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Busy, But Rewarding: FNGLA Events Filled February

Tuesday, March 14, 2017
Article by: Greenline

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For February being the shortest month of the year, it sure seemed like it was one of the busiest so far.  I had three big events happen this past month.  The first involved a trip to Jacksonville for the Jacksonville Landscape Show. The next involved a trip to Tallahassee to meet with some of our state legislators, and the third involved the filming of a television show called Flip My Florida Yard.  The advantage of having so many things happening in one month makes it very easy to write my monthly article.

On February 9, I jumped on an early flight from Fort Lauderdale to Jacksonville for the annual Jacksonville Landscape Show which was held on February 9 & 10 at the Jacksonville Fairgrounds.  This was a nice little tradeshow that had exhibitors from around the state showing off their products both inside of the exhibit hall and out.  On Thursday evening after the show ended, I had the pleasure of attending the reception party at the host hotel.  There was great food and drinks and it provided a perfect time for exhibitors and attendees to catchup on business and friendships.  Shawn Thomas (Southern Green) and an FNGLA Northeast Chapter leader did a great job of hosting the tradeshow and reception this year. 

A short two weeks later, I was back on a plane heading up to our state Capital for the FNGLA Board of Directors trip to Tallahassee.  On Tuesday, the board met at the Associated Industries of Florida building, convening around a 50’ long conference table to take care of business.  State representative and Past FNGLA President Halsey Beshears came out to share a few encouraging words with the board.   Later in the evening, the Big Bend Chapter hosted a fantastic social gathering at the Dorothy B. Oven house where we enjoyed an incredible prime rib dinner.  I didn’t think it was possible for them to top the Paella that was served last year, but I think they did it.  I would like to personally thank Chapter President Mark Clikas (Harrells, Inc.) and the Big Bend Chapter for their hospitality.  

We were up rather early the next day and made a very wet trek over to the Capital to meet with several legislators both new and old.  The purpose of this annual trip is to relay some of the key issues currently affecting our industry. A few of these issues had to do with workers’ compensation, funding for IFAS, watershed from Lake Okeechobee as well as immigration… to name a few.  A couple of the legislators we met may also be potential candidates for Commissioner of Agriculture in 2018.  The race for this position looks like it is definitely going to be interesting.  Many 
Representatives and Senators are newly elected to their positions and it is very important that we get in front of them and let them know who we are.  This is crucial if we want our voices to be heard. We went to Tallahassee in force and spoke our message loud and clear.  I look forward to going back again next year. 

In between the traveling, meetings and the running of my businesses, I also had the pleasure of preparing for and coordinating the Flip My Florida Yard episode which was filmed on Saturday, February 25 in Ft. Lauderdale.  This was the third of four episodes FNGLA is sponsoring.   This huge undertaking would not have been possible without the gracious donations from vendors and the incredible support from the team of about fifty volunteers who met at the home early Saturday morning.  We did in one day what a normal landscape and irrigation crew would have completed in a week.    

I would like to personally thank a few folks for their help in successfully completing this job.  David Font (David Font Designs); Rob Pursell (Getting Green Plant Services); Chris Griffiths (Horticultural Solutions); and, Tom Benton (Landscape Service Professionals) who met with me several times prior to help create the new design for the landscape and irrigation renovation.  Kim Pearson (Landscape Inspector for the City of Fort Lauderdale) was instrumental in helping get the city behind us with whatever we needed.  Two people who deserve some special recognition are Ed Bravo (Big Trees Plantation and FNGLA President-Elect) and Stefan Liopiros (Lawn Enforcement Agency) both from the Frontrunners Chapter.  Ed hosted the first episode in Gainesville with Stefan and when it came time for the other three projects to start, they were both there bright and early ready to go to work.  The both drove down to the job in Broward on Friday night, woke up early Saturday morning and worked very hard for the entire day.  When we finished at 7:30 p.m., they jumped back into the truck and drove back home.  The knowledge they both shared from their earlier experience was extremely valuable.  

There is a complete list of those who donated material and time to help bring these four episodes from around the state to life on the following page. Please be sure to look over the list and recognize these wonderful folks.  This again goes to show the amount of support that the members of this great association will give to help and go out of their way to get something done.  I want to personally thank every single person and company that stepped up and helped me and the other project leaders create four fantastic shows.  See you again next month.

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

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