Monthly Archives: July 2015

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Bayer names key account manager

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – Environmental Science, a division of Bayer CropScience LP, announced the appointment of Mike Dzurenko as the newest key account manager for the North American turf and ornamentals (T&O) business. In his new role, key account manager for the Lawn & Landscape division at Bayer, Dzurenko is responsible for developing and building relationships with national accounts in the lawncare and landscape industry. 

 
“Bayer is fully dedicated to meeting the evolving needs of its customers,” said Jose Milan, head of Bayer’s T&O business. “With more than 30 years of experience in the lawncare business, Mike is deeply knowledgeable and highly skilled in building the key partnerships that will drive Bayer and its customers toward continued and future success. We are thrilled to welcome him into the turf and ornamentals division.”
 
Dzurenko most recently served as director of strategic parternships at U.S. Lawns in Orlando, Fla., where he managed innovative solutions for business development, strategic selling to national accounts, process improvement and customer service operations. Prior to U.S. Lawns, Dzurenko worked with TruGreen Companies out of Atlanta, Ga., where he led major account business development for TruGreen Landcare and was responsible for prospecting and developing multi-property and national account sales for its landscape division nationwide. 
 
“Bayer is a professional organization and a great company from both a product and a relationships perspective,” Dzurenko said. “I’m looking forward to getting out into the field, meeting customers and developing multi-tiered relationships with customers ranging from headquarters to local sales teams.” 
 
Dzurenko has a diverse educational background with professional experience in advanced sales training, professional selling, selling to federal government, relationship selling, Six Sigma, CRM (customer relationship management), sales management leadership as well as interviewing, recruitment and selection. He completed undergraduate courses at Youngstown State University. 
 
For more information on Bayer solutions for green industry professionals, visit www.BackedByBayer.com

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JCB recognizes technicians

SAVANNAH, Ga. – JCB has recently introduced the ‘Master Technician’ program to all dealerships in the North American network. The Master Technician program is designed to continue to build the skills of JCB Service Technicians and recognize technicians that are at the top of their class.

 
To be considered for the program, service personnel must be nominated by their dealership and pass an entry exam. Once those qualifications have been met, participants must pass a series of training programs and hands on skill challenges at 100 percent, as well as all distance learning classes, JCB systems efficiency testing, Core Product Component Testing and other service based tests to earn the designation of Master Technician.
 
Rick Papalia, senior vice president of corporate operations for Northland JCB states, “We feel it is very important for any technician to understand all training opportunities that are available, and how they can continue to learn and grow with the company and advance their career. Not only does it provide an opportunity to expand their understanding of the product, but it helps them to keep up with rapidly changing technology, some of which can be quite advanced. The Master Tech Program training structure will also result in the highest levels of service people possible. Most importantly, it will give our service technicians a means to recognize their accomplishments.”
 
All those who successfully complete the Master Technician Program earn the special Master Technician designation. They then compete annually in a competition where the best performing Master Technician in each of JCB’s 12 regions earns a special “Master Technician Ring” to acknowledge their expertise.
 
“Service technicians are often the unsung heroes of a dealership, yet they are vital to its success and support of the JCB brand, that’s why we are proud to introduce this prestigious program to honor those technicians who represent the best of the best in our North American dealer network”, says Chris Giorgianni, JCB vice president of product support and government & defense.
 
The 12 Regional Master Technician competition winners will compete annually in a National Master Technician contest where the champion will win an all-expense paid trip to JCB’s global headquarters in the United Kingdom.
 
To learn more about JCB visit www.jcbna.com.

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Extreme choices

DT: Autumn Sage

Salvia greggii is one of the most reliable and easy-to-grow drought-tolerant perennials. There are many varieties of the species available and bloom colors range from pure white to pink, to coral, to deep red. As plants become semi-woody, they are often used as small shrubs in warm climates. Plants can grow approximately 3 feet tall and spread to 5 feet wide. Autumn sage begins blooming in early spring and continues until a hard frost. There are also many S. greggii hybrids with S. microphylla and other species, which are referred to as “Salvia greggii types.” Plant in a sunny location with well-draining soil. Hardiness zone varies by varieties and typically ranges from Zone 5-10.

