Crews Mobilize Across the Country in Response to Rare Washington Snow Event

Crews Mobilize Across the Country in Response to Rare Washington Snow Event BrightView crews across the country aid Washington state teammates and clients
BrightView teams across the country go to great lengths to help.
BrightView teams across the country go to great lengths to help after unexpected snow storm.

Residents of Washington state hoping for a white Christmas had their wish granted this year when a strong cold snap moved in from the Alaska Panhandle. But what many weren’t bargaining for was the logistical difficulties it would deliver. In response to what the National Weather Service called “a rare event,” BrightView teams across the country launched a remarkable effort to aid their Washington state teammates and clients.

Ordinarily, the region wouldn’t expect to see significant snow until February. In fact, forecasters initially thought the storm would be too warm to produce snow. Friday afternoon, Christmas Eve, the season’s coldest air yet began descending upon the region. By Christmas Day, heavy snow was falling.

Our local crews deployed that evening, working shifts through the night and all day on December 26. Meanwhile, forecasts and Department of Transportation cameras began to show conditions would soon worsen. The crew needed reinforcements and fast. Many crewmembers were out of town for the holidays and travel logistics complicated the matter. Flight availability was already constrained due to holiday travel and now flights were being canceled due to the weather; others due to airline staffing shortages caused by COVID.

Across the country, the call for help went out to BrightView crew members. Many couldn’t leave their own states due to forecasted snowfall there. Within hours we had enough volunteers from California and Ohio but then the next challenge in finding flights to get them there in time. 

Vice President and General Manager Matt Bevill—who often says, “There’s no title in snow removal. We all have to do what’s needed to get things done”— became travel agent along with Dusty Stewart, Director of Operations - Ohio. With a lot searching and creativity they were able to get all ten volunteers to Washington state. By Wednesday morning, the three Northern California and seven Columbus, Ohio crewmembers were on the ground. It began snowing again that night.

By Friday night, each of the volunteers put in an average of 35 hours of work. Many people came off their planned holiday PTO to help out, not just shoveling snow but helping with logistics, training and supplies. Their selfless act and tireless work demonstrate our team’s commitment to fulfill snow contracts and keep the community safe. 

At BrightView, we often talk about the importance of taking pride in our work and taking care of our clients and each other. This is just one shining example of the lengths to which we go to make this happen. We’d like to offer a special thanks to the crew members in the Puyallup branch, Northern California, and Ohio, who came to the rescue of our Washington clients, and all our crewmembers across the country who go the extra mile to embody this creed. 

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Ronald McDonald House Reopens with New Landscaping

Ronald McDonald House Reopens with New Landscaping Courtesy of BrightView Northern Virginia location welcomes families back following COVID-19 shutdown
Ronald McDonald House Reopens with New Landscaping Courtesy of BrightView
The surrounding landscape of the Ronald McDonald House includes the entryway filled with shrubs and cheerful planters

After COVID forced them to close for the health and safety of the families they serve, Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Greater Washington, DC recently reopened the doors of their Ronald McDonald House of Northern Virginia to families in need. Used most often by Inova Fairfax Children’s Hospital patients and families, RMHC put the time off to good effect, completely remodeling and expanding the “home-away-from-home” and surrounding landscaping. Now, eight months later, the House has reopened its doors and is celebrating its new look, which includes new landscaping provided by BrightView.

The community celebrated the reopening September 9 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Attendees included local dignitaries, families that have benefitted from the facility, and partner organizations that contributed to the remodel.

“The ribbon-cutting event was the cherry on top of this amazing project and the perfect end to this heartwarming experience,” said Hailee Elza, BrightView Account Manager, Mid-Atlantic. “BrightView is grateful to be a part of this special opportunity.”

The surrounding landscape shined during the ceremony, thanks to a collaboration between Capital One Center, Jones Lang LaSalle, and BrightView. The lush landscaping includes a welcoming entryway filled with shrubs and cheerful planters. The open lawn area is now surrounded by holly bushes, crimson pygmy barberry plants, morning light miscanthus, and lush variegated liriope. Visiting families are encouraged to enjoy the calming courtyard during their stay, which also includes a new patio, playground and picnic area.

