NALP Field Trip with Marty Grunder is a Sell-Out Success

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It has been a little while since NALP has done facility tours and education in different locations around the country, but at your request it is back and better than ever!

This week, we traveled to Chicago to team up with industry powerhouse Marty Grunder for 2-days of networking, education and an in-depth facility tour and case study of Mariani Landscape, the largest private landscape contractor in the county. The event was so popular, in fact, that it was sold out!

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If you missed the NALP Field Trip with Marty Grunder, don’t worry, you can see Marty at LANDSCAPES 2016; also plans are in the works for more NALP regional education in Atlanta and Dallas this winter.

Thanks to the sponsors of the NALP Field Trip with Marty Grunder: Bartlett Tree Experts, Gravely, and John Deere.

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5 Actions That Help Neutralize Price Concerns


What to do when your competition low balls you and you are feeling pressure to lower your prices?  Don’t panic says LandOpt President and CEO Tim Smith.

The following are five actions Smith recommends to help neutralize price concerns: Continue reading

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H-2B Filing Tips


At this point in the year, many landscaping businesses need to focus on preparing and submitting prevailing wage determinations which will ultimately be used to support the processing of H-2B applications for the upcoming 2017 Spring season.  The Department of Labor recently conducted a public webinar on filing tips that will help to ensure timely processing.  Here are their top 3 tips:

Do not wait!  File your prevailing wage request as soon as possible.  The validity period for obtaining a prevailing wage determination using the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Wage Survey will be good through June 30, 2017, so there is no reason to delay requesting a prevailing wage determination.  Even if you desire to use an employer-provided wage survey, it is a good practice to go ahead and request a wage determination for your job using the OES wage survey.  There is no guarantee that the employer-provided survey will be approved; play it safe and get the OES wage determination.

Be consistent in describing your job!  You should describe the job duties, in detail, to be performed by any worker filling the job opportunity. Specify the field(s) and/or product(s) involved, any equipment to be used, and pertinent working conditions. The duties provided must be consistent with and specific enough to be classified under a relevant job category as described in the O*Net publication. The O*NET task statements contained in the Landscaping/Groundskeeping position description provide a good framework.

Watch out for combination of duties!  For example, if a landscape contractor wants workers to also perform supervisory duties which are not contained within the scope of a basic landscape laborer job, then please be aware that the NPWC will consider this a combination of occupations and the prevailing wage rate associated with the most appropriate O*NET code performing First-Line Supervisory duties will be taken into account when issuing the wage determination.

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NALP Member News – Week of August 15

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Kingstowne Lawn & Landscape Purchases a 13.5 Acre Facility Outside Washington D.C.

When Kingstowne Lawn & Landscape owner Krisjan Berzins decided his growing company needed more space, he was ready to buy instead of lease space. A lot of planning and a little luck went into the search for a hard-to-come-by commercial property inside the beltway in the Washington D.C. metro region. He finally scooped up the 13.5 acre property and put a lot of work into its make-over. Berzins learned a lot through the process which we’ll share in an upcoming issue of the Landscape Professional Magazine.

Jeff Korhan Launches Landscape Digital Institute

Jeff Korhan, NALP consultant member and industry speaker, author and digital marketing expert, has launched the Landscape Digital Institute, an online digital marketing training community for green industry professionals.

If you are an NALP member with major company news to share, please send it to,





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Lawn Care Certification Attracts Crowds at Field Day

Turfgrass field dayMore than 800 participants at the 2016 Turfgrass Research Field Day in Griffin, Ga., was good news for NALP’s Landscape Industry Certified Lawn Care Manager program. At the beginning of August, NALP’s certification partner, the University of Georgia, exhibited at the field day displaying the Principles of Turfgrass Management and Principios Sobre el Manejo de Céspedes programs to overwhelming success.

“Our display table was so popular that we exhausted our supply of brochures by the close of the event,” said Pam Bracken, department head of Special Projects & Curriculum Development at The University of Georgia Center for Continuing Education. “We’ve seen a definite uptick in inquiries as a result of our exhibit.”

