Susan Sims
Sims Health Tree Specialists

Susan Sims was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1950 to Bert and Audrey Kenyon. In 1952, The Kenyon family, including Susan’s older brother Bert Jr., moved to Southern California.

 

Susan’s love for horses would earn her her first horse at age 14. At 16, she earned the title of Queen of Modjeska Mavericks and became the first Gymkhana Horsemastership Champion Girl. She then began her business, Susan’s Saddlery, but came to the realization that making a living with horses wasn’t viable. In 1969, Susan enrolled at Chaffey College. She studied business and interior design while working part time at Keller’s furniture and, later on, Sears.

 

Susan met Gary Sims at a horse show after his return from the War in Vietnam. In August 1970, Gary and Susan were married.

 

While Gary continued college, funded by the GI bill, Susan went to work full time at Sears. After being laid off, she then began a long list of jobs including driving school busses, cabinet maker in mobile homes, and driving for Frito Lay. It seemed as soon as the challenge of learning the job was over so was her interest. Her favorite of all of her temporary jobs was working in Sales for Burpee seeds.

 

In 1972, Gary graduated and went to work. Susan then enrolled in Skadron College of Business. During this time, the gas shortage occurred and Gary’s job in Motor home manufacture and sales disappeared.  Harold “Tex” Choate, owner of Choate’s tree service, (whom Gary had worked for before the war) asked Gary if he would be interested in taking his tree spraying clients. Gary worked beneath Choate’s license until getting his own Agricultural Applicators license at the end of 1972. Thus began Sims Tree Health Specialists.

 

Susan set up the office and made door to door sales. Gary would bring in samples for Susan to help diagnose. They both realized a never ending interest in tree, insect, and disease books, and began taking agriculture, horticulture, biology, and Natural History classes at Riverside Community College, University of California-Riverside Cooperative Extension, and the Jurupa Cultural Center. The classes touched on everything from turf, plant id, gardening, grafting and even foraging. Susan achieved her Agricultural Applicators license in 1983.

 

After discovering their need for landscape rakes, as well as the market for them, Gary, Susan, and Bert Sr. borrowed her Uncle’s machine shop where they designed and built the “Great Rake”. This began Kenyon Manufacturing; a business ran by Gary, Susan, and her family. The business took Susan and Gary, as well as their two dogs, across the country in their motorhome selling at various trade shows across the states. The line expanded, adding the “Fantastic Fork” and the “Super Fork”. Once distribution was setup, the Sims returned to their tree health business, still making rake calls in California. The tool manufacturing business continued to grow.

 

Still looking to learn more, Susan applied to the Master Gardeners program. She was accepted as a member in 1983. Her membership allowed her to absorb vast amounts of education and led her to write a Master Gardener column in the Press Enterprise in 1984. Her column lasted for 18 months.  Susan enrolled in the Agricultural Biology program at Cal Poly Pomona in 1984 while still working, a method she titled “The 30 Year Program”. She minored in Plant Pathology and Ornamental Horticulture and took multiple soil classes. During her time at Cal Poly, she was inducted into the Gamma Sigma Delta, the honor society of arboriculture. She was also inducted into the Golden Key National Honor Society.

In 1986, while still attending college, Susan acquired her Agricultural Advisors license and became ISA Certified Arborist #286, one of the very few women to hold that title at the time.

 

While still attending college and working, Susan continued to add to her licenses and certifications. In 1987, Susan and Gary welcomed a son, Kevin. When Kevin was two and a half, she went back to Cal Poly. Kevin attended the day care at the school. During their time together to and from school, Susan would point to trees and plants and quiz Kevin on plant ID and watch as her son yelled the answers in excitement.

In 1995, Susan and Gary took their share of the money from the sale of Kenyon Manufacturing and purchased five and a half acres of property that is now known as Sims Tree Learning Center. The Sims dedicated their time to making Sims TLC a place for education and preservation. TLC is now home to a collection of insects, antiques, and biological samples as well as memorial gardens, a museum, an education center, and an arboretum with one of the largest palm collections in the Inland Empire. Susan’s goal for 2015 is to have TLC become a 501C3 Non-Profit.

With technology and wildlife preservation being on the rise, Susan became concerned for her fellow tree care peers. Mobile phones now allowed wildlife preservationists to record unknowing tree workers that they felt were jeopardizing wildlife living in the trees being worked on. These videos could be sent to California Fish and Game and be used as evidence of violations of protected laws; all the while, tree workers having little to no idea that such laws existed. In 2013, Susan began TLC Wildlife Awareness. A program that teaches green industry professionals about the laws and regulations surrounding protected wildlife that reside in California’s trees. This program focused not only on the protection of wildlife, but also the protection of fellow tree care specialists.

