Awards of Excellence Winners Get Dividends in Unexpected Ways - The Edge from the National Association of Landscape Professionals

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Awards of Excellence Winners Get Dividends in Unexpected Ways

Goldberg & Rodler, Inc., Dynamic Downtown Dwelling
Photo: Sue Sotera

Clients value award-winning companies. Employees want to work for companies that do great work. NALP’s national Awards of Excellence showcase the best project work in commercial and residential lawn care; landscape design/build and maintenance; interior design/build and maintenance and more. Award recipients benefit in so many ways.

Photo: Pacific Landscape Management

Bob Grover, LIC, president of Pacific Landscape Management in Hillsboro, Oregon, says that they use the awards to honor customers and employees — showing that the great work the company is doing is being nationally recognized. 

Rochelle Zeyl, executive partner of Landscape Creations of Rhode Island in South Kingstown, agrees. She says that the greatest reward for the company’s team is knowing they are doing great work.

 “Participating in the NALP Awards of Excellence gives us a meaningful step we can take to celebrate and showcase their talents,” she says. “Our craftsmen are genuinely passionate about their work and it’s fun for us to submit their projects for a chance at national recognition in their field.”

Attracting Clients

Of course, awards also play a role in client — and potential client — perception.

“The NALP Awards of Excellence also a way to show prospects that we are nationally recognized for high-quality work on prominent properties,” Grover says. “Customers really love the awards, and we present them with award plaques for them to show off.” 

Zeyl says that anecdotally speaking, prospective clients — and prospective employees — weigh many factors when choosing a landscape company to hire or work for. The national recognition from these NALP awards adds a layer of prestige that helps position winners as a quality choice.

Amy Snyder, director of public relations at Ruppert Landscape, headquartered in Laytonsville, Maryland, says that when working with prospective customers, using award-winning projects presents an opportunity to show the value that the company can bring to a project or portfolio.

Landscape Creations participates to showcase their team’s talent

“This can be especially helpful in a specific market where a well-known project has won an award,” Snyder continues. “Being able to show photos, especially before and after photos, and describe the work that was performed gives a potential customer a point of reference for what is possible with their own project, as well as greater confidence in your company’s ability to perform the work.”

Snyder says that the award process also benefits the relationship with current clients.

“With existing customers whose projects have won awards, it creates an even stronger partnership,” she explains. “Customers are proud of their property and better understand the added value your team brings — which creates brand loyalty and can certainly aid in contract renewals on the maintenance side or repeat business on the landscape construction side.”

Nick Onesto, landscape designer with Goldberg and Rodler, Inc., in Huntington, New York, agrees that there is a strong client retention component.

“The award process provides an opportunity to get back on the properties of sites we’d like to submit for awards,” he explains. “That can lead to additional opportunities and quite often also leads to referrals.”

Like the other companies, Goldberg and Rodler also presents the customers of award-winning projects with a plaque to thank them.

“Customers are usually pretty excited to see that their project got national recognition,” Onesto says.

Unexpected Benefits

While the prestige and recognition are natural gains to follow this national award, sometimes there are unexpected benefits. Snyder says that the process of entering the competition — including assembling all of the information — has assisted herself and her team in become even more proficient in green industry knowledge.

“This has included things like how to read a purchasing list; how environmental sustainability plays into projects with LEED, SITES and xeriscaping; how and why certain tasks like turf aeration, overseeding and integrated pest management (IPM) are performed; why job sequencing is important in terms of productivity and meeting deadlines; and how safety impacts a project and site personnel with regard to proper PPE and training — just to name some,” she says.

Photo: Ruppert Landscape

But another unanticipated benefit has simply been the fact that the award process brings people within the organization closer together, Snyder adds.

“While we work on many projects to support our employees and raise brand visibility, projects like that of creating NALP award entries bring us much closer to our branch teams,” she explains. “By interviewing a project’s purchaser, field manager, project manager or branch manager it brings into sharper focus the tremendous challenges they face on a job and what it takes to install or maintain a project of that caliber. I always get the feeling as well that our team members really value an opportunity to share what they did on the project. It makes them proud to recount what they did, the challenges they faced, and how they overcame those challenges for our customers. I always come away from each award entry with a better understanding of how certain positions function within our organization, what obstacles they overcome and how much talent exists within our ranks to bring projects to fruition.”

Zeyl adds that participating in awards also helps keep the company ever-evolving and keeping up with the best of the best.

“Seeing the quality and the professionalism of the award submissions that are showcased each year keeps us on our toes,” she says. “It is inspiring and motivates us to continue giving our all to create beautiful, award-worthy landscapes.”

Learn more about the Awards of Excellence. The application process is open from late winter through summer each year.