DT: Sedum

As a group, Sedums can be relied upon to be sturdy performers in hot and dry landscapes. These hardy succulents are available in assorted sizes, shapes and foliage colors. ‘Blue Spruce’ is a variety particularly good for use as a low-maintenance groundcover along sidewalks, driveways, retaining walls and containers. This variety offers up a unique silvery-blue foliage color. Plants require a full sun location with well-draining soil. Once established, plants require little supplemental water and are highly tolerant of reflected heat. There are sedum varieties available for just about every hardiness zone.

 

DT: Mexican Feather Grass

Nassella tenuissima, commonly referred to as Mexican feather grass, is a species of grass native in the U.S. only to West Texas and New Mexico. Unlike many other ornamental grasses, this species is compact in size, growing to only 30 inches tall in bloom, in clumps 1 to 2 feet wide. Foliage is threadlike and adds a soft texture to the landscape. The spring and summer inflorescence have a feathery appearance. Plants require a sunny location and well-draining soil, and do not tolerate any excess soil moisture. They are also excellent in containers and cold hardy to USDA Zone 6.

 

DT: Rosemary

Known as one of the most popular culinary herbs, rosemary also performs as a lush, evergreen landscape shrub or cascading trailer. Plants are drought-hardy once established and very tolerant of intense reflected heat. Can be used in very low-maintenance plantings without supplemental irrigation. Plants bloom sporadically throughout the growing season, but timing will depend on climate. There are many varieties of rosemary available; some grow upright to 6 feet tall, while prostrate varieties will trail over retaining walls and containers. Some varieties are cold hardy to USDA Zone 6, while others are more suited to Zone 8 or higher. Provide a sunny location with well-draining soil.

 

DT: Bearded Iris

This stunningly beautiful “bulb” also happens to be one of the most reliable drought-tolerant garden plants. The large rhizomes produced by bearded iris plants allow them to not only survive, but thrive under extended periods of drought. Once established, bearded iris do not require supplemental water. However, a bit of supplemental water now and then will result in more flowers. Bearded iris are available in a seemingly unending array of colors, shapes and sizes. There are iris varieties suited for any climate in the U.S. Some perform better in southern soils, while others are more tolerant to cold northern temperatures. Rhizomes should be planted shallowly in loose, well-draining soil in a sunny location. They are hardy to Zones 3-10 in drier parts of the country, 3-8 in wetter parts.

 

WF: Gooseneck Loosestrife

As with many plants well-suited to a rain garden, Gooseneck Loosestrife, Lysimachia clethroides, can be an aggressive spreader depending on your location. However, if you have room to spare, they make quite an impressive display. Their long racemes of small white flowers curve as they mature, creating a gooseneck-like appearance. Plants establish easily in a rain garden and perform best in moist to wet soils. They don’t tolerate extreme heat or soils that stay dry for extended periods. In cooler climates plants perform well in full sun locations, while they’ll prefer some afternoon shade in southern regions. Each plant creates a clump about 3 feet wide and can be used in mass plantings or mixed borders. Cold hardiness ranges from USDA Zones 3-8.

 

WF: Yellow Flag

Unlike bearded iris, Iris Pseudacorus is a water-lover. Yellow flag is used to clean waterways as it absorbs heavy metals. Plants can spread aggressively, creating dense clumps of foliage. However, when planted in rain gardens that periodically dry out, their spread will be slowed. Plants produce bright yellow blooms in spring or summer atop sword-like foliage. Plants can tolerate very acidic soils but are also adapted to soil with a high pH. While plants bloom heavier in sunny locations, they will also bloom in shadier locations. Yellow flag can be grown in a variety of conditions throughout USDA Zones 3-9.

