GIC PROVIDED PLENTY OF OPPORTUNITIES TO LEARN AND NETWORK “If you’re not here, you’re missing out.” That’s the sentiment that Fred Haskett, CTP, U.S. Lawns of West and St. Charles County, Defiance, Missouri, expressed while attending the recent PLANET Green Industry Conference (GIC) and GIE+EXPO in Louisville, Kentucky. “Many of the seminars this year were conducted by industry people, those who walk the same walk we do,” says Haskett. “The sessions were well-attended, the trade show floor was crowded, and innovations, such as the CEO Forum and the GIC keynote panel-discussion format, were very successful, too.”
Attendees took advantage of excellent networking opportunities, educational sessions and round tables on hot topics such as sustainability and social marketing, checked out the latest products at the industry’s largest trade show and outdoor exhibition, participated in the PLANET Live Auction to benefit PLANET’s legislative initiatives and the PLANET Academic Excellence Foundation (PLANET AEF), and celebrated the accomplishments of industry leaders at the Friday evening Awards Presentation, to name a few of the many activities at the conference.
“The conference reaffirmed what PLANET has to offer to my business,” relates Anthony Claud of Claud’s Lawn Care in Plymouth, Virginia. “I would have been truly remorse if I had missed this experience.”
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AND THE WINNER IS … Celebrating one’s accomplishments is an important way to affirm quality, value, and meaning. Through PLANET’s annual awards programs, members are recognized and honored by their peers for contributing to the betterment of the association and the green industry. Congratulations to these very deserving recipients of this year’s various awards:
Lifetime Leadership Award: Rick Doesburg, CCLP, Thornton Landscape, Inc.
PLANET Promise Award: Marshall Scheibe, Scheibe & Scheibe Landscape Contractors, Inc.
Association Partner of the Year Award: Minnesota Nursery & Landscape Association
Association Executive Partner of the Year Award: The executives of the following PLANET Day of Service association partners — Alabama Nursery and Landscape Association, Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado, British Columbia Landscape & Nursery Association, Connecticut Nursery & Landscape Association, Idaho Nursery & Landscape Association, Illinois Landscape Contractors Association, Lawn Care Association of Pennsylvania, Minnesota Nursery & Landscape Association, Montana Nursery & Landscape Association, New Jersey Landscape Contractors Association, New York State Turf & Landscape Association, Ohio Landscape Association, Ohio Lawn Care Association, Ohio Nursery and Landscape Association, and Wisconsin Landscape Contractors Association
Partner in Success Award: CNA Business Insurance and JOHN DEERE
Community Service Award: John Mini Distinctive Landscapes
Environmental Improvement Judges’ Award: “Lake Forest Residence” by Chalet; “Macy’s Flower Show” by The Green View Companies; and “The Glenridge on Palmer Ranch” by ValleyCrest Landscape Maintenance
Sustainable Company Award: Cagwin & Dorward, The LaurelRock Co., John Mini Distinctive Landscapes, Lambert Landscape Co., and Pacific Landscape Management
Overall Safety Achievement Award: List of recipients
Most Improved Employee Safety: Carol King Landscape Maintenance, Inc.
Most Improved Fleet Safety: Greener By Design, Inc.
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FIGHTING HEALTH CARE COSTS PLANET has partnered with MedCard Solutions, LLC, to provide employee benefits in the form of health care discount programs. These programs are not insurance, but an affordable alternative that enables participants to save on health care costs when they use providers from its vast network of health care professionals.
“PLANET is thrilled to welcome aboard MedCard Solutions as our newest affinity partner,” says PLANET COO Sabeena Hickman, CAE, CMP. “In an era of unstable health care costs and possible changes in health care programs, MedCard will allow our member companies to offer a health care discount program to their employees as a viable alternative to a full-fledged health plan. With savings of up to 50 percent off regular prices, this will ease the burden of excessive health care costs on employees of member companies.”
Three plan options have been created to help meet the needs of the green industry’s diverse employee base:
Everyone is accepted, and there is no contract or waiting period. Discounts are taken at the time of service, so there are no rebates to collect and mail in, and no forms to fill out. In addition, participants may include all household members.