“When we learned that the Ronald McDonald House of Northern Virginia had plans to reopen, Capital One Center wanted to dream big with our amazing partners Jones Lang LaSalle and BrightView and collectively beautify this home away from home,” said Meghan Trossen, Manager, Capital One Center Marketing and Community Affairs. “BrightView's landscaping expertise enabled a true transformation, and we couldn't be more proud about the passion behind this project and opportunity to support the important mission of Ronald McDonald House Charities® and local families in need.”

This impressive renovation project began in 2020 when Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Greater Washington, DC (RMHCDC) sought to increase the number of families their programs can serve. Their Northern Virginia House tripled in size with 24 total bedrooms, a new family room, pantry, laundry room, and playroom.

“Our Ronald McDonald House programs are built on the simple idea that nothing else should matter when your child is sick,” said Sarah Quillen, Vice President of Development & Marketing for RMHCDC. “We rely on the support of community partners like BrightView to help us ensure that families have all the comforts of home while they are with us. BrightView’s expert crew went a step further and provided landscaping, tree removal, and planted flowers to give our house the beautiful grandness befitting our grand reopening and ribbon cutting.”

The mission of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Washington, DC is to ease the hardship of children’s illness on families through programs that directly impact the health and wellbeing of children. Located directly on the campus of Inova Fairfax Hospital, the Northern Virginia House has been serving families in need since 1998.

“Any joy that we can provide to the families caring for their children during this overwhelming time in their lives gives all of us great pride,” said James Newton, BrightView Branch Manager, Mid-Atlantic. “It is an honor for BrightView to be able to give back to both Inova Fairfax Hospital and the Ronald McDonald House of Northern Virginia.”

The landscape of the Ronald McDonald House includes the entryway filled with lush shrubs

Island Harvest Food Bank Thrives with Help from BrightView, SiteOne, and Rain Bird

Island Harvest Food Bank Thrives with Help from BrightView, SiteOne, and Rain Bird Island Harvest Food Bank receives irrigation donation to reinvigorate farm

Food banks are at critically low levels due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic. With the increased demand for food to help communities in need, BrightView recently stepped up with a donation to Island Harvest Food Bank based in Melville, N.Y.

BrightView Landscapes, SiteOne, and Rain Bird donate drip irrigation system
BrightView, Rain Bird, and SiteOne teamed up to provide a much-needed drip irrigation system to Island Harvest Food Bank.

Island Harvest Food Bank was founded in 1992 and in 2018 established a two-acre farm located on the 212-acre campus of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Brentwood, N.Y. to provide its clients with healthy, locally grown produce. Unfortunately, the food bank had to suspend operations last year at their farm to address the increased demand for people in need of supplemental food support due to the pandemic. 

Island Harvest Food Bank proudly re-opened its 2-acre farm in 2021, but the crops suffered due to a lack of irrigation. BrightView learned of the farm’s struggles and offered to help.

“Once I heard that The Island Harvest Food Bank wasn’t able to properly start up again after the shutdown last year, I reached out to our connections, who graciously stepped up to donate everything surrounding this state-of-the-art irrigation system, which will continue giving for years to come,” said Michael Jones, BrightView Business Developer, Northeast. “Since I grew up on Long Island, being able to give back to my community makes this project even more meaningful to me.”

Rain Bird, a global supplier of irrigation products for homes, farms, golf courses, sports arenas, and commercial developments and SiteOne Landscape Supply, the nation’s largest supplier of wholesale goods for green industry professionals, were also made aware of Island Harvest Food Bank's need for irrigation. They also graciously stepped in to assist.

“At SiteOne, one of our core values is being a good neighbor in our communities, so when BrightView came to us and showed us the passion surrounding Island Harvest Food Bank, we were compelled to design a state-of-the-art irrigation system that would suit this important community project,” said Steve Schepers, SiteOne National Account Manager. “What came together was a coordinated relay race with BrightView, SiteOne, and Rain Bird and ended with our local team donating their time to install and train staff and volunteers at the farm how to best utilize this system well into the future.”

