• Ariens Company Nature Explore Classroom Opens in Auburn, Nebraska

    Pre-school and elementary school children in Auburn, Neb., now have access to a 7,000-sq.ft. interactive learning garden that offers opportunity for both play and education. The new Ariens Company Nature Explore Classroom opened to the public on April 28, 2015, following a grand opening ceremony hosted by Ariens Company and CEO Dan Ariens. The garden is divided into designated learning centers that include a rain garden, nature art area, building area, and climbing & crawling area.

    Although Ariens Company is the main sponsor for the outdoor classroom, the project also received grants from the Nemaha Natural Resources District and the City of Auburn.


    "We're happy that we could help this community bring its vision to life," says Dan Ariens, Chairman and CEO.  "This project has grown from the true grassroots effort of a few dedicated residents to a community-wide effort.

    "This is the right project for us. It's in nature, it's outdoors, and we're in the outdoor power equipment space, so we thought providing financial support for this was a great fit."

    Auburn residents Deb Reiman and Kim Beger were the driving force behind the effort which began in 2010.

    "It's something different that we don't have in the community," said Little Learners Teacher Deb Reiman. "I know as a preschool teacher that kids don't spend a lot of time outside, especially in nature. This gives them a great outlet to be able to do that."


    More than 60 organizations and individuals have contributed funds or donated in-kind services to complete the project, including Ariens Company employees who helped prepare the site and build and install many of the features.

    The garden will be submitted for certification as a Nature Explore classroom by the Arbor Day Foundation based in Nebraska City, Neb. The design of the garden is based ​on guidelines from the program.

    The garden is located near Calvert Elementary School for teachers to easily incorporate related curriculum. Auburn employees will also assist with on-going projects and activities related to the garden. Ariens Company employs 230 people at a plant located in Auburn. ​​​​


    Gravely® Atlas JSV Wins Landscape and Irrigation’s Twenty for 2015 New Product Award

    Landscape and Irrigation announced its selections for the "Twenty for 2015" new product awards this week, and the Gravely Atlas JSV took home the prize in the UTV category.

    The Twenty for 2015 new product awards recognize products in the commercial landscape and irrigation markets. Products were judged by the Green Media editorial staff based on innovation, marketability and application within the market.

    "Development plans began on the JSV with our past experience and involvement in the UTV category," said Director of the Gravely Brand Bill Engler. "We understood that a market exists for a jobsite-specific vehicle that fits the needs of the contractor, so we ceased the production of our UTV, the Trekker, and decided to partner with an OEM to bring together their expertise of the UTV industry and our knowledge of the needs of the landscaping industry. The partnership allowed us to develop the ultimate work vehicle."​

    The Atlas JSV was launched on Sept. 22, 2014, with contractors getting their first look at the vehicle during the 2014 GIE + Expo in Louisville, K.Y. that October.

    "Through our experience with our previous UTV, our customers were telling us they needed a vehicle to hold up the rigors of a landscape contractor," Engler added. "That led us to perform market study groups all over the country. We learned that there are many vehicles that can do work, but they are also trying to be everything to everyone. No one had a vehicle specifically designed and targeted to the jobsite."


    Throughout development with the Polaris team, Gravely was able to do just that, and has successfully designed a vehicle that can support landscape contractors who work all day, every day. The Atlas MX-18 JobBox sets it apart. The 48.2-inch by 57-inch by 11.4-inch box can accommodate a standard pallet with the tailgate closed and has a capacity of 1,250 pounds. The machine also has a 1,900-pound payload and a 2,000-pound towing capacity. In addition, it's rugged exterior with dual headlights and ample interior, with seating room for three or six adults, makes it the perfect complement to any jobsite.

    Interested in learning more? Visit www.gravelyatlas.com to see our vehicle's specs and request a demo.

    Landscape and Irrigation remains the independent voice of the industries for which it is named, and reaches decision makers throughout the landscape and irrigation markets - including contractors, landscape architects, professional grounds managers, and irrigation and water management companies. Landscape and Irrigation is published by Green Media, a division of EPG Media and Specialty Information, Plymouth, Minn. For more information, visit www.landscapeirrigation.com.

    Ariens Company Assigns Australian Distribution of Ariens® and Gravely® Equipment Brands to Allpower Industries

    Will Continue to Sell Stens® and Bynorm® Replacement Parts Directly --

    Ariens Company announces the distribution reassignment of the Ariens Company equipment brands in Australia to Allpower Industries based in Keysborough, Victoria, effective May 1, 2015. The reassignment allows Australian dealers to reduce their supply chain complexity while retaining access to the Ariens® and Gravely® brands.

    Ariens Company has historically operated a replacement parts business within the outdoor power equipment category in Australia and introduced mowing equipment in 2009, selling product directly to dealers.

    "The Ariens® and Gravely® brands have experienced steady, consistent growth," says Dan Ariens, Chairman and CEO. "We have increased the number of dealer partners to more than 200 since 2013, resulting in a 95 percent growth in sales over the same time period. However, as the brands grew, it became apparent that the business would require a significant round of investment to provide the value a company like Allpower already offers. We will focus on the aftermarket parts brands of Bynorm® and Stens® in an operation designed and focused on the aftermarket parts customer."

    Under this arrangement, Ariens Company will work directly with Allpower to ensure its products continue to meet the needs of the Australian market. The company uses a similar distribution model in several countries around the world including Germany, France, Italy and Russia.

    "Allpower Industries is a highly-respected distribution company with a range of premium brands that offer a more broad set of products to Australian dealers, making this a natural fit for Ariens Company wholegoods brands and the demands of independent dealers," says Ariens. "Allpower has a storied history of excellence in the Australian marketplace, making this partnership positive for all parties involved."

