|Welcome Landscape Industry Certified professionals!
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Inside this issue
|Certification is king for California firm
Gothic Grounds Management has eight branch locations throughout Arizona, Nevada, and California and employs 450 people. Its first employee became certified five years ago, and since then the training materials for the Landscape Industry Certified Manager’s exam have become the curriculum for Gothic Grounds Management University (GGMU) formed two years ago.
“Although the modules are the basis for our training, we do not specifically teach the material in them, rather we use the concepts outlined and relate them to GGM,” explains Lampert. “The goal is to relate the valuable lessons in the modules to GGM real-world experience and demonstrate to students how they are important in our company. Last year, five employees attended GGMU and graduated upon passing the certification exam. This year, 18 employees are enrolled, and we anticipate they, too, will take the Landscape Industry Certified Manager’s exam and pass.”
She continues: “We tell employees that enrolling in GGMU is an opportunity for them not only to become certified, but also to learn more about our company. Each member of our Executive Management Team, including the company president, teaches a class. The training sessions also prove to be a great networking opportunity for employees who come from the different branches around the Southwest. Students get to meet fellow employees, sometimes for the first time, and because modules are customized to Gothic Grounds Management applications, they use the opportunity to share ideas and best practices.”
“Last year, four out of the five graduates were promoted to branch manager positions from supervisory roles,” says Lampert. “We cannot do that every year, especially with the number of employee/students we have this year, but the program and obtaining the certification opens up opportunities for graduates. Our employees are excited about the program and so is the entire Executive Management Team. I even get to teach in each of the classes, and the experience is just as rewarding for me as it is for the students.”
She notes that the program has also provided benefits to the company with increased performance and better communication among graduates and this year’s students. Not to mention that clients see an advantage to having employees who are certified from a nationally recognized organization tending to their properties.
In addition to offering PLANET certification training, Gothic Grounds Management encourages employees to become certified in other landscape-specific areas, including irrigation and chemical application, as well as in non-specific areas such as safety and first aid.
“We focus in on training and development in general for our employees and encourage all of them to obtain certifications that are relevant to our industry,” Lampert emphasizes. “We created GGMU, though, because Landscape Industry Certification is valuable, covers all aspects of the landscape industry, and seems to be the most difficult one for our employees to master.”
Currently, GGMU only offers training for the Landscape Industry Certified Manager’s exam, but branch locations are just now initiating a program for the technician exam, with a similar format. “We want as many certified employees as possible,” Lampert adds. “Sure, sending employees to different branch locations, putting them up over night, and having them spend time away from the office and work is an investment, but it’s one we think is very worthwhile.”
Outgoing ICC Test Revision chair committed to industry training
When asked what kind of advice he would give the next ICC Test Revision chair, Kevin Davis, Landscape Industry Certified Technician, emphasized three moves. “I’ve encouraged Jim (Jim Stanhouse, Landscape Industry Certified Manager) to keep the current test revision team in place. These volunteers have been intimately involved with certification over the last six years and having their input is vital for continuity.
“It’s also important for the committee to be vigilant about monitoring occupational changes within the five modules. Years ago, we were all generalists, but today we’re more specialized and the industry is changing rapidly in all areas. Recent advances in technology, especially in irrigation, and new design and maintenance concepts, the result of sustainable solutions, are just two examples of change.”
Continuing to reach out to all licensees is among other advice that Davis imparts to the incoming chair. His is the voice of experience. He is the president of Gardeners’ Guild in Richmond, California, and has long been involved with the state’s certification program and ICC. In 2004, he was a subject matter expert on the test revision committee and worked closely with then-chair John van Roessel, Landscape Industry Certified Manager & Technician, of JVR Landscape in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, taking the individual tests through the Occupational Analysis phase.
Davis became ICC Test Revision chair in 2008. In talking about his legacy, he is quick to point out that the team, headed by John van Roessel, did “most of the heavy lifting” for revising the tests. Still, under Davis’ leadership, the committee did some heavy lifting of its own by rolling out new test judging guidelines and scoring methods, developing judges’ scripts to ensure test continuity, and standardizing materials and site layouts for test locations. In conjunction with the Authorization Panel, they also worked on the licensee authorization process to include sending auditors to evaluate adherence to current testing standards, and to ensure consistent and fair delivery of the test.
This 35-year industry veteran is a true champion of PLANET’s certification program. “If you want validation of the program, just attend one of the tests,” he relates. “At each, you will find 60 to 80 industry volunteers who believe wholeheartedly in certification and are committed to bringing more credibility to our industry.
“That’s really what certification is all about. Our industry doesn’t have an apprenticeship program that standardizes training. Becoming certified is a big step in that direction, and for those who become Landscape Industry Certified Technicians, that training and recognition will be an invaluable part of their career development.”
Incoming ICC Test Revision chair looks to bridge learning gap
Jim Stanhouse, Landscape Industry Certified Manager, is not new to the certification business. The Commercial Department Director for Signature Landscapes in Reno, Nevada, has been the Nevada Landscape Association’s (NLA’s) Test Administrator for the last five years. Prior to that, he was a judge for the exam.
“I’m a firm believer in the certification program, especially the hands-on component of the Landscape Industry Certified Technician exam,” Stanhouse explains. “Three-quarters of that test is hand-on, and that’s the best way to determine if an individual has mastered the requisite knowledge and skills.”
In addition to his NLA Test Administrator responsibilities, Stanhouse has also been closely involved with the ICC Test Revision Committee over the last couple of years and served on the committee last year. “The lion’s share of test revision work has been done by a group of subject matter experts led by John van Roessel and current test revision chair Kevin Davis,” says Stanhouse. “Their efforts were instrumental in completing the Occupational Analysis and Psychometric Analysis of all five technician designations in softscape, hardscape, irrigation, turfgrass maintenance, and ornamental maintenance. The exams have been gone over with a fine-tooth comb and what we will be doing in the future pales to what they accomplished.”
