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2007 PGMS Greenstar Awards

Eric Grammer, PGMS

Each year, the Professional Grounds Management Society issues their Greenstar Awards, recognizing beautifully designed and magnificently maintained sites all over the United States. We are proud to present this year's winners.

Grand Award - Hospital or Institution

Lexington Medical Center, West Columbia, S.C.

Marion Bolick, Grounds Manager

The grounds of Lexington Medical Center are landscaped and maintained to reflect the high standards of the institution itself - providing patients, visitors and staff with a sense of order and well-being as they come and go. The manicured landscape honors the clean lines of the center's traditional architecture. A diversified blend of ornamental greenery, perennials, annuals, ground covers, winter-interest plants and lawns soften what would otherwise be a sterile area of asphalt and concrete. The overall effect is grounds worthy of the Lexington Medical Center's lofty reputation.

Grand Award - Hospital or Institution

University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, Va.

Roger Conner, Landscape Coordinator

The University of Virginia Health System grounds crew is a case study in budgeting and environmental conservation techniques. Leaves are mulched and mowed into the landscape to eliminate the difficulty of disposal. This technique helps minimize labor efforts and reduces the need to purchase humus. Additionally, compost material produced on grounds is used in all flowerbeds to improve both the physical condition and fertility of the soil. Deadfall and trimmings are chipped and the mulch is used to conserve soil moisture, help eliminate weeds, reduce erosion, keep plant roots cool, provide winter protection and make the overall landscape more attractive. All methods that would make UVA founder Thomas Jefferson proud.

Grand Award - Hospital or Institution

Waverly Heights, Gladwyne, Pa.

Ed Harman, Landscape Supervisor

As is common in most health care facilities, Waverly Heights is a 24-hour facility outside of Philadelphia requiring snow, flooding, storm debris, etc. to be handled at all hours so the facility can remain open for employees, vendors and emergency personnel. Working with flexible scheduling, the Waverly Heights grounds crew is ready to meet this call. Outside of Mother Nature's occasional surprise, the 5-person grounds team also maintains the site including 8 acres of flower beds and gardens, 26 acres of turf, various water features, a 9-hole putting green and croquet court, and 1,560 trees.

Grand Award - Hospital or Institution

The Queen's Medical Center, Honolulu, Hawaii

D. Mark Gwinner, Manager of Landscape Design and Development

Maintained by Manager of Landscape Design and Development Mark Gwinner and a team of grounds professionals, this facility is a slice of paradise providing patients, visitors and personnel alike a walled-in secret garden filled with dark foliage plants, a native Hawaiian plant area interpreted with signage emphasizing the medicinal uses of the plants, and several landscapes from three reclaimed parking lots.

Grand Award - Hospital or Institution

St. Tammany Parish Hospital, Covington, La.

Robin Percle, Grounds Supervisor

While minimal in comparison to the devastation created by Hurricane Katrina to the Gulf Coast region, the grounds crew at St. Tammany Parish Hospital has had its hands full following this natural disaster, which ravaged the hospital's landscape. However, the St. Tammany grounds teams has made the best of the bad situation by transforming a flat, blank and wide landscape full of downed trees, into an area of varied indigenous green plant and increased turf surfaces creating a larger walking space for patient meditation.

Grand Award - Industrial, Commercial Site, or Office Park

Abbott Park, Abbott Park, Ill.

Dave Spittlemeister, Senior Supervisor

Abbott Park is the 481-acre corporate headquarters of Abbot, a broad-based company that discovers, develops, manufactures and markets health care products in over 130 countries. Reflecting the company's commitment to making the world a better place, the grounds department has a significant history of environmental stewardship. Since 1985 they have been involved in the preservation of the threatened eastern prairie white fringed orchid which grows on Abbott property. This year the department has installed its first rain garden and is in the process of engineering several potential green roof projects.

