The Trailblazer Program is one of the best member programs at PLANET where you have the luxury of spending a day, one-on-one, with an industry leader and receive advice and techniques that will boost your business performance. This program is much more than a tour of someone else's shop. It goes much deeper than that. What you learn from your Trailblazer applies to your company’s long term success. It involves making sure you understand your business, the business’ strengths and weaknesses, where you are making money – or not, business planning, hiring, along with future plans, realized rates, market analysis, competitive analysis, etc.  You will learn in a day or two what it took our Trailblazers years.

This in-depth, personalized networking and mentoring program is a unique way for emerging and established companies to gain insight and advice on developing and growing their businesses.

2013 New PLANET Trailblazers

Design/Build Installation
Michael Becker*, Estate Gardeners, Inc.
Pete Wilkerson, Scapes

Landscape Management
Stephen Mazelis, Mazelis Landscape Contracting
Jason New, Southern Botanical

*Landscape Industry Certified

How does the Trailblazer program work?

The Trailblazer program operates on an annual basis with members submitting their Trailblazer applications starting in November with a deadline of December 31. The drawing is held in mid-January and notifications are sent out shortly thereafter. There is no guarantee that you will be awarded a Trailblazer as the demand exceeds the number of Trailblazers available.

Contact between the Trailblazer and member should be initiated immediately by phone and/or e-mail to determine the date and place of the face-to-face visit. These initial discussions are when the Trailblazer assesses the member's needs are will likely request documents for preparation for the upcoming face-to-face meeting. In these early discussions you will also determine if the meeting will take place at the member's facility or the Trailblazer's facility. If the Trailblazer travels to the member's facility, the member agrees to reimburse the Trailblazer for travel expenses.

Summary of day with my PLANET Trailblazer (click here)

Read what our members say about the Trailblazer program (click here)

"I made the trip to visit my Trailblazer. My top person and I spent the day with him and toured his operations. It is so worth it and one of the most beneficial aspects of being a PLANET member. Thank you so much for helping to make that happen this year." 
— Dixie Speck, Solterra Landscape, Inc., Atlanta, GA

After learning about the program, be sure to download and complete the Trailblazer Application and fax to the PLANET office 703-736-9668 or e-mail to by the deadline of December 31st.

Who is the Trailblazer?

PLANET's Trailblazers represent an elite group of dedicated professionals who were nominated by their peers for making significant and long-term contributions to the landscape industry in the areas of Design/Build/Installation, Interior Plantscaping, Irrigation & Water Management, Landscape Management, and Lawn Care. Direct influences in the landscape industry, these individuals are committed to helping their peers and the industry. Each Trailblazer sets aside a full day each year to provide on-site mentoring to another PLANET contractor member. 


Trailblazer Gallery

How does one become a Trailblazer?

New Trailblazers are nominated by PLANET members by submitting a Trailblazer Nomination Form. Nominees must be a PLANET member at the time of nomination and have a minimum of ten (10) years in the green industry. The nominees go through a review process by the Membership Committee. Those that are approved will then be presented to the PLANET Board of Directors for final approval.

"I will say my Trailblazer was simply awesome and I think his help and his openness about how he runs his company will help us get to the next level. Definitely one of the best experiences I have had in the industry." 
— Joe Markell CLP, President, Sunrise Lawn/Landscaping Services, Inc., Sterling, VA