IA announces award winners

Don’t miss the latest news from the Irrigation Association, including information on the association's award winners.
IA update | September 2023

The Irrigation Association, Fairfax, Virginia, named the winners of its 2023 Industry Achievement Award and 2023 Excellence in Education Awards.

The winners of the awards have spent decades working in the irrigation industry and have contributed to its continued success.

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 IA’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.

The 2023 Excellence in Education Award was presented to Aavudai Anandhi, PhD, PE, of Florida A&M University, and Robert Dobson, CIC, CID, CLIA, of Rutgers University. This award recognizes an outstanding educator who teaches irrigation, water management or water conservation and has a commitment to elevating the level of education and promoting the field of irrigation as a viable and sustainable career to students.

Anandhi is an associate professor specializing in irrigation and water management and has made numerous contributions to the development of irrigation-related coursework and certificate programs. When she joined Florida A&M, a historically Black university, she began transforming the educational experience of undergraduate and graduate students from underrepresented groups, developing an irrigation and water management training program from the ground up with limited resources.

Dobson is a past member of the IA Board of Directors and served as president of the association in 2013. He also served as the chair of the IA Certification Board. He has been teaching irrigation for the Rutgers Professional Golf Turf Management School and the Office of Continuing Professional Education for 20 years. During this time, he has taught approximately 1,600 students in the two-year program alone.

This year’s 2023 IA award recipients will be recognized during the Irrigation Show and Education Week in San Antonio Nov. 27-Dec. 1. The 2023 IA awards are sponsored by Hunter Industries.

2023 Irrigation Show and Education Week registration and housing open

Attendee registration and housing for the 2023 Irrigation Show and Education Week opened July 12.

The event takes place Nov. 27 through Dec. 1 at the Harry B. González Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas.

The Irrigation Show brings professional networking and new products together in one place. Attendees will have the opportunity to develop their education while finding new ways to build their businesses.

The 2023 show includes new features, such as the IA Pavilion, a Member Lounge, breakfast at the General Session and two Innovation Hub areas where the association will be hosting the live judging for its Pitch Competition and new product contest and a series of Industry Insights presentations.

“We are looking forward to another exciting and productive year at the 2023 Irrigation Show and Education Week,” says Brittany Tyrrell, Irrigation Association senior meetings and events manager. “In 2022, thousands of attendees came to the Las Vegas show with the intent to collaborate with other professionals in the industry and advance their knowledge and expertise through the association’s suite of continuing education programming. We are excited to see what this year’s event will bring. See you in San Antonio!”

Find out more about the show and register online at irrigationshow.org.

Register Now

E3 program applications open

2023 E3 program applications are open. The Irrigation Association created the E3 program to focus on providing irrigation students and faculty members with exposure, experience and education that revolves around the irrigation industry.

The E3 winners are invited to the annual Irrigation Show and Education Week. Irrigation E3 learners and leaders will receive an education and travel award to attend the 2023 Irrigation Show Nov. 27-Dec. 1 in San Antonio, Texas. Winners are selected annually based on an application process.

Winners will have the opportunity to take education classes, attend industry sessions, explore the exhibit floor and spend time with the 2023 E3 program lead sponsor, The Toro Company.
More information can found online at irrigation.org.

Apply Now

IA hosts exams and education

The Irrigation Association will provide irrigation education sessions at the 2023 Equip Exposition, set to take place Oct. 17-20 at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Kentucky.

The event will include a number of educational opportunities for contractors to expand their knowledge on various industry topics. It will also offer IA certification exams for the first time at this show.

The IA is presenting several Irrigation track sessions as part of the Landscape Contractor Education program, with each offering CEUs to participants. These sessions will cover topics including basic irrigation repairs, electrical troubleshooting, basic controller operation, the anatomy of an irrigation system, Wi-Fi and connectivity, and how to get into the irrigation business.

“We listened to what past attendees wanted — more education on key trends that will impact the industry and their businesses. We heard you and we’re going to deliver,” says Kris Kiser, president and CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute, which owns and manages Equip Expo.

Find out more information at irrigation.org.

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The Irrigation Association joins Tomorrow’s Workforce Coalition

The Irrigation Association has joined the Tomorrow’s Workforce Coalition, a group of companies with a mission to build support in Congress for workforce development policy that improves all economic sectors, among other goals.

One of the priorities for the coalition is to secure U.S. Senate and House of Representative cosponsors to drive forward on and pass S. 722/H.R. 1477, which would allow 529 plan funds to be used to pay for maintaining professional credentials.

“The Irrigation Association is excited to support Tomorrow’s Workforce Coalition in its efforts to pass the Freedom to Invest in Tomorrow’s Workforce Act,” says Nathan Bowen, IA vice president of public affairs and advocacy. “By expanding the use of 529 accounts beyond traditional college expenses, we are fostering a pathway for lifelong learning and skill development, equipping our workforce with the tools needed to thrive in today’s dynamic economy. This legislation embodies our commitment to creating accessible and inclusive education opportunities, ultimately strengthening our workforce and driving economic prosperity for all.”

The legislation was introduced by Rep. Rob Wittman, R-Virginia, and currently has 53 bipartisan cosponsors in the house.

“I’m grateful for the support of these organizations for the Freedom to Invest in Tomorrow’s Workforce Act,” says Wittman. “Their support, and the bipartisan support from my colleagues in Congress, emphasizes how important it is to remove the financial barriers to obtaining the in-demand skills of a 21st-century job market. By expanding the use of 529 account funds for postsecondary training expenses, we can ensure businesses are equipped with a skilled and innovative workforce who can drive our nation’s economy forward.”

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