Warren S. Gorowitz

Vice President of Sustainability

Warren S. Gorowitz, vice president of sustainability, is a 22-year Ewing team member, respected industry leader, and water efficiency and sustainability professional. He sits on numerous industry association boards, and is a speaker and expert on issues related to water and sustainability in the Green Industry.

 

Warren maintains oversight of all sustainability initiatives and products at Ewing, including Ewing’s environmental impact and broader sustainability efforts in the landscape industry. He previously served as Ewing’s National Water Management Product Manager and was responsible for water conserving irrigation and landscape solutions, from vendor relations to product selection. Additional responsibilities included branding guidance for water conservation products and oversight of Ewing’s 12-member regional Water Management Specialists team.

 

Warren is an Irrigation Association Certified Landscape Irrigation Auditor and Texas Licensed Irrigator. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Ornamental Horticulture from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California and received an Executive Master’s of Sustainability Leadership from Arizona State University.

 

Professional Association Involvement

  • Irrigation Association Board Vice President
  • Irrigation Association Government Affairs Committee Member
  • National Association of Landscape Professionals Public Affairs Advisory Council Member
  • U.S. Green Building Council Water Efficiency Technical Advisory Group Vice Chair
  • Past Founding Board Member of the Alliance for Water Efficiency
  • Past American Society of Irrigation Consultants National Board Member.

Peter Estournes

Vice President, Chief Operations Officer
Gardenworks, Inc.

Peter Estournes brings over 45 years of experience in many aspects of the landscape and green industry, including nursery production and sales (both wholesale and retail), teaching, landscape design, construction, irrigation, water management and maintenance as well as horticultural consulting.  Peter and business partner Jay Tripathi own and operate Gardenworks Inc. a Design/Build and Management Landscape Contracting firm in northern Sonoma County. Gardenworks Inc. was established in 1977.

 

Peter received his Bachelor of Science degree in Horticulture from Cal Poly, Pomona and has served in the past and currently as an adjunct faculty member at Santa Rosa Junior College.  He is a California Landscape Contractors Association (CLCA) Certified Water Manager - Expert Level, is EPA WaterSense certified, a Certified Landscape Professional, a Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper and former Certified Landscape Irrigation Auditor.  He has served on committees and boards of three San Francisco Bay Area water agencies and is currently co-chair of the Board of Directors for the Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper certification program in Sonoma County.  He was selected for and served on the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) Independent Technical Panel (ITP) from 2013 - 2016 which was tasked with providing the CA Legislature and DWR with information and recommendations on new urban water Demand Management Measures, technologies and approaches.  He currently serves on the California statewide Urban Advisory Group which is providing input and recommendations in keeping with the Governor’s Executive Order B-37-16 with regards to future urban water use. He has provided industry related input for that last two updates to California’s Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance.

 

Peter has also served as an advisor to the Career Technical Education Program at Windsor High School, Windsor CA and has been a member of the Sonoma County Office of Education Career Tech Ed planning committee.

 

For over 25 years, Peter has been a strong supporter and actively involved in the California Landscape Contractors Association (CLCA). He joined CLCA’s North Coast Chapter Board of Directors in 1991 and served as Chapter President in 1997 and then again in 2000.  He has served CLCA statewide as chair of their Public Relations Committee, as co-chair and chair of the State Education Committee and Co-Director of the Water Management Certification and Performance Program.  He also served for two years as the Director of Chapter Services on CLCA’s state Board of Directors.  He was the 2007 CLCA State President.  Peter also served on several program task forces such as Better than a Thousand Words, How to Make Money in Landscaping, ClCA’s Training Toolbox series, the Certified Water Management Program and most recently the NorCal Landscape and Nursery Show. Peter is currently active on the task force overseeing CLCA's Water Management Certification and Performance Program as well as serving on the NorCal Landscape and Nursery Show committee.  He was the Co- Chair for the Resource Management Committee in 2016 and is currently working with the committee to create and hold six MWELO Workshops for 2017.

 

Peter enjoys public speaking on the subject of water conservation, management and horticulture . Peter, his partner Jay and Gardenworks have won numerous local and state Landscape awards through CLCA.

 

Peter has been married to Marianne, his high school sweetheart, for nearly 36 years and together they have two children - Janelle (30) and Andre (28). They have lived in Santa Rosa, CA since 1984.

 

When not working, Peter enjoys spending time with his family.  He also enjoys reading, hiking, tinkering with his salt water aquarium and traveling.  In 1998, he purchased a 1971 Plymouth Roadrunner muscle car.  Together with his brother Mike and other friends, he spent 6 years restoring the car and now spends time cruising, attending car shows and a bit of drag racing. He is in the process of “tweaking” a second car purchased at auction a couple of years ago that is a piece of drag racing history.

