November 2018

Mike Ransom, ALCC president

Every year I look forward to ALCC’s fall forum and board meeting, which takes place in October. Each year is a bit different from the previous year in terms of what we want to get out of the retreat. Last year we had a business strategist that helped us define and put into place a five-year strategic plan. The plan has six goals:

            1. Reverse membership and decline and grow membership
            2. Develop more data, new insights and better answers to key issues
            3. Raise all boats by increasing industry professionalism
            4. Develop and act on a strategy to enhance labor availability in Colorado
            5. Develop and act upon a strategy to turn sustainability into a business building plan
            6. Increase ALCC’s impact on public policy at local, state and federal levels

We worked to find one objective that would fulfill these six goals. A good friend and respected colleague of mine had worked on the board of Arizona’s version of ALCC – Arizona Landscape Contractors Association (ALCA). Will Pereira (past president) shared the story and success of ALCA developing a set of standards to direct maintenance contractors, municipalities, property managers – the green industry – on best and sustainable practices for the care of landscapes (a lofty goal to say the least). They developed the manual which has become the standard in Arizona.

ALCC worked closely with ALCA to bring the Sustainable Landscape Management (SLM) concept to Colorado.  ALCC brought on the author who wrote the Arizona SLM manual, Janet Waibel (a respected and accomplished landscape architect) to work with us and develop the manual for Colorado.

At our yearly forum, held two weeks ago, we invited water providers and other key stakeholders from all over the state to work through a draft of Colorado’s SLM manual. We spent the day getting feedback and their expertise on the content of the manual. It was a great day. The feedback and support for Sustainable Landscape Management were profound. ALCC and Janet are now taking all of that information and revising the manual, and we plan to launch the program at ProGreen EXPO in February.

In addition to SLM, ALCC recently announced that our national organization, the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) introduced a new format for Landscape Industry Certified Technician testing (ok, last acronym: LICT). NALP has the challenge of getting all states to offer LICT (there are less than 20 states currently). To be able to offer the certification nationally, NALP is planning to simplify the testing to an online-only program.

Colorado and ALCC have always been an industry leader and were one of the pioneering states to embrace the testing, and in particular the hands-on component. ALCC has the second highest volume of candidates tested nation-wide (second to California, who first developed the testing over 20 years ago). We are obviously concerned about keeping the hands-on portion of the test, given how much of what we do requires hands-on skills. We are exploring ways to retain hands-on training with NALP.

I am very proud and honored to be a part of ALCC during a time of so much opportunity to help our members succeed and be seen as professionals. To work with ALCC’s passionate staff—led by Executive Director John McMahon, board members, industry partners and you—is inspiring and powerful. We will get done what needs to be done—together.

Mike Ransom, Lifescape Colorado

ALCC President

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