CALS Degree, UVM Friendships and Hard Work are All it Takes
Entrepreneur Dennis Canedy Receives 2012 Outstanding Alumnus Award
- By Cheryl Dorschner
Dennis Canedy '75 is a man who, through his UVM education, the great good friends he met here, the hard work of his own two hands and his global vision, aims to bring sustainable development and ecological landscape practices to countries in great need.
As the president and principle leader of a private business launch of a sustainable agriculture and development project in Kurdistan, Iraq, he has gathered the resources of major multi-national partners, local businesses and governments. Canedy’s plan is nothing less than to create communities that will integrate best agricultural practices, a sustainable infrastructure and a network of research, education and operations.
And once Canedy succeeds in Iraq, he hopes that his efforts there will be replicated in other countries through his business and development organization called World Enrichment Group.
This logistically and politically complex effort only awaits a more stable political climate.
This business idea is a “global application of a land-grant ethic.” says Howard Lincoln, development officer for UVM's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. That's why Lincoln nominated Canedy for the 2012 Outstanding Alumnus Award that he received on May 12. Lincoln called “this plan seems destined to succeed in Iraq, where food production is at a fraction of what it could be.”
Canedy is widely known for his work and contributions to professional landscaping in the state of Arizona. He lives in Phoenix. He started Sunset Landscaping and Designs in 1980, growing it to more than 100 employees, many of whom have been with him since the beginning. They specialize in landscaping communities of up to 12,000 model homes, and custom homes of up to 30,000 square feet.
“He is a preferred landscape designer and installer of many local building contractors for his model complexes, as well as designer of choice for custom landscaping for home buyers,” says Judy Gausman executive director of the Arizona Landscape Contractor Association.
That organization gave Sunset Landscaping and Designs many awards for designs and construction over the years. In 2006, his peers named Canedy Outstanding Contractor of the Year. He became an ALCA president, director of government affairs and a leading advocate for sustainable environmental practices in landscaping. He met regularly with state and federal officials representing the industry on employee identification and immigration reform.
In his community, he voluntarily designed and orchestrated the renovation of a backyard at a transitional home for women who are working to become independent and self-sufficient. Canedy was also a Little League coach while his two sons were growing up.
A Brattleboro native, Dennis Canedy earned his UVM degree in biological science. Upon graduation he studied landscape architecture at Syracuse University and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry.
Whether in Arizona or Iraq, Canedy always maintained close ties with his alma mater. He is a member of the Ira Allen Society, serving in development and alumni relations as a donor, participant in class reunions and with special UVM projects.
He is a proud member of Chikago International. Chikago is a highly unofficial UVM fraternity that he and college roommates formed in 1975 and still convene at UVM gatherings, on European tours and at that May 12 CALS Alumni and Friends Dinner when Dennis "Redman" Canedy received the Outstanding Alumnus Award before a crowd gathered at UVM's Davis Center Grand Maple Ballroom. Barbara Moore '74 also received a 2012 Outstanding Alumna Award. Two faculty members received the College's Sinclair Cup for their more than three decades of service: Mary Carlson and Frederick Magdoff. Rebecca Calder '12 was named Outstanding Senior.
Dennis Canedy’s camaraderie with the Men of Chikago is emblematic of how UVM traditions and friendships continue more than 30 years later (and gain a little notoriety). A tale of Chikago International reunions even showed up on the 2011 Land's End Business Outfitters blog!
Kate Baldwin, ’78, who served CALS and now the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, and who is a Chikago spouse, summed up Dennis Canedy this way: “He has applied his CALS degree and many practical courses in his profession. He works close to the land every day. He understands his role and responsibility as a local and world citizen. Most of all, he has a heart of gold, and would help anyone in need.”