 

WF: Maiden Grass

Some plants have the ability to perform double duty in the landscape by tolerating both drought and wet conditions. Maiden grass, a species in the genus Miscanthus, have that ability. This makes them perfect for use in rain gardens that may experience big swings from very wet to very dry and back again. There are many varieties available that offer up different foliage types, colors and plant sizes. Some varieties of maiden grass, such as ‘Cosmopolitan’ can grow up to 10 feet tall while dwarf varieties such as ‘Adagio’ top out at 3 feet tall. There’s a maiden grass for almost any type or size of landscape space. Plants perform best in a sunny location, but can tolerate some shade. Maiden grasses are typically cold hardy to USDA Zone 4 and are grown through Zone 9.

 

WF: Calla Lily

While not true lilies, Zantedeschia spp., are very elegant flowers for the spring and summer garden. Plants grow from tubers that are best planted bareroot in the fall. Container specimens can be planted any time in the growing season. Once mature, each tuber will produce a plant that offers up 10-30 flowers. The classic white calla lily is Zantedeschia aethiopica, but there are other species and cultivars in a variety of colors. Callas grow best in consistently moist soils with a sun to part shade exposure. Afternoon shade is recommended in very hot climates. Calla lilies are best suited to warmer climates and are marginally cold hardy to USDA Zone 7.

 

WF: Spiderwort

Spiderwort will brighten up shady spots in rain gardens and along streams and ponds. If there is soggy soil, this plant is bound to thrive. Tradescantia spp. grow in spreading clumps that can spread and seed quickly given the right environment. Choose sterile hybrids for smaller areas or if spreading is a concern. Plants grow to about 2 feet in height. The unique flowers appear in intense shades of purple, violet, pink and even white. Individual blooms last only a day, but are continually replaced by new flowers from spring through summer. Spiderworts are cold hardy to USDA Zone 4 and grown through Zone 9.

 

Don’t forget about turf

While many homeowners are looking to replace lawn areas with drought-tolerant plants or rain gardens, lawns still offer important benefits to the urban dweller and ecosystem. For areas that need to support regular foot traffic and playtime for kids and pets, turfgrass is still a good solution. Lawns can be made more sustainable if the right variety is selected and a proper maintenance regimen is established.

According to Jack Karlin, program director for the Turfgrass Water Conservation Alliance, water-efficient turfgrasses use 30 percent less water than conventional varieties and provide a whole suite of ecological benefits. Dense fibrous root systems nearly double water infiltration rates while high plant density is excellent at securing and protecting topsoil. Turf also sequesters carbon into the soil and produces oxygen at a tremendous rate.

Turf also lowers the ambient temperature of an urban area, helping to mitigate the urban heat island effect, Karlin says.

“Beyond ecological services, turf has been correlated to increased mental and physical wellbeing, especially in children, and provides an affordable, attractive groundcover that enhances any landscape,” he says.

 

USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map
The USDA hardiness zone map is the standard by which landscapers can determine which plants will thrive in different locations across the country. The map is based on the average annual minimum winter temperature, divided into 10-degree F zones. Download one at bit.ly/LLusdamap.


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Bandit Industries awarded contract

ISABELLA COUNTY, Mich. — Bandit Industries is pleased to announce it was awarded an additional contract from the National Joint Powers Alliance (NJPA) contract for Medium Duty and Compact Construction and Maintenance Equipment with Related Attachments, Accessories and Supplies. (Contract No. 042515-BAN).

 
This was awarded in addition to Bandit’s existing NJPA contract for Landscape and Grounds Maintenance (Contract No. 031014-BAN).
 
“Bandit’s previous Landscaping and Grounds Maintenance contract with NJPA is a great tool for some of our customers to cut through red tape and buy the machines they need when they need them,” said Bandit Sales Manager Jason Morey. “This latest contract for Medium Duty and Compact Construction Equipment with Related Attachments, Accessories and Supplies will, without a doubt, expand the number of municipalities that can take advantage of the benefits of purchasing Bandit equipment through NJPA.” 
 
This additional contract gives potential municipal customers an added incentive to purchase Bandit equipment. Buying through NJPA lets them avoid the lengthy and costly request for proposal process, so they can get right to buying the equipment they need. 

