After COVID forced the cancellation of WVNLA’s annual conference in 2021, we are coming back with a bang, with an explosive Winter Symposium on January 26, 2022. As usual, we have two speaker tracks, Design and Profit, in order to meet the diverse interests of the green industry in West Virginia.
Marty Grunder, Rick Darke and Carol Reese will lead the 2022 symposium at Charleston’s Four Points at Sheraton. Marty is a leading voice on green industry leadership, sales, and company culture. He will lead profit-track participants throughout the day. Rick is a broadly knowledgeable field botanist, horticulturist, and photographer. He will present the morning session of the design track. In the afternoon, Carol Reese of the University of Tennessee, will present a thought-provoking session on “Native Plants: Facts and Fallacies,” as well as a fascinating talk on “Ordinary Plants with Extraordinary Stories.” Find out how the plants you see every day may have influenced our very history.
Through the years, various WVNLA members have heard Marty speak and suggested that we bring him to the Winter Symposium. He was scheduled to join us this year but rescheduled to 2022 when COVID made indoor gatherings dicey.
Marty, who is based in Dayton, Ohio, is president and CEO of Grunder Landscaping Company and of The Grow Group, a leading green industry consultancy. He discovered his entrepreneurial spirit when he was just a teenager pushing a used lawn mower. He was looking for a way to put himself through college. Through determination and hard work, he grew his initial $25 investment into Grunder Landscaping Company (GLC), one of the most successful operations of its kind in the Midwest. GLC has earned more than 40 local and national design awards and is a two-time winner of the Better Business Bureau’s Eclipse Integrity Award. Marty has been named entrepreneur of the year by both Ernst & Young and the US Small Business Administration.
The author of The 9 Super Simple Steps to Entrepreneurial Success, he has coached thousands of landscaping professionals and companies across the US and Canada. He has delivered more than 550 talks, motivating audiences of all sizes, from small gatherings of 20 to a stadium of 9,000, to achieve success.
When Marty speaks, landscape pros listen because they know they’ll get the unvarnished truth from someone who’s faced many of the same challenges they’re facing and found a way to consistently come out on top.
Marty’s presentations include
Rick Darke is an independent consultant, author, and photographer based in northeastern Pennsylvania. His work is grounded in an observational ethic that blends ecology, horticulture, and cultural geography in the design and stewardship of living landscapes. His collaborative projects include parks, botanic gardens, postindustrial sites, transportation corridors, conservation developments, and residential landscapes. Recent public projects include the Iron Garden at Carrie Blast Furnaces National Historic Landmark, located near Pittsburgh, and the Moss Gibbs Woodland Garden at the Parklands of Floyds Fork in Louisville, Kentucky.
Rick began as a mechanical engineering major at the University of Delaware. He also took classes in art, cultural geography, and anthropology before graduating with a degree in plant science, with a dual focus on field botany and horticulture. Rick launched his independent practice in 1997, following 20 years on the staff of Pennsylvania’s Longwood Gardens. As curator of plants at Longwood, he played a major role in developing the gardens’ indoor and outdoor displays and in international plant exploration.
Rick’s many books include The American Woodland Garden: Capturing the Spirit of the Deciduous Forest; The Encyclopedia of Grasses for Livable Landscapes; The Wild Garden: Expanded Edition; The Living Landscape: Designing for Beauty and Biodiversity in the Home Garden, co-authored with Doug Tallamy; and Gardens of the High Line: Elevating the Nature of Modern Landscapes, co-authored with Piet Oudolf. He also teaches and lectures internationally on sustainable landscape design, planning, and conservation, and the ethical underpinnings of all of these. On the broad topic of livable landscapes, Rick has addressed audiences in the United States, Canada, England, Ireland, Japan, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and Chile.
Rick has been studying and photographing West Virginia’s wild habitats and community places for nearly 50 years. He uses insights from this work to inform and inspire his creative projects in public and private landscapes and gardens. Rick’s own garden, created with his wife and cohorticulturist Melinda Zoehrer, comprises 1.5 acres of rolling, piedmont terraine adjacent to the White Clay Creek Preserve. It features locally native and adapted plants. The garden has served as their living laboratory for more than a quarter century. For further information, visit rickdarke.com.
In his segment on drawing inspiration from West Virginia’s wild and wonderful places, Rick will feature many photographs of West Virginia flora. After a break, he will deliver a design lecture on the gardens he and his wife nurture. A tech-savvy speaker, Rick can access anything from his own archives and online during his presentation to address audience members’ specific questions.
Registration for the Winter Symposium will open in November. The fee for WVNLA members is $50. Non-member fee is $100.
