In early November, 5,300 attendees and 304 exhibitors filled 200,000-square-feet of exhibition space inside the San Diego Convention Center at the 2011 Irrigation Show. This is the only national trade show for irrigation industry professionals. This year's attendance represents an increase in participation from last year's show by nearly 20 percent.
"Despite another tough economic year, the irrigation industry came together in support of the 2011 Irrigation Show," said Chris Davey, chair of the IA Expo Advisory Committee for 2011. "Attendance was up by nearly 1,000 attendees from last year, the New Product Contest was a success. Those of us at the general session were treated to a rousing morning and lots of new ideas about the IA of tomorrow. The positive feedback we heard from exhibitors, members and attendees made all of our hard work worthwhile."
In the general session, IA recognized outstanding contributions to the industry and honored winners and runners-up of the New Product Contest for their innovative products from 2011. Annual awards were given to individuals and organizations for their efforts to advance irrigation practices, technologies and the industry overall. The winners of IA's Smart Irrigation Month Contest were commended for their integration of SIM messaging.
The New Product Contest, IA's annual recognition of the most innovative products released in the last 12 months, recognized first and second place innovations in four categories, including Agriculture. The Agriculture winner was Valmont Irrigation for their Valley Variable Rate Irrigation (VRI) with CropMetrics VRI Optimization. The runner-up was HIT Products Corporation for their Water Tool Sand Media Modular Filter.
IA presented its annual awards, which recognize individuals and organizations for their efforts to advance irrigation practices, technologies and the industry overall:
Industry Achievement Award (Agriculture) - George Sesser, Nelson Irrigation Corp. (Walla Walla, Wash.)
Industry Achievement Award (Turf/Landscape) - Rene Evelyn-Veere, Rain Bird Corporation (Tucson, Ariz.)
National Water & Energy Conservation Award - USDA - ARS Water Management Research Unit (Fort Collins, Colo.)
Person of the Year - Howard Wuertz, Sundance Farms (Coolidge, Ariz.)
Crawford Reid Memorial - Dr. Jack Keller, Keller-Bliesner Engineering, LLC (Logan, Utah)
Smart Irrigation Month
Smart Irrigation Month was created to help promote water-efficient irrigation products, practices and services. Last year, the Irrigation Association introduced a contest to encourage more members to get involved in the campaign and to recognize exemplary efforts.
The Smart Marketing Contest recognizes the best Smart Irrigation Month marketing ideas and campaigns in multiple categories. Winners were selected by a neutral panel of judges, based on messaging, quality and creativity.
This year's winners received their official awards and outlined their campaigns at the 2011 Irrigation Show's Smart Irrigation Month Briefing. They were recognized in the general session:
Agriculture: Reinke Manufacturing (Deshler, Neb.)
Small Business: Rainscapes (Maryville, Tenn.)
Manufacturer: The Toro Company (Riverside, Calif.)
Distributor: Aqua-Flo Supply (Goleta, Calif.)
Affiliate: Atascadero Mutual Water Company (Atascadero, Calif.)
Contractor: Del Conte's Landscaping (Fremont, Calif.)
Board of Directors
The General Session introduced IA's 2011-2012 Board of Directors, who officially took office immediately following the show:
President Phil Burkart, The Toro Company
President-elect Bob Dobson, Middletown Sprinkler, Co.
Vice President Warren Thoma, Warren Thoma and Associates
Treasurer John Vikupitz, Netafim USA
Past President Mark Huntley, John Deere Water
Board members include James Barrett of James Barrett Associates, Inc., Tom Childers of John Deere Landscapes, Warren Gorowitz of Ewing Irrigation Products, Gregory Hunter of Hunter Industries, Dan Keppen of Family Farm Alliance, Todd Magatagan of Around the Grounds, Robert Meaney of Valmont Industries, Aric Olson of Jain Irrigation, Inc., Jay Robbins of Irrigation-Mart, Inc., and Diane Toth of Aqua-Lawn, Inc.
Desi Williamson, motivational speaker, author and entrepreneur, led the general session as master of ceremonies. Alan Beaulieu of the Institute for Trend Research delivered the keynote speech on emerging economic trends and opportunities in the irrigation industry.
The 2012 Irrigation Show will be held Nov. 4-5 in Orlando, Fla. Look for updates at www.irrigationshow.org.