 

Some of Susan’s many achievements can be viewed in the timeline below:

  • 1995-2002: Susan became an Advisor with the American Registry of Certified Professionals, Certified in Agronomy, Crops, and Soils
  • 1996: Susan attended the American Society of Consulting Arborists, Arboricultural Consulting Academy in Nebraska.
  • 2003: The California Urban Forest Council awarded Sims the Durrell Maughn Founders Award for Education
  • 2004-Present: Susan sits on the Inland Urban Forest Council Steering Committee.
  • 2004-2008: Susan was on the UCR Botanic Gardens Friends of the Gardens board of directors. She was on the education committee.
  • 2004: Susan achieved California Urban Forester #122.
  • 2005: Susan became an ISA Board Certified Master Arborist.
  • 2007: Susan attended the Historic Landscape Institute: “Preserving Jefferson’s Gardens and Landscapes” held at Monticello and University of Virginia.
  • 2007: Susan acquired a C27 Contractors license.
  • 2010: Gary and Susan began to build their retirement home and N CA Tree Learning Center on undeveloped Oak Woodland in Oroville, CA. they purchased the land in 1985.
  • 2011: Susan became an ISA Qualified Tree Risk assessor.
  • 2014: Susan received the Urban Forest Education Award from the CA Urban Forest Council.
  • 2015: Susan was inducted into the Green Industry Hall of Fame

 

Through the years Susan has written articles for magazines, newsletters, and newspapers as well as become a member of a vast array of gardening clubs, foundations, and tree industry organizations.  She has also been a speaker and trainer for countless groups including luxury hotels and businesses, city and government entities, various Green Industry organizations, home owners associations, Boy Scout Troops, and 4-H. For 22 years, she has taught (and continues to teach) at Ted Stamen’s Arborist Certification Course.

 

You can now find Susan semi-retired with her husband Gary; splitting their time between the Northern and Southern California Sims offices. They plan to fully retire and live out their lives in the beautiful nature and calming atmosphere of Oroville, California.

David L. Lannom

 Mt. San Antonio College:

  Lead Horticulture Professor 1995-2006

  Agriculture Science Department Chairperson 1991-2006

  Horticulture Professor 2006-Present

 

California State Polytechnic University - Pomona, California

Master of Science in Agriculture Science

 

California State University Fullerton - Fullerton, California

Completed Graduate Courses in Environmental Science

 

California State Polytechnic University  - Pomona, California

Bachelor of Science in Ornamental Horticulture 1969

 

Mt. San Antonio College - Walnut, California

Associate of Science in Ornamental Horticulture 1966

Mark Pedicone

Mark Pedicone has been in the landscape irrigation industry here in Southern California for over 35 years.

 

After attending Fullerton College, Mark graduated from Cal Poly Pomona with a BS degree in Ornamental Horticulture.  He had a short stint managing a retail nursery in Whittier.  Mark then entered the landscape irrigation field when he was hired by the Irrometer Company to be their landscape irrigation specialist. In the three years that Mark worked for Irrometer he had a chance to experience many aspects of the landscape irrigation trade in Southern California. He got to work with the leaders in landscape architecture, irrigation design, distribution and with many irrigation manufactures. During this time Mark was one of the original founding members of the Southern California Xeriscape Committee and served on that group for many years and spoke at many of their annual conferences.

 

Shortly there-after Mark was hired away from Irrometer to become the Southern California District Sales Manager for Rain Bird where he managed the largest irrigation market in the country for them. During his time as D.M. for Rain Bird he was awarded their District Manager of the Year award. Mark also served during this time as the President of the Southern California Turfgrass Council, an organization of landscape professionals involved in the turfgrass industry here in Southern California and served on committees for both the Southern California Turfgrass Tradeshow held in Costa Mesa and the Turfgrass Institute held each year at the Anaheim Convention center.

 

After serving for over 5 years as D.M. for Rain Bird he went on to become their commercial product manager in charge of development of all turf commercial products. He worked on such products as Maxicom, PE valves, Backflow, RainCad and IDA, 1800’s and VAN nozzles just to name a few. After serving as product manager for 6 years Mark left Rain Bird and worked as a Water Conservation Specialist working with numerous HOA’s and Property Management groups in Southern California helping them to develop water conservation plans and irrigation retrofit programs.

