The Irrigation Foundation, its Board of Trustees and volunteers continue to promote and develop the following key initiatives.

Established in 1980, the mission of the Irrigation Foundation is to attract professionals to our industry by promoting careers in irrigation. Whether you work in irrigation design manufacturing, distribution, consulting, contracting or water management, the biggest challenge today isn’t finding new business — it’s finding good people!

The Foundation is continuously looking for ways to attract talent and promote careers in our industry. The progress that has been made since the establishment of the Foundation would not have been possible without the support of our sustaining sponsors Ewing Irrigation and Landscape Supply, Hunter Industries, the Rain Bird Corporation and The Toro Company.

Without their support of our initiatives, our programs would not exist today. Big or small, every donation helps. The full list of the companies, organizations and individuals that contributed financially in 2017 can be found at

Faculty academy

The number of educators that attend the agriculture and landscape faculty academies each year continues to grow. These events give educators the opportunity to network with peers and learn about the newest technologies and techniques to better educate their students.

Last year’s landscape Faculty Academy was hosted at Walt Disney World Horticulture Services in Orlando and was attended by 40 landscape irrigation educators. The Irrigation Foundation would like to thank Hunter Industries, Rain Bird Corporation, Irrometer Co. Inc., Bright- View Landscape Services and Walt Disney Horticulture Services for sponsoring the 2017 event. The 2018 landscape Faculty Academy will be June 21-22, 2018, at Front Range Community College in Westminster, Colorado.

Registration for both the landscape and agriculture faculty academies opened in February. The events are open to instructors teaching at high schools and twoand four-year institutions. Both events are free to attend, and grant assistance to help with travel expenses is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Visit our website for details on registration, this year’s schedule of events and more.

Excellence in education award

Each year, the Irrigation Foundation recognizes a person who is actively teaching or has formerly taught irrigation, water management and/or water conservation at a two- or four-year institution. The recipient receives education classes at the Irrigation Show and Education Conference and travel expenses. Claire Ehrlinger, CIT, LEED Green Associate, QWEL, of Mira Costa College was the 2017 winner. She joins the prestigious list of past awardees, recognized for having educated countless students who have become professionals focused on providing efficient irrigation solutions. Nominations for 2018 have closed; the winner will be announced this summer. Thank you to Hunter Industries for sponsoring the 2017 and 2018 Excellence in Education Award.

Did you know? The Irrigation Foundation hosted its two largest Faculty Academy groups yet in 2017, with 65 attendees, 46 of whom were first-time attendees.

Online career pathways NEW!

One of the new ways the Foundation is working to attract people to the irrigation industry is by creating awareness. In 2017, the Foundation launched the irrigation career pathways portion of its website, which can be found at The purpose of the career pathways is to inform prospective candidates of the different careers available in both agriculture and landscape irrigation. If a student, young professional or someone looking to change career paths is interested in a career where they can impact the environment through efficient irrigation solutions, the career pathways provide an excellent detailed description of the wide array of career opportunities our industry has to offer. The site also provides compensation data as a resource for prospective candidates.

Foundation scholarship program

The Irrigation Foundation scholarship program was established in 2017 to promote the study of and careers in the irrigation field. The program provides financial support for the education of worthy scholarship candidates. Ranging from $1,000 to $2,500, the scholarships are awarded based on the student’s letter of intent, financial need, reference letters, resume and list of irrigation-related courses taken or enrolled in.

In the program’s first year, the Foundation awarded 16 scholarships, 15 to students from fouryear universities and one to a student from a technical college. Ten of the winners were in agriculture-focused programs and six were in landscape-focused programs, while 13 of the winners were undergraduate students and three were graduate students.

A full list of the 2017 scholarship recipients, as well as the program requirements and application details, can be found on the Foundation’s website. The scholarship program accepts applications annually November through February, and the winners are announced in April.

Irrigation E3 – exposure, experience & education

The E3 program continues to be a flourishing and growing initiative. The program is open to students (E3 learners) and educators (E3 leaders). E3 applicants have the opportunity to be selected to attend the Irrigation Show and Education Conference to gain exposure to our industry, experience attending a trade show and take educational courses.

Last year, 30 applicants, 28 learners and two leaders were selected to attend the Irrigation Show and Education Conference in Orlando, Florida. Winners received hotel and travel accommodations, met with the program’s lead sponsors and had the opportunity to take Irrigation Association education classes offered during the show. Thank you to lead sponsors of the 2017 program — The Toro Company and Ewing Irrigation and Landscape Supply, as well as supporting sponsors Hunter Industries and the Carolina’s Irrigation Association.

The number of E3 applicants continues to grow each year along with the caliber of attendees. Having the opportunity to speak to the bright winners was a pleasure and a very humbling experience. It is truly amazing the see the talented level of intellectuals that this program and its sponsors bring to the Irrigation Show each year! To learn more about the Irrigation E3 program and see the list of last year’s winners, visit the Foundation’s website.

Irrigation career link

The Irrigation Career Link continues to be a great resource for employers to post irrigation employment opportunities. For anyone seeking employment opportunities in irrigation, the career link also continues to be one of the best spots to post a resume. There is no fee for job seekers to post resumes or for employers to browse the resume bank. Companies can post job openings for a low fee to connect to candidates. Browse job postings, post your resume or post your company’s open positions at

As we move forward in 2018, the Irrigation Foundation plans to continue growing these programs, while looking for ways to increase irrigation career awareness at the high school level.

I had the opportunity to meet and speak to some of our 2017 award recipients, and it’s amazing to witness the vast number of young adults who want to help our environment and conserve water through the promotion of efficient irrigation solutions.

It is with your support that the Foundation can continue to promote career opportunities at the high school, college and career levels. Thank you to the Irrigation Foundation Board of Trustees, Foundation volunteers and, most importantly, to the sponsors that have made our programs possible! For more information on the Foundation and its programs, visit

Eric Santos

CAIS, CGIA, CIC, CID, CIT, CLIA, CLWM chair, Irrigation Foundation, and vice president of irrigation services, BrightView Landscape Services