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First of the 2007 PGMS Site Visitations Series a Hit!

By Thomas Shaner, Executive Director, Professional Grounds Management Society






George Briggs, director of the North Carolina Arboretum highlighted ways in which the Arboretum has been able to use its strategic plans to secure additional funding and help garner political support for its mission.


With all the plans to move the PGMS School of Grounds Management and the GIE/Expo to Louisville, Ken. for a couple of years, it's a great time to think of the Society's education and planning teams as "Louisville Sluggers." And, for the lead-off hitter (Regional Visitation and Education program in North Carolina), it was a first-pitch home run!

Led by the dynamic PGMS members of the North Carolina Branch, the visitation round-tripper included the touching of three bases and a bench-clearing welcome at home plate. Nearly 100 PGMS members and other grounds professionals were registered for the event. They came to Asheville, N.C. from as far away as California, Arizona, Texas, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Florida, and ten other states.

Rounding first base, the PGMS sluggers participated in a unique visit to the 434-acre North Carolina Arboretum. The Arboretum is working on numerous programs with much of its focus toward water conservation techniques and "green" building operations. It also offers 65 acres of cultivated gardens, 10 miles of forested hiking and biking trails, a state-of-the-art greenhouse production facility, and the finest Bonsai collection in the southeastern U.S.






Julie Hanser, marketing manager of the Biltmore Estate, presented "Achieving the Good and the Great" in which she reviewed the enhanced marketing value given Biltmore by professionally maintained landscapes.


Touching second base, PGMS provided those who attended the visitation program two delightful networking receptions - one following each day's events.

Third base, if you will, was a highly informative series of four one-hour education programs conducted on Friday morning. The first two programs focused on the value that grounds maintenance adds to organizations. First, Julie Hanser, marketing manager of the Biltmore Estate, presented "Achieving the Good and the Great" in which she reviewed the enhanced marketing value given Biltmore by professionally maintained landscapes.

The second education program, "The Power of Presentation…adding value with Grounds Maintenance," was presented by Thomas Flood of Elon University in North Carolina. Flood reviewed how he has been able to expand the grounds department's budget through the positive marketing of his programs to school officials and to the public at large. The PGMS Green Star Award has been integral in those efforts.

George Briggs, director of the North Carolina Arboretum, then addressed the education session on the importance of long- and short-term plans to the ultimate success of any grounds program. He highlighted ways in which the Arboretum has been able to use its strategic plans to secure additional funding and help garner political support for its mission.

The fourth class of the morning featured Susanne Woodell, landscape manager for the Biltmore Estate. She reviewed many of the strategies that go into plant selection and planting of the 8,000 acre estate.

And what a better way to recap Susanne's presentation and let the PGMS "sluggers" cross home plate than with a visit to the grounds of the Biltmore Estate. PGMS took a detailed look at the many challenges and opportunities presented to the grounds teams.

The ever-changing gardens showcase a century of care started by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead.

Plans are now underway for another visitation program in August to Xavier University and Cincinnati State College.

Then it's on to Louisville, October 23-27, and what PGMS believes will be another home run based on preliminary reports given by its Education Committee.

"Louisville will see the unveiling of a new curriculum-based school of grounds management with an emphasis toward expanding the number of grounds managers moving into the Certified Grounds Manager designation program," noted PGMS Education Chair Gene Pouly, CGM of E.F. Pouly Co., in Orrville, Ohio.

So, grab your bat and make your plans to be a part of the PGMS "Louisville Sluggers." We want to see you there.



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June 18, 2019, 6:37 pm PDT

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