Expand Your Thinking with the Innovation and Technology Forum - The Edge from the National Association of Landscape Professionals

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Expand Your Thinking with the Innovation and Technology Forum

Did you miss the Innovation and Technology Forum yesterday? There’s still time to view the full event with the All-Access Pass. You can log in to the virtual platform any time between now and Nov. 17, 2021, to watch the recorded sessions.

If you’re curious about what all was covered, here are some of the takeaways from each category.

Keynote Presentation

In speaker Josh Linkner’s presentation,  “How Innovation Fuels Results” he broke down how everyone has the creative capacity to come up with everyday innovations that result in positive changes.

Linkner outlined five habits of everyday innovators including how they must break it to fix it and reach for the weird. He explains everyday innovators are never satisfied with the mindset of “if ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” He encourages companies to deconstruct their approaches to tasks and upgrade them before they become a problem. Reaching for the weird means thinking outside of the box and thinking of less obvious solutions to issues.

Linkner challenged attendees to discover one big little breakthrough in the next seven days, whether it be changing how you contact a customer or interview a new hire.

People & Sales

In this category, Pam Dooley, with Plants Creative Landscapes, shared how their people management software 15Five has helped improve the company’s communication and track progress toward their goals.

Graham Pellettieri, with Pellettieri Associates, Inc. discussed how using drones has impacted their design process and some of the necessary steps to take if you’re wanting to operate a drone yourself.

Becca Presley, with Senske Services, outlined how their company is currently taking advantage of the free USPS Informed Delivery Program to tie colorful ads to their direct mailing pieces. Presley says they have had a 34 percent conversion rate thanks to using the program.


For the productivity session, it was a lighting round of six presenters sharing their favorite productivity apps, including G-Suite, Microsoft Teams, Canva/Buffer, Smart Sheets, DocuSign/Good Notes and Loom.

Kelly Dowell with Keldo Digital presented on Loom, which allows users to record and share video messages. This platform can be used for sharing standard operating procedures with employees, provide context before a meeting, or suggest feedback to crews regarding site visits.

Loom lets employees and customers consume information on their own time at their own pace, while allowing you to show, not tell.


During the sustainability presentation, William Cohn, with Massey Services, Inc., discussed how smart irrigation can help you be proactive when it comes to system issues. Jeff Sebert, with Sebert Landscape, shared how they invested in making their building LEED-certified and why demonstrating good stewardship matters.

Zech Strauser, with Strauser Nature’s Helpers, covered the many different ways his company is working to implement more sustainable practices. He says constant education and tying values to actions are some of the ways they work to achieve client and staff buy-in. Strauser also advises having multiple options for clients and starting small will help you win big.

“Don’t worry about being all things green,” Strauser says. “Try to find your spot and get started.”


After each session, there was a live Q&A on Zoom.

In the equipment session, Mathew Dreiling, with Mullin, shared the benefits of using battery-power equipment and their experience with it so far. Matt Gramer, with NatureWorks Landscape Services, explained his company’s journey with robotic mowers and the criteria they use for deploying one on a property. He delved into their current operation set up with the robotic mowers and some of the current issues they’ve encountered.

Gramer says while right now the robotic mowing isn’t that attractive financially, it has been well-received by clients and a lot of potential in the future. He encourages others to buy a robotic mower and test it out at your home or office.

Don’t miss out on the full presentations with recorded Q&A! Use the All-Access Pass to hear how other companies are being innovative.

Jill Odom

Jill Odom is the senior content manager for NALP.