Grand Award - Industrial, Commercial Site, or Office Park

Progressive Insurance Headquarters, Mayfield Village, Ohio

Brian Smith, Grounds Manager

Progressive Insurance's headquarters in Mayfield Village, Ohio, offers a stimulating work environment for over 9,000 employees with buildings open 24 hours a day. For instance, rooftop gardens are present throughout the site, which break up massive building lines. Also, most buildings have courtyard areas where employees can enjoy lunch, breaks and meetings. The Progressive Art Collection, one of the country's largest private contemporary collections, is also present throughout the grounds. Employees are encouraged to enjoy and use the grounds, requiring grounds manager Brian Smith and his crew to prepare a landscape designed to absorb unusually heavy use. However. their hard work also makes for the perfect environment to produce a motivated workforce and a high level of employee retention.

Grand Award - Hotel, Motel, or Resort Category

Grand Geneva Resort & Spa, Lake Geneva, Wis.

Jim Crothers, Director of Grounds

Tucked away within historic Lake Geneva, Wis., Grand Geneva Resort & Spa is set amid 1,300 magnificent acres of rolling hills and pristine views. Director of Grounds Maintenance Jim Crothers and Landscape Superintendent Paul Showalter oversee an in-house staff of 60. The resort's grounds crew is divided into two teams. The first group of 43 grounds professionals oversees the care and maintenance of the resort's two championship golf courses as well as the general cleanup of the entire campus. The second group of 18 maintains the main resort grounds including over 30 different gardens. The true testimonial to this crew's fine work is the large number of repeat guests returning each season to view the new garden designs and to play the manicured courses.

Grand Award - Hotel, Motel, or Resort Category

The Inn at Biltmore Estate, Asheville, N.C.

Susanne Woodell, Landscape Manager

Located on 8,000 acres in Asheville, N.C., the Biltmore Estate was established in 1888. A National Historic Landmark, the estate's horticultural department is charged with attracting guests year round while also sustaining the heritage of the estate's landscape originally designed by the founding father of American landscape architecture, Frederick Law Olmsted. In all there are 75 acres of historic gardens.

Grand Award - Small Site

Kluge Children's Rehabilitation Center, Charlottesville, Va.

Roger Conner, Landscape Coordinator

Maintained by the University of Virginia Landscape Department, the center focuses on the evaluation and treatment of children with physical and mental disabilities ranging from amputations, brain injuries, cancer, and cerebral palsy. The site's grounds serve as an instrumental path on the long road to recovery for these brave children, building a welcoming environment for patients and their families, and providing such amenities as a patient plant therapy greenhouse and small medicinal garden.

Honor Award - Public Works Site

City of Milwaukee's Boulevard System, Milwaukee, Wis.

Scott Baran, Landscape Designer

While many cities have landscaped boulevards in their downtown areas, few are as extensive and well developed as Milwaukee's. The city's forestry section is the steward of 120 miles or 475 acres of irrigated and landscaped boulevards which date back to the 1920's. This grounds program not only beautifies the city, but also adds to the quality of life in the city by serving as a connection between residents and neighborhoods binding a community and city together.

Grand Award - Government Building or Complex

Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

Jeffrey Schneider, Horticulture Services Division

Located in the heart of the nation's capital and hosting over 23 million visitors annually, the horticulture services division supports the Smithsonian's mission to increase and diffuse knowledge by developing the institution's landscapes into exhibition spaces through educational, showcase gardens including the Enid A. Haupt Garden, the Mary Livingston Ripley Garden, the Butterfly Habitat Garden, the Victory Garden, the Heirloom Garden and the National Museum of American Indian Natural Landscape Environment.

Grand Award - Park, Recreation Area, or Playground

Biltmore Estate, Asheville, N.C.

Susanne Woodell, Landscape Manager

Established in 1888 by George Vanderbilt, the Biltmore Estate is a privately owned, self-sustaining working estate covering 8,000 acres. Biltmore's horticultural department's mission is the stewardship of the estate's historic and contemporary landscape in an effort to add value and pleasure to the guest experience. The estate's expansive spread includes 3,000 acres of managed forest, 300 acres of pastures and fields, and 75 acres of historic gardens. More than 200 container gardens are used for seasonal color, and the estate's historic conservatory provides production and display space.

Honor Award - Park, Recreation Area, or Playground

Don Showman Park- City of Farmers Branch, Farmers Branch, Texas

Pamela Smith, Landscape Manager

Maintained by the City of Farmers Branch, Texas, Don Showman Park offers a little for everyone throughout the year. The park's grounds management team ensures that visitors will make a repeat visit by incorporating crepe myrtles, mass plantings of roses, yaupon holly, pond cypress, Gulf Stream nandina and Asian jasmine, as well as many others into the landscape.

