Welcome Landscape Industry Certified professionals!
Stay informed about what’s happening in the world of certification by reading Inside Certification. Remember to keep us informed if your e-mail or mailing address has changed. And, recertify by the good-through date on your wallet card to remain active and in good standing. Thank you for staying on top of your certification.
If your PLANET certification good-through date on your wallet card is December 31, 2010, your certification has lapsed. To continue your active status, send in your CEU Submission Form to PLANET now.
For more information on recertification, visit the Recertification Center or call (800) 395-2522.
Did you know that all of PLANET’s educational programs, from the April Interior Plantscape Symposium in partnership with OFA to the October Green Industry Conference, count toward your Landscape Industry Certified recertification at 1 CEU per hour of instruction attended? Check out PLANET’s Events page for details on conferences, webinars, and more.
One would expect a former chair of PLANET’s International Certification Council (ICC) to be passionate about certification, and he is. Joel Hafner, Landscape Industry Certified Manager & Technician, president of Maryland-based Fine Earth Landscape, Inc., employs eight people with PLANET certification. Among them is his son J.C., who is a Landscape Industry Certified Manager, and his brother and J.C.’s uncle Joey, who is a Landscape Industry Certified Technician.
“I took the Landscape Industry Certified test nearly as soon as it was available in Maryland,” Hafner recalls. “At the time, certification was relatively new and I was more curious about it than anything else. In the back of my mind, though, I was hoping it would benefit my company in some way.” His brother Joey, who heads up the company’s sales department, became a Landscape Industry Certified Technician three years later.
A year before assuming the ICC chair position, Hafner took and passed the Landscape Industry Certified Manger’s exam. His son J.C. did the same last year.
Hafner’s curiosity about the value of PLANET’s certification program was more than satisfied after he became ICC chair in 2007. “It’s a great program,” he relates. “The Council members have continually moved forward to advance certification and ensure that it follows industry best practices. PLANET is committed to certification and has embraced it as part of its long-range strategic plan, and it continues to gain recognition within the industry.”
He continues: “It’s interesting, certification as a recognition of a level of professionalism is gaining momentum within all sectors of the green industry, as well as in other industries. Our customers are becoming more aware of its significance and, one day soon, will hopefully demand certification as a requisite for being on their property.”
This owner and PLANET member does what he can to get the message across to his customers. He promotes certification, talks about it with customers, and, more importantly, encourages associates, including his son and brother, to become certified.
New technicians for Seattle-based Plantscapes, Inc, share a common bond. They will likely all be attending a six-week training course to help prepare for the Landscape Industry Certified Technician exam.
“Our entire interior department took the exam in 2003,” relates Louise Fair, Landscape Industry Certified Manager & Technician. The company’s General Operations Manager and Interior Division Manager was among the group of 15 technicians and supervisors who first took the exam. She recalls that approximately 75 percent of them passed at the time, and eventually, they all did.
“We make our technicians take the exam until they pass,” says Fair. “Education is such a big part of our culture and something in which company president Terry Posner truly believes. In fact, the importance of education, of staying up with the latest products and techniques, is part of our mission statement, and he feels that certification is a great training resource to that end.”
Fair joined the company 13 years ago, switching from a career in advertising to pursing her love of plants. She is a Master Gardener and participates in company garden tours where associates enjoy sharing their individual garden exploits.
During the company’s six-week training program, new technicians arrive to work early one day a week and review study materials. The review sessions include coaching from the maintenance supervisor, along with review of training guides and tapes. “We create a binder for each employee so they can study the material at home,” says Fair. “We make it a big deal when associates pass the exam because it is a big deal for them and our company.”
She explains: “Our technicians are proud of their certification. It’s an accomplishment for them and something they can take with them throughout their careers. From a company perspective, we highlight employee certification in our sales material, include the logo on our Web site, and post certificates in the office, along with company awards. Our employees also receive a patch to affix to their company jackets.”
Four years after passing her Landscape Industry Certified Technician exam, Fair also became a Landscape Industry Certified Manager. “I was promoted to a managerial role within the company and wanted to learn more about the business side of operating an interior plantscaping company,” she recalls, noting once again the training benefits associated with studying to take a certification exam.
Today, Plantscapes Interior division has 10 Landscape Industry Certified Technicians on board. The number is down slightly from 2003 thanks in part to the economy and the growth of the exterior division. The full-service landscape management company employs upwards of 90 people during the busy season. Providing interior plantscaping services, including holiday decoration, to a variety of commercial customers, accounts for approximately 30 percent of the company’s annual revenue.
It’s been two years since the Occupational Analysis (OA) was completed for PLANET’s lawn care technician exam. Now, thanks to the efforts of PLANET’s International Certification Council and several other industry volunteers, the exam is under final review and near ready for launch.
“The lawn care technician exam will completely follow industry best practices and standards,” says Buck Chaffee, president of the certification and testing consulting company The Caviart Group, LLC. The ongoing adviser to PLANET’s certification programs details the structured process required for test development.