 

Mckenzie "Ken" Cook

McKenzie Farms

Ken’s life story as it relates to the Green Industry has been the classic entrepreneur’s dream: a combination of family, friends, vision, commitment, courage, conviction, hardship, struggle, success, and happiness. His passion and philosophy in life and business has always been people first, concept second, and product third ...

ALL, while never compromising on quality.

 

From 1970 to 1976, Ken was the president of  Nurseryland Garden Centers, which was founded by Butch Collins. Ken directed the store expansion as it grew from four stores to more than twenty stores—thus becoming the second largest garden center chain in the United States. The in-house management training program was called the University of Nurseryland and they were able to train more than 60 individuals to become California certified nurserymen over a five year period. Nurseryland Garden Centers was owned by the then public conglomerate, Intermark Inc.

 

In the fall of 1976, Ken resigned his position at Nurseryland Garden Centers to pursue a newly-formulated retail concept with Jim Hines called The Growing Grounds. For the next three years, from 1977 to 1980, Ken and Tom Ewing expanded The Growing Grounds by building and opening eight garden centers. Their unique concept included five product and merchandising categories:

  • Cook’s Corner – gourmet cookware, coffee and bulk food products
  • Garden Party – a complete line of paper and party goods
  • Greenskeeper – private label dry goods
  • Country Flowers – complete florist, houseplants
  • Growing Grounds – which held 20% of the container and bedding plants in mass that represented 80% of the green good sales

 

This unusual retail concept gained national notoriety and was sold to Nurseryland Garden Centers in the fall of 1980.

 

From 1980 to 1989, Ken partnered with Norm Osborne and Tom Ewing to start a series of three limited partnerships called Springtime Growers. The company acquired Greentree Nursery of Phoenix, Arizona, and Oregon Garden Products and soon became one of the largest growers of flowering color and container/boxed materials in the United States.

 

In the fall of 1989, Ken had resigned his position and retired—but the retirement only lasted for six months. It was at that point Ken was contacted by a good friend, Gary Bishop, whom was a major participant in the Christmas tree industry at the time. Gary suggested that Ken should consider a “time and financial” commitment related to growing and selling Christmas trees; in the summer of 1991, he did just that by making the decision to start Signature Christmas Trees.

 

 In the spring of 1998, Ken was approached by Color Spot Nurseries regarding their desire to acquire the company, which they did, renaming it Color Spot Christmas Trees. Ken was named the president and CEO. His chartered mission was to complete a major consolidation of the Christmas tree industry. Shortly thereafter, Color Spot Christmas Trees acquired both Fraser Fir Company and Happy Holiday Tree Farm of North Carolina, thereby becoming the largest grower and seller of Christmas trees in the United States. In 2001, Color Spot opted to sell the business back to Ken on a discounted basis. After re-acquiring the company in the spring of 2002, Ken changed the name to McKenzie Farms. In 2014, McKenzie Farms purchased Silver Mountain of Sublimity, Oregon, the third largest Christmas tree grower in the Northwest.

 

Today, McKenzie Farms is a family endeavor. Ken’s youngest daughter, Caroline Cook Anderson, is the president and COO. His son, Thomas Cook, is the vice president of sales and marketing. Ken’s son-in-law, John Anderson, is the vice president of production. Ken remains the coach, cheerleader, chairman of the board, and CEO. McKenzie Farms is now the second largest grower and shipper of Christmas trees in the United States. Currently they farm on 10,000 acres in Oregon, own 8,000,000 trees, and ship 800,000 trees annually.

 

Ken believes that life’s encounters, both good and bad, are the rungs on the ladder to success. As we are ascending, we meet people who play important roles in influencing our journey. Ken’s life has been blessed with friends and mentors who have enriched him. While no one’s life is without challenges, heartache, and struggle, Ken knows that with every setback, we get a chance to stop, reevaluate, and select a better course. God has blessed Ken with a simple approach to life: give and you shall receive, never compromise on quality, and if it isn’t fun don’t do it!

 

Robert "Bob" Ludekens

L.E. Cooke Co.

It’s no small feat to be able to say that you’ve been involved in the green industry for nearly 80 years—but that’s exactly how Robert “Bob” Ludekens can describe his life. Bob’s interest in the industry started young, as evidenced by the fact that he was already a self-employed gardener from the ages of 9 to 15. Throughout the years since, Bob has been involved in the green industry through his work, education, and extensive volunteer activities.