Honor Award - Park, Recreation Area, or Playground

Anthem Hills Park, Henderson, Nev.

Raymond Everhart, Park Supervisor

What do you get when you mix two sand volleyball courts, ten basketball courts (all lit for nighttime use), three ball fields, playgrounds for three different age groups and a soccer complex constructed in a flood basin - you get Anthem Hills Park maintained by the City of Henderson, Nev. Located in the desert, a project of particular note has been an aggressive turf conversion program. Converting over one million square feet of non-functional turf into xeriscaped areas the project saves an estimated 55 million gallons of water annually.

Grand Award - Park, Recreation Area, or Playground

City of Henderson, Mission Hills Park, Henderson, Nev.

Lynn Phelps, Parks Supervisor

Led by Parks Supervisor Lynn Phelps, the City of Henderson's Parks and Recreation Department also maintains Mission Hills Park. This 25-acre community park is a hit in the summer with its water play feature and adjacent shade pavilion and picnic areas. In fact, it is quite common for large corporations to rent out the shaded pavilion for parties that can number over 2,000 in attendance. Considering the large crowds and extremely high temperatures that are common during the summer, the grounds maintenance crew does an outstanding job keeping the park safe, clean and green.

Honor Award - Condominium or Apartment Complex

Post Midtown Square, Houston, Texas

Mitchell Rice, Regional Gardener

Located in downtown Houston, this upscale mixed-use development is surrounded by a lush landscape that benefits from a subtropical growing climate. The site's 50 decorative annual pots and two flower beds are changed three times a year to accommodate the mild winters and intensely hot summers. Additionally, these pristine grounds help attract droves of customers to the numerous eateries and retail stores located streetside.

Honor Award - Condominium or Apartment Complex

Post Lindbergh, Atlanta, Ga.

Betty Eliseo, Crew Supervisor

A high profile, garden-style apartment community with 395 apartments spread over 12 acres, Post Lindbergh boasts several striking courtyards with elements such as a large, limestone, self-contained water feature and unique conifiers accented by perennials. The site also features 10,000 square feet of annuals and perennials which are organically fertilized.

Grand Award - Condominium or Apartment Complex

Post Uptown Place, Charlotte, N.C.

Lee Ann White, Regional Gardener

A "no turf" urban community produced by Post Properties, Post Uptown Place's streets and bricked sidewalks are softened by perennial and specialty ornamental displays and 1,570 square feet of annual space stretching along its main frontage. Post Landscape's mission is to provide a superior living experience for its residents.

Honor Award - Athletic Fields

Pomona College, Claremont, Calif.

Kevin Quanstrom, Grounds Supervisor

Pomona College's earliest athletic team dates back to 1896. Today, this college campus located in Claremont, Calif. is home to 13 collegiate varsity sports, various intramural sports, and club sports as well as 12.3 acres of athletic fields, two swim facilities, 12 tennis courts and two outdoor basketball courts. The college's athletic grounds staff maintains these as well as Blanchard Park, a 20-acre natural oak woodland, requiring quarterly maintenance to remove and control non-native plant species.

Honor Award - Athletic Fields

City of Bell Gardens Sports Center, Bell Gardens, Calif.

Pamela Yugar, Director of Recreation and Community Services

This $10 million state-of-the-art facility is located in the heart of southeast Los Angeles. One of the most densely populated areas in the nation with 44,000 residents in 2.4 square miles, maintaining this investment in the children, families, and community is a high priority. With 50% of the population under the age of 23, and 94% Latino, this center's focus on soccer truly serves the interest of the community's well-being and culture.

Honor Award - Athletic Fields

Arroyo Grande Sports Complex, Henderson, Nev.

Douglas Guild, Park Manager

A 20-acre little league baseball field complex, this site recently hosted Nevada's little league regional championship. Henderson's grounds crew put forth the extra effort to make theirs a field of dreams. Fair poles, scoreboards, the sports complex sign and restroom floors each got a new coat of paint. Bleachers were pressure washed, scoreboards refitted with new bulbs, and fair lines and bases were painted before every game. The result: beautiful fields and immaculate turf, as well as a tournament showing why baseball is still the nation's pastime.

