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AURORA – This year, Bill Cary, horticulture instructor at Pickens Technical College, Aurora, received the Bob Cannon Lifetime Achievement Award from Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado, the landscape industry’s professional organization.“While our top award usually honors a green industry professional, Bill’s commitment to education and advancing the landscape profession makes him more than deserving of this prestigious award,” said ALCC Executive Director John McMahon. “Bill has shaped the lives of many students who have since found a career home in the landscape industry.”
Cary has taught horticulture at Pickens Technical College in Aurora for 25 years. His industry experience as a manager of large landscape businesses and owner of his own landscape company has helped shape the Pickens’ program around real-world jobs in landscape design, maintenance, irrigation, and more. The curriculum he developed supports several green industry certifications.

The annual Mother’s Day Plant Sale that Cary started has been a mainstay within Aurora’s community for 25 years. The nearly 15,000 square feet of greenhouses on the campus position the Pickens enterprise as most likely the largest non-commercial greenhouse operation in the state. Each year, Pickens horticulture students grow 11,000 petunias, 4,500 geraniums, 1,200 tomato plants, and much more for the sale. Most years, inventory is sold out in two days.

“In the greenhouse,” says Cary, “is where students fall in love with plants and where horticulture opens the door to many career opportunities.” Students are assigned their own group of plants which they are responsible to nurture successfully. In the process, they learn plant science, fertilization, pest control, and irrigation practices. Each student must also design and create several types of container gardens to be sold at the sale. During the sale, they assist customers.

What students learn in the greenhouse and a variety of classes translates into a variety of careers. Cary’s graduates have become award-winning landscape designers, nursery managers, superintendents of large maintenance operations, business owners, and irrigation managers.

Cary has also been instrumental in establishing relationships with high school ag teachers statewide and introducing them to the landscape industry. His work laid the foundation for ALCC’s Landscape Career Pathways Program, which equips high school students for landscape careers upon graduation.

The Bob Cannon Lifetime Achievement Award honors individuals who have given loyal, dedicated service to the landscape industry, contributed ideas, programs, and other endeavors to benefit other ALCC members, and have improved the professional image of the landscape industry. It was named for Bob Cannon, an ALCC founder, and visionary. Since 1978, an ALCC leader has been recognized annually for service to ALCC and the green industry.

Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado (ALCC), with six chapters statewide, is the premier professional organization for Colorado’s landscape companies. For 55 years, ALCC has guided landscape professionals to address Colorado’s unique climate and to promote sustainable landscapes. ALCC promotes the responsible use of water and other natural resources and provides educational and industry certification opportunities to Colorado’s landscape professionals. More information at

CONTACT: Chuck Montera, Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado

May 23, 2017,