 

Mark then went to work for Hydro-Scape Products where he started their Hydro-Safe/Specification division. He was directly responsible for the sales of some of the largest central control systems in this market including the City of Walnut, City of Irvine, La Dera Ranch, Los Flores to name just a few.   He was then promoted to General Sales Manager and served in that capacity managing a sales force of nearly 20 outside salesmen until 2008 when he was hired by ETwater Sales, Inc., a smart controller manufacturer, to be their Regional Sales Manager and to help develop a distribution business for the company where he still works today.

Mark also serves on the CLCA Inland Empire chapter as Treasurer, and the Orange County Chapter of Irrigator Tech.

On a more personal note, Mark is the father of five wonderful children and two awesome grand-daughters.  And on many weekends you might find Mark hacking it up on some local golf course.

Steve Wightman

Steve has managed sports fields for over 39 years (3 years at the recreational level and his last 36 years at the professional level) before retiring in March 2012.

 

After earning a B.S. Degree in Marketing and Finance in 1971 from the University of Northern Colorado Steve pursued a banking career in Tucson, AZ.  However, in 1973 after 1 ½ years, he discovered that being outdoors was where his passion lay and moved back to Denver to become the new Manager of Ball field Maintenance for the City and County of Denver - Parks and Recreation Department.  There, he oversaw the installation and maintenance of over 250 recreational ballfields within the City and County of Denver.

 

It was here that Steve began learning and honing his skills in sports field management.  While utilizing his formal education in budgeting, planning and personnel management he sought out Dr. Jackie Butler (one of his mentors) from nearby Colorado State University to learn the scientific side of sports field management.  Steve completely reorganized Denver’s Ball field Maintenance Program into a successful more cost effective part of the Parks and Recreation Department.

 

In July of 1976 Steve became the Head Grounds keeper at Denver’s Mile High Stadium taking over the management of the playing field for the Denver Broncos, the Denver Bears (AAA minor-league baseball team) and numerous other sporting and non-sporting events held at Denver’s premier sports venue.  Under Steve’s tenure the game field at Mile High Stadium was consistently well received and applauded by NFL and professional baseball players alike.

 

In December 1988 Steve became the Field Manager at San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium (later named Qualcomm Stadium) home of the San Diego Chargers, San Diego Padres, San Diego State University Aztecs (football) and numerous other sporting and non-sporting events.  During a majority of Steve’s tenure, Jack Murphy Stadium was the busiest professional stadium in the country hosting over 200 field events each year.  That distinction dissolved in 2004 when the Padres moved into the new baseball stadium in downtown San Diego.

 

During his career Steve has prepared fields for numerous high profile national and international sporting events:

➢ 1992 Baseball All-Star Game – Jack Murphy Stadium – San Diego, CA

➢ 1994 World Cup Soccer – Rose Bowl – Pasadena, CA

➢ 1998 Super Bowl – Jack Murphy Stadium – San Diego, CA

➢ 1998 World Series – Jack Murphy Stadium – Sand Diego, CA

➢ 2003 Super Bowl – Qualcomm Stadium – San Diego, CA

➢ Numerous Playoff and Championship Games

 

Steve has been actively involved in the sports turf industry throughout his career:

• Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA) – Member 1978 - Present (President 1984-1986)

• San Diego Chapter – Sports Turf Managers Association (SoCal-STMA) - Member

• San Diego Chapter of the Golf Course Superintendents Association (SDGCSA) – Member 1989-Present

• Cuyamaca College – Adjunct Faculty - Golf Course & Sports Turf Management (1990-2000)

• Grossmont/Cuyamaca Community College District Advisory Board – 1994-1996 (President 1996)

• Cuyamaca College Curriculum Advisory Committee – 1995-2000

• Authored numerous articles and presentations on Sports Field Management

• Consulted on numerous recreational, collegiate and professional sports fields

 

John Boething

As for a bio, we would prefer to keep it simple, as Mr. Boething would have liked. He was not one for personal attention. He was born on January 6, 1918. He passed away in 2007 at the age of 89. Along with his wife, Susan Boething, John founded Boething Treeland Farms in 1952 on 35 acres in Woodland Hills, CA, and continued to operate and oversee the business until his passing. He grew the business into one of the largest wholesale growers of ornamental shrubs and trees in the west.