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Campaign offers tree-saving tips

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The Davey Tree Expert Company has partnered with California ReLeaf, Save Our Water and a coalition of urban forest and other concerned organizations to raise awareness on the importance of proper tree care during this historic drought. Save Our Water is California’s official statewide conservation education program. California ReLeaf is a statewide urban forest nonprofit providing support and services to over 90 community nonprofits that plant and care for trees.

 
With potentially millions of urban trees at risk, this campaign focuses on a simple yet urgent message: Save Our Water and Our Trees! The Save Our Water and Our Trees partnership is highlighting tips for both residents and agencies on how to water and care for trees so that they not only survive the drought, but thrive to provide shade, beauty and habitat, clean the air and water, and make our cities and towns healthier and more livable for decades to come.
 
“While Californians cut back on water use during the drought, it is critical to community health to save our lawn trees by setting up alternative watering systems once you turn off the regular sprinklers,” said Cindy Blain, executive director of California ReLeaf.
 
Lawn trees can and must be saved during the drought. Here’s what you can do:
 
• Deeply and slowly water mature trees one to two times per month with a simple soaker hose or drip system toward the edge of the tree canopy – not at the base of the tree. Use a Hose Faucet Timer (found at hardware stores) to prevent overwatering.
• Young trees need 5 gallons of water two to four times per week. Create a small watering basin with a berm of dirt.
• Shower with a bucket and use that water for your trees as long as it is free of non-biodegradable soaps or shampoos.
• Do not over-prune trees during drought. Too much pruning and drought both stress your trees.
• Mulch, Mulch, Mulch! Four to six inches of mulch helps retain moisture, reducing water needs and protecting your trees.
 
Trees in irrigated landscapes become dependent on regular watering and when watering is reduced – and especially when it’s stopped completely – trees will die. Tree loss is a very costly problem: not only in expensive tree removal, but in the loss of all the benefits trees provide: cooling and cleaning the air and water, shading homes, walkways and recreation areas as well as human health impacts.
 
“This summer it is vital that Californians limit outdoor water use while preserving trees and other important landscaping,” said Jennifer Persike, deputy executive director of external affairs and operations, Association of California Water Agencies. “Save Our Water is urging Californians to Let It Go – GOLD this summer, but don’t forget to keep your trees healthy.” 
 
Save Our Water has been urging Californians to “Let It Go” this summer by limiting outdoor water use and letting lawns fade to gold, while preserving precious water resources for trees and other important landscapes.
 
Save Our Water’s website is available in both English and Spanish and is filled with tips, tools, and inspiration to help every Californian find new and creative ways to conserve. From tips on how to keep trees healthy during the drought to an interactive section allowing users to visually explore how they can save water both inside and outside the home, Save Our Water has a wealth of resources available for Californians.

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Kawasaki partners with NHLA

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Engines Division of Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. has joined in a partnership with the National Hispanic Landscape Alliance (NHLA), becoming one of the organization’s Supporting Members and helping it to facilitate and promote the advancement of Hispanic-Americans as landscape industry professionals and leaders.

 
“Kawasaki is proud to join forces with the NHLA as it broadens efforts to reach out and deliver substantive tools that will ultimately improve the contributions made by members of our industry,” said Rodger Howe, vice president.
 
NHLA has developed plans and activities that inform, encourage, empower and support its members so that they can become successful professionals, better-engaged leaders and more effective industry advocates. The organization is also involved in ongoing dialogue with elected officials and policy-makers whose decisions affect the landscape industry and the livelihood of landscape company owners and their employees.
 
“The objectives of the organization match the goals of  most industry professionals and Kawasaki looks forward to cooperating with NHLA and its membership in the furtherance of those objectives,” said Howe.
 
Ralph Egües, executive director of the NHLA said, “We are delighted to welcome Kawasaki as a member of our fast growing association. Kawasaki’s values and emphasis on diversity align perfectly with the empowering work of the NHLA. We look forward to working closely with Kawasaki to increase outreach, programming, and member-to-member engagement, thus helping current and future members realize even greater success.” 

