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K-State Today

March 26, 2013



Landscape contracting team places seventh out of 63 schools

By Cathie Lavis

The landscape contracting team recently returned from Auburn University, ranking seventh out of 63 schools at the annual horticultural event, PLANET Student Career Days and The National Collegiate Landscape Competition.

This event is organized by Professional Landcare Network, or PLANET, the principal national trade association representing landscape professionals. The event is the largest competition and career recruitment event for college students studying horticulture and landscaping. Student Career Days brings students and companies together to build a strong industry for the future.

Student Career Days combines education and competitive events in which students get to show off their skills in tree climbing, patio building, identifying horticulture specimens, skid steer operation, sales presentation, exterior/interior design, irrigation troubleshooting, wood construction and more as well as a career fair that allows recruiters from approximately 60 companies to interview students for jobs.

Even during economic recessions, lawn, landscape, tree care, and irrigation companies struggle with a shortage of well-educated potential employees. Because of that shortage, nearly 100 percent of students graduating from college horticulture and landscape programs have jobs offers.

The K-State team brought home $1,000 for winning the best team cheer and $500 for winning the career development series workshop. K-State has won this educational award for the past three years.

The events that K-State students ranked in Top 10 included:

  • Landscape plant installation: first place, Matt McKernan, Josh Rutz and Kellen Stewart;
  • Arboriculture techniques: third place, Luke Becker and Justin Brock;
  • Sales presentation: third place, Rebecca Bohling;
  • Truck and trailer operation: fourth place, Morgan Barrett and Logan Erickson;
  • Compact excavator operation: fifth place, Chris Rea;
  • Irrigation troubleshooting: sixth place, Logan Erickson and Tim Spare;
  • Woody ornamental plant identification: eighth place, Chris Rea;
  • Hardscape installation: eighth place, Lance Wright and Shane Steelman;
  • Computer aided landscape design: eighth place, Jaret Hanson;
  • Annual and perennial identification: ninth place, Gina Alaniz.

The team is coached by Greg Davis and Cathie Lavis.