    Some of the complementary brands distributed by Allpower include Echo®, Shindaiwa®, Stiga®, Country Clipper®, and Generac®. Visit www.allpower.com.au for more information.

    Ariens Australia will continue to sell Stens® and Bynorm® replacement parts directly to dealers. Stens has also experienced considerable growth over the past 18 months, with a 35% growth in dealer accounts, according to Ariens. The company launched a new catalogue, featuring 1,800-plus new lines and 21,000 parts cross-references. Ariens Australia expects to launch many new Stens products throughout the course of 2015. The business will be supported by distribution centers in Melbourne and Brisbane.

    Going forward, Ariens Australia customers will also have access to the equipment and supplies carried by three other Ariens Company outdoor brands, Gemplers®, Ben Meadows® and AW Direct, according to Ariens. "We will use our full array of tools and resources to help the business continue to grow and prosper," says Ariens. "We believe there are many opportunities that lie ahead as we begin to focus our energy and capabilities in this area."

    Gravely® Landscapes and Beautifies Harbor House Domestic Abuse Shelter as part of NALP Day of Service

    National grassroots event organizes thousands in landscaping industry for day of volunteering

    In celebration of Earth Day, Gravely® took part in the National Association of Landscape Professionals' (NALP) Day of Service Event.

    Ariens Company employees, in partnership with Vande Hey Landscaping, worked to improve the curb appeal of the Harbor House in Appleton, Wis. During the event, volunteers from both companies volunteered by spreading mulch, planting trees and flowers and pulling weeds. More than $6,500 in materials and labor was donated.

    NALP's Day of Service event is a grassroots event that gives professionals in the landscape industry an opportunity to plan, organize, and carry-out volunteer service projects that benefit their communities. In 2014, approximately 89 projects were completed in 24 states, and more than 2,200 volunteers participated. Over $400,000 in time and services was donated to local communities.

    "This project was very important to us as members of the green industry, and we were excited to be able to celebrate Earth Day while helping out a great local organization, Harbor House Domestic Abuse Services," said Ariens Company Director of Gravely Brand Bill Engler. "Beautifying the area and the community is important for the neighborhood as well as the people that live here."

    For more information, and to see a map of other NALP Day of Service projects that took place across the country, visit: https://www.planetdayofservice.org/. Videos and photos from last year's event can be found on Flickr and YouTube.

    Established in 1984 as a program of the Outagamie County Department of Human Services, Harbor House Domestic Abuse Programs began as a grassroots organization offering a safe shelter and basic crisis services to women and children hurt by domestic abuse. Today, the Harbor House is an integrated and supportive community, surrounding women and children with a comprehensive range of program options.

    The building is perched alongside a long road, making it the perfect subject for a landscaping renovation. Employees from the Ariens Company re-landscaped three areas along the building's façade over a span of six hours.

    Ariens Company Featured in New Book about Management

    Book released April 10, 2015 by McGraw-Hill Education

    One wouldn't expect hospital executives to learn much from a snowblower factory, but Ariens Company, based in Brillion, Wisconsin, is no ordinary snowblower factory. Production at the plant is so well controlled that Dr. John Toussaint, then CEO of nearby ThedaCare, used the Ariens line as a model for patient care. This story is featured in Jacob Stoller's new book, The Lean CEO, which documents the work of 28 CEOs who radically changed their companies using Lean principles.

    The hallmarks of great organizations – empowered employees, dedication to customers, a strong collaborative culture, a learning workplace – are old news.  The question is, how do we get there?

    Jacob Stoller's new book The Lean CEO, available as of April 10, 2015 from McGraw-Hill Education, answers this through narratives from twenty-eight extraordinary CEOs who threw out the conventional rulebook and remade their organizations using Lean principles. One is Dan Ariens, Chairman & CEO of Ariens Company, who tells how he steered his company from the brink of extinction to become a leader in North American manufacturing.

    Ariens joins a cast of CEOs from a wide variety of organizations, including global manufacturers Ingersoll-Rand and Barry-Wehmiller, healthcare icons Thedacare and Virginia Mason, the states of Connecticut and Washington, historical icons such as Wiremold, and many more. 

    "When I give talks about our Lean journey," says Ariens in the book, "I tell people that the biggest thing is that we have built a culture around here where we trust each other."

    Stoller provides the contextual background as the CEOs explain with unusual candor how they galvanized their entire organizations around delivering excellence to customers. The result is a fast-paced read providing practical advice on topics such as:

    • Leading and empowering people.
    • Building transparency and trust.
    • Tuning into the customer experience.
    • Aligning strategic direction with day-to-day operations.
    • Instilling a corporate-wide culture that promotes safety and quality.
    • Creating a learning organization.

    The book is being praised as one that gives the reader rare insight into what it means to truly lead an organization. The Lean CEO presents management and leadership from the vantage point of leaders like Dan Ariens who have walked the talk. Their message is one that no manager can afford to miss.

    "Few books get into the hearts and minds of successful CEOs like Stoller's does," says Karen Martin, President, The Karen Martin Group, and co-author, Value Stream Mapping. "Read this and learn what leading from the top truly means."

    "Finally in this book we learn the lesson so often missed," says Jeffrey K Liker, Professor, University of Michigan and author of The Toyota Way. "Lean is a total enterprise approach to adaptation and prosperity that must be understood and owned by the CEO."

    Jacob Stoller, author of The Lean CEO, is a writer and speaker who connects experts and outsiders in fields such as Lean management, information technology, accounting, and engineering.  Jacob can be reached at 416-203-0200, or jacob@stollerstrategies.com .