- Dental-Vision-Rx plan and LASIK discounts
- Multi-Care plan, including chiropractor discounts and more
- Total-Care plan, including doctor, lab, and medical discounts
The program has more than 60,000 dental and more than 500,000 medical providers, and prescription discounts are available at CVS, Rite Aid, Wal-Mart, and Walgreen, to name a few. Currently, more than seven million Americans are using discount cards from these providers.
For more information about the MedCard Solutions affinity program, contact PLANET Membership Manager Cheryl Claborn or call (800) 395-2522.
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SAFETY STARS ROSTER NOW TOTALS 1,000 COMPANIES The number of participants in the STARS (Safety Training Achieves Remarkable Success) Safe Company Program, which was launched in November of 2003, has now climbed to 1,000. This growing number of participants reflects the importance that the green industry places on providing a safe work environment for its employees.
Developed in partnership with CNA and in keeping with PLANET’s alliance with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to further the safety and health of workers in the industry, this safety program was designed to move the entire green industry toward safety excellence. There is no fee to participate in the program, and all green industry companies are invited to become STARS members.
Participants are asked to sign the STARS Safe Company Pledge that commits them to join in the mission of moving the entire green industry toward safety excellence through active involvement, sharing experiences, and becoming a mentor for “living safety.” STARS members also commit to developing a strong safety program by using the Safety Program for Green Industry Companies CD as a guideline. They take an active role in promoting safety throughout their companies and investigate and document every job-related injury, incident, or accident. STARS members also are asked to participate in PLANET’s Safety Recognition Awards Program, comply with all OSHA postings and other regulatory requirements, share best practices with fellow STARS members, and encourage other companies to become STARS members.
If you would like to participate, contact PLANET Membership Manager Cheryl Claborn or call (800) 395-2522.
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LAST CALL FOR THE LAWN CARE SUMMIT Pack your bags for warm, sunny Florida this winter and attend The Lawn Care Summit, a PLANET/National Pest Management Association (NPMA) program of dual educational tracks offering both technical and business management sessions for lawn care professionals. It will be held December 2–4, 2009, at the Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate, in Orlando, Florida. Helping PLANET and NPMA make the event possible is the Lawn Care Summit’s Gold Sponsor BASF Professional Turf & Ornamentals.
Lawn care business owners, managers, technicians, pest professionals considering expanding into the lawn care market, and industry suppliers are invited to attend the summit. Sessions and panel discussions will focus on topics like trends in lawn care, creating a lead-generating Web site, updates on industry issues, disease management, what’s new and still available for weed control, and on critical employment bills that will affect the way businesses are run. Attendees will also have the opportunity to attend the Florida Green Industry Summit and participate in a golf tournament on the 18-hole, Greg Norman-designed ChampionsGate golf course.
The Omni Orlando Resort is a four-star facility, located 25 minutes from the Orlando International Airport. It is one of the nation’s premier golf, meeting, and leisure retreats. Complimentary scheduled shuttle transportation is provided by the resort to all four Walt Disney World® Theme Parks — located just a few miles away.
For hotel reservations at the Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate, call (888) 444-OMNI or (407) 390-6664. For more detailed information about the educational sessions and how to register for this event, check out The Lawn Care Summit on the Events/Shows page at LandcareNetwork.org, or call PLANET at (800) 395-2522.
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WANTED: PLANET AEF SCHOLARSHIP APPLICANTS Applications are now being accepted for 2010 PLANET Academic Excellence Foundation (PLANET AEF) scholarships. Students who are enrolled in landscape contracting and horticulture programs at two- and four-year colleges and universities across the nation are encouraged to apply. The schools they attend must have a PLANET-accredited landscape contracting/horticulture curriculum, be a PLANET student chapter member, or participate in PLANET’s Student Career Days.
Scholarship applications are available online at LandcareNetwork.org and must be submitted to the PLANET office no later than December 7, 2009. The scholarships will be distributed during a reception and presentation sponsored by STIHL Inc., at Student Career Days, April 8–11, 2010, at Chattahoochee Technical College, North Metro Campus, in Atlanta, Georgia.
