The 2021 Winter Symposium will be held February 9 at the Embassy Suites hotel in Charleston.


The 2020 Winter Symposium featured a great lineup of speakers for both tracks: one focused on design and the other on profitable business practices.

View the schedule here.

On the design side, Scott Beuerlein, who manages Botanical Garden Outreach at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, kicks off the day with “Woodies That Make Us Go ‘Wow!’” Scott is a garden writer and horticultural speaker whose articles have appeared in notable national publications. He was awarded gold medals by the International Association of Garden Communicators and is a certified landscape technician and arborist in Ohio.

Tom Vasale follows with a presentation on “Specialty Pruning.” Tom is a retired horticulturist residing in Charleston. He owned and operated Tom’s Word Horticulture Consulting, a small design-build landscaping business, for 23 years before retiring. Prior to that, he was the director of Municipal Beautification for the City of Charleston, the agriculture extension agent for West Virginia University in Kanawha County, and the state horticulturist for the West Virginia Department of Agriculture.

Michael Hasenmyer of West Virginia University’s Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design will show how to put technology to work for your designs when he discusses “Visualization Technologies in the Field of Landscape Architecture.” Michael is an associate professor of landscape architecture who teaches his students how to most effectively use computer technology in their designs.

After lunch and a chance to connect with colleagues and vendors, design-side attendees will hear from Scott Beuerlein again when he presents “Why Horticulture Matters.”

Irvin Etienne of The Garden at Newfields in Indianapolis will close the day’s talks, speaking on “Gardening without Privacy.” He’ll discuss his work in a public garden, where mistakes are not easily hidden in well-trafficked areas. In his designs, he relies on attractive, no-fuss perennials that look good in multiple seasons. Irvin is the horticulture display coordinator for the Garden at Newfields, where he has worked for more than 25 years. He writes an award-winning blog for GardenComm, as well as articles for Fine Gardening and other magazines.

Speakers in the profit track will focus on employee recruitment and retention, issues surrounding glysophate, workers’ compensation, and branding and marketing. The track finishes with an idea swap.

Danielle Collinson of Blades of Green Lawn Care and B.O.G. Pest Control in Edgewater, MD, cues up the day with “Recruiting and Retaining in a Digital Age.” Danielle is a division manager for the company and manages the Pest and Plant Health Care departments. She questions things that “have always been done that way” in her quest to advance the company. A passionate leader, she urges people on her team to learn new things and grow themselves.

Dr. Hannah Mathers has more than 26 years of experience, including training and research, in weed control for landscape and nursery crops. She’ll put that knowledge to the test when she takes on “The Great Glysophate Debate,” exploring the science behind claims that the active ingredient in RoundUp causes cancer. Previously a professor at Ohio State University and Oregon State University, she owns Mathers Environmental Science Services LLC in Gahanna, OH.

Clarence Lykins of Partners & Associates Insurance in Huntington, WV, will help attendees wade through the sometimes murky waters of workers’ compensation with “Understanding Workers’ Comp.” In addition to business insurance, Partners & Associates offers life, homeowners, and auto coverage.

John Auge of Auge+Gray+Drake Collective Works in Charleston is all about marketing. He’s going to get you excited about it, too, when he shows you the importance of branding and how it will help your business grow. In “Putting Branding to Work for Your Company,” he’ll show you how to differentiate your company from the competition. A company cofounder, John has more than 25 years of experience in branding and identity and corporate communications.

After John’s presentation, the profit track concludes with an idea swap. Have you tried something new that worked well? Or maybe flopped? Wonder if anyone else has tried this? Prepare to share! Let’s get the ideas flowing and learn a little something from each other.

The WVNLA Annual Meeting follows the symposium, starting at 4 p.m.

If you haven’t been to a symposium in some time, check us out. The cost to attend the 2020 Winter Symposium is $50 for WVNLA members and $100 for nonmembers.

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