The Kinkeads and Turfco say they want to express their gratitude for all the support, collaboration and partnership that the company has received from industry professionals over the past 100 years.
“Turfco just wants to say ‘thank you, turf care industry,’ for all the great time spent together working to solve challenges and grow this great industry,” say George and Scott Kinkead, president and executive vice president, respectively, of Turfco Manufacturing in Blaine, Minnesota.
To celebrate this milestone, the company has launched a “100 Years of Thanks” giveaway for customers in the landscape industry featuring a Turfco T3100 Spreader and Sprayer Applicator (manufacturer’s list price $10,290) as the grand prize. Five GoPro HERO7 Silver cameras will also be awarded over the coming months to customers who register for a chance to win at www.turfcodirect.com/100years between January 30 and October 31, 2019.
“Scott and I have spent our whole careers in this industry, and this is a tangible way to express our heartfelt gratitude for the opportunities and collaborative partnerships we’ve experienced working with so many great professionals,” says George Kinkead.
The family’s lineage as makers of turf care equipment dates back to 1919. World War I, the “war to end all wars” had recently ended when Robert Stanard Kinkead, a veteran of the war, founded National Mower Company, based in St. Paul, Minnesota. He started off making reel-type, sickle bar and pull-behind lawn mowers that could be hitched to horses or tractors. Robert was an engineer during the war and he noticed sickle-bar equipment while overseas. Through the years the company continued its growth with power mowers while rising to national and international prominence as an innovator in commercial-grade mowing products for golf clubs, parks, agriculture, sports, and landscaping industries, among others.
Fast forward to 1961 when Turfco, working closely with local turf specialists, created the first mechanized topdresser. That invention brought the chore of topdressing into the 20th century! Topdressing on golf courses and sports fields used to consist of slinging sand from shovels to maintain and repair high trafficked turf areas. The introduction of the topdresser made it faster, easier and more consistent. John Kinkead Sr, while still working at National Mower, spearheaded the introduction of many other turf innovations at Turfco.
Under the leadership of the Kinkeads, Turfco thrived as it continued to develop and market new product innovations that helped advance the turf maintenance and landscaping industries.
In the early years, John Kinkead would pack up the family station wagon with a disassembled mower, and travel to demonstrate the product to prospects over six-week periods at a time, gaining input along the way. He had to reassemble the mower at each stop.
For sons George and Scott Kinkead life on the road was made easier as they could pack Turfco equipment for demonstration on a 20-foot trailer, greatly improving their on-the-road productivity.
Both George and Scott were rooted in the turf care industry from their early youths, working summers either at the manufacturing plant or in the field for a landscaping company or golf course, leading to their learning about the lawn and turf care businesses almost by osmosis. As they picked up on various aspects of the business, they were surprised to find out that the “UTVs” they raced around with at the family’s rustic cabin were nothing more than souped-up National Mower mowing machines in disguise.
The family perseverance and inventiveness set the tone for how the company would work with the lawn care professionals it sought to serve, to move the industry forward. "We are a company that runs on great customer service, and we get our best ideas for new products from listening to what lawn care professionals tell us are their most pressing challenges, and from observing how turf professionals actually tackle their landscape maintenance programs," says Scott Kinkead.
Both brothers are committed to spending a significant portion of their time watching and learning from their customers – the LCOs and their staffs – who perform the day-to-day work of commercial and residential lawn care and landscaping management. "We do spend a lot of time in the field, working with end users and performing product demonstrations and the like for the LCOs and their staffs," Scott says.
"Working side-by-side with LCOs, we often see problems and how they could be solved,” Scott says. They're pragmatic solutions that seem obvious – in hindsight. But the company's 100-year heritage of turf-care know-how really pays off in the new product development area. “As the leader in this focus area, we challenge ourselves constantly to develop new product ideas that offer our LCOs tools to do their jobs better,” says Scott.
"We feel blessed to be working in the lawn care industry," says George. "It's such a pleasure to work in an industry where people love what they do, and love going to work every day."