Photos courtesy of GIE+EXPO
Outdoor Power Equipment Institute

The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute is the managing partner of GIE+EXPO, and an international trade association representing more than 100 power equipment, engine and utility vehicle manufacturers and suppliers. OPEI is the advocacy voice of the industry, and is responsible for the development of safety and performance standards.

Despite strong growth of the industry and demand for outdoor power equipment, there are efforts underway to limit and eliminate the living landscape.

To meet these challenges on behalf of its members and the industry, in 2009 OPEI created TurfMutt, an environmental stewardship program to teach children and their families about the importance of living landscapes. It has reached 68 million children, families, teachers, regulators and NGOs.

2017 marks TurfMutt’s third year of partnership with Scholastic. This year, TurfMutt was named an education partner of the U.S. Green Building Council, and included in its Learning Lab, a global education effort focused on caring for green spaces responsibly. TurfMutt is also an educational resource at the U.S. EPA, the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of Education.

TurfMutt and OPEI’s President Kris Kiser appear regularly on episodes of the CBS program “Lucky Dog,” broadcast nationally on Saturday mornings. Kiser educates families adopting dogs on the importance of the living landscape to the family and their pet.

“Our association’s strength is our members’ engagement, and OPEI is successful when it’s able to pull its members together and address industry challenges together,” Kiser said. “Manufacturers are adapting to a changing regulatory environment, and the industry is always evolving to adapt to consumers’ needs and tastes, as well as comply with an ever-evolving governmental regulatory requirements, both at the federal and state level.”

National Association of Landscape Professionals

LANDSCAPES 2017, the National Association of Landscape Professionals’ annual convention and GIE+EXPO’s premier education and networking event, will be headlined this year by keynote speaker NFL Hall of Famer and ESPN contributor and entrepreneur Ron Jaworski. Jaworski will inspire with the insights that helped him get ahead in sports and in business.

LANDSCAPES is Business 360° with education for every aspect of running a successful landscape or lawn care company in 2017 and beyond with tracks in leadership, sales and marketing, business management, human resources, and operations.

The industry is buzzing about the Power Session and Shark Tank-style pitch session being hosted by Judy Guido, Chairwoman of Guido & Associates with entrepreneurs and “sharks” Frank Mariani, CEO Mariani Landscape; Mike Rorie, CEO of GOILAWN; and Doug York, CEO of Ewing Irrigation & Landscape Supply.

Entrepreneurs who have been selected through an application process will present their ideas for new industry products and services and if their ideas tempt the “sharks,” they may receive an investment from the sharks.

Specialty education is also in focus during the new Specialty Summits on Wednesday in either landscape management, design/build/installation, or lawn care. And employee development is also a focus during the Account Manager Training with Ken Thomas of Envisor Consulting, and the CEO/COO workshops with Jeffrey Scott.

The CEO Forum, which is open to all managers and executives in the industry, features leadership expert and economist Mary Kelly, Ph.D. She is the author of 11 books on leadership and founder of Productive Leaders.

The education alone is enough to make Louisville and LANDSCAPES worth the trip – many times over, but that is only part of what people get when they come to the conference. Visit NALP at booth 3134, opportunities to buy the latest publications at discounted prices, or the opportunity to take the new OSHA 10-hour training or take certification testing are added benefits of the one-stop-shop that is LANDSCAPES and GIE+EXPO. Networking and learning from other landscape pros is also the focus on many people’s minds. The networking at Breakfast with Champions, the granddaddy of all power networking events, along with parties and receptions make this year’s LANDSCAPES 2017 a can’t-miss event.

Professional Grounds Management Society (PGMS)

From Tom Shaner, PGMS Executive Director

PGMS President Marion Bolick and I – as well as many of you who hail from Florida or Texas – have been swamped (no pun intended) lately cleaning up from two horrendous hurricanes – Harvey and Irma – that wreaked havoc on our communities and our landscapes. While the devastation seemed insurmountable in many cases, it also showed the nation how communities can unite to help one another when the need strikes. From volunteering to delivering food and water to those most hard-hit, to pitching in to remove debris and re-beautify green spaces, each community rallied to help bring back a sense of normalcy. It was great to witness people united during a time in this nation when we seem divided by so many issues.

Now that the storms seem to have passed, it’s time to focus on the GIE+EXPO and the wonderful community of green industry professionals who journey from across the country to come together in celebration of the work they do to help everyone better enjoy their life with the sense of calm that beautiful landscapes can bring about. For me, it’s a time to also reflect on this great conclave as I bid a fond farewell as the executive director.

I leave PGMS with a sense of having helped the volunteer leaders of this society accomplish a great deal over my 17 years of service. I also leave knowing that I will be replaced by another dynamic individual who will bring many new ideas and programs to PGMS in order for it to benefit its members and the clients they serve.

From the establishment of the ever-expanding PGMS Landscape Operations and Management Accreditation to significant improvements to our Green Star Awards recognitions as well as the PGMS Schools of Grounds Management and professional recognitions via the Certified Grounds Manager and Certified Grounds Technician, PGMS – now in its 106th year – is leading the way in better establishing grounds professionals as a viable part of a campus management team. New compensation surveys developed by PGMS as well as comprehensive networking programs are helping members better negotiate career opportunities.

I learned early on in my career that it is not good enough to just do your job so that you are achieving excellence; it is just as important that you focus on developing others to pick up and take over when you leave.

I am thrilled as I leave Louisville this year to know that on Jan. 1, Stephanie Bruno will be designated the new staff leader for PGMS.

Volunteer leaders can be nervous when the chief staff executive changes, but in the case of PGMS, there is a wonderful excitement that prevails knowing that the organization will smoothly transition its executive to someone who has already gained the respect and loyalty of those she will serve.

With those thoughts, I say farewell. It has been my privilege to be a part of the exceptional professionals who make up the green industry. I wish all of you continued success. As Louis Goldstein, a former and well-loved comptroller of my home state of Maryland was fond of saying, “May God bless y’all real good.”

The Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute (ICPI)

The Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute (ICPI) will launch the new ICPI Contractor Tool Kit at the 2017 Hardscape North America (HNA) on Oct. 18-20. The Contractor Tool Kit provides the industry’s top technical, education, and marketing resources for contractors in the segmental concrete pavement industry.

The Tool Kit can help contractors tackle their company’s biggest challenges by:

    • Using successful upselling strategies to increase their profitability and help customers realize their dream outdoor environments

    • Marketing their business to potential customers in their area

    • Learning best practices for installing various concrete paver applications

    • Having their installers earn their Concrete Paver Installer Certification

    • Implementing the latest safety programs to protect their employees and business

    • Gaining access to the latest technical information, design ideas and project profiles

In addition, ICPI will host the Contractor Tool Kit Challenge at booth 20010 on October 19-20. The videogame-style Challenge will test participants’ knowledge of installation and business best practices. The participants with the top three scores each day will receive complimentary registrations to an ICPI Concrete Paver Installer Course (retail value of $350) of their choice throughout the country. The course is one of the key requirements for installers to become a Certified Concrete Paver Installer. Three other top scorers each day will receive complimentary copies of the ICPI Complete Business Manual for Concrete Paver Contractors (Vander Kooi).

For more information about ICPI Contractor Tool Kit resources and to compete in the ICPI Contractor Tool Kit Challenge, visit us at the ICPI booth #20010 on the HNA showroom floor.