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Toro Expands List of Financial Service Partners

The Toro Co. has reached agreements with three additional financial service firms to support equipment and irrigation system sales through the company’s distribution channel. The new partners are VGM Financial Services, a division of TCF Equipment Finance, Inc.; U.S. Bancorp Business Finance Group, Inc.; and National City Commercial Capital Co., LLC, part of PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. With the assistance of local Toro distributors, the financing partners will provide customers with competitive rates and multiple sources through which they can acquire funding and develop a customized financing structure.

Ariens Acquires Treker UTV Line

Ariens Co. has acquired the Treker line of utility vehicles, attachments and accessories from Land Pride, a division of Great Plains Mfg., Inc. Ariens will continue to sell the line through Land Pride retailers and select power equipment retailers under the Gravely brand name. UTVs will also be sold through Gravely Turf retailers who serve the sports field management segment.

Ian Camp, Frank Eckert and Paul Stephens.

C.S. Trading Presents Sales Award, Provides Cruise Ship Aerator

C.S. Trading LLC, Liberty, S.C., announced that Eckert Golf Sales, Winter Park, Fla., won the C.S. Trading/Sisis North America award for the best overall sales in 2008. C.S. Trading is the sole U.S. distributor for Sisis turf equipment. C.S. Trading provided a 24-inch- wide spiked roller aerator to Celebrity Cruises for use on turf on board the Celebrity Solstice passenger vessel. The roller, manufactured by BMS Ltd., was delivered to the ship in time for its maiden voyage.

Hunter Acquires FX Luminaire

Hunter Industries has acquired FX Luminaire in the interest of expanding its presence beyond irrigation in the green industry. FX Luminaire, located in San Diego, Calif., manufactures high-quality, low-voltage exterior lighting components.

Yamabiko Announces Merger Plans

Yamabiko Corp., the parent company of Kioritz Corp. and Shindaiwa Corp., announced plans to merge the two companies and operate as Yamabiko. Initially, Yamabiko was created in December 2008 as a holding company. The new plan is to expand the scope of the merger to include streamlining all functions. Operations of both companies will be merged in Japan by October 1, 2009.

The consolidation will also impact North American operations. Shindaiwa, Inc., Tualatin, Ore., transferred sales and marketing responsibilities for Europe, Asia and the Middle East back to Japan. All Shindaiwa operations will be merged with Echo, Inc., a subsidiary of Kioritz, in Lake Zurich, Ill. Consolidation of U.S. operations should be complete by October 1, 2009.

Pioneer Helps Produce MVP Performance

Pioneer Athletics partnered with local crews for nine bowl games in the 2008-2009 season, providing support with paints, stripers, stencils and groomers. The games included the R&L Carrier Bowl, Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans, La.; Motor City Bowl, Ford Field, Detroit, Mich.; Emerald Bowl, AT&T Park, San Francisco, Calif.; PapaJohns.com, Legion Field, Birmingham, Ala.; Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl, LP Field, Nashville, Tenn.; Outback Bowl, Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Fla.; AutoZone Liberty Bowl, Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, Memphis, Tenn.; Nokia Sugar Bowl, Louisiana Superdome; and U.S. Army All-American Bowl, San Antonio (Texas) Alamodome.

CoverSports Releases 2009 Catalog

CoverSports USA released its new 32-page, full-line catalog for 2009. It features wind and privacy screens, digitally printed banners, fence-top protection, portable dugouts, temporary outdoor fencing, sideline tarps, stadium covers and padding, winter turf blankets, all-sports shelters and more.

STI Recognized for Excellence

Smith Turf & Irrigation received the Distributor of Excellence award from the Toro Co., and was also recognized as Toro’s Best in Irrigation distributor for 2008. Three STI salespeople were honored by Toro, including Todd Joefreda, Rookie of the Year; Jeff Corn, Green Blazer Award; and Marty Bahen, Master Salesman Award. In addition, STI received the Otterbine Commercial Distributor of the Year and the Dakota Distributor of the Year awards for 2008.

Growth Products Announces New Web Site

Growth Products, Ltd. launched its new Web site at www.growthproducts.com. It features a new look, easy navigation, information on the company’s products, Rate Application Calculator, searchable product catalog and more.

Growth Products launched a new Web site.

