Each year, the Irrigation Association recognizes outstanding achievements in the industry. The recipients were recognized during the 2008 Irrigation Show in Anaheim, Calif.

2008 IA award recipients

Industry Achievement Award: Charles Meis

Charles Meis has been awarded the Irrigation Association’s 2008 Industry Achievement Award. Meis is currently the vice president of research and development at the Lindsay Corporation (Lindsay, Neb.) Over his 30-year career, Meis has been a leader the irrigation industry. He owns nine patents on irrigation equipment. His innovative designs include:

A center pivot system with 8-inch pipe to allow more water to irrigate 500-plus acres on a full section.
A longer span to reduce the number of towers needed to irrigate a standard quarter section from 10 to seven, reducing cost and wheel tracks.
A lateral movement system that hooks center pivot structures to a power tower, allowing them to move in a straight line down the field as water is pumped from an open ditch.

Established in 1966, the Industry Achievement Award recognizes the achievements of an individual from an irrigation firm who has advanced the industry, or its products.

“It is a huge honor to be recognized by you,” Meis said during his acceptance speech at the Irrigation show. “37 years ago I started to learn about irrigation when I started at Lindsay. I thank God and my wife for keeping me on track.”


Person of the Year: Bradford Monroe

Bradford Monroe from Cuyamaca College, (El Cajon, Calif.) was selected as IA’s Person of the Year. During his 20-plus years as director of the college’s ornamental horticulture program, Monroe has contributed to the irrigation industry through his commitment to education. Monroe started the first Certificate/Associate Irrigation Degree program in the state of California. He has advanced industry best practices as the author or editor of six books on irrigation design, installation and management, and by speaking at several conferences and conventions each year. His excellence as an educator has been recognized by the California Association of Nurserymen and the San Diego Industry Education Council. IA’s Person of the Year award honors someone outside the industry who has made outstanding contributions toward the acceptance of sound irrigation practices.

During his acceptance, Monroe said it was a great honor to be the first community college instructor to receive the award.


Crawford Reid Memorial Award: Karen Hounsome

The Irrigation Association has recognized Karen Hounsome’s contributions to the irrigation industry with the Crawford Reid Memorial Award. Hounsome is currently the coastal manager for Eljay Irrigation, (Victoria, British Columbia) and has been a leading voice in the Canadian irrigation industry throughout her entire career. Before joining Eljay in 1999, she worked for both CPI Equipment and Rain Bird in Canada. Hounsome’s contributions to the industry include active participation in the Western Canadian Turfgrass Association, where she is the current president.

She has also served as the president of the Irrigation Industry Association of British Columbia four times, most recently in 2001, and is a member of their Certification Board.

Education is an area where Hounsome has had a lasting impact. She has developed curriculum for efficient irrigation workshops, contractor education programs and controller workshops. She is an instructor for IIABC’s Certified Irrigation Technician program, and teaches landscape programs at three local colleges in British Columbia.

Established in 1979 and named for IA’s second president, the Crawford Reid Memorial Award honors individuals for promotion of proper irrigation techniques and major industry advancements outside of the United States.

Hounsome said it is key to get homeowners to ask the right questions or their contractors to get the right irrigation system the first time. “The ‘Get Smart’ approach to water savings is our best bet,” she added.