When the Lexington, KY, Tree Board recently sent out an RFP for a tree planting project, the bid package required an ISA Certified Arborist to be on staff. Despite the fact the Klausing Group didn’t have a certified arborist on staff, it bid the project, providing a list of the dozen or so Landscape Industry Certified professionals it employs.
Company owner Roscoe Klausing bid the project for two reasons. He knows that being Landscape Industry Certified is just as representative of an individual’s best practices, performance, dedication to safety, and knowledge as ISA’s certification. Furthermore, he pointed out that landscape professionals have more experience planting trees than many arborists who primarily focus on tree maintenance.
His company didn’t get the bid. Said Klausing, “Instead of getting angry about losing a single job, we requested the opportunity to meet with the Tree Board and introduce them to the landscape industry’s certification programs. The National Association of Landscape Professionals sent a letter to the board on our behalf, explaining the Landscape Industry Certification program. In addition to the letter it also sent along descriptions of the Landscape Industry Certified exams for both the technician and manager’s program.”
The meeting didn’t result in the Klausing Group winning the bid, but that wasn’t the goal. Instead, the Tree Board agreed to expand the list of approved bid credentials from ISA certification only to include Landscape Industry Certification.
“It’s a real win for us and other landscape professionals in Lexington who employ Landscape Industry Certified technicians and managers,” emphasized Klausing. “Government entities are usually required to take the low bid and having Landscape Industry Certified credentials in the RFP is our best shot at ensuring our competitors are qualified and dissuading low-bid contractors from responding.”
He added this caveat. “The Tree Board’s decision is not only good news for my company and other area landscape professionals, but I feel that advocating for our industry and introducing the city to the Landscape Industry Certification program is also in the best interest of the community in which we live and work.”