I have spent 50 plus years in this profession, so it’s safe to say this is the only work I’ve ever done. As senior vice president of Government Affairs and Industry Relations for TruGreen, I’m still very involved with the industry, networking with landscape professionals and lawn care operators around the country. Indeed, throughout my career and travels, even today, it’s great to know there’s a friendly face in every community I visit, willing to go out to dinner or even put me up for the night.
There is no question I’ve had a very rewarding career and am honored to be your president and to work to sustain the important momentum of my predecessors. I don’t have a specific agenda per se, but there are a few issues that are close to my heart.
First and foremost, I want to continue to build PLANET as the voice of the green industry. I’m an inclusive sort and feel strongly that part of this process requires getting more people involved under our tent. That includes building membership rolls, forming strategic alliances, getting current members even more engaged, and taking advantage of an important resource, past presidents of PLANET and its legacy organizations.
Over the years, I have been fortunate to have been president of several national and state associations and know first-hand how important it is to rely on the experience of those who preceded me. I want to extend my hand to our past presidents and begin the process to form a kitchen cabinet of advisers who will help guide us in future endeavors. Their knowledge and experience is invaluable to our growth and success.
Those of you who know me also know that I’ve been involved for years with regulatory issues, working to minimize the impact of the most challenging regulations and fighting against the implementation of others that could be especially harmful to our industry. Needless to say, I’ve never had difficulty finding something to do.
PLANET and its members need to be vigilant in view of regulations being handed down by the Environmental Protection Agency, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Immigration Control Enforcement, and the Department of Labor, to name but a few agencies whose decisions greatly impact the way we do business. Closer to home, state and local governments continue to impose restrictive requirements for our business operations.
At this very moment, we’re working hard to overturn rules that would make the H-2B guest worker program virtually unworkable. A lot of money has been put on the table toward this effort by PLANET, some of its members individually, and other national and state trade associations. Working together, we will see this through and hopefully save a program on which our industry and others rely to provide valuable services to their customers and prospective clients.
One final thought about PLANET. Our strength derives from you, our members. The stronger you are the stronger we are as an association and as the voice of the green industry. We have to be there for you, to fill any vacuum that may exist in how you run your businesses. We have to continue to provide the education you need to be successful horticulturists, landscape professionals, and lawn care operators and to work to continually deliver the message that the people who make up our association have been and will continue to be stewards of the environment.
If I have one specific goal in mind, it’s to make sure when I leave this post, PLANET, its members, and the industry are continuing to grow and to gain the recognition they truly deserve. This is a worthy goal for all PLANET members, most of whom, like myself, do more than work in an industry; we actually live it, day in and day out.
Norman Goldenberg, Landscape Industry Certified Technician