In a perhaps unsurprising move during these strange times, WVNLA’s board of directors decided to postpone the 2021 Winter Symposium, scheduled for February 9, to a later date. Concern about limited attendance due to COVID-19 prompted the decision. Keynote speaker Marty Grunder has agreed to reschedule his presentation to a time when in-person events are comfortable and safe for all. The new date will be determined as conditions improve.
The Pesticide Applicators Recertification education session and Certified Professional Horticulturist exam both remain on our schedule for February 10 at Embassy Suites in Charleston. Because so many WVNLA members depend on the biannual course to meet the state’s pesticide applicator continuing education requirements, the course will still be provided. Space will be limited, due to social distance requirements, and masks will be required in the common areas of the hotel.
Registration is open.Register for this Event
To register for the Certified Professional Horticulturist exam, visit wvnla.org, call 304-553-1234 or email .
WVNLA’s 2019 Winter Symposium was held Wednesday, January 30 in Charleston. Speakers with backgrounds in ecological planting design, community gardens, landscape architecture education, horticulture, landscape company management, pricing, estimating, and regulatory compliance presented concepts and answered questions. For an idea of future Winter Symposium formats, view the day’s schedule here, or read speaker bios below. Cost to attend is $50 for WVNLA members and $100 for non-members. Registration includes lunch. Two sessions will run simultaneously, one with a focus on design elements and the other featuring successful green industry business practices.
Claudia West, a leading voice in the emerging field of ecological planting design, will present “Stunning Plant Communities that Stand the Test of Time.” Claudia is known for her passionate advocacy of plant-driven design, Claudia is a widely sought out speaker and consultant who applies the technologies of plant systems to bring essential natural functions back into our cities and towns. She has worked on all sides of the green industry—as a designer, a grower, installer, and land manager—grounding her innovative work in pragmatic solutions that address the realities of our urbanizing world. She is the co-author of the critically acclaimed book, Planting in a Post-Wild World (Timber Press, 2015).
Barbara Arnold, senior horticulturist at Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, will speak on “Creation and Use of a Public Garden Community Garden Campus.” She will explore the different focuses of community gardens —education, healthy food source, a place of beauty. Community is the element they all have in common. Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens Scott’s Miracle-Gro Community Garden Campus is all of those and more.
Hear how community members young and old had a voice in the creation of the garden. See how a creepy- quiet part of the park came to life. Gain an understanding how Conservatory departments (horticulture, event sales, development, community outreach and education) worked to create a beautiful and useful garden. Learn how Franklin Park Conservatory’s plot holder program is run and operated.
Barbara has worked in the green industry for more than 30 years with experience in commercial landscaping, public gardens and golf courses. For the past 23 years, she has been a member of the horticulture staff at Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.
Peter Butler, director of the school of design and community development, an associate professor of landscape architecture and extension specialist in landscape architecture at West Virginia University, will speak on “Western European Landscapes.” His presentation will feature the many student tours he has led through these gardens. The travel experience includes the interpretation and sketching of gardens, landscapes and architecture ranging from the medieval to contemporary with horticulture and landscape architecture students.
Peter holds a BA in English and creative writing from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and his bachelors and masters degrees in landscape architecture from Iowa State University. His research interests include cultural landscape research and planning; community design process; industrial landscape reclamation and interpretation; and design studio pedagogy. Before entering academia, Peter worked as a gardener and landscape construction supervisor in Seattle WA, Driggs ID and Nantucket MA.
Preston Montague, artist and landscape designer, will discuss “Approaches to Designing with Plants.” Making design decisions in the landscape can be a frustrating challenge for both green industry professionals and home gardeners alike. Preston will demonstrate some of his approaches to designing with plants that can help demystify the process of deciding “which plant, where, and how many?” He will discuss strategies design professionals use to create outdoor rooms that are environmentally responsive and that provide for a range of activities.
Preston is a naturalist working to improve public and environmental health through the arts, education, and landscape architecture. He is passionate about inspiring curiosity and encouraging a sense of agency in people to affect positive change in their environment. Preston strives to help people make the connection between the health of the planet and the quality of their lives.
Andrew Bunting, vice president of horticulture and collections at the Atlanta Botanical Garden, will present “Designing with Tropical Plants,” especially as used in outdoor seasonal displays.
Andrew was previously with the Chicago Botanical Garden and was the curator at the Scott Arboretum of Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania for 25 years. He also owned a landscape design and construction business called Fine Garden Creations, Inc. Originally from Illinois, Bunting received his bachelor of science degree in plant and soil science from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.
Brothers Steve and Jeff Rak will present “The Company Experience and How It Relates to the Success of Your Company.”
