ATLANTA – Chattahoochee Technical College took home first prize at this year’s Professional Landcare Network (PLANET) Student Career Days. The event was held at the school’s North Metro Campus last week.
Student Career Days is an annual three-day competition among students in college landscape and horticulture programs. Students compete in business-related and technical events and attend a career fair where they look for internship and job opportunities.
With more than 1,000 students and faculty attending from 68 participating colleges and two high schools, it was the largest representation of schools the event has seen in its 34 years. The event also boasted its first ever international attendees, Bridgwater College in England and the Niagara Parks Commission School of Horticulture from Ontario.
Garden designer and media personality P. Allen Smith was the keynote speaker. He shared his advice for students entering what he calls “the best industry on the planet.” He was inspirational, but tough, in his graduation speech-esqe delivery.
“If you don’t have a strong work ethic, get one. Or just turn around and walk away,” he said. “Don’t go into go into your career with an attitude. Go into it with the attitude that you’re going to do whatever it takes.”
Roger Phelps, promotional communications manager for Stihl, who sponsors Student Career Days, said at the career fair that the contagious enthusiasm of the students is similar to the buzz he heard from the contractors who attended the event.
“In talking with a few of the landscapers here, they’re beginning to see things turning around,” he said. “The energy at this event is reflective of the cautious optimism we’re hearing in the market.”
Student Career Days Competition Results*
1 Chattahoochee Technical College
2 Brigham Young University - Provo
3 Brigham Young University - Idaho
4 North Carolina State University
5 University of Maryland
1 Jessica Logan Chattahoochee Technical College
2 Brennan Mcduffie Sandhills Community College
3 Robert Johnson Cal Poly - Pomona
4 Andy Klittich Cal Poly - San Luis Obispo
5 Chris Hinojosa Miracosta College
*Preliminary results. Final results will be released Tuesday, April 20.