The trio came together and decided that drip irrigation was the most efficient way to irrigate crops on the busy Long Island farm. This system allows water to drip slowly to the roots of plants instead of the leaves, minimizing evaporation and preventing disease and pests.

“This fantastic partnership opportunity for all three organizations was strengthened thanks to the shared interest in local community education on intelligent used of water,” said Donn Mann, Rain Bird Regional Manager, Specification. “Despite inventory issues, we were able to utilize our irrigation system of products to deliver an efficient use of water through drip irrigation at the farm for Island Harvest Food Bank, which will aid in producing bountiful crops for years to come.”

Island Harvest Food Bank is a member of Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger-relief organization, with a four-star rating from Charity Navigator. They distribute fresh produce, meat, and non-perishables throughout Long Island and assist thousands of Long Islanders daily through their innovative programming and network of community partners.

“BrightView, SiteOne, and Rain Bird’s generosity ensure that our Healthy Harvest Farm will help produce more nutritious, locally grown fruits and vegetables to benefit our neighbors struggling with food insecurity,” said Randi Shubin Dresner, president & CEO of Island Harvest Food Bank. “It’s through these cooperative partnerships that we can solve some of society’s most pressing issues, such as hunger and food insecurity, and we’re grateful for their assistance.”

Besides irrigation, BrightView also provided more than 200 yards of compost to the farm and the mainline irrigation parts.

“When Michael approached me about this important project, we were happy to find a way to get BrightView and our partners involved,” said Ray Nobile, BrightView Senior Vice President and General Manager, Northeast. “BrightView strives to take care of our communities, so to be able to come together to help a local food bank is a sense of pride for myself and our team.”

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Selfless BrightView Team Member Praised for Saving Teammates Life

Selfless BrightView Team Member Praised for Saving Teammates Life Team member saves life at The Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa
Kenneth York, BrightView Enhancement Manager, praised for saving teammates Llfe
Kenneth York, BrightView Enhancement Manager, praised for saving teammates life

Being in the right place at the right time can be the difference between life and death. In the case of Kenneth York, BrightView Enhancement Manager, being at the Rancho Valencia Resort at the right time helped him save his fellow teammates life.

The Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa, chosen by Forbes Travel Guide as one of the finest Five-Star hotels and spas in the world (2020), sits roughly 25 miles north of downtown San Diego. The stunning property is tucked away on 45 acres of Mediterranean-inspired gardens and olive groves. BrightView proudly maintains this beautiful resort.

On May 12, crews from BrightView were working to complete a large landscape renovation on the resort property. Terry Mahoney, Branch Manager, and York were holding a meeting on the property with Dan Whitman, Crew Leader, to discuss the next phase of this massive project. The team was alerted by fellow crew member, Juan Esparza, that someone from their team, Juan Charles, had fallen. After taking a closer look, the team noticed that Charles was not breathing and in full cardiac arrest. Without hesitation, York started CPR.

York continued performing CPR for more than 10 minutes while talking with 9-1-1 dispatchers.  Fire department medics arrived and provided emergency care.  

“Kenny is a valuable member to the BrightView team who confidently stepped in when his own crew member was in dire need of help,” said Terry Mahoney, Branch Manager, Southwest. “When speaking with the paramedics later that afternoon, they informed me that the only reason Charles is alive is due to Kenny’s quick reactions.”

Charles continues to make impressive steps in his recovery, thanks in part to Kenny’s help.

The Rancho Valencia Resort management staff praised BrightView and York for his reaction and composure during this frightening event. BrightView has honored Kenny with the “BrightView Life Saving Award” in recognition of his selfless and courageous act.

“If Kenny had not shown his bravery, quick actions, and knowledge of CPR, the story would have ended much differently,” said David Howell, Vice President/General Manager. “I am inspired by Kenny’s remarkable efforts and am proud to have him on our team.”

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Rancho Valencia Resort

BrightView Participates in Annual Camaraderie Classic Golf Tournament to Benefit Veterans

BrightView Participates in Annual Camaraderie Classic Golf Tournament to Benefit Veterans

Although BrightView has built a reputation for the quality of its golf course maintenance operations across the country, a few team members also show their skills on the golf course. Those skills were on display recently at the Army Navy Country Club in Arlington, VA where a BrightView team competed in the Camaraderie Classic golf tournament, hosted by Homes for Our Troops (HFOT) and the Army Distaff Foundation.