Over the past year, the program has grown by 73% and shows no sign of slowing down. The course began offering an online option in 2015 in addition to its print-based version. The course is available in English and Spanish and offers military discounts. Graduates of the course earn NALP’s Lawn Care Manager certification.

The Principles of Turfgrass Management program’s next stop will be at the GIE+EXPO in Louisville, Kentucky, Oct. 20-21. Visitors to The University of Georgia Center for Continuing Education booth #4037 can enter for a chance to win one free Principles of Turfgrass course registration. For course details, visit or call 706-542-3537.

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So, This is What a Tree Doctor Does?

As any professional knows, diagnosing problems with trees isn’t easy – there are so many potential factors at work. We were lucky enough to travel to Charlotte, North Carolina, recently, to go behind the scenes at the Bartlett Tree Experts’ 400 acre arboretum and research laboratory.  We always wondered what the life of a tree doctor was like and Lorriane Graney, manager of the lab filled us in on how their job, analyzing 8,000 samples a year, is a bit like CSI.

Bartlett Tree Experts is the sponsor of NALP’s educational webinars. View a list of new and archived webinars. Webinars are free to NALP members.



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Overtime Relief Bill Introduced


In mid-July, Congressman Kurt Schrader (OR-5), Congressman Jim Cooper (TN-5), Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28) and Congressman Collin Peterson (MN-7) introduced the Overtime Reform and Enhancement Act, legislation that will initiate a three-year phase-in of the Department of Labor’s new overtime rule. The phase-in is designed to mitigate the impact of the new rule, and provide additional time for employers to make adjustments to comply with the new overtime threshold of $47,476. READ MORE

The measure also calls for the elimination of the automatic three-year increase to the salary threshold established under the new rule. The bill recognizes that future administrations can and should update the overtime rules, as they are required to under the Fair Labor Standards Act, but limits the ability of the DOL to mandate automatic updates.

Annual increases proposed by the bill are as follows:
December 1, 2016 — $35,984 ($692 per week)
December 1, 2017 — $39,780 ($765 per week)
December 1, 2018 — $43,628 ($839 per week)
December 1, 2019 — $47,476 ($913 per week)

NALP supports this measure and is still working in conjunction with other small business interest stakeholders as a member of the Partnership to Protect Workplace Opportunity (PPWO), NALP has signed onto a PPWO letter supporting the bill and will work to encourage grassroots support by landscape professionals as the legislation progresses through Congress.

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First Landscape Learning Lab at Legislative Day a Success

IMG_3932  NALP sponsored an interactive industry exhibit at this year’s Legislative Day for members of Congress and their staff. Several dozen congressional staffers attended the event held in the Rayburn House Office Building visiting exhibits that offered instruction on the importance of healthy lawns and landscapes, information on the industry’s commitment to pollinators and sustainable practices, teachings on irrigation and storm water protection, the H2B program and Hispanics in landscaping.


Each table delivered teaching objectives created to help Congressional representatives understand the valuable work done by industry professionals throughout the country.  NALP Legislative Day participants welcomed the chance to provide education about the industry to Hill staffers and to talk amongst themselves about their Congressional appointments.  NALP would like to thank Denison Landscaping for providing beautiful planters and displays for the event and the National Hispanic Landscape Association for their participation.


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Renewal & Remembrance Reaches a Milestone Through the Hard Work of NALP Members

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On July 11, 2016, NALP held Renewal & Remembrance for the 20th time. Started by PLCAA in 1997, the event has grown into an annual tradition for many families and many companies. We are grateful for our partnership with Arlington National Cemetery and grateful for the many volunteers and sponsors who support the event. But the unsung heroes of the event, are the R&R committee and its members who serve as “Champions” for different areas of the event, working year-round on the planning.

It is a massive undertaking to coordinate the work with Arlington, assign volunteers to teams, figure out how much material and equipment will be needed, move volunteers around, organize the Children’s Program and make sure everyone is safe.

Even though they don’t expect to be recognized, we wanted to thank the members who made this year’s event possible.

