President's Letter: Big Things Are Happening

October 16, 2019

As we welcome fall – and its most appreciated cooler weather, I wish to begin by first looking back and sharing my heartfelt thanks. The Landscape Show was an overwhelming success, made possible by the incredible efforts of FNGLA staff, exhibitors, and attendees. A well-deserved round of applause also goes out to The Landscape Show Committee for its masterful execution. And, a special show of appreciation goes out to TLS Committee Chair JB Toorish of Arborjet for all of his hard work and leadership.

It’s not an easy task to put on such a well-respected industry trade show of this magnitude. Seeing, firsthand, it goes off so well – from the bonds forged the day prior at The Landscape Show/SHARE Golf Tournament (which, by the way, raised $12,000 for industry research!), to the impressive lineup of The Knowledge College speakers, to all of the smiling faces in the aisles – really made an indelible impression on me. I’m proud and humbled.

Moving on to other happenings around the state – FNGLA’s Frontrunners Chapter most recent meeting included U.S. Congressman Ted Yoho, who talked about how he is currently working on a proposed bill which could help ease our industry’s labor issues. As we all know, a major struggle in our industry these days is labor, labor, labor, on top of labor. I had the privilege to listen to Congressman Yoho give his presentation, and it seems it may be a real opportunity for us in Florida’s nursery and landscape industry. I encourage you to check it out:

Also, as I gather together this month’s President’s Letter, I’m looking forward to heading to Central Florida for FNGLA’s Action Chapter Annual Chili Cook-off. It’s always a good time. Hats off to Chapter President Rich Kling (Merchant Owl, Apopka) and chapter officials for putting on and growing this great event – which I know many others also look forward to each year.

I also had the privilege to attend the UF/IFAS Dinner of Distinction in September, along with FNGLA Past President Ed Bravo and FNGLA CEO Ben Bolusky. FNGLA was honored to receive the IFAS Industry Partnership Award. FNGLA values its strong bonds with UF/IFAS and continues to look forward to see the future results of all of the incredible research and education IFAS conducts each and every day throughout our state.

In other news, I wish to acknowledge FNGLA’s staff certification team, Merry Mott and Gary Weitermann, and, of course, FNGLA’s ‘Education Czar’ Stefan Liopiros, for knocking it out of the park at last month’s inaugural LINC Conference in Daytona Beach Shores. This conference brought together roughly 130 agriculture educators and industry professionals from across our state to share industry struggles to find qualified employees and to work together to prepare students for engaging and rewarding careers in our industry. FNGLA’s Immediate Past President Will Womack also represented our industry well as he spoke as part of a LINC panel on ways to bridge some of the gaps. Big thanks to the team for putting such a great FNGLA foot forward!


Wishing You all A Wonderful Fall,
Shawn Thomas 

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