“The process begins with the OA, which for this exam started in 2008 and was completed in the spring of the following year. The OA is a formal study of a profession and begins with a committee of professionals who comprise a microcosm of the industry, owners of large and small companies alike all from different parts of the country. The group identified what technicians need to do to perform competently in the field, along with the knowledge and skills required to get the job done.”
As Chaffee explains, the committee surveyed the industry about its conclusions and asked members to identify which of them are core requirements of the profession; the results created the framework for writing the exam. “Respondents were asked to rate the importance of each task and how often it is performed,” says Chaffee. “From their responses, subject matter experts knew not only what types of questions to ask but were also able to weight the exam accordingly; for example, more questions on the most important duties.”
Skip Thompson, Landscape Industry Certified Manager & Technician, director of operations and development for Tidewater Landscape Management and Fred Haskett, Landscape Industry Certified Manager, co-owner of U.S. Lawns of West St. Louis and St. Charles County, were among 12 subject matter experts.
“It was a fun and interesting three days,” says Haskett, referring to the initial exam-writing workshop. “There were 12 of us in the room, mostly owners and senior managers, along with Chaffee. We all came up with questions, and then debated the value of each one. There was plenty of disagreement and passions ran high, but I believe the exercise was fundamental to coming up with valid test questions.”
Haskett notes that questions went beyond technical know-how subjects. “From my perspective, the exam is for someone who has been in lawn care and wants to take his or her career to the next level. In that regard, some of the questions are more holistic in nature, testing an individual’s understanding of agronomy, as well as how to calibrate a fertilizer spreader and read a label.”
He continues: “The challenge for all of us was to help create something that wasn’t here before and getting it right for the long haul.”
Thompson agrees. “The subject matter experts probably had 300 years of combined experience in the industry, with a thorough understanding of what technicians absolutely have to know to be competent in the field. Still, the process of coming up with questions wasn’t easy. The first day we met together; we broke up into two groups the second day, and then reconvened as one group on third day.
“The workshop was not only challenging, it was a great learning experience for all of us, and I believe we developed a very good test.” Ironically, Thompson noted that the most difficult part of exam writing process for him was actually coming up with distracters, the wrong answers to a multiple-choice question.
In addition to writing the questions, workshop attendees scored the level of importance of each question and determined the minimum number of questions a candidate would have to answer correctly (cut score) to be competent in the field. As Chaffee points out, the real challenge is to come up with an exam that is fair to both the candidate and the public.
He emphasizes that the process doesn’t end with final approval of the exam. “Once the test is administered, members of the Test Revision Committee will examine the performance of each question to ensure that questions are valid and fair. For example, if everyone answers the same question incorrectly, obviously there’s something wrong with the question, and it likely would be replaced or rewritten.”
Are you ready to take your career to the next level? If so, taking and passing PLANET’s new lawn care technician exam is an important first step. As the above professionals relate, the exam is a fair measure of an individual’s ability to perform competently in the field — a recognition that’s good for technicians, their companies and customers, and the industry.
The exam is scheduled to launch in the spring or summer. More information will be available soon. If you are interested in taking the new lawn care technician exam, please e-mail the PLANET certification team at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask to be put on the candidate waiting list.
Welcome to the newest member of the International Certification Council (ICC). Jeannette French, Landscape Industry Certified Manager, of Daisy Design in St. Philips, Newfoundland, Canada, recently replaced Cable Baker, Landscape Industry Certified Manager & Technician, as the Canada Nursery Landscape Association (CNLA) Liaison to the ICC. Baker is now the chair of CNLA’s Certification Committee.
Louis Robinson Foster II lost his short but courageous battle with cancer on December 22, 2010 (he was diagnosed in June 2010 with stage 4 esophageal cancer). He was born on January 9, 1971, in Columbus, Ohio, graduated from Columbus State and The Ohio State University, and was fortunate to find his dream job as Grounds Supervisor for ATI-The Ohio State University in Wooster in 2009. Louis was an active member of the OLA, ONLA, SIMA, MGIA, and PLANET. He held more than 18 certifications in the green industry and three degrees. He not only was a Landscape Industry Certified Manager & Technician, but also was a judge for Ohio and Michigan. Louis loved horticulture. The family requests that any contributions may be made to ATI-The Ohio State University Agricultural Institute, 1328 Dover Rd., Wooster, Ohio, 44691-4000.
A new combination logo — Landscape Industry Certified Manager & Technician — is now available in your certification toolkit. The new link to your toolkit was recently e-mailed to active certificants. If you need the link sent to you again, please let the certification team know by sending us an e-mail at email@example.com. Be bold — promote your certification by using your applicable logo on e-mail signatures, letterheads, ads, brochures, business cards, vehicles, and more.
And, for educational providers, a new CEU-approved logo is available upon request and review of educational programs for CEU value toward PLANET recertification. Please contact Karen Barnett for details.
Send us your newsworthy stories and experiences on 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.