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  • Chairman – John Eggleston, Spartan Irrigation
  • Vice Chairman- Eric Gilbey, Vectorworks, Inc.
  • Immediate Past Chair – Bruce Allentuck, Allentuck Landscaping
  • Children’s Program Champion – Lisa Kuperus, Farmside Landscape & Design, and Roger Phelps, STIHL
  • Ceremony Champion – Phil Fogarty, Weed Man USA
  • Landscape Projects Champion- Joe Markell, Sunrise Landscape & Design
  • Turf Projects Champion Kenny Crenshaw, Herbi-Systems, Inc.
  • Tree Projects Champion – Jeremy Baker, Care of Trees
  • Irrigation Projects Champion- Mike Jacobson, Atlantic irrigation
  • Equipment Champion – Tom Kniezewski Surrounds Landscape Architecture & Construction
  • Transportation Champion – Nikos Phelps, Utopian Landscapes
  • Safety Champion- Janes John, Caterpillar
  • Sustainability Champion, Miles Kuperus, III, Farmside Landscape & Design

With additional support provided from R&R committee members, Marshall Scheibe, Scheibe & Scheibe and Tom Shotzbarger.

Work Horse

A few years ago, the committee began giving out a “Work Horse” award, to highlight champions who put a huge amount of time into the event.  This year, the award was given to Nanette Sevens who has been a champion of the Children’s program for many years.  Nanette couldn’t be at this year’s event due to surgery, but the incredibly vibrant and strong Children’s Program this year is recognition of her work in collaboration with other champions of the Children’s Program including Roger Phelps and Lisa Kuperus.

We are thankful to work with an industry that has such a dedication to community service and works together with such joy and respect.

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Legislative Day on the Hill Made an Impact, One Meeting at a Time


It is rewarding to celebrate when a supportive bill finally gets passed in Congress, or when negative laws or regulations get removed.  But usually the road that leads there is long, and often involves years of work and many miles walked in the halls of Congress and many emails sent.

Legislative Day on the Hill is about building a foundation for the journey to legislative and regulatory success. Members of the landscape industry came to Capitol Hill, built relationships and educated law-makers and their staffs about important issues and honed their skills at telling their story.


More than 150 people attended Legislative Day on the Hill this year. They set up appointments with the legislators in their districts and they pounded the marble floors; weaving in and around the labyrinth that are the House and Senate office buildings.

We tagged along with Amy Graham, president of the Texas Nursery and Landscape Association, Jeff Stokes, Director of Legislative & Regulatory Affairs for TNLA and Bill Carson, Owner of Native Texas Nursery, to see what their Legislative Day on the Hill was like.  We walked about three miles in the halls of the House buildings (according to Amy’s Fitbit), I may have accidentally ridden in the elevator reserved for Members of Congress (but Representative Rangel was very cordial), and most importantly, we felt like progress was made on the issue of H-2B.

Our team started the day by dropping into a few offices where the group didn’t have appointments, but took the chance to brief staffers and drop off packets of information.  Then the team had a very successful meeting with Representative Williams of the 25th District of Texas, who was already well briefed on the H-2B issue that was so important to Carson and the members of TNLA.


Carson was an excellent spokesperson for the group, he knows that time with legislators is very limited and you have to be prepared with facts about the program and with the facts about how your business is personally impacted and he was impressive on both those fronts.


After some waiting time in the hallway between appointments, the team then met with Representative Webber of the 14th District of Texas for approximately 30 minutes (which is a pretty long time when it comes to face-time with your Congressman) and he was genuinely interested and surprised by what a business has to go through to use the H-2B program; he asked thoughtful questions until the bell rang for a vote and he had to run.

After the meetings we headed to NALP’s Landscape Learning Lab in the beautiful foyer of the Rayburn Office Building and mingled with Hill staffers and industry experts.


This is what grassroots advocacy is all about.  Educating one person, one regulator, one legislator, one council member, and one law maker at a time.  Bills are won and lost often by one vote, so the work each member of the industry does is important on the long road to victory.  If you didn’t make it to this year’s Legislative Day on the Hill, we hope you will join us next year, or repeat this process locally in your state legislature.

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