AAT Supports Environmentally Responsible Organizations

Agrium Advanced Technologies has partnered with several environmental organizations as part of an ongoing initiative to become a leader in environmental stewardship and sustainability. AAT has made a three-year commitment to support the Environmental Institute for Golf’s E-Learning Webcast Series Grant and other initiatives. The company is an official “Sustainer” with Audubon International and also sponsors Project EverGreen and RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment).

Magna-Matic Redesigns Online Store

Magna-Matic Corp. has redesigned its online store at www.magna-matic-direct.com. The new store contains all Magna-Matic products and parts. Users can download parts diagrams, review products, set up a wish list, receive e-mail notifications when items are in stock, view order history and more.

Reynolds and Meeks Join Spectra

Kevin Reynolds has joined Spectra Sports Surfaces as director of sales and marketing. He will be responsible for development of the sales network and all associated marketing efforts. He has more than eight years’ experience in the synthetic turf industry, having previously worked for FieldTurf.

Charlie Meeks joined Spectra as director of operations, responsible for the quality of installations and services. He has more than 20 years of experience in the athletics industry and most recently served as president of Turbo Link International.

WTA Hires Miller

The Wisconsin Turfgrass Association hired Monroe S. Miller as its first executive director/ambassador. He will work to further the mission of the association, which is to support turfgrass research and education at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Miller recently retired from Blackhawk Country Club in Madison, where he served as golf course superintendent for 36 years.

Agrotain Launches Urea Center Web Site

Agrotain International launched its Urea Center showcase Web site at www.UreaCenterTour.com. The new site provides news, pictures and video tours of the St. Louis Urea Center and the Stabilized Nitrogen Center.

Agrotain launched a Web site for its St. Louis Urea Center and Stabilized Nitrogen Center.

Bobcat and Polaris Enter Strategic Alliance

Bobcat Co. and Polaris Industries, Inc. announced a long-term strategic alliance that will leverage the complementary strengths of both companies to penetrate work-related market segments globally. The alliance will include codevelopment of work vehicles, supply of highly differentiated work vehicles and technology sharing, with a planned launch by the second half of 2010.

Notes from STMA

The Sports Turf Managers Association presented the fifth annual STMA Student Challenge in partnership with the Foundation for Safer Athletic Field Environments (SAFE) and platinum sponsor Hunter Industries. Winners included Pennsylvania State University’s Tanner Del Valle, Matt Elmore, Nicholas Gialloretto and Nicholas Leviere; and Mt. San Antonio College’s Patrick Escalera, Geoff Miller, Chaz Perea and Hector Ramirez.

SAFE raised more than $27,000 for scholarship, research and education during the 2009 STMA conference. The money was raised through many events, including a golf tournament, raffles and auctions.

Abby McNeal, sports turf manager for the Colorado School of Mines, Golden, Colo., took office as STMA’s first female president. Chris Calcaterra was named as president-elect. He is the sports facility manager for the Peoria (Ariz.) Sports Complex. Troy Smith, Denver Broncos Football Club, was elected secretary-treasurer. Other officers and directors include Mike Andresen, Dale Getz, Larry DiVito, Martin Kaufman, Chad Price, John Sorochan, Jody Gill, Amy Fouty, David Pinsonneault and Michael Goatley Jr.

STMA presented its Founders Awards to Mike Tarantino, Poway Unified School District, Poway, Calif., Dick Ericson award; Grady Miller, North Carolina State University, Dr. William Daniel award; David Reiss, Wasatch County School District, Heber City, Utah, George Toma Golden Rake Award; and Bob Campbell, University of Tennessee, Harry C. Gill Memorial Award.

Grigg Bros. Names Warner as Representative

Grigg Brothers named Tyler Warner as technical representative for the southeastern United States. Based in Spencer, Tenn., he will consult with customers in a six-state region. Most recently, Warner was a manufacturer’s representative in Florida, and he has also worked as a golf course superintendent. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business finance from the University of Akron and an associate degree in turfgrass management from Ohio State University.

Turface Announces Partnership with RBI

Turface Athletics announced a new partnership with Ripken Baseball, Inc. Now named the official sports field conditioner of Ripken Baseball, Turface will work with its new partner to continue to promote field education and maintenance.