As 2012 comes to a close, most green industry professionals would say, “It hasn’t been a bad year, but it hasn’t been a great one, either.” Still, the industry is picking up, albeit slowly in some markets, and 2013 promises to bring more good news. Homeowners are once again opening their wallets to enhance their landscapes, and we’re waiting patiently for the commercial market to follow suit. In the meantime, PLANET has been there, providing added value with webinars, an expanded PLANET Universe, and many other resources designed to help members improve their productivity and profit.
One theme especially comes across loud and clear for 2012–PLANET’s willingness and, yes, ability to partner with other associations and groups to help move our industry forward. This year, for example, we’ve formed a partnership with JP Horizons to help promote its Come Alive Outside initiative.
PLANET continues to work closely with state associations, sharing resources and experiences to foster a stronger industry. During the past 12 months, with great respect and thoughtfulness, we’ve also taken a step closer to forming a confederation of PLANET members, composed of state association members and current PLANET members. We’re not there yet, but a PLANET task force, charged with determining the viability of this expanded partnership, will have a report by the end of this year.
State associations have long been a strong partner with PLANET, evidenced by the long-standing success of the certification program. Currently, there are more than 4,000 Landscape Industry Certified Technicians in North America and Canada. When combined with other designations, the figure is well above 5,000. Our thanks go out to the state groups for their continued support of the program.
Certainly, one of the biggest examples of a successful partnership is the one we have with OPEI. The GIC and GIE+EXPO exemplify the important relationship among all members of the green industry, from manufacturers, distributors, and dealers, to their landscape professional customers. Attendance this year was up in both events, and we look forward to seeing this trend line continue in 2013.
Last, but far from least, is the partnerships PLANET members have with their communities, giving back whenever and wherever they can. The PLANET Day of Service has been a huge success, and this year marks the second year for PLANET Gives Back, a volunteer service where PLANET volunteers work together during the week of GIC to enhance sites in downtown Louisville. And, who can forget the biggest community event that PLANET performs annually—Renewal & Remembrance at Arlington National Cemetery?
As we move forward, retaining and developing even stronger partnerships will be fundamental to growing our association and our industry.
Norman Goldenberg, PLANET President Landscape Industry Certified Technician