 

Tom Gentile

After his college stint in 1962, Tom started a career in direct sales as a “door-to-door” salesman selling everything you can think of, from china, crystal, cookware, encyclopedias, vacuum cleaners, etc.; even mink coats to ladies who were, at that time, called “airline stewardesses.”  In 1970, he lifted his sights to business machines and to the first digital back-lit LCD calculators by Smith-Corona Corporation.  By 1972, he was even selling insurance and real estate.

 

Tom’s career took a major turn in 1975 when he committed his life to Jesus Christ, got married to Kay, and began a forty year career in the landscape and irrigation industry, beginning with Griswold Controls.  After ten years with Griswold, he stepped out on his own and established Gentile & Associates, a manufacturers’ representative firm, but that wasn’t enough, he also started a landscape construction and maintenance company for four years, while still maintaining Gentile & Associates.

 

Rich Murray joined Tom in 1990 to form Gentile-Murray Associates until he retired in 2003.  Later that year Tom then incorporated Gentile & Associates.  The following year a friend, Steven Kim, came aboard, and in 2005 became First Vice-President.  Steve Lynch, who had worked for Lasco Fittings for twenty-eight years, joined as Second Vice-President one year later.

 

Currently, Gentile & Associates, Inc., in association with Jon Stead, Nate Stead and Matt Tankersley represent fourteen high quality landscape and irrigation product lines; covering the specification, distributor and contractor markets in Northern and Southern California, Hawaii and Mexico.

 

When asked what he thought about the last forty years, he said, “Thank you, Jesus, for saving me.  Thank you, Kay, for marrying and loving me.  Thank you to my children: Andriana, Kimberly and Nick, for loving me and thank you to the wonderful manufacturers and the terrific customers who support us. “

 

You can find all the fine products that Gentile & Associates, Inc. represent at: gentileandassociates.com.

 

 

Donald C. Brinkerhoff, FASLA
Chairman / CEO

A graduate of Cal Poly in 1952 and recipient of the Fellows Designation from the American Society of Landscape Architects, Don is perhaps one of our nation’s most influential storytellers and landscape architects. He brings to the landscape design profession more than 55 years of study, work experience and worldwide travel including urban planning studies at the University of Madrid which was part of a three-year, around-the-world study tour taking him to exotic destinations which he has used as inspiration on many of our projects.

 

As a significant contributor to the field of landscape architecture and for his executed works and landscape design innovations, for instance, he was the person who originated the terms “softscape” and “hardscape” to more easily distinguish plant materials from pools, walkways and walls, Don received the coveted Fellows designation from the American Society of Landscape Architects in 1998 (awarded to him by his peers). He was inducted into the California Building Industry’s Hall of Fame in 2001 for his California community design contributions and also received the Sarno Lifetime Achievement Award for Casino Design in 2005.

 

He has extensive experience in the design of world renowned hotels, destination resorts, casinos, urban entertainment venues, mixed-use developments, and communities worldwide. Notable projects with which Don has been affiliated include Encore Resort and Casino (Las Vegas), Fontainebleau Hotel (Miami Beach), Americana at Brand (Glendale), Ascaya (Henderson), The Grove (Los Angeles), Four Seasons Hotel (Beverly Hills), The Mirage, Wynn Las Vegas, Bellagio, Red Rock Resort and Casino (plus many others in Las Vegas), Majestic Mansion (Beijing), the community of Belcourt (Newport Beach), Watermark Condominiums (Irvine), The Borgata (Atlantic City), Jurassic Park-The Ride (Hollywood), Caesars Forum Shops, many master planned communities, private estates, commercial centers and mixed use projects throughout the United States and overseas.

 

 

Eric Triplett

Eric Triplett built his first pond when he was six years old, lining it with garbage bags that failed every leak test.  This fascination with water and fish eventually had him breeding and selling rare African cichlids for a living, which then led him to building ponds.

 

Eric strives to inspire, inform, and educate consumers and contractors to build healthy, easy to maintain water features, that touch people's lives. Loving the idea of sharing his knowledge and experience with ponds, he began his "Ponds for Schools" program. This program allowed children at dozens of schools in Southern California to experience the fun side of building a pond at their own school, that they could learn from for years to come.

 

He is the host of the "#ask the pond digger show" and "The Pond Digger" YouTube channel which helps to educate do-it-yourselfers to build a balanced, well filtered, low maintenance pond. He is also the host of "Pond Diggers" a new show set to air in spring of 2015.

 

Eric has been asked to speak at many trade shows and is regularly published in pond related magazines.

 

 

 

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