Are You Ready for ELEVATE Round 2? - The Edge from the National Association of Landscape Professionals

We recently updated our Privacy Policy. By continuing to use this website, you acknowledge that our revised Privacy Policy applies.

Are You Ready for ELEVATE Round 2?

Attendees for the inaugural ELEVATE conference and expo had an overwhelmingly positive experience, with 97% saying they left with new ideas, insights and concrete takeaways. This year’s ELEVATE will take place in Dallas, Texas, at the Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center on Sept. 10-13. This event provides the opportunity to hear from top industry leaders, connect with your peers and talk with manufacturers about the latest in products and technology.

“You will leave ELEVATE feeling energized, motivated, excited, and ready to bring back what you learned and put it to work,” says Kim McCrossen, associate director of education for NALP. “We really want people to leave with key takeaways that they can implement immediately. I can also guarantee you will leave with some new connections.”

Educational Sessions

ELEVATE features 39 education sessions developed by the ELEVATE program committee.

“We’re fortunate to have a dedicated committee made of our peers, and through in-depth discussions and experience sharing, we can get a strong pulse on some of the big issues and trends affecting us and our industry,” says Doug McDuff, one of the program committee members. “We shoot to pick topics that we feel are compelling, innovative, timely, and address concerns and challenges that are affecting all of us in the green industry.”

Photo: NALP/Philippe Nobile Photography

ELEVATE program committee chair Claire Goldman says once they identified the program sessions, they began thinking through speakers.

“Many people stop us at events or email us with ideas for topics and speakers, so we keep a list going all year,” Goldman says. “We start fitting the pieces together and invite speakers who we know are qualified to speak on the topic and are known to present well.”

She says these sessions reflect the state of the industry, give solutions to issues many people are facing, and allow them time to think and work on their companies.

“There’s always something to learn,” Goldman says. “If you don’t think you have anything left to learn or anything to improve in your company, you are probably the problem. I don’t say that to sound harsh, but humility and an eagerness to learn and grow are essential to building your team and your brand to the next level.”

The program committee’s goal this year was to analyze and address feedback received from the first ELEVATE. While the event was extremely well-received, Goldman says some of the opportunities for adjustment include having some 60-minute sessions and other sessions lasting 45 minutes. There will also be more time for Q&As during sessions to allow for peer learning and networking.

“We know one of the many reasons you come to ELEVATE is to network, so we have created lots of opportunities for you to connect with your peers,” McCrossen says. “Many of the sessions will be interactive and will give you the opportunity to ask your questions.”

Goldman says they read through every comment submitted and adjusted accordingly to make their programming even better. She encourages this year’s attendees to provide honest feedback through the session ratings in the app and in the post-event survey.

“NALP is an association here to serve our membership,” she says. “We want to know what you think about the experience, what you love, and where you see room for improvement.”

Photo: NALP/Philippe Nobile Photography

Like last year, ELEVATE’s sessions are broken down by education tracks. This year will feature four tracks: business excellence, customer experience, operational excellence and team member experience.

“I am really looking forward to hearing from J.T. Price with Landscape Workshop on Employee Incentives that Work,” McCrossen says. “I think your team members are the backbone of any company and doing what we can to keep them happy and building that inviting culture is the key to any successful business.”

McCrossen encourages attendees to look at the education schedule in advance to figure out how they want to divide and conquer the vast selection of sessions.

“There is a lot being offered, so you will not be able to go to everything, but if you are coming with your team, it may be best to split up to make the most of your time here at ELEVATE,” McCrossen says. “You can choose to focus on a specific track or by your specialty area; either way, you will not go home empty-handed.”

There are also three Main Stage sessions. The opening session will feature the founder of Sseko Designs, Liz Forkin Bohannon. A leadership panel including Pam Dooley, Phil Key and Tony Massey, will discuss the future of the industry, and motivational speaker and comedian Josh Sundquist will speak during the closing session.

