President's Letter: Unbelievable

August 26, 2020

Dear Fellow Members,

I was recently breezing through social media and  I ran across a video of the actor Matthew McConaughey giving a speech at what looked like a graduation.  As one of the main points in the speech, he says, “Unbelievable is the stupidest word in the dictionary.”  This struck me a little bit.  Then I started to think about how many times I use the word unbelievable. 

I can tell you since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, I think I’ve used this word way more times than I did in any prior year.  A few of the times I used “unbelievable” was when dealing with the uncertainty of whether we would be deemed an essential business coming into our busiest time of the year.  When we had to require wearing masks at work.  When schools were let out with an unknown time to restart.  When the FNGLA convention had to be canceled knowing all of the work which went into it.  And, when it was apparent the ability was unattainable to provide a Landscape show experience up to FNGLA’s high standards and the industry’s expectations. 

Going through some of these situations, I definitely said, “Unbelievable.” (I may have even thought of a few extra words)!  The actor then goes on to say things can be spectacular and phenomenal and while we need to give ourselves and others more credit, nothing we do is unbelievable.  I’m sharing this because if you’re like me, you have probably looked around recently and thought, “Wow what a crazy year.” Yet, we need to trust in our ability to adapt and overcome any situation.

As I mentioned in my remarks during the online Annual Meeting, FNGLA is up against a few tough challenges.  We’ve adjusted the budget to accommodate the inability to stage The Landscape Show which is a major revenue driver for our Association.  However, event cancellation insurance does not cover pandemics.  Many exhibitors have taken advantage of donating different portions of their exhibit booth fees for which we are extremely thankful.

Speaking of the Annual Meeting, we had our first (and we hope only!) online annual meeting.  If you were unable to attend, our FNGLA team put on a flawless virtual meeting.  Shawn Thomas did a great job leading the meeting just as he did leading FNGLA through his year as President.  Ben Bolusky gave a great review of the past year. We awarded six Industry Awards to very deserving recipients and two great Friends of the Industry.  Congratulations to Ed Bravo, Randy Strode, Robert Kizer, Mike Agate, Dr. George Rogers, Colin Friedrich, Claire White and Jeff Caster on your awards.  Sarah Spatola and Eric Smith were installed into their positions of FNGLA President-Elect and Secretary/Treasurer.  I am looking forward to working with Sarah and Eric over the course of the next year and beyond.  They have a great passion for this Association.

I’m also looking forward to our team continuing and finding new ways to add value to your FNGLA membership. I’m very thankful for the opportunity to serve as your FNGLA President.  

Remember: “unbelievable” is a stupid word!


 Martin Hackney   

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