Throughout our history, we have thrived on innovation. This constant focus has fueled creative solutions to improve productivity, increase fuel and energy efficiency, and help customers better care for their outdoor environments. This includes products powered by propane, hybrid, advanced battery, electronic fuel injection and LED technologies – along with GPS-supported solutions and agronomic drone mapping technologies to apply resources and other inputs more precisely. In addition to developing many industry-leading irrigation solutions that help apply water more efficiently to turf, landscapes and agricultural crops, we were honored to be recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency with the 2018 WaterSense® Excellence Award for efforts in outdoor water efficiency education and outreach. This was the fourth consecutive year that we have received a prestigious WaterSense award.
Focused on advancing the company's innovative leadership, Toro's Center for Advanced Turf Technology (CATT) has responsibility for developing technologies that benefit both customers and the environment. Comprised of a team of leading agronomists and product development professionals, CATT identifies emerging trends in turf care markets and, through the application of appropriate technologies, helps discover new solutions to increase productivity, conserve water, reduce fuel consumption, and improve growing conditions.
In working with customers, academic institutions and leading researchers, the group has been influential in the area of robotics, hydrogen fuel cells, advanced battery technologies, precision irrigation and soil moisture sensing.
To those in the turf industry, James R. Watson, Ph.D., (1920-2013) was a pioneer, teacher and legend. Watson joined The Toro Company in 1952 as director of agronomy. During his 46 years with Toro, he pioneered important turf and water management research around the globe. Many of the world's leading golf courses, parks and sports facilities frequently sought Dr. Watson's advice and counsel whenever they faced difficult turf challenges. Dr. Watson also proved instrumental in Toro's entry into the commercial and homeowner irrigation business by championing the purchase of Moist-O-Matic in 1962. Always the visionary, he passionately promoted water as a critical resource that must be precisely managed and conserved.
The backyard of Toro's world headquarters – now designated as the "Dr. James R. Watson Research and Development Proving Grounds" – represents what once was the only research center of its kind in the world. Leading a team of 25 researchers, Dr. Watson conducted studies on a variety of grasses and soils to ensure best management practices in fertilization and water usage, as well as approaches for controlling unwanted grasses, disease and pests. Dr. Watson applied the knowledge gained from his research to educate Toro personnel and the industry at large.
Dr. Watson remained active in the industry following his retirement from Toro in 1998 as vice president of customer relations and agronomist, serving as a consultant to both the company and industry. He also participated on a number of prestigious turf and water management boards, organizations and research efforts. Dr. Watson was the inspiration behind Toro's cutting-edge turf and water management research in the company's Center for Advanced Turf Technology.
The importance of Dr. Watson's countless contributions to the advancement of turf science and our company's interests cannot be overstated. He exemplified our core values and played an instrumental role in helping Toro form lasting relationships with the customers and industries we serve around the world.