Andy Walker celebrates 40 years at SISIS

Andy Walker, Field Support Manager for Dennis and SISIS, recently celebrated an impressive 40 years of working for the company.

It all started back in 1976 when a fresh faced 16 year old, took a chance and strolled into the SISIS factory looking for a job – the rest as they say, is history.

Andy showed his potential during a month’s trial and was offered a permanent role working on the shop floor. He remained in that position for a few months but the ever determined Andy had his heart set on development engineering, where five years later he was supervising that very same department.

2009 began another significant change of direction for Andy when he was promoted to the position of Field Support Manager. He was in this role for two years before the Howardson Group acquired SISIS and it was a move which Andy believes signalled the start of a perfect partnership.

Andy Walker 40 Years“The two brands complemented one another perfectly – SISIS opened up markets to Dennis and Dennis opened new markets for SISIS.”

“It’s a nice feeling to work for a company that’s getting stronger and stronger all the time. There’s excellent management in place, the company is forward thinking and everyone supports each other.”

Andy admits that he never dreamed of where his career would take him and 40 years later he’s seen some of world’s most beautiful places, become a prominent and well respected figure in the turf care industry and seen first-hand the widespread adaptation of several technological advances. It’s an impressive achievement – but what’s the secret to his long and rewarding career?

“Quite simply – I love what I do. Throughout the 40 years not once have I ever woken up and dreaded going into work. The main reason that I’ve stayed in the industry for so long is because of the people in it – those I’ve met at bowling greens, cricket squares, football pitches, people from other companies and especially my colleagues over the years – they’ve become some of my closest friends and that’s something that money can never buy. It’s also been great to witness and be a part of the evolution of the turf care industry.”

Further information about the range of maintenance products available can be found by visiting /

For more news, reviews and insightful views, you can follow Dennis on Twitter @DennisMowers and SISIS @SISISMachinery. You can like the Facebook page – and You can also view the latest Dennis videos by visiting and


Organisers of SALTEX 2016, which is being held on 2 and 3 November at the NEC, Birmingham, have revealed that the show is expanding to accommodate an increasing number of exhibitors.

The extra floor space marks a show growth of 1,120sq/m as exhibitors continue to sign up for the event. In fact, 81% of allocated space at SALTEX 2016, which includes the extra floor space, has already been accounted for.

The extra space will not only allow for more exhibitors to showcase an even wider range of products and services, but also provides an extra seminar theatre to accommodate an enhanced free-to-attend LEARNING LIVE programme plus Young Groundsmen’s Conference sessions, sponsored by Rigby Taylor and Top Green, which will now be held on the show floor.

SALTEX gets BIGGERLast year’s conference, organised and hosted by the Institute of Groundsmanship’s (IOG) Young Board of Directors, which saw many of the industry’s leading experts taking part, was held in a separate room just outside of the exhibition halls. However, post-show feedback revealed that visitors would prefer this to be integrated into the show area. Organisers have listened and acted upon this feedback by enabling its new location.

Students and aspiring groundsmen interested in a career in turf management will be able to network with leading companies, view the latest technology and learn more about pathways into the industry by attending informative Young Groundsmen’s Conference sessions – within one easy-to-access location.

The relocation of this conference is just one of a number of revisions which are being implemented by the IOG to ensure that the show maintains a fresh feel. Last year’s education programme, LEARNING LIVE, saw 1,655 minutes of free seminars, and post-show visitor feedback revealed it to be extremely popular. This year, show organisers are planning an even more exiting programme with a greater depth of content and quality.

Commenting on the updated programme, IOG CEO Geoff Webb said: “Last year’s LEARNING LIVE programme was hailed as a great success – we had a huge range of subjects and there was something for everyone. Preparation for the 2016 LEARNING LIVE programme is already well underway and will address the issues that surround our industry.

For example we will be looking at the EU Debate – whether we are out or in, the 2016 European Championships in France and the Olympics in Brazil.

