Kudos Landscape Industry Certified professionals! Your certification is a distinction of excellence. Display your hard-earned certification with pride, and stay up to date on the latest certification news and information.
If your PLANET certification good-through date on your wallet card is December 31, 2011, your certification has lapsed. To continue your active status and remain on the Honor Wall of Landscape Industry Certified, send in your CEU Submission Form to PLANET now.
If your good-through date on your wallet card is December 31, 2012, you can recertify any time throughout this year—many of you are choosing to recertify early.
CEUs are easy to earn. Reading to attending in-house training are examples of what will count toward your 24 CEUs if the topic is green industry or job related. Refer to the Recertification Requirements sheet when filling out your CEU Submission Form.
For more information, visit the Recertification Center or call 800-395-2522. Your certification team is here to help answer your recertification questions.
Did you know that all of PLANET’s educational programs, from the April Interior Plantscape Symposium in partnership with OFA - The Association of Horticulture Professionals, 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.
When it comes to PLANET’s Landscape Industry Certified Technician-Exterior (formerly CLT-E) test, how important are volunteers? Sandy Munley, executive director of the Ohio Landscape Association (OLA) puts it succinctly when she says, “Without volunteers there would be no test. Starting with the committee all the way through test day, the knowledge, experience, and skills volunteers bring to the table are invaluable.”
OLA, in partnership with The Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute and the Ohio Nursery and Landscape Association, will mark its thirteenth year of administering the test this July. “Usually, we have between 75 and 100 volunteers on test day,” Munley explains. “They do everything from helping set up the site, to judging and overseeing the test itself.” Volunteers, she adds, also comprise a large portion of the 10-member certification committee that includes a Judge Technical Assistant for each test module.
Ohio has more than 300 Landscape Industry Certified Technicians in the state, creating a large pool of volunteers from which to draw. “This year, we actually had to turn away a few volunteers, which says something about how people feel about certification,” says Munley. “Our typical volunteer is a Landscape Industry Certified Technician who is proud of the test and the overall certification program and wants to give back to the industry.”
She continues, “As a group, our volunteers share a tremendous passion for the certification program and understand that becoming certified is a great way for landscape contractors to show they are a cut above.”
Volunteer Ron Zaccaro, Landscape Industry Certified Technician, agrees. The regional manager for Pacific Green Landscape in San Diego has been involved with the California Landscape Contractors Association certification program from the start and has held just about every position on the committee. Currently, he is the state’s test manager.
“The test is so important to the industry,” he relates. “For volunteers like me, it’s rewarding to participate in a program that upholds industry standards. But it’s also equally rewarding to be there on test day, seeing the applicants’ faces, knowing what they’re going through, and seeing them succeed.”
“Trust me,” Zaccaro emphasizes, “after you’ve been a volunteer for the first time, you will come back. Your participation has value and it is rewarding. I think for me, and for many other volunteers, the biggest incentive comes from wanting to give back to an industry that’s been good to us.”
Unlike Ohio and California, Indiana is a relative newcomer in administering the test. The Indiana Nursery & Landscape Association (INLA) offered its first Technician-Exterior exam in September 2009; since then, between 40 and 45 applicants have received their certification.
“It was a challenge to pull off the first test,” admits certification committee chair and volunteer Tom Barrett, president of Indianapolis-based Green Water Infrastructure. “Our first move was to assemble a committee of volunteers who traveled to Illinois to view its test site and later observe the test. We then traveled to Kentucky to learn from another new test administrator what surprises might be in store for us. Kentucky had hosted its first test the prior year.
“I think what surprised them and us later was the amount of administrative support the test requires. We also don’t have a permanent test site, so set up was a challenge, as well.”
To help orchestrate its first test, INLA’s certification committee handed over responsibilities to several subcommittees, including ones for test judges, marketing, equipment and sponsorship, operations and administration, and test site.
“My goal is simply to keep everything moving,” adds Barrett, who noted more than 40 volunteers showed up on that initial test day. “When I surveyed the volunteers after the event, nearly everyone talked about how much they enjoyed their day. One, in fact, likened the experience to putting on a wedding for the first time—excited to be part of it and in wonderment about how it came off so flawlessly.”
Barrett emphasized that in addition to volunteer enthusiasm and, in many cases, applicant anxiety, the test harbored another dynamic, an industry that pulled together for a common cause. Munley, too, talked about this, what she calls a definite feeling of camaraderie that occurs on setup day. “After the day’s activities, we hold a judges and volunteers’ dinner. But, it’s more than a dinner. It’s actually a celebration of certification where companies and their volunteers share their desire to help elevate the industry. This is one of the hidden benefits for volunteers.”
“The test is getting better and better,” she adds. “It’s wonderful to witness its evolution over the years and see the growing number of volunteers who want to participate.”
PLANET’s certification programs continue to gain momentum as the number of certified individuals grows and has an impact at both the company and volunteer level. “It’s easier now than ever before to attract volunteers,” relates Diane Andrews, executive director of Michigan Green Industry Association. “Every year, they’re seeing the positive results of the program and its growing value to the industry. The result is we’re building a nice base of industry certified people who take pride in the exam and who want to show their support by volunteering.”
