We had a great time at the Texas Nursery and Landscaping Association’s (TNLA) Expo 2015 in Dallas earlier this month. We were able to build on existing relationships and speak with some of the top growers, designers and contractors in the state. Witnessing the excitement and passion people in the industry have for innovations and efficiencies that can help make their businesses prosper was truly rewarding.
Introducing Local Plant Source users to our new SmartPicture technology service was one of the highlights of the Expo for us. We’ve been excited about this addition for a long time, but seeing others’ appreciation for the service and its benefits is such a gift. It keeps us motivated to keep creating new tools and solutions through the rest of the year.
Our cofounder and president, Zac Tolbert, also had the honor of participating on a panel discussion with Leslie Halleck of Halleck Horticultural about which technologies offer the greatest return on investment for wholesale plant and landscaping companies. Leslie is a gem, a plant geek and an expert on strategy and marketing within the horticultural world. Having a dialogue with Leslie and Expo attendees about how businesses can benefit from different technologies was right up Zac's alley. In fact, it’s a conversation he will have with anyone at anytime! Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re up for it - the rest of us need to get some work done!
TNLA deserves a huge round of applause for its lineup. There were so many interesting educational sessions to attend. Dr. Charlie Hall with Texas A&M University discussed the green industry economy going into 2016. Pam Smith, the landscape manager with the city of Farmer’s Branch, spoke about sustainable landscape design and earth-kind landscaping techniques. And it’s always interesting to hear Brent Pemberton with Texas AgriLife speak about the Texas Superstar Program and how those plants are selected. Which sessions did you find most helpful?
Applause is also due elsewhere. We’d like to send out our congratulations to all the companies that were honored with TNLA’s Excellence in Landscaping (TEIL) Award. AJ’s Landscaping and Design, Lambert Landscaping Company, Southern Botanical, Valleycrest Landscape Development, The Spencer Company, Southern Landscape, Lawns of Dallas, Rebecca Winn of Whimsical Gardens, CleanScapes, Commercial Maintenance, Ravenscourt Landscaping & Design, Matt W. Stevens Landscape Architect and Texas A & M AgriLife Research should all be commended for their creative and excellent landscape designs and installations from this past year.
Last but not least, Zac received TNLA's Young Leader Award this year for the role Local Plant Source has played in improving the green industry and his involvement with both TNLA and the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA). The award, established in 1996, is given by TNLA to a person who has “made a significant impact on the Texas Nursery & Landscape sector early in their career.”
“In working with many of the young leaders in the green industry and landscape architecture, I’m constantly amazed at their ability to adapt to new technology and to bring that to bear on the problems in the green industry,” said award presenter Michael Arnold, a professor of Landscape Horticulture at Texas A & M University. “(Tolbert) is a person of great vision for his age. ... The end result of this is that we buy and sell plants more efficiently."
Everyone at Local Plant Source is honored by the recognition. It's a sign that the journey we embarked on four years ago to create a more sustainable, efficient and transparent industry has been worth every late night at the office — and then some.