Steve Rak is the president of Southwest Landscape Management. Steve is a past president of Ohio Landscape Association and has written for many publications. He currently writes for Turf magazine. Jeff Rak, CLP, is the president of Land Creations Landscaping and is also a past president of Ohio Landscape Association. Jeff is a graduate of Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute with a degree in Landscape Contracting and Construction. Land Creations has won several awards and been recognized in many publication and local TV stations.
James Huston, Certified Professional Landscape Estimator, will present “How to Price Landscape & Irrigation Projects and A Critical Analysis of the MORS Estimating System.”
James Huston has more than 30 years of diverse business management experience and holds an MBA degree in finance. He is also a member of the American Society of Professional Estimators. He is one of only two Certified Professional Landscape Estimators in the world.
As a Captain in the U.S. Marine Corps, he held positions in finance, aviation supply inventory management and procurement. After his tour of duty, he became a senior production control analyst for the Electronics Division of General Dynamics.
Since 1987, he has been a management consultant to the landscape and irrigation industry. He headed the consulting division for Charles Vander Kooi and Associates, Inc., and in 1989 he formed J. R. Huston Consulting.
Prentice Cline, OSHA Charleston area office director, will present “How to Keep Your Business on OSHA’s Good List.” Prentice will cover common and potential citations issued by OSHA to landscape operations and how to avoid them. He’ll discuss best practices for safety and health management plans. Prentice holds bachelors and masters degrees in environmental and occupational health and has 25 years of experience in occupational safety and health field. He has been with OSHA for 19 years and in his current position for 8 years.
The Winter Symposium will be held January 30 at the Embassy Suites, 300 Court Street in Charleston.Register for this Event
Prepare to be inspired and informed at the 2018 Winter Symposium on Jan. 26 in Charleston. Speakers with backgrounds in design, outdoor lighting, public gardens, plant research, software design, marketing, and labor are poised to present concepts and answer questions. The 2018 conference will be held at Embassy Suites.
As usual, two sessions will run simultaneously, one with a focus on design elements and the other featuring successful business practices. Attendees may connect with colleagues over breaks and lunch and hear from other WVNLA members and horticulture and landscape architecture students from WVU during a post-lunch forum.
Cost to attend is $50 for WVNLA members and $100 for nonmembers. To see the day’s schedule, click here.Register For This Event
NatureScape Lighting owner Michael Deo will present “Designing a lighted landscape.” Michael is the president and founder of NatureScape Lighting in New Jersey, where he is an award-winning lighting designer. Since he is also formally trained in landscape design, his lighting projects reflect a deep knowledge of horticulture. He is keenly aware of how plants change, not only with the seasons but also over time and how each will react to light.
Richard Hawke of the Chicago Botanic Garden will discuss “Top performing plants from trials” as well as “Green roof plant trials.” Richard is the plant evaluation manager for the botanic garden. He’ll hone his presentations to include plants selected to thrive in local horticultural zones, which he points out is a more inclusive list than those that will survive Chicago’s winters.
Timothy Tilghman of Untermyer Gardens will present a fascinating look at the garden’s “Past, Present and Potential.” Timothy is the horticulturist at Untermyer Gardens in Yonkers, New York. In the 1920s and 1930s, the privately owned Untermyer Gardens were among the most celebrated in the United States. Sixty gardeners were employed to maintain the 150-acre estate. The gardens languished after the owner’s death in the 1940s, but are being restored today with Timothy at the helm.
Tim Edick of Unilock Pavers will walk attendees through a demonstration on “3-D Design of hardscapes with software.” Unilock is a manufacturer of concrete interlocking paving stones and segmental wall products.
Kerry Scott, or an associate of MASLabor will shed light on the evolving challenges of hiring seasonal workers through H2B Visas. Help is available, but the process is complicated. Hear the details as the MASLabor representative presents “Wading through H2B.”
Dave Tucker, who developed CLIP software, will speak on two topics, both geared toward improving business systems, processes and profit through technology. Dave is the president of Sensible Software. He developed CLIP software to efficiently handle the routing, scheduling, and reporting needs of lawn care companies. He will present “Motivating employees: how to make your employees think like you do?” and “Systems: the name of the game. Creating a business that runs itself”
Michael Deo of NatureScape, who is also speaking on lighting design (above), will fill out the topic with a presentation on “Lighting as a profit center.”
Profits Plus speaker Tom Shay will present “Strategies to win in a changing economy.” As consumers change the way they do business, owners must adapt to survive. Tom is a fourth generation small business owner who has written and spoken extensively on small business management.Register For This Event