Hort Hokies at the 2017 National Collegiate Landscape Competition

Written by John James

The National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) 2017 National Collegiate Landscape Competition (NCLC) at Brigham Young University in Provo, UT was a big success for fifteen Virginia Tech students and their sponsors.  Students from the Dept of Horticulture, the Agricultural Technology Program, Landscape Architecture, and even the Mathematics Dept traveled to Provo on March 14 thru 19 to compete in 29 events against over 60 schools and universities from across the country and Canada.  While Blacksburg was suffering through a resurgence of winter, Utah was experiencing one of its mildest months of March on record… the over 650 students in attendance were greeted with sunny skies and temperatures in the 70’s for our entire stay!

Several notable performances from this year’s event propelled the VT Team, smaller than usual in numbers and HUGE in Hokie Spirit, to a 19th Place finish.  Congratulations to Justice Schlemmer (HORT 2017) for finishing 4th in the Super Star competition for overall NCLC student performer!  This is the third year in a row that VT has placed a student seventh or better in the overall event!

Here are other great performances:

  • Justice Schlemmer, 1st  Place – Construction Cost Estimating; 10th Skid Steer Loader Operation
  • Maddie Pequigney, 6th – Sales Presentation  “She sold the job!”
  • Alysha Lawless, 6th –Computer Aided Landscape Design
  • Alysha also won a $500 award for designing the 2017 NCLC T-shirt worn by all 672 competitors at this year’s event!  She also won this contest in 2015!
  • Joseph Mills, 9th – Maintenance Cost Estimating
  • Harley Curran, 11th – 3D Landscape Design
  • Daniel Milihram & William Shelburne, 3rd –Truck & Trailer Operation
  • Joseph Mills & Daniel Milihram, 5th –Landscape Maintenance Operation
  • Kevin Osborne, Maddie Pequigney & Justice Schlemmer, 9th – Landscape Plant Installation
  • Joseph Mills & Justice Schlemmer, 14th – Hardscape Installation

Laura Yuhase, William Shelburne, and Justice Schlemmer each received $1000 Scholarship Awards at the NALP Student Scholarship Reception on Wednesday night at the Bean Life Science Museum on BYU campus.

Students had many opportunities to speak with companies and sponsors throughout the week, including at Industry sponsored Workshops and the NALP Scholarship Reception on Wednesday, the large Career Fair and Trade Show and Event Briefings on Thursday, and informally in Convention center hallways, hotel lobbies, and all across campus.  Students have related many instances of follow-up job interviews and internship offers as a result of their interactions.

We would like thank all of the wonderful Industry leaders and individuals who donated funding toward this year’s trip!  Without your GENEROUS support the NCLC Provo experience for our team would not have been possible.  Thank you also to Ruppert Landscape for hosting the entire team along with team members from 3 other universities for a meal and social on our final night in Provo.

Thank you to Mark Maslow and his team from Southern Landscape Group for hosting the VT NCLC 2017 team for a social at PK’s Restaurant in Blacksburg after our return.

We can’t wait to begin planning for the 2018 NCLC Event at Alamance Community College in North Carolina!

Barbara Leshyn, Tom Martin, John James


Campus tree tour with Bill Graves

Fran de la Mota, a PhD student in horticulture, arranged to have Bill Graves visit Virginia Tech this past Monday (March 13th). Bill is a professor and associate dean from Iowa State University and he is currently researching historic trees on Land-Grant University Campuses. Before his seminar, we introduced him to some of Virginia Tech’s special trees.