“We have now commissioned a fourth lecture theatre to expand the number of presentations across the two days. Pencilled in already are expert speakers from the UK and abroad. The Young IOG are also joining the LEARNING LIVE programme with some dedicated sessions in purpose-built seminar rooms with better sound systems and screens – a direct improvement from 2015 – based on speaker and visitor feedback.

“All in all we are looking at a growing event which we look forward to welcoming you to in November.”

Since SALTEX was first held in 1938, the event has brought the industry together to network, learn and view the latest innovations. While remaining true to these core principles of SALTEX’s heritage, it is apparent that the show is moving with the times and now reflects a unique and modern 21st century trade show.

Last year’s audited visitor figures confirmed 8,714 visitors spanning 45 different nations and the exhibition’s role as the industry’s principal showcase was evident. SALTEX 2016’s improved show features and unrivalled industry support are set to work together to create the freshest and most exciting turf management event to date when the doors open later this year.

Award Winning Volunteer Groundsman Puts His Trust in Etesia

Robin Taylor, a volunteer groundsman for Grendon Rangers, a FA Charter Standard Club, has sworn by his Etesia Hydro 100 for the last twenty-one years. In that time he has picked up five awards and believes it is down to his trusty ride-on mower. His pitch has played a large part in ensuring that the club meets the FA pyramid step 7 criteria.

Grendon Rangers FC boasts two senior teams and six youth teams from Under 7’s upwards. It’s a good, successful footballing organisation for all ages, but arguably the club’s star performer is Robin – who dedicates up to 12 hours a week of his spare time to ensure that players have a good pitch to play on.

“My whole purpose in doing what I do is to have a nice level pitch that the players can play football on and it has to be safe pitch – no divots, no big cracks and nothing that can hurt a player.

“We all have past-times and my past-time is football. I enjoy maintaining the pitches and I enjoy watching as well. My reward is looking at the presentation of the pitches and watching the game without anyone picking up an injury,” said Robin.

Robin’s admirable enthusiasm is of great advantage to grass roots sports – not only does he tend to the main pitch but also the whole of the recreation ground, the school sports field and a nearby children’s park. It therefore seems fitting that he has picked up five awards in his time as groundsman – the most recent achievement being the runner-up Groundsman of the Year throughout the whole of Buckinghamshire and Berkshire. With over 500 clubs in these counties, it truly is a remarkable accomplishment.

However, Robin doesn’t really have time to dwell on such feats; when he is not dedicating his spare time to maintaining the grounds for Grendon Rangers FC, he also finds time to work for RT Machinery, based in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire.

Award Winning Volunteer Groundsman  Puts His Trust in Etesia Recently awarded the 2015 UK Dealer of the Year Award in the Service Dealer Awards, this successful family run business offers a wide range of equipment in serving the professional ground care, sports, private estate and homeowner turfcare markets. One of the company’s biggest selling brands is Etesia and Robin is certainly an advocate.

“I use the Etesia Hydro 100 ride-on mower which is what I call my right arm. It is so adaptable and I can do whatever I want as far as grass cutting goes. It’s a work horse for me really and I use it for everything I do.

“The cut is excellent – it is clean, can cut to any length, and the clippings come out the back of the machine without any loss of suction and it leaves the pitches nice and tidy,” said Robin.

As well as using the Hydro 100 to cut the pitch, he also adapts it for a number of other tasks. He uses it as a tractor unit to tow a slitter, roller, drag mat and he also uses it with a ‘hopper’ style basket on the back to transport top soil, sand and any other materials required.

“It sits on the back in place of the collection unit and it will hold almost two barrow loads of sand, so in the winter I can sand the pitch. In pre-season when I’m doing my renovation work, I can also put topsoil on with it and then for the rest of the year I can use it for a number of other odd jobs.

“I chose the Etesia Hydro 100 because if you are not careful you can end up with a machine that only does one job. The football club has not got a lot of money to throw around and one of the biggest things when you are maintaining pitches for a club such as this is to keep the overheads as low as possible. The club wouldn’t be able to afford a compact tractor or an individual cylinder mower. Even if you had these you’d still need other implements so it would work out very expensive – even if they were second hand. The Etesia mower is very well priced and comes into a category that football clubs like Grendon can afford.