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NALP extends deadline

HERNDON, Va. – The National Association of Landscape Professionals (formerly PLANET), has announced that the deadline for entries for its 2015 Awards of Excellence is being extended through August 10, and this year’s newly launched online portal makes it much easier, faster and more efficient when applying for your award-winning project.  

 
The Awards of Excellence program is the largest awards program in the industry, showcasing projects that exemplify professionalism in landscape design/build, installation and contracting, landscape management, lawn care and interior maintenance as well as erosion control and ecological restoration, special events and interior plantings.
 
“Winning an award is a great marketing tool for companies and it helps demonstrate the professionalism in the industry, so we encourage every company to show off their best work through the award process,” said Sabeena Hickman, CAE, CEO of NALP. "It is not just the big companies that win awards, many small companies win awards for their work and are able to share that with current and future customers."
 
For information about applying for this year’s Awards of Excellence, click here, email Pamela Moore at awards@landscapeprofessionals.org or call the NALP office at 800-395-2522.
 
The awards will be presented in person at the awards dinner, Thursday, Oct. 22, during the annual education convention, LANDSCAPES 2015 (formerly the Green Industry Conference) in Louisville, Ky.

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Fiat Chrysler to recall trucks

At the insistence of federal regulators, Fiat Chrysler is recalling about 843,000 pickup trucks because slamming the door too hard could set off the airbag meant to provide head protection in a side-impact crash, according to a report by the automaker posted Saturday on the regulator’s website.

 
The recall includes about 667,000 vehicles in the United States and covers the Ram 1500, 2500 and 3500 from the 2013-15 model years. In addition to the United States vehicles, about 153,000 are being recalled in Canada, 8,300 in Mexico and 15,000 outside North America, a spokesman for Chrysler, Eric Mayne, said in an email.
 
For the full story, on nytimes.com, click here.

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Outside in

Part design, part horticulture and all customer service, interiorscaping is taking off as the idea of incorporating natural elements into interior design gains popularity. Architects and interior designers are starting to include some green in their designs, and interiorscape companies are diversifying, branching into furniture, art and more.

In Irvine, Calif., Julie Farrow has been installing indoor plants for more than 30 years, working with designers and architects to raise awareness of the benefits of adding plantings. And now designers are putting green space in their plans.

“We’re being specified where we weren’t before,” says the president and founder of Plantscapers. “We give them the tools to actually put in living walls in their CAD designs and we speak to them a lot. It’s a really hot topic right now. People are actually starting to listen.”

For Plantscapers, working with the designers is crucial to a great product. Not only does the endorsement of the architect help sell the client on planters or green walls, but knowing the design helps Farrow’s team complement the office environment.

“There’s nothing worse than having a design that’s very traditional and then you go in there and you disregard it and put in chrome pots,” Farrow says. “You really have to be respectful of what they’re doing.”

At Hoffman Design Group in Folcroft, Pa., the team does it all, from furniture to artwork to outdoor planters and window boxes to weddings and holidays displays for nearly 400 clients in an 85-mile radius of Philadelphia. The company has been doing so well that it moved to a larger, 50,000-square foot facility in June.

The goal is to create a happy and healthy environment to improve people’s well-being. “A company that is going to succeed now in this day and age needs to be more focused on plants and their effects on the office as well as how they relate to the interior design of the office,” says Bryan Hoffman, founder and owner of Hoffman Design Group. “Plants by themselves – anyone can do that. You really need to be able to figure out a way to provide a whole environment for the people in the office.”

 

Stay on your toes

Trends move much faster inside than they do outside, says Julie Farrow, founder and president of Plantscapers in Irvine, Calif. Customers want more than just the standard pots and planters, so interiorscapers need to keep up to date with the latest design trends to keep their customers happy.

Plantscapers is always expanding its design horizons, using cutting-edge elements like preserved grasses, replica equisetum, character plants, unique pottery and contemporary lines of squares. Cool tones and steel elements like gunmetal pottery are big in California right now, so Farrow incorporates them into her work.

“We’re really paying attention to what the architect and design movement is right now and if we can keep on that and complement that, I think we’re going to do really exciting things,” she says.

