewing’s Warren Gorowitz Named New IA President
Green Industry Hall of Famer Warren Gorowitz was installed as the president of Irrigation Association Show & Conference in Orlando in November. Gorowitz, 32 years in the green industry, is the vice president of sustainability at Ewing Irrigation & Landscape Supply, where he has worked since 1994. Gorowitz holds an undergraduate degree from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and a masters degree in sustainability from Arizona State University. Gorowitz began his association with the IA in 2000 and became a board member in 2011.

TaskEasy Raises Cash to Expand and Broaden Services
TaskEasy, based in Salt Lake City, has announced an oversubscribed $21.3M Series C round led by River Cities Capital with participation from new investors Camber Creek. TaskEasy provides lawn mowing and snow removal services. The company has established the largest network of screened and insured lawn maintenance contractors, with over 5,000 small businesses across the country performing work for TaskEasy customers. “With this funding we’ll be able to broaden our current product offering and enhance the customer experience, while making our contractors more efficient and more profitable,” said Ken Davis, CEO of TaskEasy.

Students Expand Job Skills at Tree Care Industry Event Supported by STIHL
The 21st annual Tree Care Industry Association Foundation (TCIAF) Student Career Days (SCD) wrapped up another successful event in Columbus, Ohio, November 2-4, 2017. More than 230 college and vocational students representing 17 schools from across the country attended SCD, which was held in conjunction with the Tree Care Industry EXPO (TCI EXPO), the world’s largest tree care industry trade show and conference. Mark Chisholm, STIHL spokesperson, International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) certified arborist, and three time ISA international tree climbing champion, was on site during the Student Skills Competition at Federal Hill Park to offer climbing tips. The Student Skills Competition was comprised of three main events: Safety Gear Check, Belayed Scramble and Work Climb. The winners were announced at the Student Skills Awards Ceremony on Saturday, November 4, and overall 1st place winners included:
  • Shane Brett, Kent Roosevelt High School (Vocational Men’s)
  • Erin Rockwell, Kent Roosevelt High School (Vocational Women’s)
  • Blake Russ, Milwaukee Area Technical College (Collegiate Men’s)
  • Laura Mantin, Milwaukee Area Technical College (Collegiate Women’s)