SALI NATIONAL CHAIRMAN
Dez Pimenta (formerly Whitehead) is the incoming national chairman for the South African Landscapers Institute (SALI). Based in Johannesburg, he has been involved in the landscaping industry since 2002.
Dez was raised on a lawn farm on Gauteng’s east rand, and the industry made its mark on his life from an early age. Most of his family members have also been involved in it in some way or another and it was therefore inevitable that this would become his life’s passion.
His career began in 2004 when he was appointed to install the landscape on a golf resort in Mauritius for Bidvest Top Turf. Upon his return to South Africa in 2005, he resumed work at the company’s head office in Johannesburg as a landscape contractor and later as a cost estimator.
During the FIFA 2010 World Cup, Top Turf based him at Cape Town’s Greenpoint Stadium as a project manager, in charge of the co-ordination and successful execution of the floral decoration of all internal and external hospitality areas within the stadium grounds. This covered an area in excess of 25 000 m2. He had to liaise closely with an international client and the local organising committee. This was the single biggest project of its kind in South African history.
His career evolved from there to become the company’s administration manager, and thereafter he took up the position of SALI operations director, in 2016. Two years later, he returned to Top Turf as their national key accounts manager.
Dez has served on the SALI Gauteng Executive Committee since 2008, holding various portfolios over the years. This has given him great insight into the workings of SALI and the opportunity to interact with other industry associations. His involvement with the SALI Exco has allowed him to participate in the vision of the association’s future; the strategic planning of growing SALI into a noteworthy and influential body has always been a matter very close to his heart.
He has represented SALI as a task team member on a panel to develop and implement the registration process of the newly formulated Professional Landscape Manager (PrLM) with the South African Council for the Landscape Architectural Profession (SACLAP). Dez has been registered as a professional landscape manager for construction and maintenance since August 2020.
His vision is to engage with various role players in the industry, as well as academia, government ministries and other sector suppliers to promote SALI as an active and credible Voluntary Association. With a keen interest in topics that form and shape the future of the green industry, his greatest joy is serving SALI members and other role players.