Grand Award - Athletic Fields

University of Miami/Unicco Service Company, Coral Gables, Fla.

Chris Denson, Head Groundskeeper

Contracted out by the University, Unicco Service Company Groundskeeper Chris Denton and his four-person athletic grounds crew keep the University of Miami's athletic facilities in championship form, regardless of the 'Canes' standings in the rankings.

Honor Award - Golf Course

City of Bell Gardens Golf Course, Bell Gardens, Calif.

Pamela Yugar, Director of Recreation and Community Services

For years, care of this site was contracted to an outside vendor and for the most part it was ignored and poorly maintained. In 2004 the city took notice of this opportunity and, with the tremendous work of the city's grounds maintenance team, turned this once dilapidated golf course into a beautiful, highly utilized public facility for the community's families. The course's children's golf classes are a hit and its beautification has had a positive impact on a community affected by high levels of crime.


Greenstar-26 Grand Award - Professional Fields

Surprise Recreation Campus, Surpise, Ariz.

Joe Kennedy, Baseball Maintenance Manager

A beautiful, 170-acre, $73 million masterpiece of recreational amenities second to none, this campus is a key hub for Major League Baseball's spring training. It serves as the spring training home and player development facility for the Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers as well as MLB's Arizona Fall League.

Grand Award - High School, Technical School, or Community College

Cincinnati State Technical and Community College, Cincinnati, Ohio

Raymond Mirizzi, Director of Facilities Services

Led by Ray Mirizzi and Denny Baker, the college's Landscape and Grounds Services team's job responsibilities are somewhat unique in comparison with other campus teams that may only focus on horticultural responsibilities. Hardscape responsibilities include such tasks as maintaining all outdoor lighting, walkway repairs, asphalt repairs, traffic line painting, trash and litter control, irrigation repairs, rail and fence repairs and snow and ice control.

Honor Award - High School, Technical School, or Community College

Gwinnett Technical College, Lawrenceville, Ga.

Gail Zorn, Grounds Manager

Since its opening in 1984 when this 87-acre campus included just one building, there has been one constant - continued growth and construction. Today, the on-campus construction continues. Unfortunately, the grounds management budget has not kept pace. Despite these budget shortcomings, Gwinnett's grounds crew is rich in experience with each of its five full-time members a degreed professional with areas of specialty ranging from technology, irrigation, seasonal color or equipment maintenance.

Honor Award - University and College Grounds

University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va.

Roger Conner, Landscape Coordinator

When Thomas Jefferson founded the University of Virginia in the early 1800's he intended it to be nothing less than a world-class institution of higher learning. This is evident in the 10 pavilion gardens that Jefferson laid out on the campus. Each garden is unique in design and broken down into rooms that allow professors and students small intimate places to interact and learn among the plants. The University's grounds crew is to be commended for maintaining Jefferson's vision.

Honor Award - University and College Grounds

Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas

Dewey Shroyer, Managing Director of Grounds Maintenance

The Texas Tech grounds maintenance department has 106 employees, including 53 groundskeepers in addition to equipment operators, pesticide applicators, and other auxiliary employees. This Texas-sized grounds program is not only responsible for the landscape of the university and 10 satellite locations, but also for all of the brickwork, asphalt, tree care, irrigation installation and maintenance, interior plant maintenance, sign manufacturing and installation, as well as a host of other duties.

Honor Award - University and College Grounds

Texas Woman's University, Denton, Texas

Robert Trevino, Supervisor of Landscape Services

Not quite the scale of Texas Tech University, the Texas Woman's University landscape department consists of 22 employees responsible for the year-round maintenance of the 270-acre campus. In addition to landscape maintenance, the department oversees irrigation, greenhouse operations and athletic fields.

Honor Award - University and College Grounds

Penn State Delaware County, Media, Pa.

