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Gachina Family Learning Center, Foothill College

By: Chad Sutton, Water Resource Manager, Gachina Landscape Management

I had the pleasure of attending the dedication of the John Paul and H. Jaclyn Ishimaru-Gachina Learning Center at Foothill College, Thursday, February 21st. John was honored for being a pioneer in the industry and always having his eye on training and education. He was dedicated to ensuring a career choice in the green industry was a profession to be proud of; and that you could be at your professional best through education. Jackie was honored for carrying on John’s legacy and vision. The event was attended by many personal friends, family and industry leaders.

The training center will be a first of its kind at Foothill College and throughout the Bay Area. Its uniqueness is set off by a college setting academic program along side hands-on fieldwork all at the same beautiful location in Los Altos, California.

Frank Niccoli, the horticultural professor, has spearheaded this effort during a critical time—the industry need for qualified labor. Frank’s efforts focus on retaining the practical portion of the certified landscape technician (CLT) testing; which includes construction, irrigation and water management skills that have been lost through the modification of the national CLT  program.

John and now Jackie have always committed  time, energy, financial support, and focus towards raising the level of professionalism among landscape, irrigation and water management teams for our clients and  the green industry. The center will benefit all professional water managers and landscape technicians. John was one of the founding fathers of the original CLT certification. He  encouraged all team members to become certified and be recognized as a professional.  Empowering the team and investing in opportunities to grow was the only real path to success for Gachina Landscape Management. Our teams are our greatest asset. Jackie continues John’s vision of leading the green industry in sustainability, water management, farm-to-table, client satisfaction and valuing employees through continuous improvement – known in Japanese as kaizen.

Now in our 30th year, it is my pleasure and honor to carry-on and push forward John’s legacy as the Water Resource Manager, overseeing the entire irrigation operation. Our company team of 450+ is stronger than ever and always working to improve every day; it is that kaizen spirit that will carry us forward and honor John’s legacy of always helping people improve at every level .

The excellence and caliber of Frank’s program at Foothill College along with the unique training facility will provide real-world hands on experience to train skills that are currently are in high demand. I’m super excited and can’t wait to be part of the inaugural class at Foothill College. My team is proud to be included. What an honor and joy it is to be a part of  a great team/ family and have a career I truly love.

Originally posted at

Foothill College, landscape training, ongoing education, water management training

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