Industry Achievement Award

Established in 1966, this award recognizes an individual, employed or retired, whose career demonstrates outstanding contributions to the advancement of the irrigation industry and its products and programs. The nominee’s career ideally reflects contributions to a combination of industry products, practices, education, research and/or professionalism. Nominees should be current or retired members of the Irrigation Association.

The Industry Achievement Award will only be given to a recipient once in a lifetime.

Nominations for 2024 awards are now closed.

2024 awards program exclusively sponsored by

Award Winners


Craig Borland, CIC, CID, CIT, CLIA, CLWM
The Toro Company

Craig Borland has dedicated 28 years to the irrigation industry as an employee of The Toro Company. He provides irrigation technical support in the areas of product engineering, legal, marketing and landscape drip. Borland has served as a volunteer instructor for the Irrigation Association for the past 22 years. He is widely viewed as one the top experts on irrigation and leads efforts to promote excellence in experience and education.


Jack Buzzard
Rain Bird Corporation

Jack Buzzard retired from Rain Bird in 2006 after a 40-year career with the company. As vice president and director of the Rain Bird International Strategic Business Unit, Buzzard lived and worked in France, introducing Europe, and later parts of South America, to the concept of total, complete automatic irrigation systems as we know them today.


Angelo Mazzei
Mazzei Injector Co. LLC

Angelo Mazzei is the chairman/CEO of Mazzei Injector Co. LLC. During his over 40-year career, he has not only built a successful company but also worked to create multiple innovative solutions to solve irrigation issues, starting with the Mazzei Injector he crafted in his garage in 1978.


Jackie Robbins, PhD, PE, CID, TSP
Irrigation-Mart Inc./Robbins Association

Jackie Robbins’ career has included extensive teaching, research and consulting nationally and internationally, as well as starting a successful full-service microirrigation design and distribution company. He also served on the IA Board of Directors, the Certification Board and the Standards and Codes Committee, and he was heavily involved in the development of the IA’s certification program.


Brent Q. Mecham, CID, CLWM, CIC, CLIA
Irrigation Association, retired

Brent Mecham has been part of the irrigation industry for more than 45 years and is considered one of the most respected resources on landscape irrigation in the United States. He recently retired as the IA’s industry development director, a position he held since 2007. Mecham was a major part of the success of the certification and education programs, taught irrigation courses for over 20 years, and has been extensively involved in the standard and codes process for irrigation equipment and practices.


Lynda R. Wightman, CGIA, CIT
Hunter Industries, retired

Lynda Wightman retired from Hunter Industries after 35 years with the company. She was the 13th employee hired at Hunter and spent her career focused on elevating the industry through volunteer leadership and education. She leaves behind a strong legacy of impacting the industry through volunteerism and a dedication and commitment to irrigation and education.


Jake LaRue
Valley Irrigation

As head of the research and development department of Valley Irrigation, LaRue’s career has been devoted to technological advancements. He regularly advises national and international organizations regarding education, standards development and adoption of efficient irrigation technologies. LaRue also holds numerous patents and was integral in the development of several irrigation technologies, including variable rate irrigation, scheduling, telemetry and sensors.


Jim Klauzer
Clearwater Supply

Klauzer is currently a sales agronomist with Clearwater Supply, where he focuses on selling and designing efficient drip irrigation systems.

Klauzer joined Clearwater Supply in 2000. At that time, approximately three percent of the onion fields in the Treasure Valley were under drip irrigation. Now, drip irrigation accounts for approximately 65 percent of the onions in the area. Klauzer has been instrumental in driving this significant increase in the use efficient irrigation technology in both the Treasure Valley and the entire Pacific Northwest region of the United States, through Clearwater Supply.


Clarence Prestwich, PE, CAIS, CID

Prestwich is an IA-certified instructor who has served on several IA committees and has also been a member of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers for over 30 years.

Prestwich has been with the Natural Resource Conservation Service under the U.S.Department of Agriculture for 34 years assisting landowners in design, installation and management of irrigation systems. He has developed many of NRCS’ irrigation technology manuals, including chapters in the National Engineering Handbook regarding irrigation pumping plants, microirrigation systems and sprinkler irrigation systems.

His involvement with universities, industry and other government agencies has helped develop and distribute new and current irrigation technologies. He has traveled across the nation providing training and passionately encouraging better irrigation practices.


