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Combined PLANET events open to record attendance

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PLANET’s combined Executive Forum and Summer Leadership event begins with the installation of the association’s 2010-2011 board.

Chuck Bowen | February 18, 2010

LAS VEGAS – PLANET’s combined Executive Forum and Summer Leadership event opened Wednesday with the installation of the association’s 2010-2011 board.

Sabeena Hickman, PLANET’s CEO, said the event – sponsored by Caterpillar, Vermeer and John Deere – had 250 registrants, and that the association sought “economies of scale” for its members, many of whom attend both events. Hickman said the two events will also be combined next year at Amelia Island, Fla., Feb. 16-20. 
 
New Board
 
As part of the meeting, the association installed its new board of directors, who start their 2010-11 terms May 1. David Snodgrass, president of Dennis' Seven Dees Landscaping & Garden Centers, Portland, Ore., was named president. 
 
“You have served the association well,” Snodgrass said of Hildebolt’s tenure in the position, citing his emphasis on increasing the industry’s professionalism. “You are that professional. You’ve been a great example to our industry and to me.” 
 
The board presented Hildebolt with a pin recognizing his year of service and two round-trip tickets to anywhere in the country.
 
“On this journey, I’ve seen PLANET blossom into one of the biggest associations in the green industry,” Hildebolt said. “It has been a great journey. I have truly received more than I have given.”  
 
At the lectern, Jason Cupp, a former PLANET president, swears in the association's 2010-11 board of directors at Executive Forum in Las Vegas. Photo by Chuck Bowen Snodgrass asked members to envision an association with 10,000 members, and what that would mean for the group’s clout in Washington. “I’ve always believed that anything is possible if you think it and you give it attention,” Snodgrass said. “So, hold on to that thought.” 
 
He said PLANET – which formed in 2004 when the Associated Landscape Contractors of America (ALCA) and the Professional Lawn Care Association of America (PLCAA) merged – still needed the legacy leaders from those organizations to remain strong. “ALCA and PLCAA had magic. It was special … it set us apart and let us do amazing things. PLANET has its own magic.”
 
Snodgrass said his goals for the coming year were to advance professionalism in the industry; grow the membership; re-engage with legacy leaders; and give each of the association’s specialty groups more of a voice.
 
“My dad gave me two gifts – one was enthusiasm and the other was optimism, and I plan to bring both of those to PLANET,” Snodgrass said. 
 
The association’s 2010-11 executive board comprises: 
  • David Snodgrass, president, Dennis' Seven Dees Landscaping & Garden Centers, Portland, Ore.
  • Gerry Grossi, president-elect and secretary, ArborLawn, Lansing, Mich.
  • Bill Hildebolt, immediate past president, Nature’s Select Premium Turf Services, Winston-Salem, N.C.

Directors include:

  • Phil Allen, Brigham Young University Landscape Management Program, Provo, Utah
  • Michael Byrne, Hunter Lane, South Hamilton, Mass.
  • John Gibson, Swingle Lawn, Tree and Landscape Care, Denver 
  • Norm Goldenberg, TruGreen Companies, Memphis, Tenn.
  • Fred Haskett, U.S. Lawns of West and St. Charles County, Defiance, Mo.
  • Kurt Kluznik, Yardmaster, Cleveland
  • Jen Lemcke, WeedMan USA/Turf Holdings, Oshawa, Ontario
  • Chris Raimondi, Raimondi Horticultural Group, Ho-Ho-Kus, N.J.
  • Barb Scheibe, Wisconsin Landscape Contractors Association, Waukesha, Wis. 
  • Ken Taylor, John Deere, Cary, N.C. 
  • Roger Phelps, STIHL, Virginia Beach, Va. 
Other Events
 
The event continues Thursday with a tour of ValleyCrest’s Las Vegas facility. The company did all the landscaping for the event hotel, the Aria, as well as the city’s new CityCenter development project. 
 
The event’s keynote – a presentation from Jeff Thredgold, Thredgold Economic Associates – takes place tonight. Thredgold will show attendees how better U.S. economic performance can impact the green industry and give his outlook on the residential and commercial real estate sector.
 
In an informal interview with industry veteran, Burton S. Sperber, founder, CEO and chairman of the board of directors of ValleyCrest Landscape Companies, attendees will learn the secret to thriving during the last 60 years of up and down economic environments. 
 
Consultant and author Kevin Kehoe, Frank Ross, a construction economist, financial consultant and author, and Jeff Harkness, experienced in delivering comprehensive business growth, financial planning, and exit strategy services to green industry companies, will offer practical tools and examples of how-tos of the three core strategies – marketing, financial, and operational – that improve profits through revenue, labor and overhead management. 
 
Bill Arman, Ed Laflamme and Steve Cesare from the Harvest Group will review the key areas for building success with the most important area of any business: people. 
 
And Jim McCutcheon of Highgrove Partners, in an overview of Crystal Ball Report  No. 29, will answer the question: Can sustainability be profitable for the green industry? A panel of industry experts will delve deeper into practical application of the information contained in the latest Crystal Ball Report as they discuss leadership, sustainability, profitability and their own personal philosophy of success. 

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