The following is a President's Letter from Will Womack to members of the Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association.
As you are likely reading this article during The 2018 Landscape Show, may I politely offer you our warmest welcome and ask you to commence “Color-ing Your World.” A very special “thank you” to our attendees, exhibitors, candidates for state office, special friends of the industry, and, most of all, our staff, show committee and sponsors for whom this event would not be possible.
Year in and year out, The Landscape Show delivers beauty, diversity, fellowship, business prospects and opportunity, education and (other than packing out!) fun! May your show experience be filled with all of the aforementioned and more. May I also suggest we take a moment to reflect and be grateful we are indeed here and not facing the blow of Hurricane Irma as we did last year.
Each ‘President’s Letter,’ I am challenged not by a lack of content, but culling the volumes of content on which I can shine a light. As we come together at The Landscape Show, I want to take this opportunity to emphasize our FNGLA chapters. In many ways, at least in my mind, The Landscape Show is a larger representation of the FNGLA chapter experience.
For the FNGLA, our chapters offer the same opportunities to learn, grow, share ideas, showcase products and services, engage political realities, yet, above all, fellowship with industry friends. In addition to the welcomed and varied challenges presented us, your state officers have remained steadfast in our support of chapters and chapter leaders.
In September, I/we zig-zagged our state in this pursuit. And, I am proud to take this opportunity not only to share with you the successes of a few select chapters, yet, encourage each Landscape Show attendee to engage your local FNGLA chapter when you return home. If your local chapter isn’t a fit, engage the neighboring chapter – or engage both! But, please engage. You’re truly missing out when you’re absent.
Little more than a year ago, FNGLA’s Treasure Coast Chapter was seriously debating taking a hiatus from chapter activity. However, on September 10, the Treasure Coast Chapter hosted a social installing an excited and invigorated Board of Directors at a very special Roy Rood memorial dinner. A few tears were shed in memoriam, even more laughter, yet, above all, pride was displayed by those who knew and were influenced by one of our Florida industry’s founders and legends. Over 80 attendees were present -- a remarkable reversal!
The following evening, September 11, FNGLA’s Royal Palm Chapter held a social meeting. According to my count, the Royal Palm Chapter had over 50 attendees and welcomed guest Rep. Matt Caldwell, Republican candidate for Florida Commissioner of Agriculture. Superb turnout! Helpful and engaged Q & A too.
That very same evening, FNGLA’s Frontrunners Chapter also held a social meeting. Its members set up 45 chairs, yet roughly 12 folks had to eat standing up! They had a very beneficial discussion with FDOT and Florida Highway Patrol law enforcement officers regarding compliance on the roads. We learned it’s very challenging to comply with all of the rules of the road and there are some pricey fines for not doing so. We will make this information available in short order.
And, then on September 13, FNGLA’s Broward Chapter held its annual board and officer induction meeting. It too attracted a great turnout and I’m quite proud of all of our Broward Chapter’s hard work! The chapter leadership invited Nikki Fried, the Democratic candidate for Florida Commissioner of Agriculture, to the meeting. After some airplane repairs and rescheduling, Fried gave what I describe as honest insights into her platform. Though some of her issues may not align with historical candidates and holders of this state office, she seems keen on giving us a seat at the table and advocating for many of our needs.
Your efforts make me proud. I implore the chapters to stay strong, robust, inclusive and creative. Don’t be afraid to try something new! When you are healthy, all of our other FNGLA measures and happenings are healthy, such as The Landscape Show. If you need help, we are here. And for those not engaging your local FNGLA chapter, you are missing out! Take the leap, you will be grateful you did.
Thoroughly enjoy The Landscape Show and may God bless each and every one of us.