December 16, 1946 - November 26, 2011
Long-time CLCA member Jon R. Alsdorf, CLT, passed away November 26, 2011 after falling victim to a catastrophic tree-trimming accident in early July.
Jon, the founder and owner of Jon R. Alsdorf Landscape Contractor of Fresno, had a long history of service to the California Landscape Contractors Association and the Green Industry. He received the Allegiance Award, the most prestigious honor the association bestows, in 2003, and was CLCA’s 2007 Regular Member of the Year.
He joined CLCA in 1977, and has served eight terms as president of his chapter, San Joaquin Valley. In 1984, he was CLCA state President. He rejoined the Board of Directors in 2004 as Director of Education, and served through 2009. He chaired the Golden Oak Cooperative in 2005 and 2006. He co-founded the Landscape Industry Show in 1979, and has served on the LIS Committee pretty much ever since.
On his Linked In profile, Jon summarized his life as follows:
"I had a neighborhood gardening route since the age of 10 and then formalized it into an actual business with an old ‘beater’ 51 Ford pickup and a trailer when I turned 16 in 1962. Worked my business through high school and college, even keeping my route the one year I worked in the K-Mart Garden Center in 1967. Finally got drafted in 1969. Was fortunate enough to be pulled out of line while shipping out of Ft. Belvoir [Army Corps of Engineers] and was being sent to Okinawa. Was then asked if I would be interested in staying at Ft. Belvoir and taking over the grounds at Quarters One. Simple answer to that one. Wound up at Ft. McNair in Washington, D.C. When I got out of the Army in February of 1972, I drove back to California and was back in business in three days.
Simply stated I believe, ‘If there is no wind, row.’
I also emulate John J. Kelley, winner of the Boston Marathon. ‘The things we do should consume us...if they don’t, our lives won’t have any meaning.’"
Tom Christy was born in Cincinnati, OH. He graduated from DePauw University, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics. He went on to attend Indiana University Graduate School of Business, but his financial situation forced him to set aside his schooling and search for a job.
Tom’s calling was sales. His first job landed him in the plastic industry at Armstrong Cork Company in New York. It had just come out with its new line of vividly-colored plastic flooring. Over the years, Tom wound up working for several different companies. But in 1960, when Allied Chemical purchased a small PVC pipe company, a friend contacted him and enticed him into accepting a position with the newly created plastics division.
Divisions of major corporations are often bought and sold. The Barrett Division of Allied Chemicals, where Tom was working at the time, was “spun off” and became part of the Jim Walter Corporation’s Celotex Division. He was named Director of Sales for that division, having merged the two companies’ sales operations into 375 sales territories nationwide.
From this position, Tom moved among different divisions of several corporations, relocating his growing family many times. His final move landed him on the West Coast. When he was approached to relocate his family once again, an important decision was made that would change their lives forever. In 1976, Tom formed his own manufacturer’s representative company.
Those were slim years for Tom and his wife Mary. Working out of their home, Mary took an active role in the business, keeping the books. Tom and Mary had the philosophy that those who “work together and play together, stay together.” They included their young family in the business from the beginning, by having the children work for their allowance. All have very fond memories of their childhood. On weekends, they would go camping.
T. Christy Enterprises, Inc., has two warehousing operations, one located in Anaheim, CA and the other in Sacramento, CA. Tom’s children still work in the business and Tom and Mary are both still active as well; Tom as CEO and Mary as treasurer. An avid golfer, Tom manages to find time to relax on the golf course. They still like to camp and they now enjoy time with their three grandchildren. Their children are passing along to the grandchildren the same philosophies and work ethics that they learned from their parents.
Barry Cohen obtained his Bachelor of Science in Ornamental Horticulture at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 1968 before working for Watkins and Sibbalds Landscape. In 1970 he went on to become purchasing agent for Valley Crest Landscape, Northern California Division, before serving as Director of Landscape for Marriott Corporation, handling all phases of hotels and amusement parks throughout the United States, in 1973.