BrightView team members Ryan Smith, Regional Sales Leader, Mid-Atlantic, and Jason Mullins, Business Developer, Senior, Mid-Atlantic, participated in the annual event June 14. The event helps raise funding and awareness for HFOT. HFOT provides specially adapted custom homes to severely injured post-9/11 veterans so they can focus on their family, recovery, and rebuilding their lives.

To make the event even more meaningful, each team was paired with a combat disabled veteran. “Even though it was Marine Corporal John Smith’s, first time golfing, that didn’t stop him from helping us make two impressive birdies,” Smith said. “Being able to listen to the stories from each veteran makes this day much more inspiring and important to BrightView.”

BrightView was a “Hero Level” sponsor of the event.

“The Camaraderie Classic is a wonderful opportunity to generate engagement with companies and organizations while raising awareness for our critical mission of Building Homes and Rebuilding Lives,” said Tom Landwermeyer, HFOT President and CEO. “We are grateful for BrightView’s support in this event for a second year in a row.”

HFOT is a publicly funded 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization with a mission to build and donate specially adapted custom homes nationwide for severely injured post-9/11 Veterans, to enable them to rebuild their lives.

The event is one of many ways BrightView gives back to the military community under the company’s Veteran support program. BRAVO, or BrightView Recognizing and Acknowledging Veteran Opportunities, was founded to invest in the mentorship and advancement of Veterans and foster their growth at BrightView as they look to settle into post-military careers. BRAVO is an employee-led internal advocacy program for Veterans or those closely tied to Veterans.

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BrightView Participates in Annual Camaraderie Classic Golf Tournament to Benefit Veterans

Team Member Jumps into Action to Rescue Woman in Medical Need

Team Member Jumps into Action to Rescue Woman in Medical Need

A BrightView team member in Sarasota, Fla. is being hailed as a hero after helping to save a women who was found lifeless in her car.

Located on Lido Key Beach, L’Elegance is a gated community of 100 units that boasts expansive views of the Gulf of Mexico, Sarasota Bay, and the City of Sarasota’s downtown skyline. BrightView proudly maintains this resort style facility.

While picking up fallen areca palm fronds from the community’s Har-tru tennis courts, BrightView’s John Pfolsgrof, noticed a car running with a woman slumped over the center console. Pfolsgrof attempted to wake the unconscious resident by loudly knocking on the car window. Getting no response, Pfolsgrof knew that he only had minutes to get help. He alerted a nearby security guard and asked him to call for assistance. After a few agonizing moments, the property manager was able to wake the woman, who slowly became stable.

“John’s act of bravery is extremely commendable and I am proud to have this hero on our team,” said Brad Perez, BrightView Senior Account Manager. “The community at L’Elegance on Lido Beach has personally reached out to us to extend their deepest gratitude for stepping up in this scary situation.”

The woman is now on the mend and Pfolsgrof is being praised by L’Elegance on Lido Key for saving her life.

“Not everyone would get involved in a situation like this, but John took the time to care for someone in need,” said Kathi S. Jones, Argus Property Management, L’Elegance on Lido Beach Manager. “We value John and all our BrightView team members.”

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BrightView Team member saves life

Groundbreaking Women in Male-Dominated Fields Continue to Soar

Groundbreaking Women in Male-Dominated Fields Continue to Soar

Women continue to prove that the construction industry isn’t just for men. This untraditional career choice for women was evident at the Second-Annual Groundbreaking Women in Construction (GWIC) Virtual Conference hosted by trade publication ENR. GWIC took place May 4-6, 2021 with more than 1,100 virtual attendees. The event served as a catalyst to help women expand their presence, influence, and career success in the construction industry.

The group of trailblazing women from around the country enjoyed a multi-day virtual event packed with educational sessions and networking opportunities.