“I’ve had the machine for 21 years and it’s still going strong – which says a lot about the quality of the build. The base of the machine never deteriorates – you’ve got the chassis which is strong, it has a robust front axle, there have never been any problems with the gear box and the engine is nice and smooth. Overall it has performed for 21 years in all weather and ground conditions – it’s been brilliant.”

The Etesia Hydro 100 was in fact the mower that helped Etesia make its entry into the world of green spaces. It was in 1989 and the concept was a revolutionary one – the first ride-on mower with direct ejection and integrated collection. This new concept made a strong impact on the mower market and rapidly became the standard-setter. Since then, the Hydro 100 has evolved and 2015 saw the launch of the Hydro 100 III. Capitalising on the strengths of the previous model, the new Hydro 100 goes beyond existing standards providing a powerful new Kawasaki engine, a larger 14-litre gas tank to give it more power and range, new steering for greater comfort and a new modern hydraulic drive transmission with differential lock for improved traction and drivability.

Although Robin is extremely happy with his current model, it appears that he already has one eye on the new Hydro 100 III and believes that it will be of great benefit to whoever he eventually passes the baton to.

“We are currently looking into grants because I would like a new Etesia mower. At my ripe old age someone else is going to have to do it one day so I hope the club manages to get one.

“But hopefully that’s a long way off. I love what I do; it’s just like doing the gardening I suppose, except I get more of a reward from this. The award is just the icing on the cake really.”

For further information, please contact Etesia UK on 01295 680120 or visit You can also follow Etesia on Twitter @EtesiaUK for much more news, reviews and insightful views.

Complete Weed Control London Invests in New Equipment

As business continues to rapidly increase, Simon Akerman, Complete Weed Control area manager for London South East, London Central and London North East has invested in a range of new equipment to keep operations at the highest possible standard.

Simon, who has been with Complete Weed Control for over eight years, was internally promoted to the position of area manager in 2014. He started his new role with two members of staff and now has six employees working alongside him – which is testament to how far the business has come in just a couple of years.

Simon also revealed that their workload is set to become even busier: “We’ve got a very busy year ahead and have just taken on Hillingdon, which is one of the biggest boroughs in London. We are now responsible for spraying four of the boroughs in London with the possibility of adding a fifth one.

“With all the work that we are taking on, we have calculated that we will double our annual turnover – which is a great achievement and is something I’m very proud of.”

Many of the new contracts Simon has gained have been achieved through word of mouth from happy customers, and to continue offering the best possible service he has just purchased four new vans and three new Weed-IT machines.

complete weed control LondonWeed-IT is the most advanced application equipment currently available for weed control on pavements and hard surfaces. It is a computer controlled herbicide application system consisting of a shrouded spraying head mounted on the front of a purpose built articulated carrier vehicle. Within the shrouded head are sensor units which detect the presence of weeds and trigger the appropriate spray nozzles to apply accurately the correct amount of herbicide just to those weeds and their immediate surroundings. Weed-IT not only produces exceptionally high levels of weed control but it significantly reduces herbicide usage and guarantees greater safety for the operator and the public alike.

Commenting on the new equipment Simon said: “To keep taking the business forward we need to make these kinds of investments. It helps us to stay ahead of the competition and continues to project the excellent image of Complete Weed Control.”

Simon’s investment in the new equipment mirrors The Complete Group’s philosophy in looking to the future and providing customer service of the highest calibre. The company has always gone that extra mile in meeting customer requirements and over the years has launched a range of new services such as Complete Ice Control, Complete Grounds Maintenance, Complete Moss Control and Complete Invasives Control.

All of The Complete Group’s entities are managed at the headquarters in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, and Simon believes that he owes a lot of his success to the team who are based there.

“I’d like to add, that without the support of head office, I wouldn’t have been able to achieve what I’ve been able to. They help me with all of my invoicing, my quotations and all the administrative support you need to run a successful business.”

