IA Awards Program

Industry Achievement Award

Established in 1966, this award recognizes an individual employed by or retired from an irrigation-related company and 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. Potential nominees include the following:    

  • Manufacturers  
  • Distributors  
  • Dealers  
  • Contractors  
  • Consultants  
  • Manufacturers’ representatives    


Inge Bisconer, CID, CLIA 

The Toro Company (Riverside, California)

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. (Pepperell, Mass.)


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.




Richard Reinders

Reinders, Inc., retired


Reinders was honored with this award due to his outstanding contributions to the industry, which include playing in integral role in developing Watertronics Pumping Systems from a small, garage-shop operation to one of the leading pump station manufacturers in the industry. He sold the company to Lindsay, Inc. in 2008 to complement their center pivot sales. He also helped build Reinders, Inc. to one of the premier distributors in the industry over six Midwestern states.




Vince Nolletti
Paige Electric Company, LP


Nolletti is recognized for his outstanding contributions to the industry, which include introducing the first commercially available microprocessor-based irrigation controllers, the KCS system, and increasing awareness of best management practices for electrical aspects of irrigation systems.


He has been actively involved in several IA committees since the late 1990s, and he currently serves on the Irrigation Foundation Board of Trustees.




Ray and Sue York
Ewing Irrigation Products


By pledging fidelity to family and industry, the York’s have exemplified the best of each trait in both their business success and in their sustained, active leadership in the irrigation community through the IA. By growing Ewing Irrigation Products, started by Sue’s father, King Ewing, in 1922, to a leading distributor of landscape and water management products, the Yorks set a new course for the company. 


Three members of their family have served as president of the Irrigation Association: Ray in 1986, Sue in 1998 and Doug in 2007. Under Ray and Sue’s leadership, Ewing Irrigation Products grew from two locations in 1968, to 115 locations in 2002, which is also when sons Doug and Richard were appointed president and vice president, respectively. Today, Ewing Irrigation Products serves contracting professionals in approximately 200 locations in 21 states. 




Rene Evelyn-Veere (landscape)
Rain Bird Corporation


An accomplished engineer, Evelyn-Veere has spent 35 years at Rain Bird, driving development of computer-based controllers and adapting irrigation technologies to better respond to rainfall and weather. Also an accomplished engineer, Sesser has contributed to more than 20 patents at Nelson and is the recipient of several AE50 Awards from the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers.  


George Sesser (agriculture)
Nelson Irrigation

An accomplished engineer, George Sesser has worked at Nelson Irrigation Corp. since 1976 and has been a key contributor to the success of Nelson Irrigation’s product offerings. Sesser has contributed to more than 20 patents at Nelson and is considered one of the fathers of Rotator® technology for irrigation sprinklers. His engineering successes, ideas and philosophies have had a major influence on the irrigation industry. Sesser is also the recipient of several AE50 awards from the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers. 



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