On October 6th we celebrated Belgard’s 9th Annual HARDSCAPE HERO of the Year award ceremony at The Dominion Energy Center in Richmond, Virginia. 

The HARDSCAPE HERO program was developed nine years ago to celebrate our contractor partners who go above and beyond to put the Belgard product on display in the most artful and creative ways possible. On top of being rewarded with free product and promotion across Belgard’s social platforms, each monthly winner is invited to our annual celebration where they have a chance to win the prestigious title of HARDSCAPE HERO of the Year. 

In addition to the accolades that come with the award, the winner of the year receives $5,000 in tools and equipment, $5,000 in other gifts and prizes, a $500 credit for Techniseal products, $500 in custom marketing materials, social media features and a framed photo of the winning project. 

The dealer who supplied the winning project receives a $3,500 credit with Belgard, a framed photo of the project and an outdoor banner design. 

As is tradition, our day of celebration got started that morning with the Techniseal Clay Classic. Our monthly winners joined Belgard reps at Old Forge Sporting Clays in Providence Forge for some friendly competition to see who had the best aim and the steadiest hand. After nine stations and 50 targets, the course winner Shaun Snodgrass of Scapes Inc. received a brand new Go-Pro, while Allen Abisia of Creative Outdoors won the wobble and a set of (OSHA approved) Apple Airpod Pro headphones. Last place got to experience this year’s roast by Techniseal’s National Account Manager, a custom that never gets old for those who aren’t on the receiving end. 

Before kicking off the evening’s award ceremony, all of the guests gathered in the lobby of The Dominion Energy Center for a happy hour where they enjoyed this year’s signature drink The Haggling Homeowner: a new take on a New York bourbon sour. This year nine of the twelve winners were first-time winners. The winners whose jobs were making their HARDSCAPE HERO debut were Micah Miller of Easton Outdoors, Hector Manuel of Oxl Landscaping, Bill Banford of LiveWell Outdoors, Howard Rose of BCLS Paver Patios, Allen Abisia of Creative Outdoors, Ray Ditmeyer of Custom Outdoor Solutions LLC, Jeff Crandell of Scapes Inc. and Luke Walton of Integrity Landscaping Solutions. 

Once everyone had a chance to rub shoulders and get a look at the Wall of Fame, they were ushered into the historic theater to enjoy dinner. Matt Kwarta, Belgard Mid-Atlantic’s VP of Sales and Marketing started things off with a stirring speech about giving back through acts of service. This provided an excellent segue into announcing this year’s Paves the Good projects. Paves the Good is a program created by Belgard Mid-Atlantic to give contractors an opportunity to improve their communities by sponsoring hardscape jobs for charity. Liller’s Lawncare and Easton Outdoors were recognized for their contributions to the program, offering free labor for the McShin Foundation and Tunnel to Towers to create beautiful patios using donated materials from Belgard. 

This was followed by a recap of all the year’s winners before the big announcement. Tensions were high in anticipation of the winning job. A pregnant pause filled the room before the big reveal…” Jeff Crandell of Scapes Inc. is 2023’s HARDSCAPE HERO of the Year! Ernest Maier Gomoljak, dealer of the year!” Confetti cannons filled the air with color as music began reverberating through the theater. Just like that, the party was underway. 

The DJ kept the tunes bumping into the late hours as everyone cut loose, dancing through the night. 

Every year the caliber of projects submitted to the HARDSCAPE HERO program increases exponentially, pushing the quality of work amongst this elite group of contractors ever higher. It’s hard to imagine projects getting even better in the years to come but after almost a decade of HARDSCAPE HERO, we can’t wait to see what next year holds.