A meeting of the minds
All PLANET members are cordially invited to attend this year’s Summer Leadership Meeting at the Skamania Lodge in Stevenson, Washington, outside of Portland, Oregon.
This major planning and networking event is an ideal time for PLANET members to get involved in their
association. Get a taste of the work done by the board and various committees, network with the best in the green industry, and ensure that the issues that concern you most are being addressed.
Skamania Lodge, a magnificent mountain resort nestled on 175 wooded acres, is located in the spectacular Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. The resort, which overlooks the Columbia River, is near more than 70 waterfalls, including the famous 620-foot Multnomah Falls, the fifth highest waterfall in the United States.
The rustic yet elegant, grand mountain lodge is located 35 minutes from Hood River and just 45 miles east of Portland, Oregon, on the Washington side of the Columbia River. It is easily accessible by ground transportation and is served from most major cities by the Portland International Airport.
During your free time, you can take in acres of breathtaking and tranquil mountain views, enjoy the challenging 18-hole, par-70 Skamania Lodge Golf Course, and visit the Waterleaf Spa & Fitness Center.
Thanks to the 2009 Summer Leadership Meeting Gold Sponsor: JOHN DEERE.
Want to sign up for a committee? Download the PLANET Leadership Interest Form and fax your completed form to the PLANET office at (703) 736-9668.
To reserve your hotel room for Summer Leadership, call (800) 221-7117 and mention PLANET. Guest rooms per night start at $209 (plus $12 daily resort fee and tax). go to top
A quarterly update on legislative activities
PLANET’s Government Affairs “Quarterly Legislative Update” will now be distributed to members via the
Front Page News. Read about those legislative and regulatory issues affecting the green industry and your business, especially as the new administration in Washington plans for changes to come. Read the February 2009 “Quarterly Legislative Update.” Future updates will be included in the May, August, and November issues of
Front Page News. go to top
MSU program earns reaccreditation
The PLANET Accreditation team performed an on-site review at the Mississippi State University, in Starkville, Mississippi, November 9–11, 2008.
As a result of the visit, the team granted Provisional Full Accreditation to Mississippi State University’s Landscape Contracting and Management program in the Department of Landscape Architecture at the four-year Bachelor of Science degree level. The school’s accreditation status will continue until 2015, at which time another review will be required.
Members of the accreditation team included team leader Edward Plaster, retired horticulture instructor, Dakota County Technical College, Rosemont, Minnesota; co-team leader Kent Hammond, associate professor emeritus, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, and The Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute, Wooster, Ohio; Phil Allen, Ph.D., of Landscape Management at Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah; and Mike Marler, Driftwood Landscape, Biloxi, Mississippi, a graduate of the program. PLANET’s Accreditation program
recognizes landscaping curricula that meet the needs of the landscape industry and also serves to recognize four-year Bachelor of Science and two-year Associate of Science degree programs. Currently, 25 schools have programs that are PLANET accredited. go to top
Planning ahead for a national day of service
The PLANET Day of Service on April 22, 2009, is a new program designed to unite the green industry nationwide for a day dedicated to giving back.
PLANET members will create their own projects, focusing on lawn, landscape, lighting, tree care, or interior plantscape that will benefit their chosen venue. Members and state associations will register their service projects with PLANET and unite across the country for this day of service to their communities.
Maybe you already conduct or participate in a green service project in your local community or already have a service project in place that you could reschedule to April 22. Maybe you are interested in getting involved but aren’t sure how to get started. The PLANET Day of Service Toolkit
can help. It contains project ideas (e.g., build a community garden, clean or enhance a local landmark, plant trees in a park or at a school, build raised gardens for the physically challenged, or help preserve a hiking trail). It also has instructions on how to run a successful event, connect with partners, and promote your project to the media and the public.
PLANET Day of Service Lead Sponsors are Agrium Advanced Technologies; American Profit Recovery, Inc.; JOHN DEERE; Lawns by Yorkshire Inc.; and Shindaiwa.
For more information and to register your project, visit planetdayofservice.org
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Interiorscapers lay groundwork
The second gathering of the new Interiorscape Industry Coalition (IIC) was held January 16, 2009, in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, at the Tropical Plant Industry Exhibition (TPIE).
for new coalition
PLANET representatives at the meeting included PLANET President Jason Cupp, CLP; PLANET Interior Plantscape Specialty Group Chair Chris Raimondi, CLP; and PLANET staff member James H. Johnson. Other attendees were:
Rich Batcho, CLT, OFA – An Association of Floriculture Professionals
Art Campbell, National Interiorscape Network (NIN)
Joe Cialone, CLP, National Foliage Foundation (NFF)
Michelle Gaston, OFA – An Association of Floriculture Professionals
Mary Golden, Plantscape Industry Alliance (PIA)
Mike Lewis, CLP, Green Plants for Green Buildings (GPGB)
Linda Milark, National Foliage Foundation (NFF)
Dick Ott, CCLP, National Interiorscape Network (NIN)
Linda Reindl, Florida Nursery, Growers, and Landscape Association (FNGLA)
Deb Ringler, CLP, Plantscape Industry Alliance (PIA)
Stephen Schell, CHT, Landscape Ontario (LO)
During the meeting, the structure of the coalition was defined as those organizations in attendance at either the November 2008 or the January 2009 meeting, as well as organizations that had expressed interest in attending either of the meetings. Other organizations may request to join the coalition and their request will be voted on at subsequent meetings.
