Ken Fisher, executive director of the Ohio Nursery and Landscape Association (ONLA), challenged membership to “change the status quo.”   The ONLA is leading the way, as evidenced by the first MGIX Summit.

The two day event was the first of its kind in our region.  With a good deal of guts and foresight, the ONLA jettisoned their traditional annual tradeshow. They’ve replaced it with a business summit.  An educational venue providing valuable information in an enjoyable fast paced atmosphere.  I think many came unsure what they were going to experience.   As the summit unfolded I saw a lot of folks pleased by the education, networking, and new relationships.

Time for Something New

The ONLA says the status quo of our industry needs some tweaking.  I agree.  Stuck in our old ways means the productivity and profitability of our industry will be in increasing jeopardy.   I give kudos to the ONLA staff for having the insight and courage to change how they do things so as to dramatically increase their relevancy to our industry.

The MGIX Summit is one example, but my favorite is the Ohio High School Landscape Olympics (OHLO).  The third annual OHLO happened in early November.  It has grown every year.  Around 250 high school kids competed in this year’s event. Parents and teachers seem to appreciate the event as well.  I received several cards from schools and students thanking us for sponsoring the event.  But what’s most important to me is their growing passion for our industry.  Our labor issue is not going away soon and the best fix is to “grow our own”.  That means outreach and education to attract the younger generations.

It’s About Relationships

Another ONLA focus is Collaboration and Relationships.   How true it is that working together means we get 3x more accomplished.  Our industry is small and under the radar of most citizens.  The only “They” out there to make our industry healthier is us!  A whole bunch of us doing just a little bit adds up to a lot of impact.  My challenge to all is to do your part.

Building relationships with each other, whether a transactional relationship or not, means collaboration is possible.  Forget the fact that some of us are competitors in the marketplace.  Our biggest competitors are all the other places people can spend money, the other industries they can go work, or the evils of bad regulations.

MGIX 2018 was amazing.  I can’t wait to see what is coming next.

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