Talk about going out on top. Senior Horticulturist Kurt Bartel, who is retiring in September from DJF after 35 years, was inducted into the Wisconsin Landscape Contractors Association’s Hall of Fame on March 8.

After college (University of Wisconsin, BS in Horticulture and Plant Pathology, Integrated Pest Management graduate studies), Kurt began his 45-year career in the green industry at Milwaukee County Zoological Park, where he managed the installation and maintenance of both tropical plant displays and exterior woody and herbaceous plant collections. In 1989, he joined DJF, assuming three titles: Horticulturist, Plant Pathologist, and Vice President of Maintenance. The quality of his work at DJF was recognized with dozens of local, state, and national landscape awards.

Thirty years later in 2019, Kurt stepped down from his VP position to concentrate solely on being the company’s Senior Horticulturist.

Kurt has shared his love and knowledge of horticulture by giving hundreds of educational presentations to community groups and landscape organizations. He also helped organize and present at DJF University, a two-month company training program held for hundreds of employees during winter.

Kurt’s love of the environment extends into his own backyard. He is an avid gardener who has cultivated large perennial plants, dwarf conifers, ornamental grasses, and hosta collections.

If he had to list just one thing he is most proud of, it’s the fact that his teaching and training over the years have positively affected so many people, giving them the knowledge and confidence to excel in the green industry.