 

Work

Today, at 86 years young, Bob is still working 6 days a week at L.E. Cooke Co., where he started as a part-time employee when he was a teenager, and continued working there full-time from the age of 26. Within just a few short years, he became a part owner, then manager, and by 1965 he was the majority owner and president of the business and ran it for the next 30+ years before eventually turning over management (and later ownership) to his son (Ron Ludekens) and son-in-law (Dave Cox).

 

Over the years, the business grew from 3 full-time employees to 165+ full-time employees (and ~385 at peak season in December and January). Sales grew to over 1,300 listings in six divisions, and farming grew to over 1,200 acres. The company was responsible for the development of the first vinyl garden tie – Miracle Garden Tie – to replace twist ties, raffia, and hemp for plant and tree tying. They also developed Miracle Flagging Tape (colored tape for identification) and large roll Max tape for use in the Japanese Max Tapner. Over the years, they introduced 177 new varieties – 63 of which the company named – to their nursery customers.

 

Bob remains active in the daily sales and customer service activities of L.E. Cooke Co, working in sales, orchard, and propagation. His main responsibilities today are supervising 80+ acres of scion orchards and calling on a few customers.

Volunteering

Outside of his work at L.E. Cooke Co, Bob has been very active in the Visalia community, participating extensively in community and industry groups and taking an active leadership role his church. Bob has also remained a registered and active member of Boy Scouts of America for 75 years, including holding multiple leadership positions.

 

Many of his pursuits have naturally been in the green industry. A prime example is Bob’s involvement in the California Association of Nurserymen and Garden Centers – he started working with them back when they hired Jack Wick, and remained an active participant until retiring. During those years, Bob chaired numerous committees, including: Research, Nursery Service, Employee Relations, Trade Show, Insurance, Deciduous Growers, Grades & Standards, Executive & Finance, Nominating, Conventions, Membership, and more. He was also:

  • President of the San Joaquin Chapter, 1968 and 1969
  • CAN President 1983-1984
  • CAN Treasurer 1984-1989
  • Winner of the 1991 Pacific Coast Nurseryman Award

 

Bob was also on the board of governors for the American Association of Nurserymen for 6 years. He was the California Chapter secretary & treasurer for 15 years, and also a member of several committees, including the Grades & Standards committee and the Transportation committee.

 

Farm Bureau has been a staple in Bob’s life, having been a member for more than 50 years. He was a member of Tulare County Board from 1972 to 2014. Bob chaired the Labor & Environmental Horticulture committees, where he still remains active. He’s also currently a member of the Ground Water Committee since 2015, and was a member of the State Labor & Environmental Horticulture committee for many years. He was selected twice as Farm Bureau Member of the Year, in 1994 and in 2008.

 

In addition to volunteering his time at industry associations, Bob has been extensively involved in various agricultural and horticultural educational programs:

 

At Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, Bob was recruited by Howard Brown in the late 1950's. He was a member of Advisory Council for the School of Agriculture from 1985-2009. He also worked with the Ornamental Horticulture Department for 30 years on refresher courses, banquets, officer installations, and scholarships. At California State University, Fresno, Bob was on the Plant Science Advisory Council for five years. And at the University of California , Davis, Bob was an active member of the Foundation Plant Material Service committee.

 

At College of Sequoias, Bob handled tours and other Ag School programs. He was on the Ornamental Horticulture Advisory committee, and also was the Chairman for new complex in Tulare. He received the Outstanding Ag Service Award there in 2009.

 

Beyond the extensive involvements in the industry associations and educational institutions above, Bob managed to find the time for further green industry volunteer activities, including participation in:

 

  • 4H – Ag leadership and supporter
  • Central California Farmers Association
  • Agricultural Personnel Management – founder and long time member
  • Saratoga Horticultural Foundation Growers – Advisory Council member
  • California Department of Food and Agriculture:
    • Fruit Tree, Nut Tree, & Grapevine Improvement – Founder, and Advisory Board 1987.
    • Nematode Study Committee – senior member from 1960 to present
    • County Ag Commissioners – 22 years served on their semi-annual state working meetings as the only businessman in attendance

Dave Fujino

University of California, Davis

Dave Fujino has served for more than 10 years as the Director of the California Center for Urban Horticulture (CCUH), Co-Director of the UC Nursery and Floriculture Alliance at UC Davis, and Chair of the Saratoga Horticultural Research Endowment.

 

He earned his B.S. in Plant Science at UC Riverside, and his M.S. and Ph.D. from UC Davis in Environmental Horticulture and Plant Physiology.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fujino’s experience includes over 17 years in senior level management with a large wholesale horticultural company. His expertise includes organizational development, operations improvement, information technology, strategic planning, marketing, research and development, training, fundraising, and other areas. He has authored or co-authored 23 publications, delivered over 65 partnership programs to the horticultural industry, and has partnered on more than 20 grants and contracts.

