The Irrigation Association presented its annual awards at the 2012 Irrigation Show and Education Conference in Orlando. Six recipients were recognized over five categories.

Irrigation Association recognizes Annual Award winners

The Irrigation Association presented its annual awards at the 2012 Irrigation Show and Education Conference on Nov. 6 in Orlando, Fla. Six recipients were recognized over five categories.

Industry Lifetime Achievement Award

Established in 1966, the Industry Achievement Award recognizes someone whose career demonstrates outstanding contributions to the advancement of the irrigation industry, products, practices, education, research or professionalism.

Ray and Sue York, Ewing Irrigation Products (Phoenix, AZ) 

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.

Person of the Year Award

IA’s longest-awarded honor recognizes a person outside of the commercial irrigation industry who has made outstanding contributions toward the acceptance of sound irrigation practices.

Dr. Freddie Lamm, Kansas State University, Northwest Extension Center (Colby, Kan.)

For more than 30 years, Dr. Lamm has dedicated his career to irrigation-related issues, such as irrigated  crop production — corn in particular —  which is the dominant crop in his region. He has also authored, or co-authored, numerous articles, technical papers and nearly 300 popular press articles.

Partner of the Year Award

Established in 1995, the IA Partner of the Year Award highlights a person or group making exceptional contributions in areas related or integral to the irrigation industry.

North Carolina Green Industry Council (Raleigh, N.C.

Representing approximately 2,000 business interests, NCGIC has become a unifying force for allied green industry issues within the state of North Carolina. NCGIC produces and distributes educational landscape and irrigation brochures throughout the state and lobbies on behalf of water and landscape issues. Their efforts culminated in the designation of July as “Smart Irrigation Month” by the governor of North Carolina.

Crawford Reid Memorial Award

Named for Crawford Reid, the second president of the Irrigation Association, this award honors individuals who  have significantly advanced both the irrigation industry and proper irrigation techniques and procedures outside of the United States.

Chris Le Conte, Smart Watering Systems (Milton, Ontario, Canada)

After founding Smart Watering Systems in 2007, Le Conte quickly embraced the emergence of technology and its place in the landscape irrigation industry. His company has grown to one of the most successful firms in Ontario, Canada, and later expanded to British Columbia. Through unyielding dedication to water conservation, and innovative use of a digital platforms, such as a mobile app that shows customers tangible water savings, Le Conte has helped many Smart Watering Systems clients achieve 80 percent water savings per year in landscape water use.

The National Water and Energy Conservation Award 

This award honors significant achievement in the conservation of water and energy relating to irrigation procedures, equipment, methods and techniques.

Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County (Los Angeles, Calif.)

Led by Supervising Treatment Plant Operator Tim Linn, the staff of the Palmdale Agricultural Site manages a 12 million gallon-per-day capacity water treatment plant. Their work provides 100 percent treated effluent to irrigate, under center pivot, approximately 2,000 acres of agricultural crops. Linn and staff have shown the best in water management by navigating regulatory restrictions, crop rotations, nutrient loads and crop water demand to keep up with the county’s constant supply of recycled water.

Nominations for 2013 awards are now open. IA membership is not mandatory to nominate a candidate or to be nominated. Recipients are named based on the strength of the candidate and are selected by the IA Awards and Honors Committee.

To submit a nomination, visit