Excellence in Landscaping Awards


40th Annual "Excellence in Landscaping" Awards
Click here to see the list of all winners
Click here to view all of the award winning companies and photos
Click here to view the photos from the evening. If you would like a high resolution photo, please email Admin@ALCA.org and indicate which numbered photo(s) you would like.

The AZ Landscape Contractors’ Association held its 40th annual Arizona Excellence in Landscaping Awards Program on Saturday, November 19, 2016, at the beautiful JW Marriott Starr Pass in Tucson, AZ. Forty ALCA coompany members were recognized for their extraordinary landscape projects. Congratulations to all the winners!

2016 Winners


Azul-Verde Design Group, Inc - Kaminiski Residence

This award is given to a project that demonstrates the highest level of excellence and creativity. This award is the "Best of Show" project chosen from over 90 entries that were submitted. This project was entered in the category of single family residential installation $170,001 - $200,000.

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Sustain Scape, LLC - McEnamy Residence

This award is given to a project that is planned and designed to create practical use of turf areas, has a selection of plants that appropriately uses mulches, soil amendments or improvements and efficient irrigation.  When properly designed and maintained, the xeriscape project saves water, time and money through reduced plant water needs and lower maintenance requirements.

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Sustainable Landscape Services, Inc - Vi at Silverstone

This award is given to a project that has benefited from applying practices which strive to preserve limited and valuable natural resources such as water and plant materials; reduce waste generation; allow for healthier, longer living and mature plant.

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Special Awards

Lifetime Achievement Award


Given in memory of Jim Trog, Four Peaks Landscape Management

The Lifetime Achievement of the year was given in memory of Jim Trog in celebration of  his contributions to the landscape industry.

A dear friend to us all, Jim was part of the ALCA family for many years. Jim led ALCA’s safety committee and had accepted the position of President-Elect to show his continued commitment and support to ALCA.  

You could always count on Jim; he was the first to volunteer for any ALCA event and was a good sport to say the least.   “I could ask him to tie yellow caution tape around his head and be a ninja for an ALCA skit or make ALCA- mole using tofu or take part in a flash mob dance.  And he would shake his head and laugh and then proceed and do what was asked,” recalls ALCAs CEO Judy Gausman.

Jim had a serious side and was passionate about water management.  If you ever thought of an irrigation and water management guru, you would picture Jim.  With nearly 20 years of landscape and irrigation experience in the Phoenix area, Jim focused on water management while working as the water conservation manager with Four Peaks Landscape Management.  He was certified through the Irrigation Association as an irrigation contractor, a landscape irrigation auditor and an EPA Water Sense Partner.  Jim worked with a diverse client base across the Phoenix basin managing the landscape irrigation needs from greenbelt areas to arid native landscapes. He spent time within the communities he served, educating on the use of technologies in the landscape to improve water management both at the commercial and residential level.  With Jim’s expertise, he was instrumental in developing the curriculum of ALCA’s irrigation tech training and volunteered to instruct the students during the workshops.

Fellow board member, Tony Acosta, had the privilege of working with Jim for seven years on the board and while they had many conversations that pertained to the industry, much of the time was spent talking about life and Jim’s family.  Tony recalls, “It seemed like every time we were at a mixer, golf tournament or luncheon we would end up talking about Jim’s wife Karen and his girls Amanda and Lindsey and son in-law Kevin.  Whether it was about the girls’ high school adventures, a job at Disneyland or college fun, Jim loved to share stories.  In preparation of his daughter Amanda’s wedding, Jim learned all about Pinterest.  He proudly showed me pictures of decorations that were made out of pallets. He also share pictures of his cupcakes and told me of how he was decorating the wedding cake.  Jim would have a huge smile on his face.”

Our industry and so many of us individually will sorely miss this wonderful man.  In the spirit of Jim and how he lived his life, it was a great honor to award the 2016 Lifetime Achievement in memory of Jim Trog.

Associate member of the year

Scott J Richardson, Canterbury Law Group

Scott Richardson decided to become a lawyer as a result of a high school career day. He earned his business degree from DePaul University in 1970 and his law degree from the DePaul College of Law in 1974.  He began his legal career at a major Chicago law firm working his way up to partner. But in 1986, tired of the snow, Scott and his wife Holly moved to Arizona where Scott had been licensed since 1979.