In 1975, he started BL Cohen Landscape Inc. Over the years, under the umbrella of the Celtis Group, the company evolved into four individual companies: Cohen Landscape Services, Diablo Landscape, Coast Landscape Maintenance and Maniglia Landscape. In 1994, he obtained his Masters Degree from Columbia Pacific University in Ornamental Horitculture-Agriculture before going for his PhD from the same university in Ornamental Horitculture-Agriculture in 2003.
About four years ago, the Celtis Group sold the maintenance division. Prior to sale of the maintenance division, they had 230 full-time employees. Today, they have two locations, in San Jose and Vallejo, with 80 employees and twelve office staff.
Dr. Barry L. Cohen, PhD has been a member of the California Landscape Contractors Association since 1974. He served as San Francisco Bay Area Chapter President in 1984, State President in 1988, was the Allegiance Award recipient for long-time achievement in 1990, Member of the Year in 1990 and was honored as a life member in 1999.
Dr. Cohen didn’t just serve CLCA and the Landscape Industry all these years, but other areas affecting the Green Industry community as well. Since 1984 he has served as trustee of CLCA’s Insurance Trust, now an independent entity known as Golden Oak Cooperative. Since 2001, he has served on the Advisory Board at Foothill College in Los Altos, CA. Since 2004, he has served on the Santa Clara Water Advisory Council and just last year, he started serving on the Cal Poly SLO Advisory Board.
“I love my industry even though it’s getting a little more complicated than it used to be!”
Robert Crudup joined Valley Crest Tree Company in 1979 as a sales and customer service representative. Over the course of his career, he contributed to the strategic growth of the company through various leadership positions in business development, operations, management and, eventually, as an officer of the company. As senior vice president, Robert represented the division on a team that created the overall strategic plan for ValleyCrest Companies.
Robert’s achievements are many. As a company executive, he opened new markets and operations in Sunol and Farmington in Northern California, and developed the company's growing grounds in Fillmore, California. Today Robert oversees the company’s growing grounds and tree nurseries and its specimen tree moving operation.
As a nursery industry leader, Robert’s career trajectory with Valley Crest Tree Company parallels his significant accomplishments as an industry steward. His industry commitments include serving on the boards of the California Landscape Contractors Association and the California Association of Nurseries and Garden Centers where he is currently a member of its Strategic Planning Committee tasked with crafting the future direction of the association. He is a member of the Nursery Growers Leadership Board and serves as the president of the Nursery Growers Association. In addition, he has been recognized with numerous awards saluting his contributions to professional horticulture including three times as the CLCA’s Associate Member of the Year, Life Membership, and the Allegiance Award which is that organizations highest and most prestigious award.
He was appointed by then Secretary of Agriculture William Lyons as an original member of the Governor’s Advisory Task Force for Pierce’s Disease (in cooperation with the California Department of Food & Agriculture) and the Specialty Crop Grant Advisory Committee. He is a current nominee for a position on the California Food and Agriculture Board which advises the governor on issues related to agriculture. Robert takes an active role as a spokesperson for legislative and regulatory issues regarding water, labor, regulation, and trees and their role in the sustainable urban landscape and has represented the industry in both Sacramento and Washington D.C.
Robertachieved the rank of Eagle Scout and graduated from the University of Rhode Island with B.S. in Resource Management. As president of one of the nation’s leading tree nurseries and tree moving operations, he oversees a tree nursery operation that includes nearly 800-acres in production throughout California. The company's growing facilities include 400-acres in Fillmore, 70-acres in Sunol and 300-acres in Farmington.
Sporting a foot long beard and an equally outrageous personality, Federoff's national award-winning weekly radio show has been on the air in southern California since 1988, nationwide since 1995. Based near downtown Los Angeles and heard on the Environmental Media Broadcasting Radio Network on Saturday mornings, the program is the nation’s only coast-to-coast friendly radio show.
