You can't miss this outstanding event - The Edge from the National Association of Landscape Professionals

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You can't miss this outstanding event

I know we say it every year, but I’m going to say it again. The Green Industry Conference (GIC), to be held October 28–31, 2009, in Louisville is a “don’t miss” event. In fact, there are more reasons than ever before to attend the industry’s premier conference, starting with the lineup of savvy speakers, informative workshops and seminars, and the opportunity to walk the floor of the industry’s largest trade show, the GIE+EXPO.

If you’re on the indecisive fence because of the economy, consider this: You may think you cannot afford to spend three days out of the office, but the truth is — you cannot afford to miss this opportunity. Come hear success stories about working in this economy. There are opportunities to add business and services, not to mention ways to improve the bottom line. The GIC Keynote features three leading executives who will show us the way by sharing their collective industry experience. Rick Ascolese, president and chief operating officer of TruGreen LandCare; Scott Brickman, CEO of BRICKMAN; and Craig Ruppert, CEO of Ruppert Companies will discuss, among other important subjects, the current state of the industry, what it takes to move forward in a down economy, and how to position companies for better times ahead. Where else are you going to be able to rub shoulders with the likes of these three veterans and talk about key issues facing all of us?

There is also a great lineup of seminars and workshops, many of which are also geared toward helping attendees grapple with economic realities. The saying is that our industry is experiencing the “new normal.” Now is the time to find out what that “new normal” is and learn how to make it a profitable part of our everyday business operation. It’s also time to identify and take advantage of new opportunities. Sustainability and operating in a “green” economy will be addressed in more than a dozen seminars. The topic is far from one-dimensional as speakers look at sustainability from the People, Profit, and Planet perspectives.

Of course, there are other important reasons to attend GIC and GIE+EXPO. As industry professionals, we have to continually improve on our business management skills, take advantage of networking opportunities, and learn about new ideas. We also have to stay informed about innovative products and technology that allow us to function efficiently and profitably.

Equipment is often overlooked, in part, because improvements occur gradually. The equipment we use today is safer than ever, important for ensuring the health and welfare or our workforce and keeping insurance costs in line. It is ergonomically designed for comfortable use and is environmentally friendly. New engine technology alone has significantly reduced noise and air pollution, and the cost of operation.

Where would we be today without zero-turn mowers, compact tractors and loaders, and string-line trimmers, to name but a few advances? Without these tools, we would be struggling even more with labor issues, and management would be forced to be more hands-on in the field.

The same can be said about major advances in GPS technology and other software that have helped companies become more efficient. New fertilizers and the great strides chemical companies have made with the development of environmentally friendly disease and pest control products have also been fundamental to the growth of our $42 billion industry and equally important to the success of our individual companies. There’s no better place to learn more about these advances than at the GIE+EXPO trade show, and at the GIC workshops and other educational sessions.

I look forward to seeing you at GIC this year, sharing ideas, and learning about new ways to tackle the “new normal.” Did I forget to mention the Breakfast With Champions, a recap of PLANET’s new Crystal Ball Report, networking receptions, and Fourth Street Live? All the more reasons to go to Louisville this fall and say hello to the other professionals who help us be even more professional in our chosen fields.

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