From The President


The things that matter the most

Jim McCutcheon, Landscape Industry Certified


Our association has experienced several dramatic changes over the past decade. We’ve merged, added specialty groups, and kept pace with an industry that is constantly evolving. To say this has forced us to run a “mile wide and inch deep” would be an overstatement, but these activities have contributed to some confusion in the minds of the general public and members alike about who we are and what we do. Well that confusion is coming to an end. 


PLANET’s rebranding initiative is rounding third base and heading home. We have sharpened our focus and drilled down to make sure we continue to deliver the products and services that are most important to our members.


Members will appreciate having an association that delivers a clear and concise message to their customers about our industry. They will also appreciate a refocus on programs and services that matter most to them. During rebranding, we have not only solicited important input from leadership and membership, but also have taken an unbiased look at all our programs to ensure they make a difference.


It’s still very early in the new year and time enough for you to drill down, as PLANET has, and challenge yourself and your team to make improvements. At one level, this may require sharpening your focus on product and service offerings. Or it may necessitate eliminating some of the things that take up time, money, and resources without generating an ample return on investment. At another level, the challenge may involve focusing on ways to improve your leadership skills and grow your business.


This provides a segue for reminding PLANET members about two upcoming events designed to help improve and grow their companies. One is the Great Escape (GE), to be held Feb. 26–28 at the Atlantis in the Bahamas. If you’ve never been, GE combines a great learning experience—through interactive workshops and lively discussions—with a relaxing environment. Sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know until you try something different, and Atlantis will be a different and fun-filled way to experience something new.


The other event is Student Career Days (SCD) to be held March 12–15 at North Carolina State in Raleigh. This is the 39th year for an event that gives business owners an opportunity to meet some of the best and brightest students our colleges have to offer. Want to grow your business?  SCD is one sure way to build for the future.


These two events symbolize the focus of our rebranding effort: finding ways to help members improve and grow their businesses. As a business owner and longtime PLANET member, I’m often reminded how the challenges of operating an association and a business mirror one another. Hence, the new year offers you a similar opportunity, to revisit your business plan and refocus on what matters most to you, your employees, and your customers.


Have a safe, prosperous, and happy new year!


Follow Jim as he blogs all year about his journey as PLANET president at