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Congratulations to the NJLCA for their partnership with PLANET! We look forward to seeing who will follow their lead across the country. In fact, this column, advocating that the state associations team up with PLANET, was published before PLANET and the NJLCA announced their partnership. While the article calls for the states to become chapters, LC/DBM is 100% behind this historic partnership and will look for ways to support this bold and insightful move . . .

Way To Go!!!

George Schmok
Publisher / Producer
Landscape Architect and Specifier News (LASN)
Landscape Contractor / Design Build Maintain (LC/DBM) (
LandscapeOnline Weekly (LOWeekly)
The Landscape Expo - Long Beach (TLE)
The Landscape Architect Expo (LA EXPO)

Hope and Change!

Excitement is Brewing

So here we go . . . Into 2012 . . . What a year this could end up being. Hope and Change!!!

The election is only one of the things that will make this a year to pay attention to.

Leading indicators, including the ASLA third quarter billing survey, the NAHB Builders Confidence index/report and the U.S. Census Bureau's permit/start statistics all point to a better year ahead. Of course, with 2011 new housing sales at the lowest level since at least 1963, there isn't a whole lot of room to move downwards anyway. I think the point is that the bottom has been hit and the tide is rising.

Immigration will remain an industry issue, and water use and rights will continue to press the industry to adapt, conserve and defend its use in the landscape.

I'd like to see a PLANET campaign on a national level regarding the strength and vitality of the landscape industry as a solution to unemployment and as a leader in areas like water use, stormwater management and erosion control. A similar campaign by the ASLA has put the profession onto the radar in the news, on screen and in the national psyche.

They should promote seasonal work to young adults as a great way to earn money, work outdoors, and begin to learn a career. Just like migrant labor, a number of these young adults will return for several years and may possibly earn their way up the ladder.

In a recent LC/DBM survey, landscape business owners were asked if they found landscape laborer jobs were jobs Americans didn't want to do-38 percent of the respondents said that they did NOT find this to be true... Americans have never been afraid to roll up their sleeves. Perhaps they just don't know those jobs exist?

Perhaps PLANET should align with the states in that national campaign and organize and promote an employment website where contractors (and nurseries) can list openings and application criteria on a company-by-company basis.

The first year may have a few transitional problems, but when better than in a down economy to make changes? This could thrust the landscape industry into the national spotlight as champions in getting people into the workforce, while establishing the profession as vibrant and vital.

In fact, now would be a great time for PLANET to consolidate the landscape business on a national level and merge the state associations as chapters. Everything from pesticide use, leaf blowers, licensure, seasonal labor, water use and rainwater capture, to public recognition would be better if it were organized at the national level.

Think about it . . . The landscape industry is one of the oldest business models in the country, but here the PGMS is celebrating 100 years with only 900 members!?! And PLANET has only a few thousand members - a small percentage of the industry when considering that national employment in landscape is well above a million workers.

That's right . . . There are more than a million landscape workers in the USA and tens of thousands of businesses ranging from $30,000 a year to a billion dollars of annual revenue, but no dominant national representative on the legislative floor . . . Golf Course Superintendents have one . . . Landscape Architects have one . . . Landscape Designers have one . . . Irrigation Consultants have one . . . Hardscapers have one . . . even Playground Contractors have one . . .

Every major profession in the nation has a strong national association . . . Except Landscape Contractors, who are stuck in a state-by-state model of protected territory and limited effectiveness.

OK . . . I know am going to get letters talking about the great work the states do . . . I agree! However, some states are way better than others. If all 50 states were to join arms, great things would follow.

So . . . With a little hope for a little change we look forward to the continuing growth and recovery of the landscape industry as we move forward into this historic year. And we look forward to working with you all to get'er done . . .

God Bless.

George Schmok, Publisher

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November 22, 2019, 12:06 pm PDT

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