The NCLC is the largest national competition and career recruitment event for college students studying horticulture and landscaping, with approximately 530 students from 41 colleges competing each year in 31 events. Students demonstrate their skills in tree climbing, patio building, identifying horticulture specimens, skid steer operation, sales presentations, exterior/interior design, irrigation troubleshooting, wood construction, and more.
Setting the Stage
NCLC opened March 16 as students attended workshops to sharpen their knowledge and abilities on a wide range of landscape industry topics, while also completing qualification exams that would allow them to participate in the competitive events.
The next day, Belgard representatives participated in the Career Fair, which many students walk away from with their pick of internships and jobs from across the country. Many of the students who attend and compete at NCLC rate the event as one of the highlights of their college careers. Later that afternoon competitive event briefings were held to inform the students about the details, procedures, and requirements of the following days’ events.
Let the Games Begin
On March 18, each student was allowed to participate in up to three events. Belgard and Permaloc sponsored the Hardscape Installation event, where 29 teams were given 110 minutes to construct an 8’ x 8’ interlocking concrete pavement patio in a basket-weave pattern with a soldier course and L-shaped seat wall.
“The Hardscape Installation event has all the intensity and pressure of one of today’s popular competitive cooking shows,” said Karyn Peterson, Belgard Senior Field Marketer. “It’s a tough challenge for these kids who don’t install pavers on a regular basis. The day was hot and sunny, they are working hard, sweating, trying to come together on the best way to attack the problem. It’s intense and everything comes down to the very last moment, but they all did great.”
When time expired, each installation was evaluated by a team of judges and scores were awarded for accuracy, structural soundness, site cleanup, and safety. In the end the following students and schools finished as the Top Three Finalists.
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Joseph Contardo and Amanda Ramsdell
Columbus State Community College
Owen Forchione and AJ McCoy
Michael Fasanella and Nicholas Kimball
Going forward, Belgard and Permaloc will be sponsoring the first and second place teams as they compete in the 2022 HNA Installer Championship at Hardscape North America, October 19-21 in Louisville, Kentucky.