Bryan Hoffman, founder and owner of Hoffman Design Group in Folcroft, Pa., keeps his customers intrigued by surprising them with elements like pop-up gardens and found object planters. From parking lot gardens to temporary displays, the company is always trying to keep clients guessing.

“We’re looking at these ways that we can incorporate changes into the accounts and surprises because the whole idea of surprising people and capturing people’s attention is a big trend right now,” Hoffman says.

Inspiring creativity and interrupting routines in surprising ways is Hoffman’s goal, and he says that’s what sets his company apart. Hoffman gets his inspiration from some of the latest movements in street art like seed bombing where someone will throw a handful of seeds into an open lot and see what grows.

Hoffman Design Group is always trying to find new ways to display plants beyond the green wall and green roof, looking at ways to combine art and horticulture in ways no one has seen before. Capitalizing on the popularity of biophilia (the idea that there is an instinctive bond between human beings and other living systems), Hoffman and his group create a natural office environment.

“Why would people want to use us if we didn’t have the newest, latest innovations to share with them?” he asks. “They could just go to Home Depot and buy some pots and plants and do it themselves.”

 

Strictly business.

Plantscapers and Hoffman Design Group both service mostly corporate clients like hotels, retail centers, offices and other public spaces, with Hoffman’s clientele 100 percent commercial, and Farrow’s 80 percent commercial and 20 percent high-end residential.

Both companies employ 18 fulltime workers, and Hoffman also has 30 to 40 seasonal employees. While Plantscapers is all interior, Hoffman’s landscape services make up about 45 percent of the company’s total revenue. That includes interiorscapes and outdoor planters. The rest comes from displays and design.

Plantscapers’ goal for net gross profit is 55 percent with a 2014 revenue of $2 million.

Each department at Hoffman Design Group has its own goals with an overall ideal of 15 percent profit margin.

Last year, the interiorscape department had a goal of 45 percent net profit and exceeded it by 2 percent.

“Interior landscapes has a lot of reoccurring revenue so it’s easier to predict what revenue is going to be coming in every month and as long as the routes are managed efficiently and there’s not a lot of turnover, things can move along nicely according to plan without too many surprises,” Hoffman says.

Both Hoffman and Farrow got into the industry for their love of plants, but stress that it’s a business, not a hobby. Since interior landscaping is a luxury service, she stresses that it’s important to be a perfectionist and a professional at all times. And if you don’t know how to do something, find someone who does.

“Hire people to do the things that you don’t do,” Farrow says. “So if you’re not good at accounting; if you’re not good at business, then hire people who can help you with those things because you can’t be great at everything.”


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Kawasaki enhances dealer services

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Engines Division of Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. is enhancing its existing dealer services capability with the formation and staffing of remote Field Service Advisor offices in four regional centers. The offices will be located in Atlanta, Ga.; Fort Worth, Tex.; Eatontown, N.J. and at the division’s Grand Rapids, Mich. headquarters facility.

 
The new Field Service Advisor Program, intended to facilitate closer contact between the company’s highly-trained technical personnel and dealers selling and servicing Kawasaki’s advanced line of engines, is effective immediately.
 
Each location will be staffed by two field service advisors responsible for pro-active dealership visits, phone-based technical services, warranty review and questions, dealer training and in-person technical assistance as needed.  
 
This program will complement the existing technical services team based in Grand Rapids, and will work closely with that group to assure the most complete and quickest flow of information and support to the dealerships.
Tom Moskwa, senior manager, engineering and technical services, said “This marks another of our continuing efforts to build on the relationships that exist with our dealer partners and offer a level of service that meets as many of their needs as possible.”
 
With four specialized offices supporting the company’s dealers, specific teams will have direct responsibility for dealers in selected states.
 
Atlanta will provide coverage for Alabama, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee.
 
Eatontown’s coverage area includes Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, West Virginia, Virginia, Delaware and New Jersey.
 
States covered from the Grand Rapids office include Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, California, Alaska and Hawaii.
 
Fort Worth will be responsible for dealerships in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico.

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