ANLA & PLANET Merger Discussions
CHICAGO — Business was booming at the 2006 Mid-America Horticulture Show in Chicago Jan. 18-20, sponsored by the Illinois Landscape Contractors Association, Illinois Nurserymen’s Association and the Wisconsin Green Industry Federation.
The three-day trade show brought together all aspects of the Green Industry, boasting hundreds of exhibitors, hourly product demonstrations, business and other educational seminars and keynote speaker Marty Grunder.
The mood was optimistic as landscapers and nursery owners hoped to recover from a sub-par 2005, where weather in the Midwest was extremely hot and went weeks without rainfall during the summer.
John Hendrickson, of The Care of Trees in Wheeling, IL, and president of the Mid-Am Board of Directors, said attendance at the three-day show was expected to be 12,000, and that they had already reached 2005’s total attendance by mid-way through the second day.
Colorful displays brightened the winter days, as lawn care professionals prepared for spring at the Mid-Am Horticultural Show.
Tracy Elliott, sales manager for Rockwood Products demonstrates building a pillar with the Stonehedge System.
“This is where people come to make their purchases and purchase decisions for the next year on plant materials and equipment,” Hendrickson said. “It used to be just a buying show, but now it is so much more. We have educational sessions, management workshops, speakers, student career center and more.”
Not lost in the hustle and bustle of business were ongoing meetings between the American Nursery & Landscape Association (ANLA) and the Professional Landcare Network (PLANET).
“The merger would bring together the entire Green Service Industry in a true integration of two great organizations, not the acquisition of one by the other,” said Buzz Bertolero, ANLA president. “This is a case where the strength of one organization is the weakness of the other and vice versa. And to bring together the landscape side with the production side, it just makes a lot of sense for where this industry is going.”
Bertolero admitted there are a lot of questions about the merger, but the meetings at trade shows like Mid-Am is where those differences are being talked about and hopefully resolved.
In February and March, both association boards will consider preliminary approval to merge. Once that happens, from March through May a Joint Task Force would develop a formal merger agreement.
In June, the ANLA and PLANET boards will consider the adoption of the agreement. If passed, the ANLA will pass the agreement on to its Senate for approval, while PLANET will seek approval from its members. If the agreement is then passed by both sides, the formal merger will occur on Jan. 1, 2007.
“Though there are questions and details to be worked out, we haven’t gotten to anything that I’d consider a roadblock or deal-breaker,” Bertolero said. “There is resolve on both sides to get this done.”
PLANET board member Jim Martin added, “I keep hearing positive responses from everyone I talk to. Most people feel that the merger will give the industry more access to public officials and influence policy. Both groups are so strong, it’s a natural fit.”
From Landscape Management Magazine