The state held its first test in 2002. The number of applicants varies, Andrews notes, but as many as 48 have taken the test one year. “We’ve had some exceptional volunteers, and they all share common traits; they demonstrate a high level of professionalism, have industry experience, and are committed to the program.”
She emphasizes how important it is to have industry experience. “Our certification committee is a bit unusual because we have a co-chair. Last year, the committee chair’s daughter underwent emergency heart surgery and he couldn’t be there for set up and for the test. The co-chair stepped in and the test went on without a hitch.”
That was no small feat, relates Test Administrator Tiffany Carey, who provides a glimpse of what happens both days. “During test set up, judges participate in a two-hour orientation where they review the test material and set up test problems. Test day begins at 6:30 a.m. with coffee and breakfast. The test chairman then briefs the candidates, emphasizing safety procedures, reviewing rules, and overall making them feel comfortable.”
There may be more than one judge per test station, depending on the station, she adds. The test itself takes approximately six hours.
Both Carey and Andrews are very optimistic about certification. Thanks to volunteers, the mechanism is in place to continue to certify candidates, yet there is still work to be done to build on the program’s success. “We’re taking the message to municipalities and other clients about how important it is to specify that a Landscape Industry Certified Technician be involved with a project,” says Andrews. “We’re also continuing to promote the program to landscape contractors. At our March trade show, for example, we’re putting on 1½ hour seminars both days that discuss the program and its benefits.”
Their optimism is shared by other state groups and volunteers. In Pennsylvania, for example, the Pennsylvania Landscape & Nursery Association (PLNA) administers two Landscape Industry Certified Technician-Exterior exams a year, one at Penn State University’s Berks campus in Reading and the other in Pittsburgh.
“We’ve been administering the test since 2003,” relates PLNA President Gregg Robertson. “The last six years, we’ve also been able to offer the test in February in Pittsburgh thanks to finding an empty warehouse. All together, we have approximately 100 volunteers on our roster, 40 or 50 of whom participate on test day.”
Between having a substantial pool of Landscape Industry Certified professionals, along with Pennsylvania Certified Horticulturists to choose from, PLNA is not lacking for volunteers either. “Volunteer involvement in the test helps toward recertification, and frankly everyone enjoys the camaraderie and being able to give back to the industry,” says Robertson. “All are motivated to help build and improve the industry.”
Tom Wambaugh, Landscape Industry Certified Manager & Technician, is a prime example. “The owner of Waterfall Gardens in Reading, Pa., was the original champion of the state’s certification program and is certification committee chair.
“I still think public perception of our industry is sadly lacking, and the more we can do to change that the better off the industry will be,” he emphasizes. “Being a great indicator of what it takes to be a landscape contractor, the Landscape Industry Certified Technician-Exterior test is helping in that regard.”
As he points out, the test requires candidates to demonstrate proficiency in not just one trade but several. In addition to being horticulturists and understanding how to properly install and maintain plant material, in one module alone such as irrigation, they have to be both a plumber and an electrician. Says Wambaugh, “If members of the general public could only take the test, they would quickly discover that not just anyone can be a landscape contractor.”
Greg Roos, Landscape Industry Certified Technician, is the Construction Division Manager for Bertog Landscape Company in Wheeling, Ill., and couldn’t agree more. “When I first entered this industry 30 years ago, there was a complete lack of respect for what we do. That’s beginning to change now, in part because the industry has changed and because of training, both formal and informal, that the industry provides.”
The Illinois Landscape Contractors Association offered its first Landscape Industry Certified Technician-Exterior exam in October 2000, and Roos has been involved from the very first. “I’ve gone full circle with certification,” he relates. “I’ve been a judge, site coordinator, and assistant state chair and I’m as enthusiastic about the program today as I was on day one.
“Landscape contractors need to know how to properly maintain a lawn. They need to know how to treat weeds and operate different types of equipment, among having other expertise.” Like Wambaugh, he believes that landscape contractors should be viewed in similar light with other trades people. “I’m a huge advocate of training,” Roos emphasizes, “and hence a huge advocate of certification.” The educational process doesn’t stop there, he adds. Customers and the general public need to understand what’s involved with certification and what it means.
It’s all part of the spirit of volunteerism—to see an industry need, have a desire to give back, and share with others in reaching a common goal.
Want to know more? To see the Landscape Industry Certified Technician-Exterior exam in action, view the video. State and provincial licensees administer the Technician-Exterior exam throughout North America.
Congratulations to Tony Kacinas, Landscape Industry Certified Technician, with Chalet in North Chicago. He is the first recipient of the new Lawn Care Technician-National exam.
“For me personally, getting the Certified Lawn Care Technician National designation is self-gratifying and gives me a sense of accomplishment. I believe that being certified is a way to distinguish yourself from other lawn care technicians in the industry. I’m continuously looking to better myself, and I look forward to maintaining the CEUs as a way to stay current in my field. My employer, Chalet, supports and encourages continuous education, and I am grateful to have had this opportunity.”