 

Fujino has served as past Chair, Vice Chair, and Grower Member Director of the California Association of Nurseries and Garden Centers and Vice President of the Nursery Growers Association. He currently serves on the Department of Water Resources’ Technical Advisory Panel, SacTree Foundation, Bay Friendly Landscaping & Gardening Coalition, SacTree Foundation, Davis Tree Commission, and CA Institute of Food & Agricultural Research.

Donald M. Roberts

Landscape Architect UCLA

Donald M. Roberts, FASLA, led Southern California and the world of Landscape Architecture into a new age. The story of his life reads like that of a movie character whose energetic, selfless efforts to improve his profession, both in practice and on the educational front, was part of a visionary adventure.

 

The only child of a California architect, Don was a Registered Landscape Architect whose career spanned public, private, and academic borders and has crossed oceans. He was also a conscientious objector, photographer, crop-duster, forest fire fighter, zoo animal transporter, plant hunter, supplier, and landscape contractor, environmental preservationist, gardener and newspaper columnist, author, editor, and historian, teacher, academic, promoter, politician, diplomat, husband, and father.

 

The industrial landscape maintenance firm he ran in the 1950's garnered such clients as Katherine Hepburn and David Niven and attracted landscape design projects. Plant hunting for Walt Disney with Bill Evans for the grand opening of Disneyland was this firm's last project. Don concentrated on design and briefly joined Courtland Paul's celebrated landscape architectural firm.

 

Piloting developers to sites statewide led Don to establish a new practice in the 1950's and 60's. Located for a time in "Jungleland," his new company prepared 15 park studies and master plans for 12 cities, including Simi Valley, Thousand Oaks, and parts of Westwood (he even flew the aerials for Westwood). As Resident Landscape Architect of the new city of Thousand Oaks, he worked to restrict development from obstructing views on ridgelines, graduate lot sizes to reduce lot slippage on slopes, preserve stands of oaks and native trees, limit removal of natural ground cover, and require greenbelts between developments, writing the state's first such environmental ordinances for public lands.

Now widely known as an educator, Don joined the faculty at UCLA as a lecturer in the Department of Art, Design and Art History in 1967; his progressive career in community master planning and design were sufficient qualifications. In l974, at nearly 50, he got his Bachelor’s Degree in anthropology at the University of Redlands and was then appointed head of landscape architectural studies until his retirement with emeritus status in 1981.

 

The UCLA sculpture garden designed by Cornell, Bridgers, & Troller was a dramatic departure from "beaux arts" designs of the Mission Revival period and became a dynamic teaching arena for him. "Don used that garden to usher in a new breed of landscape architects," said Howard Troller, who designed the garden. Chairman of the Department of Landscape Architecture at Cal Poly Pomona, Ken Nakaba, taught with Roberts at UCLA in the 1960's and called him "an engaging teacher who worked well with students. I met Don at mid-career, but his inquisitive nature rubbed off on me and gave me new directions."

 

As head of landscape architectural studies at UCLA, Roberts gave new direction to professionals worldwide. He founded the University Extension Program in Landscape Architecture that became the model program in the U.S. and abroad. Roberts promoted education to the profession and professionalism to academia. He co-authored a l983 study that paved the way for the Uniform National Exam.

 

Perhaps his understanding of cultural change made him such a tireless advocate for the landscape architectural community as an evolving profession. He was a founding member of the American Institute of Landscape Architects in 1957 along with Warren Lawson, Dick Gawne, Arnold Dutton, Lee Scharfman, Joe Lenisch, W. Bennett Covert, and Courtland Paul. "AILA was an outgrowth of the industry's need to recognize registered licensed professionals on the same level as academically trained landscape architects," recalls Courtland Paul of Peridian. "As with most of us, Don resented the fact that we were 'perceived' as second class citizens and he worked tirelessly toward unification of AILA with ASLA."

 

Another AILA leader, Bob Cardoza, principal with NWIS (formerly Cardoza, DiLallo & Harrington) was impressed by his thoroughness of effort and dedication to detail 'for the good of the profession.' "As President of AILA at the time, I have a deep appreciation of his ability to orchestrate the timing of the unification to preserve the voting rights of AILA members," said Cardoza about Roberts' aptitude for politics and diplomacy. In 1988, in another effort for the good of the profession, he personally contacted many of the 23,000 professionals in over 90 countries to self-publish the World Directory of Landscape Architects, the first directory to facilitate worldwide business and social interaction between all segments of the landscape industry.

 

Stemming from complications due to a heart operation in late 1991, Don died in his Tustin apartment, April 11,1994 surrounded by a collection of the subtropical plants he loved.

 

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