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It’s so busy, nobody goes there anymore

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Jim Calhoun, who runs Northern Lights out in Mountain View, Calif., dropped me a note after he received our April issue. He wrote a piece for us last month on why the less-is-more approach to design is the wrong way to go when it comes to lighting.

He apologized for not being able to contribute more, as business is booming:

Thank you for including my article. I appreciate your continued interest in my work. I’m sorry that I could not submit more article material, however, my business continues to grow (at somewhat alarming rate). I am currently behind in installations and the phone continues to ring. I think I’m seeing a bit of a turn in the economy for the good. The best news is that I still have a passion for lighting.

I’d say that’s a pretty good excuse.


April 16th, 2013 at 12:24 pm

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Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with cancer this season, and his team has rallied around him to overachieve. He visited the team this week to give a victory speech after a big win against the Miami Dolphins. It’s a great message about not letting your circumstances dictate your reality.

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November 5th, 2012 at 3:10 pm

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A ride in the woods

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Scott Jamison, vice president at Bartlett Tree Experts and cyclist extraordinaire, sent me this note yesterday:

Not sure if you are aware of this green industry fundraising event. I am riding for the first time. 600 miles on a bike in and around the mountains of Portland, OR, for 7 days. I hesitate to send you my blog link after reading your social media issue that arrived yesterday, but here it is anyway. Going to try and keep posting during the ride.

On Sunday, Scott and dozens other tree lovers will set out on a seven-day bicycle tour through the woods and mountains of Oregon as part of the Stihl Tour des Trees. The ride raises money for the TREE Fund, one of the leading tree research and advocacy organizations the green industry has. Since its founding 20 years ago, the ride has pulled in more than $5 million.

You can follow Scott’s blog here. He’s on Twitter, too.

The folks who do this ride are dedicated to the industry and to the sport. They’re spending a week in the saddle, pedaling nearly 100 miles a day. And just to roll up to the start line, they had to pony up at least $3,500 for the fund.

So to Scott and the rest of the riders, I say good luck. I’ll pray for sunshine and a seven-day tailwind.



August 4th, 2012 at 6:47 pm

Our youngest reader

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Colin Vincent, branch manager at Southern Spray Lawn Care in Nashville, shares this photo of our youngest reader to date – his son, Ethan, enthralled with our March issue.

Colin explains:

He can’t go to school in the morning without a copy of Lawn & Landscape. Ethan is 2 and a half and absolutely loves lawn equipment.  Southern Spray concentrates on turf and ornamental applications, so he knows a spay truck when he sees one, but he prefers big zero-turn mowers. He also can spot a “weedeat-eater” and even an aerator in the ads. He spends his morning ride to preschool with Lawn & Landscape. No DVD player in this truck!

A quiet ride to preschool: just another service we offer at L&L.


June 19th, 2012 at 8:01 am

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Don’t be binary

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One of the ways computers communicate is a system called binary code. It’s a way to represent commands or text with numbers (in this case, ones or zeros) instead of letters or other symbols.

It’s an efficient and simple way for machines to function. The problem comes when one of those ones or zeroes gets chopped off, or a series of them gets dropped somewhere in the internet ether. Then, instead of the correct function – or something similar to the correct function – you get nothing.

It’s why computers are so good at many things, but if you type the wrong command in, they don’t work. People can behave this way, too. Ask someone for directions or where to find the milk or how much a patio costs, and if they don’t know, you’ll get one of two answers.

You might get the binary answer: “I don’t know.”

Or you can get the human answer: “I’m not sure, but I know someone who does. Hold on a minute and I’ll find out for you.”

It’s easy to be binary, but really frustrating for your customers.


May 30th, 2012 at 1:28 am

Anger management

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We’ve all had a bad day at work. Sometimes it’s so bad that you may want to punch something. Next time this thought crosses your mind, remember New York Knicks Amare Stoudemire. The power forward was so angry about something, possibly losing game 2 of the NBA Playoffs to the Miami Heat, he punched glass surrounding a fire extinguisher, lacerating his hand. The move not only hurt Stoudemire, but also his team. He most likely won’t play the rest of the series, and as the team’s second best player, he is needed.

So just remember, your actions can have a huge affect on the people around you. If a client is giving you a hard time or a foreman is making mistakes, take a deep breath, collect your thoughts, listen to some Yanni and address the situation calmly.


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May 1st, 2012 at 2:48 pm

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Meet the intern

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From left, Daiquiri, Daniel and Mole.

I’m pleased to introduce you to our new intern, Daniel Steffancin. He’s a student at Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland, where he’s working toward his associate’s degree in applied science in plant science and landscape technology

He’ll be helping us with some writing, editing and other magazine responsibilities. (We don’t make him get coffee. The sales guys take care of that.)

Take it away, Daniel!

I am pretty new to the green industry, and have yet to decide which direction and career opportunities I will pursue upon graduating, because I find nearly every facet of this industry fascinating and I want to do it all. I do have an interest in sustainable landscapes and am interested in green roofs and living walls in architectural design.

Skill-wise, I am an accomplished horticulture technician and I truly enjoy pruning (especially restoration pruning-helping to bring a long neglected shrub back to vitality) and arboriculture. Last year I worked as horticultural intern at Schoepfle Garden in the Lorain County Metroparks system.

I am the student organizer of Cuyahoga Community College’s Tree Campus USA, a student/administration/corporation collaborative to establish and nurture arboretums on college campuses with an emphasis on student participation and activities annually on Arbor Day.

I am also vice president of Tri-C’s PLANET student club. I will be representing Tri-C at the end of March at PLANET’s Student Career Days being held at Kansas State University. My events will be arboriculture techniques, plant problem diagnosis, turf and weed ID and woody plant ID.

I am very excited to get this great opportunity to intern for Lawn & Landscape magazine. This magazine is such an important resource for professionals in the green industry and I consider myself fortunate to be a part of it. I now get to hone my journalism skills, working on articles relevant to my studies and interests.

You can reach Daniel at If you’ll be attending PLANET’s Student Career Days later this month, say hello in person. We’re glad to have him on board.


March 1st, 2012 at 7:42 am

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A book in the woods

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A few years ago, Brad Johnson set out to hike the Appalachian Trail, a 2,100-mile long path that snakes from Maine to Georgia.

We spoke with Brad, who runs Lawn America in Tulsa, Okla., last March about his journey. Here’s an excerpt from that feature:

“I hate sitting at my desk all day. I always have,” Johnson says. As a kid, he’d spent countless summers hiking in the Rockies, and continued backpacking with his wife and children.

During his trip, Johnson averaged 16 miles a day with a 30-pound pack for four months. Oh, and he raised $105,000 for five local charities.

“I’m no spring chicken. I’m 56 years of age. That’s why I wanted to do it before I retired and couldn’t do it physically. Or be dead,” he says. “We’re not guaranteed anything.”

During the past year, Brad wrote a book about his experiences.

Half the net proceeds sales of “A Compassionate Journey” – which you can pre-order here – will go to Habitat for Humanity, Young Life and the Tulsa Little Lighthouse.

Anyone who’s met Brad knows that he’s a soft-spoken, modest guy who just happens to run a wildly successful lawn care company in the Midwest. But he’s smart and savvy and his story isn’t just about a middle-aged guy plodding through the woods. It’s about understanding – just a little better – his place in the world.


February 1st, 2012 at 12:59 pm

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