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2012 GIE+EXPO winds down

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Photo: Landscape Management
Photo: Landscape Management
Photo: Landscape Management
Photo: Landscape Management

2012 show brings new ideas and new products.

GIE + EXPO launched Wednesday with unusually warm temps, sunny skies and a jam-packed agenda. It also launched with a slightly different format than in past years. For the first time ever, Day 1 of GIE + EXPO was geared exclusively toward dealers, giving them time on the exhibit floor to discuss agreements and product pricing, attend educational sessions and more.

When the show opened to a much wider audience on Thursday, attendees inside the Kentucky Exposition Center bore witness to products from 750 exhibitors on 500,000 square feet. Outside, they participated in product demonstrations on 19 acres, demonstrating everything from chainsaws to skid steers.

When people weren’t browsing or testing the latest products, they were networking with their peers, sitting in on one of several Green Industry workshops or rocking out on Fourth Street to the likes of Kansas, the Eli Young Band and Candy Coburn.

Photo: Landscape Management
Harvest Group partners Bill Arman, left, and Ed Laflamme fired up contractors with their workshop “Are you a fierce competitor?” Photo: Landscape Management

But in-between the celebrating, contractors were eager to learn and grow their businesses. That was apparent at the workshop led by Bill Arman and Ed Laflamme of the Harvest Group. The workshop explored how contractors can fuel their competitive fire by setting goals, identifying areas for improvement and devising a game plan.

Arman and Laflamme kept the audience engaged with words of wisdom such as “deal with the tough issues,” “delegate,” and “reward the people who really work—not necessarily the ones who make the most noise.”

Many in the audience were at the Green Industry Conference and GIE for the first time. They were outspoken and hungry for knowledge, and we ran into them a short while later at the GIC Newcomers Rally, where they sipped cocktails and received valuable advice from industry veterans.

On the news front, meanwhile, the Professional Landcare Network (PLANET) made some headlines this time around with word it is launching a new peer groups program with the Wilson-Oyler Group. CEOs and owners of companies that don’t directly compete with each other will be grouped together and meet in person or through teleconferences for intensive, confidential collaborative learning sessions.

Photo: Landscape Management
360 first-timers showed up the 2012 GIC Newcomers Rally—the most ever. Photo: Landscape Management

PLANET President Norman Goldenberg also announced its partnership with JP Horizons to promote the “Come Alive Outside” movement. The program will provide a platform for landscape contractors to engage their communities through a combination of community service, outreach, education and recreation. He also noted PLANET has reinvigorated its efforts to work more closely with state associations, hoping to form a federation with them to increase membership and facilitate power in numbers on Capitol Hill.

Through it all were countless receptions and random encounters. It’s hard to believe another GIE + EXPO is winding down. We can’t wait to see what next year brings.

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