ELEVATE Expo Features Intimate Conversations with Suppliers and Sneak Peek at Future Innovations - The Edge from the National Association of Landscape Professionals

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ELEVATE Expo Features Intimate Conversations with Suppliers and Sneak Peek at Future Innovations

Photo: Jill Odom/NALP

The ELEVATE Expo featured 147 exhibitors representing experts and manufacturers of everything from equipment to business software. This expo not only provided attendees the opportunity to connect and learn about these new products but also featured numerous educational sessions.

“We definitely have been pleasantly surprised with just the whole conference, the exhibit hall itself,” says Chad Carney, VP of marketing and corporate communications with John Deere. “The people that are here, the PLC groups that we’ve been able to talk to, several of the CEOs and owners, it’s been a very good experience overall.”

Photo: Jill Odom/NALP

Happy hours were also hosted on the show floor to encourage networking among industry peers and manufacturers.

“I think the biggest difference for me is that here is the attention being given by the landscapers that are walking through here,” says Roger Phelps, corporate communications manager for STIHL, Inc. “First of all, they’re all the decision-makers, and they brought their crew with them. So not only is it the owner, but it’s the foreman and it’s the right people that we want to be in front of, and it’s focused attention. We can have much longer and more meaningful conversations with them. I am just so glad we’re here. It’s been an absolute slam dunk success for us.”

One example of an innovation that debuted on the ELEVATE Expo floor this week was Weed Recede, a biodegradable trimming line for string trimmers. In a minute a traditional string trimmer releases 11 million microplastics and 13.2 billion nanoplastics across yards. Creator Bob Hawkinson says this product solves a problem most weren’t even aware of.

Recede Bioplastics founder Bob Hawkinson speaks with attendees at ELEVATE Expo.
Photo: Jill Odom/NALP

“The expo floor was great,” says Brandt Martin, senior vice president of Rotolo Consultants, Inc., based in Slidell, Louisiana. “There’s a lot of the vendors that we have known for over the years. It’s good to see them again face to face. Technology has really come a long way in the last 12 years. We’re a big user of propane. Our fleet as well as our mowers. It’s interesting to see the battery stuff coming along. It was enlightening to see some of the new technology there.”

The Expo also hosted 18 Campfire Sessions and two panel discussions at the Innovation Stage.

The Campfire Sessions were facilitated by NALP’s Latino Landscape Network, Women in Landscape Network, Young Professionals Network, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council, Workforce Council, and Safety and Risk Management Committee. They covered topics such as how to bridge the cultural gap and ways small businesses could overcome financial pressures.

The two Innovation Stage panels were forward-thinking discussions about how to future-proof your business with technology and the upcoming challenges and opportunities in lawn care maintenance.

At the “A Look Into the Future of Lawn Care Maintenance: The Challenges and Opportunities” panel, some of the challenges discussed included the supply chains impacted by the war in Ukraine, similar regulations being implemented in various states, and the EPA’s failure to abide by the Endangered Species Act and how it impacts pesticides.  

Campfire Sessions were opportunities for intimate discussions around a specific topic.
Photo: Jill Odom/NALP

Panelists stressed that while some of the issues are beyond landscape and lawn care professionals’ control, regulators and legislators can be influenced when the industry raises their voice.

“If you can handle talking to an angry customer, you can handle talking to a politician,” says Bob Mann, senior director of regulatory and technical affairs for NALP.

One of the key takeaways from the “Future-Proof Your Business with Next Gen High-Tech Equipment: Robotics, Autonomous, and Battery-Powered” panel was the importance of gathering data from your equipment and utilizing it to not only work more efficiently but bid jobs better. Logan Fahey, founder of Fahey Group, that owns Robin Autopilot, said employee buy-in is critical to gather this data and the technology should make this tracking frictionless.

While the shift to battery power is expected, all the panelists agreed that dealers will still have an important relationship with landscape professionals as they help them select the right tools for the job and handle equipment repairs.

Carlos Haddad, head of the commercial business unit for Husqvarna, encouraged attendees to start experimenting with these new technologies now and turn to a progressive crew to test out this type of equipment. Fahey added that without a dedicated person responsible for testing out these new technologies, your company will not be able to successfully determine what is a good fit for the business.

Charles Brian Quinn, co-founder and CEO of Greenzie, added that the only thing constant in life is that it is always changing and the businesses that will thrive are those that can adapt.

Jill Odom

Jill Odom is the content manager for NALP.