Inge Bisconer, CID, CLIA
The Toro Company

Inge Bisconer is the technical marketing and sales manager for Toro Micro-Irrigation. Bisconer has been involved in many irrigation industry aspects in leading and teaching capacities for some 40 years. She is an excellent technical writer, and her recent publishing of the Toro’s Micro-Irrigation Owner’s Manual and chapter 11 of the Irrigation Association’s Irrigation, Sixth Edition fully demonstrates those qualifications. The 129-page Toro manual is a comprehensive guide for both new and existing row, field and perennial crops and an excellent example of her irrigation knowledge, interest and technical publishing capacities. She has been instrumental in the establishment of the Grange Network, a site where all can go to learn more about the drip industry.


Brian Vinchesi, CGIA, CIC, CID, CLIA, CLIM, CLWM
Irrigation Consulting Inc.

Vinchesi was honored due to his exceptional leadership on the Smart Water Application Technologies Executive Task Team and IA’s Standards and Codes Committee. Vinchesi’s direct involvement in these initiatives has led to the development of testing protocols and standards and codes based on sound science that recognize the importance of the managed landscape.

Vinchesi’s involvement with the association is indeed impressive. In addition to his participation with SWAT and standards and code development, Vinchesi has also served as IA president and chair of both the Certification Board and the Irrigation Foundation Board of Trustees. He’s also held a seat on IA’s Technical Conference Committee, the Membership Committee, the Nominating Committee, the Turf and Landscape Common Interest Group, the Awards and Honors Committee, and the Education Committee.

For over 20 years, he has taught courses for the IA, several universities, the National Association of Landscape Professionals (formerly PLANET), and the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America. He has published articles in more than 20 industry publications, was named a WaterSense Irrigation Partner of the Year in 2009 and received the Hunter Industries Trailblazer Award in 2012.

Other Past Recipients

Richard Reinders
Reinders Inc., retired

Vince Nolletti
Paige Electric Company LP

Ray and Sue York
Ewing Irrigation Products

Rene Evelyn-Veere (landscape)
Rain Bird Corporation

Wendell Dorsett (agriculture)
Valmont Industries, retired

Richard Hunter (turf/landscape)
Hunter Industries

Bob Dobson
Middletown Sprinkler Company

Charles Meis
Lindsay Corporation

Gershon Eckstein
Drip Irrigation Systems Ltd.

Fred Hamisch

Les Jochens
Western Irrigation Supply House Inc.

James M. Barrett
James Barrett Associates Inc.

William R. Pogue
Irrometer Co. Inc.

Bob Rupar
Nelson Irrigation Corporation

Anthony LaFetra
Rain Bird Corporation

Ed Shoemaker
Rain Bird Corporation

Thomas W. Crockett
Tom Crockett Irrigation

James Roberts
Roberts Irrigation

Fred Kruse
Kifco Inc.

Larry Meyer
Nelson Irrigation Corporation

Lon Schultz
Agricultural Products Inc.

Don Olson
Olson Irrigation Systems

John Chapman
Valmont Industries

Andrew and Mark Healy
Senninger Irrigation

Richard Chapin
Chapin Watermatics

Richard Reinke
Reinke Manufacturing Company

Leroy Thom
T-L Irrigation Company

Phil Tropeano
Larchmont Engineering & Irrigation

Frank W. Murphy
Frank W. Murphy Manufacturing

Robert Morgan
IA Historian

Bart Nelson
Nelson Irrigation Corporation

Robert B. Daugherty
Valmont Industries

Clinton C. Warren
Cornell Pump Company

Edwin J. Hunter
Hunter Industries Inc.

Arthur Jensen
Thunderbird Irrigation

Mary E. LaFetra
Rain Bird Sales Inc.

Clemens W. Laufenberg
Berkeley Pump Company

Herrick Waterman
Waterman Industries Inc.

John E. Schrunk
Schrunk’s Agricultural Service

Wade Newbegin Sr.
R.W. Wade & Company

Marion Miller
Marion Miller & Associates Inc.

Charles Lake
Rain for Rent

Keith Holman
ASC Tubing Division Inc.

Frank Zybach
Valley Manufacturing Company

Birger Enstron
McDowell Manufacturing Company

A.R.J. Friedmann
The Skinner Irrigation Company

Alfred S. Gray
Rain Bird Sprinkler Manufacturing

Crawford W. Reid
Rain Bird Sprinkler Manufacturing

William H. Stout
Stout Engineering Company

Sam V. Gunnison
W.R. Ames Company