“During this event, it was inspiring to hear how the market is empowering women from different backgrounds to grow in the construction industry,” said Nadine Letourneau, Project Engineer, BrightView Landscape Development. “The discussions around the importance of mentorships hit home especially for BrightView and our industry-leading GROW team member resource group.”

BrightView is committed to diversity and is investing in initiatives that provide equal opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity. BrightView founded GROW with the mission to attract, retain, and promote women at BrightView. GROW is an employee-led resource group that provides professional development, mentorship, networking and community service programs for the women of BrightView. Since its inception, more than 800 women have participated in GROW programs, from regional events and webinars, to networking opportunities.

Over three days, GWIC conference attendees participated in sessions that discussed how women industry leaders are managing for growth and success, building an inclusive workplace, changing work dynamics, and young women of color in construction.   The theme of the event was “Reboot · Reconnect · Reimagine.”

Although the construction and landscaping industries are historically dominated by men, the number of opportunities for women are increasing. With the growing importance of an inclusive working environment, many companies within the industry are making an effort to better support diversity and women in this field.

“The pandemic has particularly hit women hard, and now, more than ever, we need to support and nurture women in the industry,” said Patricia Justice, BrightView Human Resources Vice President.  “BrightView and GROW often align with the construction industry, so we hope to see inclusive events like this take place more often in the future.”

Groundbreaking Women in Male-Dominate Fields Continue to Soar

GROW: Growth in Relationships + Opportunities for Women

Students Dig into Garden Project Thanks to BrightView Donation

Students Dig into Garden Project Thanks to BrightView Donation

When the Blue Bell Elementary School, located just outside of Philadelphia, put out a call for soil to fill their nine new garden boxes, BrightView

BrightView volunteers help to place mulch in the flower beds
BrightView proudly places soil into the new beds at Blue Bell Elementary School

was happy to help. The BrightView Maintenance Services team from Exton, Pa. donated their services and material help move this community project forward.

Set along the school’s main pathway, this impressive garden is a focal point welcoming visitors and children to the school. The fenced in garden is home to nine framed garden boxes. The beds will generate healthy food and a lifelong lesson in caring for plants. Just outside the garden is a composter, shed, and a flower bed – all maintained by the Blue Bell Elementary Garden Club.

“We value giving back to the community and so when we learned that this local school was in need of soil for their garden project, we were happy to donate to fill the new beds,” said Dante DeMaria, BrightView Branch Manager. “Much like our involvement with the Boys & Girls Club of Philadelphia, being able to provide to the children of our local community means so much to me and the entire Exton branch.”

The BrightView team filled  two trucks with nutrient-rich soil and filled the boxes as grateful parents, teachers and students looked on.

The Blue Bell Elementary Garden is a volunteer organization run by parents of Blue Bell Elementary students. Established in 2016, the group’s mission is to educate children about growing fruits and vegetables in support of a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. More than 60 students  from kindergarten to fifth grade will get their hands dirty in the gardens. Plant care lessons range from composting to planting, growing, and harvesting seasonal vegetables, herbs, and fruits. The lessons are also focused on the benefits of eating healthy foods and teaching Blue Bell students to be environmentally friendly, encouraging them to reuse, recycle, and reduce waste. 

“Our students enjoy the Garden Club and learn about gardening, healthy eating, and our environment and we are grateful for BrightView’s help in contributing to these valuable lessons,” said Amy Jones, PA-C, dipACLM, Blue Bell Elementary School Garden Club Volunteer. “Thanks to Dante and his amazing team from Brightview, our students are now able to learn the value of gardens hopefully will aspire to join BrightView as future gardeners.”

Students Dig into Garden Project Thanks to BrightView Donation

Rose Hills COVID-19 Tree Memorial Unveiled

Rose Hills COVID-19 Tree Memorial Unveiled Honoring Those Lost Due to the Coronavirus

Like the rest of the U.S., Southern California continues to see lingering effects of the COVID 19 pandemic. To comfort families of those lost to

Whittier Community, Mayor & BrightView Unveil the Rose Hills COVID-19 Tree Memorial
BrightView and Rose Hills team members gathered to honor those lost due to COVID-19 at the new Rose Hills Memorial

coronavirus, the Rose Hills Memorial Park (Whittier, Calif.) worked together with BrightView to build a COVID-19 memorial. With more than 1,600 Rose Hills families directly affected by the illness, organizers felt a need to create space for the community to take comfort in knowing they are not alone.

