Roy Williams Memorial Award

The Roy Williams Memorial Award is given in recognition of significant contributions to the irrigation industry.

The award can be given to an individual or an organization. The award is named in honor of the co-founder and first president of the Society and was originally named the ASIC Industry Achievement Award. Any member of the society may submit nominations for this award. Possible areas of contribution include design, application, water conservation, research, academia, manufacturing, and all related fields. ASIC members and non-members are eligible.

Past Recipients

2019 — Tom Tanto

Mr. Tanto is a well-known figure in the golf industry.  After emigrating to the United States from Hungary after World War II, Tom earned a degree in civil engineering from the University of Pittsburgh.  Shortly after graduation, he was introduced to the world of golf course construction and was smitten.  A few years later, in 1969, he started his own golf course construction company, Tanto Construction and Supply.

The company thrived under Tom’s leadership; a period spanning 32 years.  His reputation in the industry was based on honesty, quality work, and customer service.  His list of clients includes some of the best-known names in the industry.  Tanto Irrigation installed irrigation systems on untold numbers of private and public courses including work on twenty-five of Golf Digest’s Top 100 courses.

In the East and Midwest, irrigation consulting was still an emerging industry in the 1980’s and 1990’s.  Tom was an early friend and advocate of the profession.  He recognized and appreciated the value a professional irrigation consultant brought to a project and understood and respected the divergent roles played by the irrigation consultant and contractor.  In turn, Tom Tanto and his company, Tanto Irrigation, earned the respect, and referrals, from many irrigation consultants who understood and appreciated the very important role the installing contractor has on the success of any irrigation project.

Along the way, Tom developed many friendships and close professional relationships with those he worked with.  His positive attitude and warm personality made it easy to make a connection.  In addition to the ASIC Roy Williams Award, he was recently awarded the GCSAA Distinguished Service Award for his contributions to the industry.

ASIC is honored to be presenting the prestigious ASIC Roy Williams Memorial Award to Tom as it is a fitting tribute to his leadership in golf irrigation contracting.

2018 — Brent Mecham

Brent has left an indelible imprint on the irrigation industry in numerous ways.  His current title of Industry Development Director for the Irrigation Association has him on the front lines in the development of standards and codes that affect irrigation products and practices.  An affable person by nature, Brent enjoys interacting with others and has become the respected face and voice at the negotiation table, adeptly representing the irrigation industry interests.

Brent has been a regular presenter at ASIC National Conferences, sharing information with irrigation design professionals from across the country about upcoming industry codes and standards and future trends.  He also serves as a perennial presenter and instructor for IA classes and helped author many of the IA study guides and other educational materials including the authoritative Irrigation 6th Addition.  Brent was also the backbone of the writing team that produced the widely respected IA/ASIC Best Practices for Landscape Irrigation.  Brent currently is certified as an IA Designer (CID); Water Manager (CLWM); Contractor (CIC) and Auditor (CAIS).

Stacy Gardner, Awards Chair and incoming ASIC Vice President offered the following: “The Awards Committee overwhelming supported Brent’s nomination for the Roy Williams Award in recognition of his years of dedicated service to the Irrigation Industry.  Brent has worked tirelessly for the last decade and longer to protect the interests of irrigation contractors, consultants, distributors, and manufacturers.  His work on standards and codes has resulted in a balanced approached to outdoor water use and potential restrictions.”

2017 — Brian Vinchesi, FASIC

Brian has had a multitude of achievements in the irrigation industry.  His firm, Irrigation Consulting, Inc., was founded in 1992—at the time, one of few independent irrigation firms located outside California.  He grew the firm into one of the leading national irrigation consulting firms, both in size and scope of work performed.  From the start, Brian strove to push the industry on issues of water conservation and management.  And he has been a relentless advocate for the role of independent irrigation consultant.

Brian has been a prolific activist in the industry speaking and presenting at numerous industry events including ASIC National and Regional Conferences, Irrigation Association (IA) Show & Education Conference, GCSAA Golf Industry Show, WaterSmart Conference plus many Regional Associations.  He has also shared his knowledge as an instructor at University of Massachusetts, Rutgers University, and Ohio State University.

He served on countless committees, most notably as current Chairman of Smart Water Application Technologies (SWAT), Past Chairman of the IA Education Foundation, Past Chairman of the IA Certification Board of Governors, and currently serving on the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) Landscape Irrigation Standards Committee.  Along the way, he found time to serve as President of both ASIC and IA.

Brian is the recipient of many past Awards and Honors as well.  He was named an ASIC Fellow in 2014—an honor recognizing exceptional career work that has advanced the art, science and professionalism of irrigation consulting and his countless volunteer hours given on behalf of the irrigation industry.  In 2015, he was awarded the prestigious IA Industry Achievement Award and was the 2009 EPA WaterSense Partner of the year.


2015 — Stephen Smith, PhD, FASIC

Stephen is a premier innovator, educator and advocate for the irrigation industry. His work has made him a force for the advancement of the irrigation profession and cutting-edge water resource management. Smith has 40 years of experience in irrigation engineering and water resources, beginning with the launch Aqua Engineering, Inc. in 1975. Prior to 1975, his work on the Colorado State University research faculty included irrigation research and evaluation of irrigation technologies. He holds three degrees in Agricultural Engineering from Colorado State University and New Mexico State University.

He served on the faculty at Colorado State University where he taught irrigation design for almost 20 years. He is currently the U.S. Head of Delegation to two International Standards Organization (ISO) committees involving irrigation and water reuse. Stephen is also owner of Wade Water LLC and Buena Vida Farm in Fort Collins, CO

He has been an active professional member and past national president of ASIC, and is a Society Fellow. Smith also has served on the Irrigation Association board of directors and as president in 2009.


2014 — Jim Laiche

Jim has dedicated the last 25 years of his career teaching the importance of – and improving the practice of – professional irrigation. His guidance in critical water conservation principles represents in part the future of irrigation.

Jim was introduced to irrigation in Dallas, TX, working for a small landscape and irrigation company where he learned to design and install irrigation systems. Armed with a BS in Horticulture from Louisiana State University and his Texas Irrigator’s License, he started a local irrigation contracting company in Texas. He later earned his Masters in Landscape Architecture from LSU.

Laiche joined The Toro Company in 1988 calling on contractors, consultants, distributors and golf courses. As regional sales manager, Laiche organized numerous Toro University training events and has taught hundreds of irrigation workshops at various national universities. He also has served Toro as a central control specialist, working with several large institutions to reduce irrigation water use, including Disney, University of Notre Dame, Baylor University, Central Park, General Mills, Yum Brands and Darden Restaurants.

2013 – Dave Davis

2010 – Denne Goldstein

2009 – William Kubly

2007 – Dr. James Watson

2006 – Irvine Ranch Water District

2005 – Ed Norum

2004 – LaFetra family

2003 – Walt Disney Imagineering

2002 – Richard Hunter

2001 – Ewing Irrigation Products

2000 – Ed Shoemaker

1999 – Bill Speelman

1997 – Edward S. Pira

1996 – Center for Irrigation Technology

1991 – Ed Hunter

1990 – Dr. Joe Hung

1989 – Chet Sarsfield

1988 – Bill Reinecke