While on his speaking circuit, the forty-something California native uses wit to catch the attention of his audience. It is this same lighthearted formula that fascinates his students as a college instructor and seminar lecturer. As the nation’s top garden expert, Federoff travels the country addressing contemporary, environmental and biological issues while providing information and ideas for the beginning and seasoned gardener.
Holding a degree in Ornamental Horticulture, Federoff is an active member of the Garden Writers Association of America and is a lifetime honorary member of the California Association of Nurserymen, International Society of Arboriculture, Southern California Turfgrass Council, Pesticide Applicators Professional Association, Fullerton Arboretum and is a Master Gardener operated by the UC Cooperative Extension.
In addition, Nick has made guest appearances on numerous local and national television programs like: ABC’s Carol & Marilyn Show, Fox Morning News, PAX TV’s Great Day America, FOX TV’s The Donny & Marie Show, Super Station KTLA, morning and evening news on: KCBS 2, KABC 7, KCAL 9, KTTV 11, KOCE plus many more. Furthermore, he was the garden writer for the Los Angeles Daily News, 27 local area newspapers and has been featured in many trade and consumer magazines including Forbes Fortune Magazine®.
Federoff has a strong entrepreneurial spirit which has catapulted him to success in many areas. A family businessman, he started his career working with his father, Bill, and brother Alex, in the construction field. They developed commercial real estate and worked under the name of A.N.B. Construction. The trio branched out to include landscape installation and weed abatement. This diversification modified their business name to include A.N.B. Industries which employed more that 60 full time employees. Nick was instrumental in building A.N.B. Industries as the largest weed abatement contractor in the United States. Armed with a Qualified Applicators License with the State of California his responsibilities included public relations and executing contracts for the County of San Bernardino, Southern Pacific Railroad, City of La Habra, City of Rubidoux and County of Orange. In addition, within the landscape installation and maintenance division, he was instrumental in job costing and administering agreements with the Federal Reserve Bank, County of Orange, Sunset State Beach, City of El Toro, City of Lake Forest, Kirk Paper, Public Storage and Carl’s Jr. Restaurants.
It soon became evident Federoff had the “gift of gab” which offered the opportunity to host a radio show on the west coast’s most powerful radio station in May 1988. The success of the show spurred off a newsletter, which later became one of the country’s leading publications called the Things Green Gardening Magazine. The subscription based monthly magazine availed Federoff to become available for speaking engagements to include media forums for Dow Chemical, Pesticide Applicators Professional Association, American Heart Association, Cal State Fullerton and other prominent organizations.
Soon after, he sold the magazine to develop a line of liquid plant foods which were sold nationwide. The sale of the magazine and plant food divisions gave way to further expand A.N.B. Public Relations and Marketing, plus enter the radio media by syndicating what is now known as America’s Most Listened to Radio Gardening Show, “Nick Federoff on Gardening” and the award winning daily short form program called the “Things Green Garden Minute.” In January of 2003 Federoff added another audio program geared for the green industry professional called “The Green Industry Talk Show.” This was the first and only program of its kind.
With Nick’s strong writing ability, he has written articles for the trade, press releases, consumer awareness and business profiling. As the Internet started to develop, so did adding customers to a growing list of clients in content and web site development. Some of which include but are not limited to: ThingsGreen.com, AdrenalineRadio.com, AdviceRadio.com, PolyFabrics.com, OilsThatWork.com, KFI640.com, KPLS.com FernSociety.org, LandscapeRadio.com, TheGreenIndustryTalkShow.com and TradeShowRadio.com.
Nick “retired” from the landscaping business in 1998 to focus on building radio programming. Other than his own radio show, he has developed 28 long and short form specialty programs hosted by experts in their respective fields. Federoff resides in the City of Whittier, CA. and married his high school sweetheart, Shirley, in June 1982. He has 3 children - all nearly grown and all boys.