On March 22 members of the Southern California community, the Mayor of Whittier, the Rose Hills team, along with BrightView Landscapes, came together to memorialize lives lost due to the coronavirus, unveiling the Rose Hills COVID-19 Tree Memorial.

The memorial offers a space for reflection and for the community to feel a connection to those who lost their lives to COVID.  The memorial is lined with white flags that serve as a symbolic purpose of representing a COVID 19 victim laid to rest at Rose Hills and the practical purpose of marking a path for visitors. Ten Crepe Myrtle trees, which were donated by Everde Nursery and BrightView, are set along the flag-lined pathway and represent the social distancing that has been one of the defining feature of worldwide response to the illness. Trees also symbolize new beginnings and growth.

“Having BrightView as a partner for many years at Rose Hills, we knew they would be the best fit to create an appropriate space for this memorial,” said Antoinette Lou, Director of Community Relations & Communications, Rose Hills Memorial Park & Mortuaries. “Remembrance trees at the memorial were discussed and BrightView helped to amplify the project with the idea of socially distancing the trees to represent the past year.”

The trees are a spot for families and visitors to hang weatherproof cards with messages to those lost. BrightView Landscapes donated their design, procurement, and landscaping services for the memorial.

Rose Hills Dedication to Team Members Passed Away Due to COVID-19
Card hanging at Rose Hills pays respect to BrightView team member lost due to COVID-19

“This tree memorial at Rose Hills is a powerful, living tribute to those we have lost and BrightView is honored to donate our expertise in partnership with SCI to this moving tribute,” said Po Chen, BrightView Vice President and General Manager. “We designed the landscape to represent growth, chose trees representing strength, and distanced them to provide visitors with the space for private reflection.”

Rose Hill Memorial in Whittier is the largest cemetery in North America, encompassing more than 14,000 acres. In addition to the new COVID-19 memorial, there are more than a dozen dedicated lawns for religious, ethnic, and fraternal organizations, including more than three acres memorializing U.S. military veterans. The cemetery also is home to Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Columbarium, the largest Buddhist pagoda in the United States, as well as lush Japanese gardens.

“The unveiling event was made even more memorable with Rose Hills dedicating a card to one of our fallen team members who tragically passed away due to COVID-19,” Chen said. “While this loss is unimaginable, our team is grateful for this wonderful partnership solidified with this memorial.”

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COVID Memorial Trees at Rose Hills

National Association of Landscape Professionals: Stronger Together

National Association of Landscape Professionals: Stronger Together

Since its inception in 2017, GROW has worked to celebrate and advocate for women in the landscaping industry. With landscaping an historically male male-dominated industry, GROW provides a model for other efforts to assist women across the service sector.  

Amanda Orders, BrightView’s Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer and GROW Executive Sponsor, and Caroline Weilert, BrightView’s Vice President of Marketing and Brand Management and co-leader of GROW, were recently interviewed in a National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) article highlighting the importance of company-led support programs.

“We started GROW to bring more professional development, networking, and mentorship opportunities to the women of BrightView,” Weilert said.

Caroline Weilert, BrightView’s Vice President of Marketing and Brand Management and co-leader of GROW and Amanda Orders, BrightView’s Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer and GROW Executive Sponsor
Amanda Orders and Caroline Weilert leading a GROW seminar

“That has included a variety of programming and efforts — all, of course, made a little more challenging since the COVID-19 pandemic when we’ve had to switch from in-person events to virtual.”

With its mission to attract, promote, and retain women within BrightView, GROW is largely made possible through the inspiring stories shared with one another.

The importance of inclusion doesn’t stop at GROW as it also expands to other areas within BrightView and with a large focus on diversity training.

“We want our people to understand that there is strength in diversity—not just in gender diversity, but across the board,” Orders said.

To read the full article, visit NALP.

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National Association of Landscape Professionals: Stronger Together

GROW: Growth in Relationships + Opportunities for Women

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