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Association Assessment
Andrew Soto, LC/DBM

National and State landscape associations had a busy year filled with award ceremonies, advocacy efforts and community engagement events aimed at promoting the industry. LC/DBM caught up with a few associations to get a recap of their experiences in 2016. Here's what they have been up to.



Hosting focus groups around the nation to gain insight into the challenges faced by the irrigation industry, IA President Jay Robbins, PE, TSP, CAIS, CID, and professional staff visited with over 50 individuals throughout 2016.


The Professional Grounds Management Society presented its 2016 Gold Medal Award to the Irrigation Association.

The Irrigation Association launched its first-ever Pitcher's Mound in 2016, modeled after ABC's reality TV show "Shark Tank." IA's Pitcher's Mound is meant to be an avenue to help inventors, entrepreneurs and business people in the irrigation arena bring new products to market.

The Irrigation Association met with various groups and individuals throughout the year to discuss the association's direction. After meeting with over 50 individuals in four cities, the IA found that education, public relations, public perception and workforce development were the top concerns voiced by industry insiders across the country.

The association's hard work caught the eye of the Professional Grounds Management Society. The IA was awarded PGMS's 2016 Gold Medal Award for outstanding and long-term achievements and contributions to the green industry.

The IA's full 2016 schedule included the launch of a new trade publication in July of 2016 called Irrigation Today. The new printed quarterly trade magazine focuses on a balance of landscape and agricultural irrigation articles. It is delivered to 10,000 association members and key industry players.

Professional Grounds Management Society
image  John Burns, CGM of the University of Texas in Austin and Jeff McManus, CGM of the University of Mississippi, received the PGMS President's Awards for 2016. They were honored for their many years of leadership to PGMS and the landscape industry.

The Professional Grounds Management Society hosted its School of Grounds Management in October of 2016. As part of this annual event, PGMS Professional Awards were presented, the Green Star Award winners were recognized and the 2016-2017 leadership installed.


The Professional Grounds Management Society recognized 33 grounds management programs for excellence in the Society's 2016 Green Star Awards Competition. (

Along with the new leadership, PGMS also awarded Tom Shaner with the E. Earl Wilson Award, the pinnacle of achievement for any PGMS member. The award is given to selected PGMS members for long-term dedication to the Society and the green industry.


The E. Earl Wilson Award was presented to Tom Shaner by John Doirion, past president, PGMS.

"Tom is receiving this for years of service to not only PGMS, but to the green industry itself," noted the PGMS in a statement released November of 2016.

National Association of Landscape Professionals
image  NALP launched a new website in 2016. reaches out to consumers directly via social and traditional media outlets sharing positive messages about the landscaping industry.

The association had legislative and regulatory issues at the top of its agenda and saw fit to raise visibility of the industry on the national stage by tackling these issues head on.

"This year, the issues of greatest focus for us were H-2B, fertilizer and pesticide bans, restrictions or limitations on water quality and quantity issues," said Lisa Schaumann, director of communications for NALP.

As part of the association's efforts in support of H-2B, NALP provided several advocacy resources to both members and nonmembers. Among these are letters to appropriations committee leaders in both the House and the Senate, an hour-long webinar, talking points, and an infographic. The resources can be accessed from the Advocacy tab on the association's website.

NALP also took action in 2016 at the state and local levels, working to defeat bans on products that landscape and lawn care professionals use on a daily basis such as gas-powered leaf blowers.

Association of Professional Landscape Designers
image  Promoting its members as qualified and dedicated professionals, the association stresses education and evaluation concerning the certification of them. In 2016 the APLD began moving toward more stringent vetting methods.

"With this effort, APLD is building a strong foundation for legislative advocacy efforts as well as encouraging higher standards for our members," said Lisa Port, National President of APLD.

APLD put forth considerable efforts in 2016 making changes to its certification requirements for the following year. In 2017, the association will begin work on a legally defensible examination. The exam will provide a necessary evaluative tool that will demonstrate APLD certified members are qualified and vetted to practice landscape design, without restriction, in all 50 states.

New Jersey Landscape Contractors Association
image  The NJLCA partnered with Goodwill Industries, Inc. in January, offering a Middle Skills Management Training and a Certificate Program free to its members that dealt with team building, conflict resolution, motivating employees, goal setting and time management.