Edwin J. Hunter was an inventor, engineer, and business leader in the irrigation industry for nearly 50 years. His contributions to product innovation and production processes stand as a testament to his tireless work ethic, passion for engineering, and unquestionable ingenuity.
After voluntarily leaving the General Motors Institute after only one semester, Ed began his career with his brother in 1937 by inventing and marketing aluminum venetian blinds. In 1952 Ed formed a company called Moist-O-Matic, which created the world’s most advanced irrigation controllers and plastic sprinklers. In 1960, the small company developed the first mass-marketed gear-driven sprinkler. In 1962, Ed sold Moist-O-Matic to Toro and developed the Toro Irrigation Division. During his time at Toro, Ed Hunter pioneered plastic valves, valve-in-head golf course sprinklers and the stream rotor.
In 1981 Ed started a small family business with his son Paul. His son Richard and daughter Ann joined the company shortly thereafter. In a small garage-like building, the group of Hunters quickly developed and released the innovative PGP rotor, which remains a bestseller to this day. In just 30 years of business, Hunter Industries has become one of the largest manufacturers of irrigation products in the world. All products and business processes at Hunter are still built with Ed’s dedication to innovation in mind.
Ed Hunter passed away in 1998 at the age of 80. He was truly a pioneer in the irrigation industry. His name and achievements will live on for many generations to come.
Bob Perry, Professor Emeritus of Landscape Architecture at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona (Cal Poly Pomona) began his academic career in 1972 and continues to teach today. During this time he has taught courses in plant ecology and design, planting design and design. In addition to teaching at Cal Poly Pomona, he has taught Landscape Architecture courses at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and the University of Southern California (USC).
Throughout his career Bob has focused on the study of plants and water conservation. His horticultural, environmental and design interests, as well as his commitment to teach, has led him to write several books on landscaping in California, including Trees and Shrubs for Dry California Landscapes (1980), Landscape Plants for Western Regions (1992) and his most recent book, Landscape Plants for California Gardens (2010). Through his latest literary effort, he not only continues to explore conservation oriented landscape ideas, but highlights his love for plants through his beautifully crafted photography.
Bob has been a licensed landscape architect since 1972 and actively participates in professional projects where his expertise on California native plants and water conservation methods is applied and continuously refined.
“My whole idea is to try to leave the world better off for wherever I touch it.”
Dr. John Ansel Armstrong Thomson, inventor of theworld-famous horticultural vitamins-hormones solution SUPERthrive®,passed away peacefully on November 28, 2011, five days after his 100th birthday.
Preceded in death by his lovely wife June Anna Mae Hummel Thomson, Dr. Thomson is survived by three children, Sheryll, Patrisha, and Robert Thomson, all located in the Los Angeles area; three grandchildren, Travis and Ben Thomson, and Leah Flanagan; and four great-grandchildren, Elijah and Alannah June Thomson and William and Margaret June Flanagan.
Thomson developed the SUPERthrive®formula in 1939. Seventy-two years later, he was still engaged in the daily operations of his company, Vitamin Institute, actively selling worldwide. As the new President, his daughter Patrisha Thomson will continue her father’s legacy of improving horticultural and agricultural crops with the firm’s sole product.
Holding a Ph.D. in biochemistry, Thomson collected awards and commendation for his lifetime of work. In 1940, he earned the Science & Industry’s only Gold Medal at the San Francisco World’s Fair Golden Gate International Exposition.In2006, Dr. Thomson became the first chemist to be honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Lawn & Garden Marketing & Distribution Association. Other honors include Lifetime Environmental Awareness Award from Sustainable Environmental Education and induction into the “Nursery Retailer” magazine’s Hall of Fame.
Dr. Thomson attributed his longevity to his family upbringing, a fortunate environment, and a mental ability that hit the ceiling on the Standard I.Q. test. Thomson’s grandfather and great-grandfather were owners of the biggest hotel in Detroit, and both of his parents were successful professionals and top money-raisers for the American Red Cross during World War I. His mother, Florence Antisdel Thomson, actually raised enough money to build an entire Red Cross base hospital in France.
