The PLANET Professionals - The Edge from the National Association of Landscape Professionals

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The PLANET Professionals

As you’ve probably noticed, the lack of professionalism in any walk of life, whether it be teaching, running a large company, or operating a lawn care or landscape contracting company, is an area of interest to me. One of the mantras I abide by every day is that if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right, and that means striving to be the best and performing in the most professional manner.

The green industry has come a long way over the years in this regard, and I truly believe that PLANET has played a large role in making it happen. PLANET not only is the voice of the green industry, but it also has established a level of professionalism for other industry members to follow. Look around at PLANET events, and you’ll quickly see what I mean. By and large, and I say that because there are exceptions to every rule, your business associates and friends are experts in their chosen fields; they work hard, and they have the social skills to successfully interact with customers, suppliers, and associates. Furthermore, they possess the personal character attributes of being open, honest, sincere, trustworthy, and straightforward when dealing with people. 

Where does all this “professionalism” originate, one may ask? Well folks, it starts with the leadership volunteers who sit on the PLANET board, who chair and make up the all-important committees and subcommittees, who help create professional standards on the International Certification Council, and who help ensure our industry’s future by their work on the PLANET Academic Excellence Foundation (PLANET AEF) board.  

The committee members do most of the heavy lifting, and without their dedication and hard work, events like Renewal & Remembrance, Legislative Day on the Hill, Student Career Days, the Green Industry Conference, and Executive Forum wouldn’t be possible. These same events wouldn’t be possible without the professionals who comprise the PLANET staff. Without them, initiatives and committee work would evaporate into thin air and events would fall flat or not even take place. And what resources would we have to help our members grow and become even more professional without our professional staff?

The PLANET professionals — who are they? There’s too little space here to name them all, but consider this. The PLANET Board of Directors includes the likes of David Snodgrass, CLP, and Jason Cupp, CLP, both quintessential professionals. There’s an educator, Phil Allen, Ph.D., CLP, from Brigham Young University-Provo as well as industry veterans Michael Byrne, CLP; Norman Goldenberg; Gerald Grossi, CTP-CSL; Fred Haskett, CTP; Jennifer Lemcke, CTP-CSL; Chris Raimondi, CLP; and Richard Wilbert, CLP. There are two industry suppliers on the board — Syngenta’s Ron Johnson, CTP-CSL, and JOHN DEERE’s Ken Taylor, CLP — and a representative from our state association partners, Barbara Scheibe, the executive director of the Wisconsin Landscape Contractors Association.

They are quite a group and representative of the professionals who, across the board, make up our organization. I haven’t even mentioned the volunteers who comprise the PLANET Trailblazers, the Certified Landscape Technician test administrators, partners in the state and regional associations, and our supplier sponsors who all are generous with their time and resources. I must also mention our consultants, who offer advice on legal issues, HR concerns, and PR opportunities — to name but a few areas where this high level of professional consultation is available as a free benefit to all PLANET members — and our contractors, who labor behind the scenes to help our members meet ongoing challenges and clarify our ideas.

Allow me to reiterate that all of this would not be available or even possible if it were not for the efforts put forth by the professionals on the PLANET staff and the superb leadership of Sabeena Hickman. As our mission statement says, the above individuals represent “the dedicated professionals and companies who create and enhance the world’s landscapes.” I’m proud to be a member of PLANET and part of a group that gives true meaning to the word professional. It’s not rhetoric; it’s reality for us and being a true professional is a message that PLANET brings to the industry every day of the year. 

One last comment. As I mentioned earlier, PLANET members are the true professionals within the green industry. One of the best places to meet and network with them at every level is the Green Industry Conference and GIE+EXPO. Be sure to attend this year’s event, October 28–31, 2009, in Louisville, Kentucky. See you there.  

Bill Hildebolt, Ph.D., CTP, CTP-CSL
PLANET President