Charles Daly, Group Leader of Landscape

A non-residential branch campus of Pennsylvania State University, this site is maintained by a two-person grounds staff whose responsibilities also include the installation of any new landscape enhancement projects. Penn State Delaware County's Director of Business Services Lisa Yerges writes, "Over the last four years our campus has undergone a remarkable transformation into a beautiful landscape thanks to the 'can do' attitude of our grounds staff."

Grand Award - University and College Grounds

College of Wooster, Wooster, Ohio

Beau Mastrine, Director of Campus Grounds

Located amongst the rolling hills of northeast Ohio, the College of Wooster recently undertook a massive facelift with the renovation of its main academic building, Kauke Hall. Started in May 2005 and completed in August 2006, the goal of the extensive renovation was to recapture its distinctive architectural character while bringing it up to modern technological standards. The grounds budget for this project was nearly half a million dollars and included replacing 15,000 square feet of brick sidewalks, the installation of an irrigation system for the one acre of turf and landscape beds around the building. 400 shrubs and 300 perennials, along with 50 trees.

Grand Award - Urban University Grounds

Columbia University, New York City, N.Y.

Richard Bussert, Manager of Campus Operations

The Facilities Department at Columbia University in the City of New York maintains 36 acres. Managing a campus in the midst of this metropolis means high volumes of pedestrian and vehicular traffic requiring the maintenance of acres of hardscapes including concrete sidewalks, brick and asphalt pavers and granite steps. With all the time devoted to maintaining hardscapes, Frank Molina and his grounds staff have had to come up with some creative solutions to trim dollars off of their budget elsewhere. One of these has been to reduce mowed acreage, specifically areas which were difficult to access with mowers. For example, in some areas on campus, sod has been replaced by ground cover such as purple-leaf winter creeper, not only reducing mowing, but also water and fertilizer requirements.

Grand Award - Urban University Grounds

American University, Washington, D.C.

Mark Feist, Assistant Director of Grounds

The grounds of American University's campus complement the professional character of faculty, staff and students. A colorful, relaxing atmosphere is achieved through a rich contrast of manicured lawns with variously textured shrubs, mass plantings of perennials, spring bulbs and flowering annuals. Mark Feist and the American University grounds spare no effort in establishing a campus identity through campus landscapes.

Grand Award - Urban University Grounds

University of Texas, Austin, Texas

John Burns, Manager of Landscape Services

With a daily population larger than many cities (70,000) the University of Texas at Austin is composed of 31 acres in shrubs, perennials, and ground cover beds, 19,000 square free in annual color beds, and 125 acres of turf including 49 miles of edging. John Burns and the Longhorn grounds staff prove that some things truly are bigger and better in Texas.

Honor Award - Urban University Grounds

University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pa.

David Heintzinger, Facilities Manager

The Panthers grounds crew not only has to face the prospect of maintaining turf and landscapes on a campus experiencing heavy foot and auto traffic, but also the added challenge of doing this in the face of significant winter events. Winter presents a major task for the grounds program - the campus has over 30 miles of walkways and hundreds of steps as well as over 40 parking lots. All in a days work for the department which works every day of the year except for Christmas...unless it snows.

Honor Award - Urban University Grounds

University of Nevada - Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Nev.

Robert Lynn, Facilities Supervisor

The University of Nevada - Las Vegas (UNLV) grounds staff faces obstacles of historic proportions. With an annual rainfall of less than 4 inches a year, and a commitment to reduce the university's outdoor water use by 25% by 2010, the UNLV grounds staff strives to maintain and improve the campus' surroundings while being water wise.

Honor Award - Urban University Grounds

University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada

Wayne McCutcheon, Manager of Landscape Maintenance

The University of Alberta experiences an unusually long winter and short growing season. Despite this, the University's grounds professionals maintain grounds abundant with plant life, including 160 hanging baskets, many flower beds with annuals and perennials, raised planters and borders and nearly 25 species of trees from the world over.

Honor Award - Urban University Grounds

Arizona State University, Tempe, Ariz.

Fernando Reyna, Manager of Grounds Services

The ASU grounds department recently faced the possibility of being outsourced. Instead of bowing out, the Department stepped up to the plate by following the University President's goal of becoming an APPA Level One Standard Campus. The crew took measures such as leading by example and becoming more embedded in different departmental programs on campus to ensure their customers realized the grounds department was a group of level-one professionals.

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