For more information, please contact Complete Weed Control’s national office on 01325 324 277 or visit

You can also follow Complete Weed Control on Twitter @CWCLimited and view the company’s YouTube channel at

Only ICL will do for Deeside Golf Club

Neil McLoughlin, course manager at Deeside Golf Club, has been in the industry for over twenty years. For the entirety of his career he has been using products from ICL, and claims that the stunning course you see today is, in part, thanks to the products.

Nestling on the banks of the River Dee, Deeside Golf Club boasts both an eighteen hole course and a nine hole course. The eighteen hole Haughton Course, a traditional Scottish parkland, is considered one of the best in Scotland and hosts a number of prestigious events throughout the year. Also available for play is the Blairs course, which offers an enjoyable nine holes for the whole family, while still challenging the lower handicap player.

Course manager praises ICL and Primo MaxxWhile the course provides stunning panoramic views of mature trees and beautiful Royal Deeside scenery, the River Dee has caused Neil a few problems over the years. Last year the River caused the courses to flood six times and this year the same problem has occurred four times already. Luckily for Neil and the members of Deeside, the flooding mainly happens in the off-season so it doesn’t affect the club too much. However, the flooding certainly takes its toll on maintenance procedures but Neil has a secret weapon in the form of Primo Maxx, the grass growth regulator manufactured by Syngenta.

“We do use a lot of Primo Maxx for the greens, tees, fairways, approaches and on some rough around the greens. Keeping on top of Primo Maxx applications has prepared us for when we flood because I can afford to skip a cut. Before Primo Maxx, we’d have to cut after a flood and we would make an absolute mess and ruin the mowers – so with the Primo Maxx there is not as much pressure.

“One year we sprayed the fairways on the Haughton course with Primo Maxx but we didn’t on the Blairs course. During a period where we had heavy rain we went out to cut the Blairs fairways and there were grass clippings everywhere.

“When I haven’t used Primo Maxx I’ve gone out and cut the greens in the morning and by the following day I’d be out there taking off maybe four boxes of grass – now I don’t even fill half a box. The greens must have been a hell of a lot slower in the afternoons than they were in the mornings before we were using Primo Maxx.

“I’m a big fan of it and it’s the one I use most consistently.”

Neil sprays his greens every two weeks with Primo Maxx and in addition to applying the growth regulator he applies two granular feeds a year to the greens and one at the start of the season on the tees. With Deeside hosting the Scottish Seniors Amateur Championship earlier this year, he decided that he needed an upgrade on the previous granular fertilizer he was using, and this led him to SierrablenPlus Stress Control 15-0-28.

“We used SierrablenPlus this year – which is the first time we’ve used it. We were looking for a product that would give us a good slow release without a flush of growth. Coming out of a very hard winter we were frozen for a long period of time and the green surrounds were in a very poor condition. We had the challenge of trying to grow grass in May last year when there was no soil temperature and we had the Championship in the middle of June too. So we urgently needed something that would colour them up and thicken the sward without that top growth. We tried the SierrablenPlus Stress Control 15-0-28 and it worked incredibly well, so I’ll definitely be sticking with it going forward.”Only ICL will do for Deeside Golf Club

Other products to also feature in Neil’s Everris inventory is Greenmaster Liquid Spring & Summer 12-4-6, which is ideal to use during the main growth periods; Qualibra – a premier wetting and water conservation agent and MedallionTL fungicide – a product which Neil believes offers long-lasting control in winter conditions.

“We’ll generally spray the greens with MedallionTL as a precaution going into early October, and then we’ll give them another hit going into early November. This way, the greens receive two applications before we get snow. The product is great – it gives us excellent protection and keeps the greens disease-free throughout the whole winter.”

To assist Neil with his ICL products, Jamie Lees – technical area sales manager, is always on hand to make sure everything runs smoothly. According to Neil, this customer service simply adds to the overall Everris experience.

“Jamie is a great representative for the company and is always available to talk to about products or any recommendations.

“Even before I was here, the previous greenkeeper used to use ICL products so it’s always been ICL at Deeside – they must be doing something right.”

To request the product guide or for further information, please contact ICL on 01473 237100 or visit