Raimondi was elected IIC chair and will serve a two-year term. PLANET staff will handle the position of recording secretary, which includes managing the organizational and logistical details. It was also decided that each member organization of the IIC would have one vote.
Interior Industry Coalition member organizations include:
Brigham Young University (BYU)
Green Plants for Green Buildings (GPGB)
Landscape Ontario (LO)
Maryland Nursery & Landscape Association (MNLA)
National Foliage Foundation (NFF)
National Interiorscape Network (NIN)
OFA – An Association of Floriculture Professionals
Plantscape Industry Alliance (PIA)
Professional Landcare Network (PLANET)
Tropical Plant Industry Exposition (TPIE)
There was discussion on projects that the IIC might undertake to support the interiorscape industry. Two projects were given priority: grant writing and development of an informational Web site. Exploring the possibilities of available grants would help direct the next steps with other projects, so a grants committee was formed with Schell, Lewis, Reindl, and Norah Hunter of BYU.
Other actions that could be achieved with little or no costs to the organizations were discussed, including the use of the IIC member organization logos and links on other IIC member organization Web sites for cross promotion, and that IIC members request their organizations become investors in GPGB.
The IIC also welcomed guests for three informational presentations, which included an overview of Project Carbon, the carbon assimilation research funded by NFF and supported by GPGB and FNGLA being undertaken by Dr. Svoboda (Bodie) V. Pennisi of the University of Georgia.
The IIC will meet twice a year — once in conjunction with TPIE and a second meeting that will rotate to different venues. The next IIC meeting will be held to coincide with the PLANET 2009 Summer Leadership Meeting, June 24–27, 2009, in Stevenson, Washington.
Any organizations interested in becoming involved in the IIC, should contact Chris Raimondi at (201) 445-1299. go to top
More about the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA)
One of the top legislative priorities of labor unions is to pass EFCA, or “card check.” If passed this legislation could lead to unionization of many landscape and lawn care companies. UPDATE 3/10/2009 - Read this update for additional information.
The EFCA would take away a worker’s right to a federally supervised private ballot when deciding whether or not to join a union. It would replace the private ballot with a “card check” process that allows a union to organize if a majority of workers simply sign a card. Under this system, paid union organizers — not the federal government — would oversee the process, and the workers’ choice would ultimately be made public to the employer, the union organizers and coworkers. It would require the National Labor Relations Board to certify the union as the collective bargaining representative if the majority of employees have signed the authorization cards.
Under the bill, collective bargaining negotiations would begin within 10 days of union certification. Either party could request mediation from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) if a collective bargaining agreement is not reached within 90 days. If an FMCS mediation agreement is not reached within 30 days, the negotiations would be referred to a federal arbitration board. Both parties would be bound to the board’s decision for two years.
The bill would also increase penalties against employers for unfair labor practices during an organizing drive or until a first contract is reached. These penalties would include a $20,000 civil penalty per violation and double the back pay restitution to any aggrieved employee.
This legislation is expected to be reintroduced shortly in both the House and Senate. Last Congress, the legislation passed in the House by a vote of 241–185, but failed to garner the needed 60 votes in the Senate to block a filibuster. The Senate cloture vote was 51–48.
Labor unions will continue to push this legislation. They feel that the larger Democratic majorities in both the House and Senate give them a more sympathetic audience than they had with the last Congress. The bill will likely pass the House again this year. For industry, the challenge in the Senate will be to ensure that the bill does not receive the needed 60 votes.
It is important for PLANET members to ask their members of Congress and senators to oppose EFCA. The bill would take away workers’ rights by taking away their right to a private ballot. Further, it is not appropriate to pass this legislation in tough economic times when employers are doing all they can to save their employees’ jobs and stay afloat. go to top
Tax resources for small businesses The Internal Revenue Service’s e-News for Small Businesses is a free electronic mail service designed to provide tax information for small business owners and self-employed individuals. It is distributed every other Wednesday.
Sign-up (view a representative sample
) and you will receive information about:
- Important upcoming tax dates for SB/SE (small business/self-employed) customers
- What’s new for small businesses on the IRS Web site
Reminders and tips to assist small businesses/self-employed with tax compliance
- IRS News Releases and special IRS announcements that pertain to SB/SE customers
- Tax-related information from other federal agencies
When you subscribe, you will receive a confirmation message by e-mail. Remember, you must respond to this e-mail in order to verify your subscription. go to top
What’s new at Student Career Days? The Student Career Days (SCD) Subcommittee is planning two new additions to this year’s SCD — a new trial competitive event and the launch of the Career Development Series. Hosted by Cal Poly Pomona in Pomona, California, March 26–29, 2009, SCD will draw students enrolled in horticultural programs at two-year and four-year colleges and universities from across the country.