From December 14, 2010 to March 9, 2011, the following individuals earned their PLANET certification:
Landscape Industry Certified Manager – Exterior (formerly CLP-E)
Austin Blaylock, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
Kira Cragun, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
Wray Dix, Brigham Young University, Orem, UT
William H. Habblett, III, Franz Witte Landscape Contracting, Inc., Boise, ID
Bethany Hansen, Brigham Young University, Salt Lake City, UT
Keith Johnson, Timberline Landscaping, Inc., Colorado Springs, CO
Craig LaBudde, Grant & Power Landscaping, Inc., Wheaton, IL
Devin Perry, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
Kileen Smith, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
Trenton Spratling, Brigham Young University, Sugar City, ID
Jay Sutherland, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
Nick Tanner, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
Stephen Toussaint, All Seasons Landscaping, Montgomery, AL
Landscape Industry Certified Manager – Interior (formerly CLP-I)
Robin W. Connell, PLANTation Services, Inc., Little Rock, AR
Roger Fuentes, Plant Interscapes, Inc., San Antonio, TX
Eric Koepke, Plant Interscapes, Inc., Spring, TX
Jacob Rodriguez, Plant Interscapes, Inc., Austin, TX
Joshua Senneff, Plant Interscapes, Inc., San Antonio, TX
Landscape Industry Certified Technician- Exterior (formerly CLT-E)
Travis Breininger, Hamburg, PA
Patrick Halvorson, Renton, WA
Anthony Moyer, Strausstown, PA
Michael Hilsenkopf, Renton, WA
Ginger Knapp, Astoria, OR
Bryan Ross, Hillsboro, OR
John Edley, West Sacramento, CA
Stuart Joseph Gardner, Junction City, OR
Carlos Kurlinski, San Diego, CA
Eddie Uyeta, Renton, WA
Vernon Wengeler, Santee, CA
Miguel Angel Cervantes, Fairfield, CA
Brian Dahlkemper, Erie, PA
Jonathan Jackson, La Verne, CA
Andy Kelso, Boise, ID
Ginger Knapp, Astoria, OR
Brendon Kort, Erie, PA
Stephan St. Clair, Astoria, OR
Jose Cen, Woodinville, WA
Alejandro Gomez, Woodinville, WA
Luke Pieffer, Barberton, OH
Beau Shaul, Boise, ID
Isaac Whitney, Novelty, OH
Landscape Industry Certified Horticultural Technician (formerly COLP)
John Bailey, Capitol Green Roofs, Arlington, VA
Bethany Brown, Sacramento Job Corps, Merced, CA
Christopher Brown, Fairway Green, Inc., Hillsborough, NJ
Eric Coleman, Sacramento Job Corps, Sacramento, CA
Colin Alexander Drummond, Sacramento Job Corps, Sacramento, CA
Ariel Kinter, Sacramento Job Corps, Sacramento, CA
Gregory Long, Capitol Green Roofs, Arlington, VA
Seth McKenzie, McKenzie Landscape, LLC, Boise, ID
Juan C. Meza, Sunrise Landscape & Design, Sterling, VA
Angela M. Montes, Sacramento Job Corps, Sacramento, CA
Brian Ryalls, Charlotte Country Club, Charlotte, NC
Ian Smith, Capitol Green Roofs, Arlington, VA
Jacob Strickland, Sacramento Job Corps, Sacramento, CA
Jacolye White, Sacramento Job Corps, Sacramento, CA
Curtis Williams, Sacramento Job Corps, Elk Grove, CA
Landscape Industry Certified Interior Technician (formerly CLT-I)
Catherine Otts, Jan Ferguson, Inc., Annapolis, MD
Landscape Industry Certified Lawn Care Manager (formerly CTP)
Francisco Javier Aguera Lopez, Cartagena, Spain
Eric Belleville, Spring-Green Lawn Care, Saint Louis, MO
Wai Man Chan, , New Territory, Hong Kong
Michael Joseph Danforth, Shrewsbury, MA
Derrick Ray Griffitts, Shelbyville, KY
Tristan Michel Guimond, Scotts LawnService, Newalla, OK
Colin Albert Holligan, St. George, Barbados
Thomas Vincent Kniezewski, Sunrise Landscape & Design, Falls Church, VA
Michael David Koontz, Mercersburg, PA
Alan Makarewicz, Green Arbor, Inc., Tucker, GA
Kenneth R. McGrady, Tuxedo Park, NY
John McLaughlin, Emerald Pro Lawn, Oklahoma City, OK
Jamie J. Peck, Scotts LawnService, Edmond, OK
Evan Douglas Scanlan, Canongate Golf, Griffin, GA
Frank Spillar, Deland, FL
Norman Allen Stewart, Columbia International University, Gilbert, SC
Clarke A. Woods, Brigham Young University, Orem, UT
Phillip Paul Wright, Princeton, KY
Landscape Industry Certified Lawn Care Technician (formerly CTP-CSL)
Christopher Collard, E.J. Jaxtimer Builder, Inc., Yarmouth Port, MA
Matthew Leffert, Emerald Lawn Care, Inc., Arlington Heights, IL
Ryan Malloy, Integrated Lawn & Tree Care, Colorado Springs, CO
Robert H. Proctor, Lueders Environmental, Inc., Norfolk, MA
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