Landscape Industry Certified was on display at the Maryland Home and Garden Show over two weekends in March. The booth and materials focused on hiring certified professionals. The event is part of the National Home and Garden Show series.
At PLANET’s Student Career Days in March, these schools have students that are Landscape Industry Certified. Three cheers to:
Alamance Community College
Brigham Young University – Idaho
Brigham Young University – Provo
Colorado State University
Cuyahoga Community College
University of Florida
- Landscape Industry Certified highlighted in Best Picks Report, Northern VA 2012 edition, under “Hiring a Landscape Company.”
- PRO did a series on the Landscape Industry Certified Manager designation in 2011. The magazine is now focusing on the Technician certification. Check out “Certification Takes Center Stage” to kick off this 2012 series.
- Landscape and Irrigation highlighted PLANET certification in the fall of 2011 and again in January 2012 with “Tips on Leveraging Your Landscape Industry Certified Status.”
- Certification goes blogging in “New Year’s Certification Challenge – Promote and Maintain” and “Go for Certification Gold.”
We’re always looking for people and stories to feature in Certification Spotlight, Inside Certification, on Facebook, and in other places.
Share your certification news and experiences with Karen Barnett. We’d like to headline you and your company in upcoming issues.
From December 13, 2011 to March 7, 2012, the following individuals earned their PLANET certification:
Landscape Industry Certified Manager – Exterior (formerly CLP-E)
Brian Baker, The Davey Tree Expert Co., Brisbane, CA
John Beckett, City Escape Garden and Design, LLC, Chicago, IL
Chris Brewer, Images of Green, Inc., Stuart, FL
Bryan Clayton, Peach Tree, Inc., Lascassas, TN
Roberto William Cruz, Gachina Landscape Management, Menlo Park, CA
Michael Derk, Creative Plantscapes, Inc., Lewisburg, PA
Trenton Dyer, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
Julianne Giannone, Husqvarna, Randolph, NJ
Michael Hales, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
Glenna M'Li Hoki, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
Aaron Kirk, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
Stephen Peaden, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
Scott Pearce, For Garden's Sake Nursery & Landscaping, Durham, NC
Cristina Prevarin, Gachina Landscape Management, Menlo Park, CA
Charley Schreiber, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
Jay Van Tassell, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
Preston Wankier, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
Sheila Gonzaga Wright, Montgomery College, Mount Airy, MD
Landscape Industry Certified Technician- Exterior (formerly CLT-E)
Guillermo Arellano, Santa Ana, CA
Juan Arellano, Santa Ana, CA
Tyler Baginski, San Luis Obispo, CA
Jose Cuevas, Oakland, CA
Brian Sperry, Nampa, ID
Kyle Colson, Los Gatos, CA
Christian Hegler, Richmond, CA
Keith Johnson, Colorado Springs, CO
Joe Ramey, Paragon, IN
Michael Demkowicz, Colonia, NJ
Elsa G. Guerrero, Aurora, CO
Landscape Industry Certified Horticultural Technician (formerly COLP)
Kristyn Greenfield, Bloom! Landscaping, LLC, Milwaukee, WI
Scott Jamieson, Bartlett Tree Experts, Northbrook, IL
John Rainville, Timberline Landscaping, Inc., Colorado Springs, CO
Jing Zhang, Cuyahoga Community College, Cleveland, OH
Landscape Industry Certified Interior Technician (formerly CLT-I)
Cristine Byrd, The Green Connection, Anchorage, AK
Jennifer Doty, The Green Connection, Anchorage, AK
Amanda Ellis, The Green Connection, Anchorage, AK
Vickie L. Mackie, The Green Connection, Anchorage, AK
Jill M. Rush, The Green Connection, Anchorage, AK
Landscape Industry Certified Lawn Care Manager (formerly CTP)
Devon Chapman, All American Turf Beauty, Inc., Winterset, IA
Connie M. Christians, All American Turf Beauty, Inc., Waterloo, IA
Steven Brent Foveaux, Manassas, VA
Justin Howard, Franklin, GA
Toby Hudson, Hopkinsville, KY
Johnny J. Jones, Douglasville, GA
Jason M. King, All American Turf Beauty, Inc., Des Moines, IA
Kelly Long, Shemin Nurseries, Inc., Raleigh, NC
Derek A. Mineart, All American Turf Beauty, Inc., Waterloo, IA
John Rainville, Timberline Landscaping, Inc., Colorado Springs, CO
Mark Robert Sampson, Agrium Advanced Technologies, Lowell, IN
Landscape Industry Certified Lawn Care Technician (formerly CTP-CSL)
William Boushell, Lueders Environmental, Inc., Needham, MA
Nathan Miller, Integrated Lawn & Tree Care, Colorado Springs, CO
Ty E. Werges, The Lawn Ranger, Englewood, CO
Kristopher Yute, Eichenlaub, Inc., Pittsburgh, PA
Landscape Industry Certified Lawn Care Technician – National
Brian L. Hull, Hull Natural Lawn Care, Alton, IL