The NJLCA also marked its 50th anniversary in 2016 with celebrations on April 28 at Seasons, located in the Township of Washington.

And the association advocated for the returning worker exemption in the H-2B program. "We, along with landscape professionals throughout the country, have made significant headway through the exclusion of returning workers from the 66,000 cap," said Jody Shilan earlier this year.

California Landscape Contractors Association
image  Heavily promoting the efficient use of water in landscaping this past year, the CLCA's Certified Water Manager program disseminated information to more than 9,000 people including landscape contractors, and other industry leaders.

"Water is still on everyone's mind and with the revisions to the Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance, many changes are coming to how water can be used in landscaping in our state," said executive director, Sandra Giarde in a letter to LC/DBM.

Carolinas Irrigation Association
image  Through its annual golf tournament in April to raise funds for the Irrigation Foundation's E3 scholarship, this association sent one student and one faculty member from Alamance Community College to the IA's Annual Meeting in December.

The CIA advocated against North Carolina's legislative proposal to eliminate state licensing requirements for irrigation contractors.

Melissa Klingberg, executive director, told LC/DBM, "The Carolinas Irrigation Association has a lot to look forward to in 2017 including reaching out through our community service projects, faculty and student support through universities and colleges, providing the best in continuing education for our members and continuing to advocate for our irrigation industry."

Colorado Arborists and Lawn Care Professionals
image  Operating for the second year under its new name, the CALCP awarded Donna Ralston the Golden Gun award in March for her years of service including as executive director for 20 years.

After receiving her award, Ralston encouraged the young people in attendance "to get involved in the industry that feeds you and your families, not to take your job for granted and to learn all you can about what makes the job successful. We need young leaders, so step up and take your turn." Dot Miller succeeds her as the new head of the organization.

Illinois Landscape Contractors Association
image  The ILCA launched a new website and rebranded with the addition of a new logo.

On July 11th the ILCA participated in the National Association of Landscape Professional's Renewal and Remembrance event at Arlington National Cemetery. Over 400 volunteer landscape professionals celebrated the 20th anniversary of the industry's largest day of service in the country.

Kentucky Nursery and Landscape Association
image  KNLA hosted its Summer Retreat and Horticulture Bus Tour, and took time to prepare for its "Spring Training and Showplace" winter show.

"This was very successful last year and we have even more fun in store for next year," said Kim Fritz, president. The show is scheduled for January 25-26, 2017 and will be held at the Ramada Inn and Conference Center in Louisville, Kentucky. As it has in years past, the KNLA will continue the Kentucky Certified Nursery Exam.

Michigan Green Industry Association
image  In May, MGIA teamed up with the Boy Scouts of America and hosted its "Day of Service" at the Boy Scouts of America Dauch Scout Center in Detroit. The association and its volunteers helped mow, fertilize, rake leaves, and trim trees.

MGIA's efforts to promote the landscape industry did not go unnoticed. "The Michigan Green Industry Association received a Silver Award from the Michigan Society of Association Executives for Professional Development," noted Diane Banks, executive director.

Nebraska Nursery and Landscape Association
image  The NNLA co-hosted the 2016 Great Plains Conference along with Summer Field Day events in Omaha and Scottsbluff, and presented its Nebraska Certified Nurseryman of the Year award to Cory Wehrbein of Greenlife Gardens, Inc.

Prior to 2017's conference, they "will host all-day, in-depth workshops; one on design and one on hardscaping," said executive director Tiffany Fourgeron to LC/DBM. "We will also join with the Nebraska Arborists Association for the (conference) on January 24-25, 2017 in Omaha," she added.

Ohio Nursery and Landscape Association
image  The ONLA hosted the first annual Ohio High School Landscape Olympics on November 3 and 4 in Wooster, Ohio. Students from 17 schools and career centers participated in ten competitive events. The two-day event also included a career exploration fair featuring over 30 companies.

"It was an outstanding event that received an overwhelming level of support from green industry companies across the state." said Alana Settle, marketing and communications manager.

As seen in LC/DBM magazine, December 2016.

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June 26, 2019, 11:53 am PDT

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