What defines a strong association? - The Edge from the National Association of Landscape Professionals

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What defines a strong association?

As PLANET president, I am directed by by-laws and policies to facilitate and coordinate ongoing PLANET Board of Directors processes and functions. I am also charged with the responsibility to ensure a successful annual agenda for board activities and for the overall association.



Most incoming presidents (I’m no exception) have strong feelings about certain programs and initiatives that are underway. As such, I am committed to the following:

  1. Continuing the challenge posed to the association by my predecessor David Snodgrass, Landscape Industry Certified Manager — to achieve “Wild Success” — and the execution of our forward-looking, three-to-five year Strategic Plan.
  2. Strengthening our association to ensure it is and continues to be “the Voice of the green industry” and that our members continue to improve on the level of professionalism that our industry deserves and expects.
  3. Championing ongoing initiatives, such as developing co-memberships with state associations, establishing the Irrigation & Water Management Specialty Group, strengthening supplier relationships, and building a strong government and public policy position.

In other words, like my predecessors, I am committed to a healthy PLANET and industry.

Over the past several years of volunteer leadership with local, state, and national green industry associations, I have developed my own healthy association philosophy. I call it the “four Ms.” When an association excels in developing and nurturing all four Ms, it provides value and benefits to its members and to the industry it represents. I define the Ms as follows:

·        Money — The financial power to provide knowledge, value, and program strength to grow and serve its members and the industry.

·        Members — In numbers (sufficient and growing) from all disciplines to provide resources and deliver a powerful collective voice.

·        Motivation — Individuals and companies willing to step forward with the contributions of time, energy, knowledge, and expertise needed to lead an industry.

·        Momentum — Positive and impactful programs and strong forward-thinking initiatives that advance members’ knowledge and the industry’s professionalism.


As a committee member, a board member, and an officer, I have been involved in organizations that struggle. I have also participated with groups that languish in the status quo, and I have been fortunate enough to experience the “highs” of belonging to truly vibrant and growing associations. They all share a common “M” bond. Those that struggle may have reached only two of their four M goals. Those stuck with the status quo may have excelled in three areas, but lack the fourth M. Conversely, those that excel and grow have all four Ms covered.

My No. 1 goal as PLANET president is to see the organization excel in all four Ms, and stay at that level for years to come — for the good of our members and of the industry.