Still, he notes, the Test Revision Committee members will have plenty to do. “The committee is constantly evaluating scoring results to ensure that questions are psychometrically on target. Then, as we all know, our industry is forever changing and the tests have to accommodate the changes, not the least of which are advances in technology.” Innovations in irrigation controllers is just one example of new challenges for exam takers and givers, he adds. There are others, too, which bring up one of his primary goals during his three-year tenure as chair.
“We need to bridge the learning gap that inhibits many of our Latino industry members from becoming certified,” Stanhouse emphasizes. “We owe it to them for their career development and to the industry if we’re going to reach the numbers we need to make certification truly impactful. Already, the Training Manual is being revised to help reach this end, but there is more work to be done, including it would be great to have a bilingual individual on the Test Revision Committee.”
In the meantime, Stanhouse is looking forward to the start of the New Year and becoming even more involved in something that has been such a big part of his life for more than a decade.
Recertification deadline approaches
If your PLANET certification good-through date on your wallet card is December 31, 2010, you are due to recertify. This is your deadline to send in your CEU Submission Form. When you recertify, you’ll receive a rebranded certificate, lapel pin, and wallet card reflecting your new good-through date.
You have more opportunities than ever to earn CEUs as explained on your revised recertification requirements sheet. If the educational opportunity is green industry or job related – it will qualify. Webinars, articles, or books as part of self-study and in-house training are just some examples of how you can accumulate CEUs in your two-year recertification cycle.
To get more details about recertification, check the Recertification Frequently Asked Questions section often for regular updates. NOTE: If your wallet card good-through date is 2009, your certification has lapsed. Please contact PLANET immediately at (800) 395-2522.
Landscape Industry Certified usage guidelines
In January 2010, PLANET’s certification program assumed a new brand name — Landscape Industry Certified. The new brand name speaks clearly to consumers, is supported and used internationally, shows credibility and commitment to best practices, and leaves a lasting impression. As you continue to promote your Landscape Industry Certified status, please remember the usage guidelines as spelled out in your online toolkit and as listed here.
The new usage guidelines
From the field … exterior technician news
WALP debuts new test site
The Washington Association of Landscape Professionals (WALP) recently held the hands-on Landscape Industry Certified Technician-Exterior exam at a new test site. For the first time on September 17–18, candidates tested on the newly installed site at South Puget Sound Community College (SPSCC) in Olympia, Washington. WALP worked intensely with the college to get the site ready for the exam. A good deal of the preparation work was done by the members of the Certification and Test Site Committees, chaired by Richard Casey of Casey’s Landscaping and John Murphy, Landscape Industry Certified Technician, of JM Landscaping and Irrigation, respectively.
According to Pam Wolfe, assistant director and certification administrator of WALP in Edmonds, Washington, “Our team of volunteers, which included our high-caliber judges, JTAs (judge technical advisors), and module chairmen, in partnership with the South Puget Sound Community College, made the transition to our new site a seamless effort. Despite losing a few tents due to some overnight bad weather, we are proud to now add 12 new Landscape Industry Certified Technicians to the profession.”
In addition, Jeremy DeForge, Landscape Industry Certified Technician, of Four Seasons Landscaping, Inc., a WALP member, adds, “The Landscape Industry Certified program is great for our industry on both sides of the coin. As an employer, any potential employee that has the designation enables us to be comfortable with the fact they have already demonstrated the skills necessary to hit the ground running as a new hire in their designated area of expertise. On the employee side of the coin, everyone knows the labor markets are tight right now. If you have the Landscape Industry Certified designation, you will be put at the top of the list for hire and be appropriately compensated for your proven skills at most any reputable organization.
“Lastly, and what I believe is a huge benefit, being involved in the certification program and having to renew your certification with CEUs keeps people focused and aware of the latest trends and items that are important for the industry to move forward through these challenging times.”
ALCC gets coverage of new brand
In its monthly press releases, the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado (ALCC) recently included mention of the new Landscape Industry Certified brand. ALCC’s Executive Director Kristen Fefes, CAE, reported that the release on sprinkler blowouts with the message to hire a professional is receiving great pickup in local media. An extension agent used the release in her blog, which was first reprinted in the Longmont Ledger. The Boulder Daily Camera also ran the piece — the first pickup on the Landscape Industry Certified program by this paper to date. The article has also appeared in the Longmont Times-Call and Loveland Herald. “We were able to wrap in a nice message about Landscape Industry Certified, and we’re pleased with the coverage so far,” said Fefes.
Licensee contact information
For a list of Landscape Industry Certified Technician-Exterior licensees, visit the exterior technician page at LandcareNetwork.org.
Have you got a story to tell?
Send us your newsworthy stories and experiences about how your certification has helped generate business, given you a professional edge, or made a difference in your career.
Let us know how you use your certification to market your company. We would like updates on your professional activities — have you spoken at an event, written articles, or won local or national awards?
Contact Karen Barnett with your certification news today.
Congrats to newest Landscape Industry Certified pros
From August 1, 2010 to November 9, 2010, the following individuals earned their PLANET certification:
Landscape Industry Certified Manager (formerly CLP)
Landscape Industry Certified Technician- Exterior (formerly CLT-E)
Landscape Industry Certified Horticultural Technician (formerly COLP)
Landscape Industry Certified Interior Technician (formerly CLT-I)
Landscape Industry Certified Lawn Care Manager (formerly CTP)
Landscape Industry Certified Lawn Care Technician (formerly CTP-CSL)
|Fall 2010||Summer 2010||Spring 2010|
|Winter 2009||Fall 2009||May 2009|