PLANET AEF helps fund the educational endeavors of students who are preparing to become future leaders of the green industry. The generous support of lawn and landscape professionals, industry suppliers, and students themselves fund the scholarships. In 2009, the Foundation presented almost $70,000 in scholarships to 64 deserving students.
For more information about the PLANET AEF scholarship program, contact Kristen Nolton at (800) 395-2522.
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WE ARE LISTENING In February 2009, a Web-based membership survey was sent to almost 2,000 Green Industry Service Provider members. The survey resulted in 279 responses — a 15 percent response rate, which is considered statistically relevant (margin of error: +/-5.4 percent). The following survey results were indeed revealing, and they provided the PLANET leadership and staff with an updated picture of who our members are, how your businesses are faring, and what you want out of your membership with PLANET.
Challenges and notable findings:
- 34 percent specialize in Landscape Management, 32 percent Lawn care, 29 percent Design/Build/Installation, and 4 percent Interior Plantscaping
- Average length of time in business: 20.3 years and annual revenue (median): $1.45 million
- Median number of employees: 19 (peak season), 9 (off-season)
- Average number of years as a PLANET member: 8.5
Future membership benefits/services:
- Top challenges were the economy, competitively pricing work, and increased fuel and material costs.
- The No. 1 reason companies join PLANET is to stay current with industry developments. Other top-mentioned reasons: educational events, networking, and to stay current with the latest industry equipment and products.
- Nearly 80 percent of the respondents noted that PLANET was “well-regarded” in the green industry, and 73 percent felt that PLANET is responsive to the needs of the industry.
- 70 percent of the respondents felt that PLANET’s educational offerings were relevant to their business.
- Only 22 percent of the respondents felt that PLANET was recognized by consumers/end-users.
- 48 percent of the respondents ranked PLANET’s membership value as either Excellent or Good, while 35 percent ranked it as average.
- 78.2 percent of the respondents revealed that they were likely to renew their membership in PLANET.
Additional suggestions for future benefits/services:
- When asked about possible future PLANET member benefits, respondents revealed the following three services as most desired: (1) marketing assistance/programs, (2) consumer education materials, and (3) online mentoring with industry leaders.
How PLANET is responding:
- Forum for working with professional firms (i.e., insurance and legal).
- Web pages/resources that would help small businesses; stronger curriculum for larger companies.
- Way to get companies together from noncompeting markets and similar size to talk through issues; more mentoring.
- More positive PR about the industry on television or in print; more consumer marketing.
- Location changes for Green Industry Conference every year; add regional meetings.
Thanks to those who participated in this important survey. We always value member input. For more information or questions about this survey, e-mail Director of Membership Shaine Anderson or call (800) 395-2522.
- Online Specialty Group Toolkits containing industry-specific resources.
- Affinity partnerships that can help members realize significant savings in debt collection, fuel, insurance, equipment, and discounts in health care through MedCard Solutions.
- A quarterly payment plan for membership dues.
- Initiatives under consideration or being researched include outreach through consumer-based organizations/associations; possible regional meetings or lunch-and-learn events; conference calls held between similarly sized companies to discuss business strategies; and remote access to mentoring programs/assistance.
MESSAGE FROM YOUR PLANET PRESIDENT
With years of business and leadership experience, PLANET President Bill Hildebolt, Ph.D., Landscape Industry Certified Manager & Technician, shares his wisdom and insights in a monthly message to members.
Available in both English and Spanish, Safety $ense offers tips on safe workplace practices on a monthly basis.
The popular monthly Personnel Notebook gives green industry companies a wealth of information on a variety of human resource topics.
QUARTERLY LEGISLATIVE UPDATE
This publication contains a recap of relevant legislative and regulatory activity important to members of the green industry.
Online editions of the monthly official newsmagazine of the association — PLANET News — are archived for your convenience.
PLANET NEWS INTERIOR
For the interior plantscaper, PLANET News Interior captures interior-specific topics of interest and more.