Experiences at PLANET's Executive Forum - The Edge from the National Association of Landscape Professionals

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Experiences at PLANET's Executive Forum

This was my first Executive Forum and since it was combined with the Leadership Meetings it made for a very busy but very enjoyable time.


Just some experiences that I had…

  • Aria is a beautiful new hotel, but didn’t appear to have signs to tell me what hotel I was in.  I am sure I looked like the typical tourist as I stood there gawking and trying to see if I was in the right place!
  • Really impressed by Aria’s LEED status.  Plants in the meeting room walls was a very interesting touch, though they looked like they needed watering. Wonder what my horticulture friends were thinking.
  • Hotel room amenities were great.  My room came complete with an attractive young woman. You guessed it, they double booked the room.  Needless to say, as Mrs. Phelps does not have a sense of humor for these things I got new room.
  • I was extremely impressed by the Board proceedings.  The level of thought, consideration and focus shown by all board members was commendable.  I was particularly impressed by the discussions at the Governance committee.  Focus was on finding ways to ensure that all different facets of the PLANET family were represented, informed, and involved in the process.  Particular attention was paid on specialty group representation.
  • I was certainly impressed by the ValleyCrest facility tour and subsequent talk by Burt Sperber.  The professionalism and enthusiasm of everyone in the organization made it easy to see why they are so successful.  Companies of any size, however, could take away basic principles that they could apply to their own operations.  Two incidents in particular stand out in my mind.  First, standing in the briefing room at the ValleyCrest facility and watching Burt, owner of a $1billion company, bring in additional folding chairs for his guests.  As I posted on Twitter that day this left no doubt in my mind why the company was successful.  Second, and really the highlight of my entire trip, was watching the two young owners of Landscape America, Andy and Doug McDuff, furiously taking notes as they listened to Burt Sperber talk about ValleyCrest’s 60 year journey. Landscape America was established in 2006, and has already won the Y&G Pros in Excellence Award at last year’s GIE.  Seeing them at Executive Forum and learning from the best made me thing the future of the Green Industry was in good hands.  I expect to see great things from them.
  • As always it was nice to reconnect with my friends and peers in the Green Industry.  I still refuse to go running at 6AM with Phil Allen and Bruce Allentuck but happy to have dinner with them anytime.  Need to remember to stay away from Nanette Seven as the woman has wicked sales skills and I always find myself volunteering to help her with something. Always fun to brainstorm ideas for GIC, PLANET Student Career Days and FFA with Carol Dilger, Ken Taylor and Natalie Whitehead. And of course comparing Social Media notes with the master himself Jason Cupp.

Lots more to share, but perhaps another time.  Bottom line, proud to be a member of PLANET and the Green Industry and looking forward to a productive year.

Roger Phelps

Promotional Communications Manager STIHL Inc.