You may think I’m jumping the gun, but I’m not. As we all know, time flies during the busy season. Before you know it, October will be here and the Green Industry Conference (GIC), to be held October 27–30, would only be a few short weeks and away. For most PLANET members, attending GIC is a given; they wouldn’t miss it for anything. For those who may be on the fence about going, here are a few good reasons to attend:
1. Nothing else compares. This is the largest green industry educational event in the world, held in conjunction with GIE+EXPO in Louisville. If you are serious about being successful in the landscape and lawn care profession, this is a “must-go-to” event.
2. I can speak from my experience. Our company, Dennis’ 7 Dees, has made attending GIC its No. 2 best practice because of the knowledge our team gains from being there. No. 1, hands down, is being a PLANET member.
3. We are in a tough economy. The GIC is where to learn how to survive and thrive during difficult times.
4. Manufacturers and other suppliers introduce new equipment at the trade show. Savvy contractors view innovations first-hand and get to try them out at the popular outdoor demonstration area. This is the perfect place to make equipment purchasing decisions for the upcoming year.
5. Seize this opportunity to step away from the day-to-day to think big picture about the industry and your company’s direction. Bring your team and make time to do some strategic planning. The GIC provides an environment that naturally sparks impromptu brainstorming and other creative discussions.
6. There isn’t a business problem you are currently dealing with that hasn’t already been faced, fought, and resolved by a PLANET peer, willing to openly share a business experience and success with you. One conversation could save you hundreds of hours of downtime and wasted effort.
7. You may think your company is not big enough and cannot afford to travel to a national conference. The reality is that the GIC serves all size companies, and smaller companies stand to benefit most. Successful businesses spend wisely; I know of nothing that compares to this return on investment.
These are just appetizers, however. Now, we can talk a bit about why veteran attendees keep returning to GIC year after year. Personally, I enjoy the Breakfast With Champions, the networking receptions, and, overall, the interaction with peers. With more than 50 educational sessions, there will certainly be something for everyone, and seeing new products and equipment is always enlightening.
Say, if I come out with one great idea that will benefit my company, my employees, or my customers, the trip to Louisville will be worthwhile. If I develop one new friendship or get inspired by a keynote speaker to act on something that I’ve been dragging my feet on, the trip will have paid for itself. Fact is, I make lots of new friends, and I always end the conference with a list of at least 10 relevant action items that will take my company to the next level. That is what GIC is really all about!
There’s always something new. This year, for example, virtual facility tours will give attendees a close-up view of three top companies in the country and an opportunity to ask founders key questions about their way of doing business. New this year, as well, is a series of six clinics to be held on Saturday. As explained by GIC Chair Phil Fogarty, these clinics will drill down into a variety of topics ranging from how to create an employee handbook and secure more media coverage to understanding the PLANET certification process and seeing what’s new in green technologies.
Keynote speaker Jamie Clarke will relate his experiences climbing Mt. Everest four times and reaching its peak twice. His message of finding success in failure, building teamwork, and being a leader hits home for business owners who have surmounted some difficult challenges of their own over the last few years.
There’s another reason to come to Louisville this fall, but it has less to do with education, equipment, and networking and more to do with just plain celebrating our involvement in a great industry. We say it over and over again and each time the words ring true: We are the original stewards of our environment. Members of our association and industry generously give back throughout the year to make our planet a better place to live.
So come to Louisville. Bring your questions, your notepad, and your team, but also be ready to celebrate being part of a truly great industry. See you there.