“If you are looking to be inspired, solve a challenge in your business, or find that one takeaway that will bring your business to the next level, you need to attend the education at ELEVATE,” McDuff says.


Aside from the educational sessions, one of the other main ways to grow and learn is to connect with other industry professionals. ELEVATE provides numerous opportunities make new connections and reunite with old friends.

This includes the NALP Networks Social, the Welcome Reception, happy hours on the ELEVATE Expo show floor, and more.

Photo: NALP/Philippe Nobile Photography

“Some of the most impactful nuggets I’ve learned over the years have come from moments I least expected them,” Goldman says. “Your mindset makes all the difference at an event like this. Are you looking for nuggets? Are you meeting people outside of your usual crowd? Be intentional about expanding your network and learning something new. It’s cliche, but the more you put into this event, the more you will get out of it.”

There are also 18 Campfire Sessions on the expo floor, which is an opportunity for intimate conversations about relevant topics.

Ticketed networking events include Breakfast with Champions, which is the perfect time to learn from others in a small group setting on a specific topic that is of interest to you, and three different On Tour facility tours to Southern Botanical, EarthWorks and LandPatterns. Each tour takes place on Wednesday at the conclusion of the conference.

If you would like to support the NALP PAC or the NALP Foundation, both will have fundraising events during ELEVATE as well.

And finally, the party of the year for NALP members is the ELEVATE Bash at Gilley’s, a famous Dallas honkytonk, featuring mechanical bull riding, armadillo races, karaoke, a speakeasy, line dancing and more.


Another crucial aspect of ELEVATE is the expo, which provides the chance to create meaningful connections with experts and manufacturers of equipment, products and technology.

Brands such as John Deere, Envu, Aspire Software, and Syngenta are returning to ELEVATE to support the industry, gain insights from landscape professionals and share expertise about the newest product and equipment innovations.

Photo: NALP/Philippe Nobile Photography

“If you’re truly committed to the landscape industry and the contractors who work in this space, then there is no doubt you should support and exhibit at ELEVATE…this year and each year moving forward,” says Chase Tew, production system & business unit manager for John Deere Turf Care.

Mike Dzurenko, national account manager of lawn and landscape at Envu, says their major goals by attending are to give back to the industry and build their brand awareness. Envu was formerly Bayer’s Environmental Science Professional business, which it divested in 2022.

“We want them to come by the booth to remember who we are and that we really haven’t changed other than the name,” Dzurenko says.

Gage Roberts, sales director for Aspire Software, says over the next several releases, they will produce additional functionality for landscape professionals, like their PropertyIntel property measurement and takeoff solution.

“In the landscape industry, we’re scratching the surface of what technology can do for our businesses and customers,” Roberts says. “From automation and augmented reality to artificial intelligence, the possibilities continue to drive landscaping forward — and help us to grow and work better together.”
ELEVATE is also the place to go if you want to see new products. Syngenta will be featuring their new Recognition herbicide.

“Recognition has a built-in turf safener, Metcamifen, that allows for unparalleled turf safety to warm-season grasses including St. Augustinegrass,” says Carson Cashwell, lawn and landscape market manager for Syngenta. “In fact, Recognition even safens other herbicides including Fusillade II and Turflon Ester, allowing for broader spectrum, fewer applications, and even control of Bermudagrass in St. Augustinegrass.”

Cashwell says they also provide digital tools to help lawn care operators optimize their application timing for weeds and diseases, as well as free marketing tools.

“The Syngenta territory managers and technical team do a great job helping lawn care companies learn how to get the most out of our products,” Cashwell says. “By coming to the Syngenta booth, lawn care companies can learn how to grow their business by increasing efficacy, adding new services and even reduce labor costs. We look forward to taking the time to help them understand how to optimize their savings and even talk to them about marketing to their customers.”

Tew says John Deere will be presenting an exciting product that increases productivity, solves customer problems and lowers the total cost of ownership.