His parents promoted individuality and personal health,fueling Thomson’s life-long interest in nutrition, leading to his life’s work in nutrition for both people and plants. Throughout World War II, his SUPERthrive®was used by five U.S. Government departments (Army Corps of Engineers, Air Force, Navy, Department of Agriculture, and Forest Service) respectively to: transplant mature trees for defense plant camouflage; plant and sustain low-dust turf landing fields; improve soil conditions where salt interfered with plant success; develop vital drug- and oil-bearing plants domestically; and increase production of necessary guayule rubber.
Dr. Thomson is listed in 39 different Who’s Who Directories and has served in many community positions. He served as officer and delegate with Boy Scouts of America, and as President of both Kiwanis of North Hollywood and the China Society in Los Angeles. Founding members of the latter included Thomson’s wife and her parents, Dr. William and Mildred Hummel.
A longtime member of the First United Methodist Church of North Hollywood, Thomson served on the church administrative board and as chairman of the Commission on Church & Society. He was an honorary lifetime member of United Methodist Men and has served as its President, and as program leader and lecturer.
Dr. Thomson was very fortunate in his last months to have a wonderful staff of medical personnel and companions to watch over and encourage him, for which the family expresses deep gratitude. Hewill be greatly missed by all who knew him.
A lifetime supporter of the Green Industry, Raymon A. York serves as President of Landscape Products, a manufacturer of professional-grade landscape and irrigation products serving the landscape, agricultural and industrial industries.
Ray served as Chief Executive Officer of Ewing Irrigation Products, Inc., for nearly 40 years before appointing sons Douglas W. York as President and Richard A. York as Executive Vice President in 2002, establishing a third generation of Ewing/York family leadership.
An industrial engineering graduate of Stanford University (‘59), Ray began his career assisting with the operations of his father’s meat packing company. In 1963, Ray and his wife, Sue, moved to San Francisco and assumed day-to-day operations of Ewing Irrigation Products—a wholesale distribution company founded by Sue’s father serving the landscape, golf and industrial industries, King Ewing. Ray also continued to explore other business ventures, including a heavy equipment dealership and an irrigation installation company specializing in irrigating vineyards.
In 1975, Ray shifted his focus solely to distribution, and aimed to establish Ewing as the leading provider of goods and services in the Green Industry. Ray’s long-range vision and focus on business strategy thrust Ewing into an evolutionary phase of growth and progress as a full-line irrigation supply distributor. Under his leadership, Ewing grew from just two locations in 1963 to more than 115 locations in 2002. Today, Ewing offers contracting professionals 195 locations in 21 states and is the nation’s largest family-owned supplier of landscape, irrigation, golf and industrial products.
Ray founded Landscape Products as a plastic paver manufacturing company in 1978, and expanded the company’s product offering over the years to include drip/micro irrigation, valves, sprinklers and landscape accessories. He left Ewing in 2002 to pursue manufacturing full time. Ray developed and now oversees two of the most advanced injection molding and extrusion plants in the United States, with facilities in Tolleson, Ariz. and Kissimmee, Fla. Landscape Products uses advanced engineering and 100 percent of the highest-grade resin available for its polyethylene tubing, fittings and components, resulting in reliable products with consistent performance.
Ray is a longstanding member and past Chairman of the National Association of Wholesale Distributors (NAW). He is an active member and past president of the Irrigation Association (1986) and recipient of the California Landscape Contractors Association (CLCA) Lifetime Achievement Award (2007).
Ray enjoys spending time with Sue, his wife of 48 years; sons David, Douglas and Richard; and six grandchildren. An avid traveler, he has explored many locations on all seven continents, with extensive travel in Asia, Africa, Antarctica and the South Pacific.