AMELIA ISLAND, Fla. – As part of its annual Leadership meeting, PLANET installed its new board of directors. David Snodgrass, PLANET president until his term expires in May, spoke to members as he passed the gavel to incoming president Jerry Grossi.
He said his father gave him two gifts as a child: optimism and enthusiasm. “Those are the two things over my career I have leveraged my success on. Those are the secrets to my success,” he said. “It is my highest honor to be president of this association. It is the highlight of my life to be here.”
Snodgrass also expanded on the association’s decision to keep its annual Green Industry Conference in Louisville, Ky., through 2014. While some members question the value of remaining in the same location year after year, Snodgrass said the fall meeting – when coordinated with the GIE+EXPO – is a financial boon to the association.
“First and foremost, it’s a financial thing,” he said. The GIC brings the association about $1 million a year in revenue – a line item second only to membership dues, and Snodgrass said a conference independent of the GIE+EXPO wouldn’t likely bring in that much cash.
“In this world of tightening budgets, you need to be smart in running your business and smart in running the association,” he said.
PLANET’s new executive board, whose terms begin May 1, include:
• Jerry Grossi, Arborlawn, president
• Norman Goldenberg, TruGreen Cos., president-elect
• David Snodgrass, Dennis’ 7 Dees, immediate past president
The association’s new board of directors comprises:
• Phil Allen, Brigham Young University
• Michael Byrne, Hunter Lane, South Hamilton, Mass.
• Tom Fochtman, CoCal Landscape, Denver
• Bill Horn, Terracare Associates, Martinez, Calif.
• Glenn Jacobsen, Jacobsen Landscape Design and Construction, Midland Park, N.J.
• Kurt Kluznik, Yardmaster, Painesville, Ohio
• Jim McCutcheon, HighGrove Partners, Austell, Ga.
• Roger Phelps, Stihl, Virginia Beach, Va.
• Barb Scheibe, Wisconsin Landscape Contractors Association, Waukesha, Wis.
• Kyle Webb, A-Z Lawn and Landscaping, Centerville, Ohio
The Executive Forum meeting opened Thursday night with a keynote from author and journalist Carmine Gallo, who spoke on innovation. His book, “The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs,” outlines ideas business owners can steal from Steve Jobs and Apple to improve their customer service and innovate their own companies. In his keynote presentation, he gave attendees a seven-point plan to get started.
1. Do what you love. “You cannot come up with innovative products unless you are passionate about moving society forward,” Gallo said. “It’s not the product. It’s what the product means to your customers.”
2. Put a dent in the universe. A clear vision will help you reach your goals; make sure it’s bold, specific and concise.
3. Kickstart your brain. Expose yourself to diverse experiences and different types of people to keep your ideas creative. Apple stores are modeled not after other electronics retailers, but after lobbies at the Four Seasons – open, clean and with a concierge to take care of your questions.
4. Sell dreams, not products. Ultimately, Gallo said, your customers care about themselves and want you to help them achieve their goals.
5. Say no to 1,000 things. Gallo said Apple knows what it does well and also what it doesn’t do well. Their goal is to have products that are simple to use; the company has just 30 products but earns $50 billion in revenue. The iPad has just one button and is easy to figure out. “It takes courage to be simple,” Gallo said, but can payoff big.
6. Create insanely good experiences. In a market where your product is hard to differentiate, companies have to stand out on things like customer service. At the Apple store, you can set up an appointment with a personal shopper (who isn’t on commission) who will walk you through the store to figure out exactly what kind of computer you need.
7. Master the message. You can have great ideas, Gallo said, but if you can’t communicate them to your customers and employees, you’re not going to get far.