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Penn College Students Finish Strong at Horticulture Competition

Six Pennsylvania College of Technology horticulture students were among the top finishers in their respective categories during the 40th annual National Collegiate Landscape Competition held recently in Starkville, Mississippi.

The Penn College contingent gathers during the recent National Collegiate Landscape Competition held at Mississippi State University: Front row, from left, Aaryn C. Hoy, Norristown, and Kenneth E. Zeager Jr., Bainbridge. Middle row, from left, instructor Carl J. Bower Jr.; students Justin M. Rinehimer, Mountain Top, Zachary M. Meling, Hawley, Joshua T. Posey, York Haven, and Ryan Rousseau, Pipersville; and alumni mentor Ronald A. Burger. Back row, from left, Elliot C. Redding, Gettysburg, and Kyle M. Richardson, Hopewell, N.J.
The Penn College contingent gathers during the recent National Collegiate Landscape Competition held at Mississippi State University: Front row, from left, Aaryn C. Hoy, Norristown, and Kenneth E. Zeager Jr., Bainbridge. Middle row, from left, instructor Carl J. Bower Jr.; students Justin M. Rinehimer, Mountain Top, Zachary M. Meling, Hawley, Joshua T. Posey, York Haven, and Ryan Rousseau, Pipersville; and alumni mentor Ronald A. Burger. Back row, from left, Elliot C. Redding, Gettysburg, and Kyle M. Richardson, Hopewell, N.J.

Kyle M. Richardson, of Hopewell, New Jersey, and Zachary M. Meling, of Hawley, placed fourth out of 32 teams in Landscape Maintenance Operations; the pairing of Elliot C. Redding, of Gettysburg, and Kenneth E. Zeager Jr., of Bainbridge, was fifth among 41 in Hardscape Installation; Joshua T. Posey, of York Haven, and Aaryn C. Hoy, of Norristown, were eighth of 30 partnerships in Wood Construction; Posey was 10th among 41 competitors in Compact Excavator; and a team of Meling, Redding and Zeager was 12th of 60 competing in Landscape Plant Installation.

Hoy also won the Chainsaw Teardown and Rebuild contest, bringing home a Husqvarna chain saw for the school.

Eight Penn College landscape/horticulture technology: landscape emphasis majors traveled to the event, co-sponsored by the National Association of Landscape Professionals and held March 16-19 at Mississippi State University. Other competitors from the college were Justin M. Rinehimer, of Mountain Top, and Ryan Rousseau, of Pipersville.

Horticulture instructor Carl J. Bower Jr. and industry supporter Ronald A. Burger, who won an Alumni Mentorship Award in 2013, accompanied the group. This was the fifth competition attended by Burger, a 1978 graduate of predecessor institution Williamsport Area Community College.

“The students did a fantastic job representing the program and school, and learned so much about the industry,” Bower said. “Being able to network with industry leaders and demonstrate their skills with students from across the country and Canada further proved that their career path is strong and full of possibilities.”

Aaryn C. Hoy is presented with a Husqvarna chain saw that he won for Penn College's School of Transportation & Natural Resources Technologies.
Aaryn C. Hoy is presented with a Husqvarna chain saw that he won for Penn College’s School of Transportation & Natural Resources Technologies.

Penn College finished 30th among 63 participating teams from institutions that offer horticulture programs. Out of 683 students to compete overall, Richardson placed 13th.

“Being able to attend NCLC is the most valuable experience I had while at Penn College,” he said. “The event has allowed me to prove to myself and others that my education was well worth it. Not only that, but the connections in the industry I have made from networking at this event will continue to help me grow as a landscape professional.”

“The opportunity to compete on the national level is a privilege, and, for the last two years, I have been working to reach the next level in the landscape industry,” Redding noted. “The NCLC provides so many opportunities for those attending: the jobs, industry insight and the opportunity to create lasting relationships with other students, just to name a few.”

For more about landscape/horticulture technology majors offered in the School of Transportation & Natural Resources Technologies, call 570-327-4516.

For information about Penn College, a national leader in applied technology education and workforce development, email the Admissions Office or call toll-free 800-367-9222.

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Commemorating the Gene Haas Foundation’s $15,000 grant award to Penn College are, from left, Luke J. Davies, instructor, CNC machining/automation; John M. Good III, instructor, automation and computer integrated manufacturing; Bill Zimmerman, sales manager, Phillips Corp. (a Haas Factory Outlet); Kathy Looman, director of education, Gene Haas Foundation; Mark Schankweiler, vice president, inside service operations, Phillips Corp. (and a Penn College alumnus); Lindsay Cline, director of education and events, Phillips Commercial;  Ken Wawrzyniak, sales engineer, Phillips Commercial; Richard K. Hendricks Jr., instructor, machine tool technology/automated manufacturing; Elizabeth A. Biddle, director of corporate relations, Penn College; Howard W. Troup, instructor, automated manufacturing/machine tool technology; and Bradley M. Webb, dean of engineering technologies. (Photo provided)
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