President's Letter: Two months, two great trade shows

March 2, 2020

Two months, two great trade shows. Following the overwhelming success of the 2020 Tropical Plant International Expo in January, FNGLA’s Northeast Chapter (as I pen this column), had just wrapped a great Jacksonville Landscape Show.

In typical Northeast Chapter fashion, it was a great, sold-out show. In fact, attendance was even higher than last year. It’s these smaller trade shows, like the Jacksonville Landscape Show, which offer a great opportunity to talk to people. I thoroughly enjoyed connecting with everyone and spending time together. Good conversations. Great fun.

I’d be remiss not to mention our show’s education classes were sold out! In fact, we even had to stop allowing people in the door after adding as many extra chairs as we could.

The Jacksonville Landscape Show is the FNGLA Northeast Chapter’s largest fundraiser of the year. It’s also 100 percent volunteer-run and organized. And, all the money generated from the show is then turned around and given for scholarships, FFA and 4-H students. The hope is to get these students involved in our industry -- and working for us. After all, they are the future of this industry.

TPIE’s numbers also exceeded expectations. Booth exhibitors and attendee numbers were high to the delight of many. As Ben Bolusky often says, “a tip of the FNGLA cap” is in order for FNGLA staff and the TPIE Committee. And, very special thanks this year go to TPIE Chairperson, Marcella Lucio-Chinchilla of Silver Vase. Very well done!

Back in North Florida, we’re getting increasingly excited for FNGLA’s 2020 Annual Convention. I look forward to a laid-back beach experience where we can all get together, relax and reflect on all the great projects and relationships which came together this year.
Before I sign off this month, I’d like to mention this is an election year and we’ll be coming up rapidly on November 3 - Election Day! We have some serious issues with the possibility of the Florida Legislature passing some type of mandate requiring employers use the voluntary federal E-Verify work authorization system. This is just one among many issues for which we could definitely use our members’ help.

Whether you’re a grower, landscape professional, irrigation contractor, garden center retailer or horticultural supplier, you believe, as most of our members, FNGLA’s advocacy efforts are critically important to your business’ bottom-line. So, I urge you to send a contribution to the FNGLA-PAC.
The FNGLA-PAC is a separate, segregated fund which is used solely to support the election campaigns of state House/ Senate incumbents and candidates who stand up and actively support our industry. We need to support our legislative friends!

FNGLA-PAC is one of the most important tools in FNGLA’s advocacy toolbox and, right now in this election year, it really needs – and deserves - your financial help.

So, please send your contribution - business and personal checks are both good - payable to the FNGLA-PAC, 1533 Park Center Dr., Orlando, FL 32835. Believe me, it will make you feel good doing your part for FNGLA’s grassroots!


Shawn Thomas
Sabal Landscape Solutions

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