Irrigation & Green Industry - Close-Up Profiles http://www.igin.com/articles.sec-51-1-close_up_profiles.html <![CDATA[Conrad Family - ]]> A born entrepreneur, Joe Conrad hails from Cincinnati, Ohio, where his father was an electrical engineer by profession, but also an entrepreneur who has owned a number of businesses.


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<![CDATA[Brian Melka - ]]> His father worked for the railroad for his entire career of 30 years. His mother had a number of positions while the kids were growing up, but she ultimately retired as a high school principal’s assistant. It was probably a good thing for him that the kids were no longer in high school by the time Mom got there.]]> <![CDATA[Tony Dilluvio & Joe Pierorazio - ]]> Although they have lived in close proximity to each other for many years, Tony Dilluvio and Joe Pierorazio did not know each other until they met at Aqua Turf, an irrigation contracting firm in Elmsford, New York.
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<![CDATA[Craig Reinders - ]]> There are a good number of second-generation companies in our business, and quite a few even third-generation, but how about five generations? Meet the Reinders family and Reinders, Inc., their family-owned, full-service distribution chain servicing ten states in the upper Midwest. Craig Reinders, president, can safely say that he’s not the only one within his family who shares a passion for the green industry.]]> <![CDATA[Deborah Hunter - She read the directions]]> With $200 in her pocket, a 1970 station wagon which she used as a truck, and a small, ragtag crew, Deborah Turner started Ram-T Corporation, a landscape company specializing in erosion control and hardscapes. That was in 1984. Now more than 30 years later, not only has she thrived as a woman in a heavily male-dominated industry, but she has also transformed her start-up company into a multimillion dollar corporation.]]> <![CDATA[Aric Olson - ]]> Aric Olson is a ‘turn around’ guy. As successful young man, he has helped turn around a number of companies that seemed to be spiraling downward. As the new president of the Irrigation Association for the ensuing year, Olson hopes he can help contribute to the growth of the association.]]> <![CDATA[Chris Spain - ]]> From his early childhood, growing up in northern Virginia, Chris Spain loved the outdoors. In high school, he ran track, but some of the most important lessons he learned in his youth was when he was a Boy Scout.]]> <![CDATA[Lowell Kaufhold - ]]> When Lowell Kaufhold started his first year of college, he got a job installing sprinklers so that he could support himself. Though he could not have imagined it then, this was where he would spend his entire career—in the landscape industry. Kaufhold, now 57, says, “It’s the only industry I’ve ever been in.]]> <![CDATA[Chris Vernon - ]]> Growing up in Elgin, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, little did Chris Vernon realize the path his life would take. ]]> <![CDATA[Brian, Jane & Justin Smith - ]]> It's all about family. To most of us, it has always been about family. Many of us were fortunate to be born into families that gave us unconditional love, which we later passed along to our own families. Brian Smith was one of those lucky guys. Born into a blue-collar family, his father worked as a mechanic on a road crew, building roads in South Africa, so the family moved quite often.]]> <![CDATA[Dave Wesolowski - ]]> Dave Wesolowski grew up in Southern California, where his father was a landscape contractor; he installed irrigation systems and did tree work. "Before I started high school, I was cleaning trenches and setting heads. I was always mechanically inclined enough to figure out how to build irrigation systems. But it wasn't anything I wanted to do for for the rest of my life. I really didn't want to go into the family business."]]> <![CDATA[Michael Meléndrez - ]]> Healthy growth usually starts with the right soil, and for a family, it’s no different. Michael Meléndrez comes from a line that’s been on the same soil for centuries. On his father’s side, Michael is a descendent of the founder of Las Cruces, New Mexico’s second largest city.]]> <![CDATA[Buchek Family - ]]> John Buchek’s grandfather was also named John. He grew up, married, and was raising a family in Moulton, a small Texas town somewhere between San Antonio and Houston. But when their son, Harvey, was seven years old, the doctor suggested that they move the family out of the area because he had bad allergies. So, at the age of 42, John Senior, a banker in Moulton, moved his family to San Antonio, a city which history made famous because of the Alamo. Needing to change careers, he began selling farm machinery. He eventually opened his own store and called it Alamo Farm Machinery Company. The year was 1924.]]> <![CDATA[Cunado Family - ]]> “A ll I ever wanted to do was manufacture something that I could sell, and to see it say, ‘Made in U.S.A.,’” said Dan Cunado, president of Vista Professional Outdoor Lighting. “I’m overwhelmed; this is a dream come true.”]]> <![CDATA[Chris Elmore - ]]> His father had a heating and air conditioning company, so Elmore was no stranger to the business. “When I was out of school on holiday breaks or during the summer, I would go to the office with my father,” he said. “He’d give me chores, telling me to go with this guy and help him install an A/C system, or ride with that guy on a service call.]]> <![CDATA[Barbara and John Stropko - ]]> When Barbara first met John Stropko, she said, "I was crazy about him." Almost 30 years later, they are still joined at the hip. In fact, I would say the Stropkos are living a life they love. They are in love with each other, in love with nature, in love with art, and in love with their business. So their business, New Desert Gallery, Inc., is truly a labor of love.]]> <![CDATA[Warren Thoma - ]]> WHEN WARREN THOMA WAS discharged from the Army in 1976, he was 24 years old. Married and the father of a twomonth old baby, he didn’t have a clue as to what he wanted to do with the rest of his life. But, being a sharp young man, it didn’t take him long to figure out his calling.]]> <![CDATA[Bob Smith - ]]> Smith was born and raised in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where his father worked for a local building contractor. When his dad was 28, with a wife and five children, he found out that he had a tumor on his spine and had to have surgery. During the surgery, his spinal cord.]]> <![CDATA[Barrett Ersek - ]]> When Ersek was 12 years old, he wanted a dirt bike motorcycle, but his dad wouldn’t buy it for him. “My dad told me I could have anything I wanted; I just had to work hard and save my money,” he said. “I was really eager to get a job so I could buy my motorcycle."]]> <![CDATA[Judy Altmaier - ]]> Talk about a woman in a man’s world, Judy Altmaier is the epitome of that. It’s one thing for women to hold executive positions, and more are reaching the top rung, but you won’t find too many who head up a division that specializes in manufacturing machinery.]]>