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The Magic of FNGLA is its People... and the Many Good Times Shared

Tuesday, January 10, 2017
Article by: Greenline

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I wish to start off by wishing everyone a very happy and healthy New Year.  2016 was a very busy and productive year for me personally. Running two businesses and being president of the largest state horticultural association in the country doesn’t leave too much time for much else.  I couldn’t do what I do without the support of my family as well as a fantastic staff at both companies.  The staff at FNGLA also makes my job as president all the much less of a burden as well. The support I receive at every turn makes my job that much more enjoyable.

December was an especially busy month for me.  I set out with a goal of visiting as many FNGLA chapter holiday parties as possible.  Unfortunately, I was battling the flu before I even had the chance to make it to my first party.  Nonetheless, I pushed forward and started my first trip to the Royal Palm Chapter’s holiday party.  Heading out across Alligator Alley, with my partners in crime (who happened to accompany me to each party I attended), FNGLA Broward Chapter President Christy SavageGriffin and my daughter Emily, we made it to HeadPinz. This was one of the nicest bowling alleys I have ever visited.  Chapter president Phil Buck hosted a fantastic party.  It didn’t take too long before I was meeting some great people.  

One member I met, Rob Eisner, FCHP & FCLMT, (Personal Touch Landscaping and Lawn Service), was especially memorable. We spoke for some time regarding certifications, business licenses and other matters. He said something to me that I will not forget. He said if you want to be great, you need to hang out with great people. And that is why he attends his FNGLA chapter’s meetings. It is people like Rob that who make this association great. People who realize the more you put in, the more you get out of FNGLA.  

My next stop on my holiday party tour was at my own FNGLA Broward Chapter.  My great friends, Vickie and Wes Parrish, have hosted the Broward Holiday Party at their home for the past 21 years.  We have enjoyed many great parties there and this year was no different. It was probably one of the largest turnouts I have seen there. The food was great and, as always, we had the white elephant gift exchange. There were some very interesting and funny gifts as well as many laughs.  We also celebrated FNGLA past-president Joe Cialone’s surprise birthday party.  It was a truly fabulous evening and one of the best parties there I can remember. 

The very next evening brought me to the FNGLA Palm Beach Chapter’s holiday party at the Woodfield Country Club in Palm Beach.  Chapter president Brandon Balch did a great job hosting the evening’s festivities.  There was great food, dancing and even a photo booth.  A special congratulations goes out to Jeff McDougald (McDougald & Sons Nursery), for receiving the chapter’s prestigious James Lulfs Industry Service Award.  

Several days later, I was scheduled to head to the FNGLA Action Chapter’s party at Highland Manor in Apopka.  Unfortunately, I was feeling too sick to make the three and a half hour trek north and decided it was in my best interest to not attend this one. I heard the party was great though and I was very sorry I didn’t make it.

My last party had me heading south to Schnebly Redland’s Winery and Brewery in Homestead where the Dade County Farm Bureau and the FNGLA Miami-Dade Chapter FNGLA held its holiday party in conjunction with each other.  This was my first visit to Schnebly’s and it will surely not be my last. The place was one of a kind. The food was great and the beer was even better. If you are ever are in the area or have the opportunity to visit Schnebly’s, I highly recommend it. I had a great time and it was a perfect end to my holiday party tour.

December wasn’t all parties though. Early in the month, the FNGLA Broward Chapter hosted the FNGLA Certified Landscape Technician exam at the UF/IFAS Center in Davie. We had a full house and a great exam.  I wish to personally thank all of the judges for taking time off from work to help make the day a success. One judge I wish to mention is Millie McFadden, FCLC & FCHP. While making my rounds during the exam, Millie told me she was glad to give back to FNGLA for everything it has has done for her.  She received a promotion at the City of Miami Beach after she received her FCHP and FCLC certifications.  Since she received her FNGLA certifications, I think I have seen her judge at every exam we have hosted!  A huge thanks to Millie.

Make sure you mark your calendars for the Tropical Plant & Industry Exhibition in Fort Lauderdale on January 18-20.  It will be a great show and I look forward to seeing many of you there. 

Robert Shoelson, FCLC 
Getting Green Plant Service, Inc. (Davie) 
& Betrock Information Systems, Inc. (Hollywood) 

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