Wayne Thomsen, VP of marketing and product management for ECHO Incorporated, says attendees can see new tools, selections from ECHO’s X Series and ECHO eFORCE 56V battery system, commercial autonomous mowers and a sneak peek of what’s to come in 2024 at their booth.

Photo: NALP/Philippe Nobile Photography

“Landscape professionals attending ELEVATE have a unique experience, as the show is rooted in education,” Thompson says. “The combination of learning sessions, paired with experiencing products first-hand, offers pros a more holistic understanding about what ECHO is offering. Additionally, attendees can learn about buying programs ECHO offers, such as the Landscaper Fleet Program, designed specifically for larger landscape companies who typically buy large volumes. Finally, ELEVATE is a great opportunity to interface with ECHO executives, sales managers, product managers and gain deeper insights into these powerful products and programs.”

Brands exhibiting for the first time at ELEVATE include Sensori Robotics, Inova Payroll and Babbel.

“ELEVATE has a reputation as the premier show for innovation for the landscaping industry, especially being led by NALP,” says Brad Bush, CEO of Sensori Robotics. “We could not miss the event as a new technology company, especially since it is in our backyard at the Gaylord Texan.”

Bush says their new Sensori robotic mower is a drop-and-go mower that landscapers can drop off on a customer’s site and pick back up when it’s done to take to another property. They will sell the robot as a full solution on a subscription basis. At ELEVATE, they will showcase a demonstration and allow attendees to sign up for the production version, which they are taking reservations for.

“We believe both our technology and business model make Sensori unique,” Bush says. “We have patent-pending technology which allows our robots to mow any lawn anywhere. We use a mixture of location techniques to make sure our robots accurately can mow in areas where our competitors cannot. As a monthly subscription service, we believe that the low capital and low risk to landscapers make our robots an easy decision.”

Inova Payroll features deep integration with Aspire Software and even for non-Aspire users, the platform is built to handle the complexities of field service companies like landscaping.

“We understand their industry and understand how they allocate their time and their costs and the challenges that they have around different pay structures and how they want to get everything integrated with QuickBooks or their accounting system,” says Coray Grove, chief revenue officer for Inova Payroll. “Our expertise is what really differentiates us.”

Grove says Inova is customizable, so companies can use their language so the system fits tightly into their organization. He says attendees can speak to their professionals at the booth about scenarios and get instant feedback.

“We would love to collaborate with customers to understand those things and develop solutions that better address the things that are on their mind,” Grove says. “We’re not just looking to sell, we want to help collaborate and we’re totally committed to this industry.”

Babbel is a language learning platform for businesses that allows employers and employees to more effectively learn how to communicate with one another using the same language.

Photo: NALP/Philippe Nobile Photography

“What we do is a tailor-made online service that actually allows language learners to understand and communicate nuanced phrases that are important for everyday life and work,” says Katie Love, team lead of growth ops B2B for Babbel. “The biggest differentiator technically is that business-to-business factor with an account manager, and a learner success team, but also the ability to learn at your own pace. We also offer an online live language class that allows employees to learn through conversations with other language learners for accountability and success.”

By being tailor-made, Babbel can cover relevant industry words, while other apps may be more focused on tourism phrases like ‘Where’s the hotel?’

These companies are just a small selection of the brands you will be able to connect with on the expo floor. You can see a full list of exhibitors by going to

Many thanks to all of our industry partners, including John Deere, Envu, Greenworks Commercial, STIHL, Aspire Software, Gravely, Syngenta, Landscape Management, and Lawn & Landscape for supporting ELEVATE.

“It’s an honor and privilege for John Deere to be the ELEVATE platinum sponsor,” Tew says. “This is a sponsorship we deem critical to supporting the overall industry advancement and it demonstrates our commitment to both this industry and the professional organizations that represent the landscaping industry. We’re excited to see year two of ELEVATE and help the NALP bring exciting topics and speakers to the conference.”

This article was published in the July/August issue of the magazine. To read more stories from The Edge magazine, click here to subscribe to the digital edition.

Jill Odom

Jill Odom is the senior content manager for NALP.