Borland tells Irrigation & Lighting what it means to win IA award: ‘I have a ton of passion for this industry’

Irrigation & Lighting caught up with Craig Borland to ask what winning the 2023 Industry Achievement Award means to him.
The 2023 Industry Achievement Award was awarded to Craig Borland, CIC, CID, CIT, CLIA, CLWM, of The Toro Company, Bloomington, Minnesota.
The 2023 Industry Achievement Award was awarded to Craig Borland, CIC, CID, CIT, CLIA, CLWM, of The Toro Company, Bloomington, Minnesota. The award is the Irrigation Association’s highest honor and recognizes an individual whose career demonstrates outstanding contributions to the advancement of the irrigation industry. 

Borland has served as a volunteer instructor for the IA for the past 22 years and is a member of the IA Education Committee. He is widely viewed as one the top experts on irrigation and leads efforts to promote excellence in experience and education.

Irrigation & Lighting caught up with Borland to ask what winning the award means to him. 

Irrigation & Lighting: You’ve dedicated decades to the irrigation industry, both as a volunteer instructor and as an advocate. How does receiving the IA’s highest honor, the Industry Achievement Award, reflect your passion and commitment to improving efficiency and advancing technology within the industry? 

Craig Borland: First, I was shocked to receive this award. It caught me by surprise. I am very honored to receive this award. I have a ton of passion for this industry. Teaching is so very important; it is my way of returning my years of experience, trial and error — lots of error at times — to the next generation as well as my peers. When I began so very long ago, efficiency was never talked about. Over the past several years, we have seen a lot of advancements in this arena. I got very involved with this topic and love to share what I have learned. 

It involves our whole thinking about the system from the install to years of maintaining it.  From the rain sensor to the flow sensor, through the valve to the heads. It all is a part of the efficiency. However, it involves the human aspect of it, too. Programming the schedule, installing the right sensors and using pressure regulating products (valves or the heads) to precisely control the delivery of the water to the target area. It’s everything. 

Irrigation & Lighting: As one of the top experts in the field of irrigation and a member of the IA Education Committee, how does this award inspire you to continue your efforts in promoting excellence in experience and education, and what future goals do you have in mind for the industry? 

Craig Borland: I have dedicated my career to helping others. This award makes me feel that I have been doing something right. I have spent the majority of my time with my head in either a valve box with the critters, or in a controller cabinet studying or analyzing the symptoms to diagnose the fix. Things I have learned I share with my marketing and engineering team to implement improvements to our products. On the Education Committee, I share the same input and experience with the team so we can continue to build and improve our class offerings. Our industry is ever-changing and evolving. It is so very important that we, the IA, keep up with the industry and share the technical aspects with all who want to learn.   

Irrigation & Lighting: Having influenced the careers of a significant number of professionals and working closely with the Irrigation Association, how does winning this award encapsulate the ethos of waking up, showing up and putting in maximum effort that your dad taught you, and what, and what message would you like to convey to the next generation of irrigation professionals? 

Craig Borland: My father was a brilliant man and was always willing to stop what he was doing to help me understand what I was working on. I learned so much over the years and have found that putting your head down and showing up with a positive attitude to work rubs off on those around you. This award inspires me to do more of the same. Share what we know, teach what we have learned, and drive others to do the same.   

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