PLANET plans to debut a trial competitive event, compact excavator operation, at this year’s event. Students will not only be required to demonstrate their ability to handle a compact excavator but will also be given a written test covering safety, maintenance, operation, and key machine characteristic. To prepare for this competitive event, students can arrange to visit their local JOHN DEERE dealer by sending an e-mail to Natalie Whitehead
. The other competitive events will challenge students in 25 green industry arenas, such as business management, exterior landscape design, and irrigation design and troubleshooting, paver installation, truck & trailer operation, and woody plant identification.
PLANET also is introducing the new PLANET Career Development Series (PLANET CDS), formally known as SCD Tech. Students and faculty will have the opportunity to attend a presentation on Friday evening by industry professionals on a topic that they might not otherwise be offered at their schools and universities. Students that participate in a minimum of three of the PLANET CDS offerings (and receives validation of their attendance) will receive a PLANET CDS certificate. The top three schools in participation (based on how many students received certificates vs. how many students attended SCD) also receive a team award.
In addition to the 26 competitive events; industry and student workshops; faculty forum; tour of the Huntington Botanic Gardens, Library, and Art Collection; and social networking events, SCD also features a Career Fair, where students and companies get to learn about each other. Companies actually conduct on-site interviews for internships and job openings at their booths and students have an opportunity to be hired, on the spot.
Thanks to Platinum Sponsor STHIL Inc., Gold Sponsor Ariens/Gravely, Silver Sponsors Caterpillar, JOHN DEERE, and Ryan Turf Renovation Equipment, and Bronze Sponsors BRICKMAN, Husqvarna, Pavestone Company, and The Toro Company for their support.
For more details on SCD, visit StudentCareerDays.org. go to top
Legislative event moves to It’s time for green industry professionals planning to attend Legislative Day on the Hill and Renewal & Remembrance in Washington, D.C., July 12–14, 2009, to book their hotel room.
Key Bridge Marriott
During this three-day event, green industry professionals have the opportunity to visit the offices of their representatives and senators to discuss issues that are vital to the future of the industry and to make sure the industry’s voice is heard on the Hill, especially with a new Congress and a new administration.
The newly renovated Key Bridge Marriott at 1401 Lee Highway, Arlington, Virginia, will be the center of action for the 2009 Legislative Day on the Hill. Just four miles from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and within three blocks of the D.C. Metro system, the Key Bridge Marriott gives guests easy access to some of the city’s most famous landmarks, including the Iwo Jima Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery, the Pentagon, the Kennedy Center, and Georgetown. Reservations can be made by calling (703) 524-6400 on or before June 19, 2009, and asking for the PLANET rate or by going online to Marriott’s Web site.
Legislative Day kicks off with the annual Renewal & Remembrance beautification project at Arlington National and Historic Congressional cemeteries. For this event, green industry companies from across the country spend the day mulching, pruning, planting, and aerating the soil at the cemeteries. Last year, more than 400 volunteers participated.
Thanks to the 2009 Legislative Day on the Hill and Renewal & Remembrance Platinum Sponsors: Bayer Environmental Science and Syngenta Lawn & Garden.
Contact PLANET Education and Events Manager Betsy Demoret
or call (800) 395-2522 for more details. go to top
Certification testing at PSI/LaserGrade “My experience with PSI/LaserGrade was fantastic,” says newly certified Brett Lemcke, CLP, of R.M. Landscape Industries, Inc.
“I was thrilled to find a location that was only 15 minutes from my office. Before you begin the test on the computer at the testing center, a tutorial explains how the test works and offers a number of features to help you through the testing process. I think the ability to become certified through local testing centers is a great addition to our membership benefits. I am very proud to be certified, and I appreciate the help the PLANET staff and PSI/LaserGrade provided.” Find out more about computer-based certification testing
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A message from your PLANET President PLANET President Jason Cupp, CLP, recently reached out to TEAM PLANET, asking them to share tangible ways their companies are weathering the economic storm. The number of responses was phenomenal, as once again PLANET members stepped up to the plate to share best practices with their peers. Check out a sampling of the responses in the latest From the President. go to top
A look back at 2008 mergers and acquisitions According to The Principium Group, Inc., “The industry has remained resilient in the face of the housing slowdown.” Check out the 2008 green industry merger and acquisition transactions in the group’s January 2009 issue of Green Industry Merger & Acquisition News. go to top
Inside PLANET PLANET is working hard to deliver on the five strategic goals of the PLANET Promise and would like to share those achievements with its members on a monthly basis in this e-newsletter. Read the latest edition of Inside PLANET.