Shortly after arriving in Arizona a pest control company sought his services and he learned the industry and currently represents over 250 landscape and pest control companies. His representation included not only regulatory work with the Office of Pest Management but also defense of pest control and landscape companies through their insurers. He handles many of the day to day concerns of his clients including trade secret work, employment law, and the sale and acquisition of new businesses.  Through his years in the industry Scott has kept his promise to never take a case against the industry for a consumer.

Scott regularly teaches courses for credit from the Office of Pest Management as well as general business law courses. Recently he taught four sessions for the Office of Pest Management in Phoenix Tucson, Prescott and Yuma.

Scott has authored of book on qualifying party and supervisor duties and suggestions for training and supervision and has taught a three hour course using the information in the manual, all in an attempt to avoid joint responsibility. And Scott authored the law change making it possible to avoid joint responsibility for a QP or business licensee with written records of suitable training and supervision.

Scott spends his spare time with his two daughters and their husbands but really embraces his time with his 5 grandkids. This includes a weekly grandchild only event “pasta Wednesday” where parents are not invited and activities are planned including geography lessons, movie night, crafts and cooking.

Congratulations to Scott Richardson as ALCA’s 2016 Outstanding Associate Member of the Year.

outstanding customer service Award

Brian Whitcher/The Toro Company

Brian Whitcher joined The Toro Company in 2010 as the District Sales Manager for ResCom Irrigation in Arizona and Las Vegas.  He has increased his responsibility to include the Irritrol brand and recently accepted a larger geographic territory that includes the Hawaiian Islands. In the past year, Brian successfully introduced Toro Irrigation into Meritage Homes and they are now a preferred supplier nationwide.

Brian started his career working on golf courses along the east coast. He learned the art of irrigation on a Network 8000 in Virginia.  His first ride was on a Toro 216 and 84 in Connecticut.  Brian then moved into landscape contracting and eventually distribution working for TESCO, a Toro Master Distributor in Maryland.  Brian opened an irrigation branch for TESCO and managed the Eastern Shore territory.

Brian now lives in Arizona with his wife Anne and two young children.  Brian holds an Associate’s Degree in Landscape and Turf Management from Virginia Tech, Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management from University of Phoenix and is currently working on his MBA from Trident University.

Congratulations Brian Whitcher as ALCA’s 2016 Outstanding Customer Service of the Year.

landscape contractor of the year

Mitchell Owens, CareScape, Inc.

Mitchell Owens, owner and President of CareScape, has over thirty-five years of landscape management experience. Mitch has been emphatic in the need for continuing education of their teammates in order to stay at the forefront of the industry.  CareScape has well over 50 employees that have been participating in or completed the ACLP and SLM programs.

Under Mitchell’s leadership, CareScape has a corporate culture of giving back.  This year they raised $50,000 for Raising Kids Arizona from their Dandelion Golf Classic tournament. Over the last 10 years this tournament has raised over $400,000 to help local families and kids. This past July in a partnership with ALCA, Mitchell volunteered to design, coordinate and install a front and back yard landscape for a disabled veteran who wanted to provide a beautiful home for his wife and son.

Mitch met his wife Kathy shortly after moving to Arizona. They have two beautiful daughters, Cydney and Taylor, who are now moving into their teenage years to provide even more exciting teaching moments for Mitch.

Congratulations to Mitchell Owens as ALCA’s 2016 Outstanding Contractor of the Year.

budding contractor of the year Award

Luis Ochoa, BP Landscape LLC

Luis Ochoa began his landscape career with one of the most successful landscape companies in Arizona where he spent 25 years learning and training personnel in all aspects of landscape maintenance. He recently formed BP Landscape LLC to help Arizona homeowners, homeowner associations and municipalities create, maintain and improve their landscapes. Luis focuses on providing best management practices, quality work, and ensuring work is done correctly the first time to provide expertise in landscape maintenance. Luis looks forward to many years of continued success in the industry.

Luis enjoys art, sports and creating designs. He holds certifications with the AZ Department of Agriculture as a QA, ISA Certified Arborist and AZ Certified Landscape Profession and Sustainable Landscape Management with ALCA.

Congratulations to Luis Ochoa as ALCA’s 2016 Budding Contractor of the Year.