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US (FL): 25 Years of advocacy celebrated during RISE annual meeting

— RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment®) recently celebrated 25 years as the leading advocate for the specialty pesticide and fertilizer industries during its annual meeting held in Orlando during the last week of September.

More than 250 RISE members attended and joined the celebration. With the theme Inspiring Voices, attendees were encouraged to share photos and posts to social media using the hashtags #InspiringVoices15 and #RISE25.

A highlight of the three-day event was RISE’s silver anniversary reception and dinner celebrating a quarter-century of industry advocacy. Thirteen past chairs of the RISE Governing Board attended along with the association’s two presidents – Allen James (1991 – 2009) and Aaron Hobbs (2010-present).

During the meeting, RISE Governing Board members and officers were elected, Josh Weeks was awarded the E. Allen James Leadership Award and advocates working in Montgomery County, Md. received the Grassroots Excellence Award.

The RISE Governing Board dictates the direction of the association and according to Chairman Dan Stahl, it will continue to focus on advocacy and community building for the specialty pesticide and plant health industries. Front left: John Gertz, Bill Culpepper, Pramod Thota, Dan Stahl, Donald Chew. Back left: Jeff Alvis, Scott Reasons, Aaron Hobbs, Johnathan Sweat, Steve Gullickson, Darren Horst, Frank Jusich, Myron Richardson and John Smith. Not pictured: John Johnson, PROKoZ.

New Governing Board Members
Elected RISE Governing Board members elected Donald Chew, PBI-Gordon, to fill the seat formerly held by Steve Gullickson, MGK, whose term concluded this year. Gullickson is the Board’s immediate past chair. Johnathan Sweat, BASF Corporation, was elected vice chairman.

Officers of the RISE Governing Board who are continuing their terms of service are Dan Stahl, OHP, Inc., chairman and Darren Horst, Central Garden & Pet, treasurer.

Other Governing Board members continuing their terms include:

Jeff Alvis, AMVAC Environmental Products
Bill Culpepper, SePRO
Gilles Galliou, Bayer CropScience
John Gertz, PrimeraTurf
John Johnson, PROKoZ
Frank Jusich, Central Life Sciences
Scott Reasons, Syngenta
Myron Richardson, Monsanto Company
John Smith, WinField
Pramod Thota, FMC Corporation.

“The RISE Governing Board sets the direction of the association and provides guidance and strategic thinking for issue management,” said Stahl. “The Board was instrumental in implementing our new five-year strategic plan developed last year. This year’s Board plans to continue our focus on advocacy and community building.”

EAJ Leadership Award Given to Weeks
Josh Weeks, president of Joshua H. Weeks Consulting, LLC. and retired vice president of Bayer CropScience, is the recipient of the 2015 E. Allen James (EAJ) Leadership Award – RISE’s most distinguished volunteer honor named for its first president. The award recognizes exemplary leadership and outstanding contributions to the specialty pesticide and fertilizer industry and to RISE.

Weeks has a long history with RISE. He’s been a dedicated leader and active member of a number of RISE committees for more than 20 years. He led the RISE Governing Board as chairman from 2007-09 gaining unanimous approval to take RISE into a new direction, pivoting from defense to taking a proactive and positive stance on issues. He also secured funding from members to ensure the association could achieve and sustain its work on this stretch goal.

In presenting the 2015 award, RISE Governing Board Chairman Dan Stahl said, “Josh clearly exemplifies the character we seek to recognize with this award. He was a crucial part of changing the course of RISE and its ability to successfully manage issues in an increasingly complex environment, and continues to share his 40-plus years of industry knowledge through his current endeavors.”

Previous recipients of the EAJ Leadership Award first given in 2009 include its namesake Allen James; Bill Culpepper, SePRO Corporation; Jim Armbruster, PBI-Gordon Corporation; and Bill Liles, CIBA-Geigy.

Montgomery Co. Leaders Receive Grassroots Award
Members of a broad-based coalition working in Montgomery County, Md., to defeat bill 52-14 were honored with this year’s RISE Grassroots Excellence Award.

In 2013, Bill 52-14 was introduced in Montgomery County, Md. in an effort to prohibit the use of lawn and turf products on private and public property. The recipients of this year’s award are residents, professionals and RISE members who worked tirelessly to balance the conversation.

Those honored with the 2015 award are:
Ellen Bogage, president and CEO, Chesapeake Public Strategies
Jody Fetzer, green management coordinator, Maryland National Capitol Park and Planning Commission
Dean Graves, golf course manager, Chevy Chase Club
Jon Lobenstein, superintendent, Montgomery Golf
Jay Nalls, superintendent, Norbeck Country Club
Eric Wenger, president, Complete Lawn Care
Paul Wolf, president, Integrated Plant Care
Ryan Bjorn, director of grounds & environmental management, Maryland SoccerPlex and Discovery Sports Center
Jerad Minnick, president, Growing Innovations
John Poulos, director of grounds, Our Lady of Good Council High School
Jeff Fedorchak, vice president of corporate affairs, TruGreen Lawncare
Kevin Fitzgerald, general manager, TruGreen Lawncare.

First given in 2012, the RISE Grassroots Excellence Award is presented annually to an individual, group or allied association that demonstrates outstanding effort and contributions to furthering the mission, vision and goals of the specialty pesticide and fertilizer industry with public policy and advocacy through grassroots engagement.

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