Will you be at @PLANET2005′s Green Industry Conference? #PLANETGIC #GIEEXPO


Well, it’s early Wednesday morning and my FIFTEENTH GIC is getting ready to start.  I couldn’t more excited to be back on my hometurf in the landscape industry with so many old friends, and ready to meet so many more.  It’s going to be a super busy week here in Louisville for all of the attendees, as well as myself.   If you’re here, I wanted to get my schedule posted in case you wanted to join me in any of my educational events.   I’ve also included some awesome information on GIC, as well as ways you can “follow along” if you’re not here.  Here’s to an incredible week!

Now in its 25th year, PLANET’s Green Industry Conference (GIC) is the most highly anticipated landscape and lawn care industry education and networking experience of the year. A speaker lineup composed of the industry’s leaders and most successful entrepreneurs, a landscaping, lawn care, and hardscape trade show floor hosting nearly 500 exhibits, and an unparalleled opportunity to be inspired, learn about industry trends, and build new relationships make this an event you cannot miss! In celebration of our silver anniversary, GIC attendees and PLANET members are telling their personal stories of success, overcoming hardships, and planning for the future. Together, let’s set new milestones.


I’ll be speaking several times throughout the event:

(Ticketed only, but tickets at PLANET Registration if not sold out)

Real Life Case Studies From Landscape Company Horror Stories – Learn How Great Companies Solved Huge Problems!

Every business has its problems and issues. Some of these problems seem insurmountable when they plop into a business owners lap. I will tell you the real-life stories and case studies of how great companies managed through horrible experiences. You’ll learn nuggets from his experience and solutions that undoubtedly will change the way you look at your business next time something unexpected happens. This is a must-attend session for any size business who has ever experienced the unexpected.

  • Wed. Oct. 22nd, 3:30-5:00 pm EST: I’m hosting and emceeing the Newcomers Rally, lots and lots of amazing surprises, also learn more about PLANET, GIC and GIE+EXPO.  If this is your first time here, please attend this event to learn how to navigate this huge show and educational event!
  • Thurs. Oct. 23rd, 8:00-1:00 EST: I’ll be hosting a private offsite Kolbe Team Building Event for a Client – Sorry, you can’t attend, but if you want more information, just grab me!
  • Thurs. Oct. 23rd, 4:00-5:00 pm EST:  I’ll be at the PLANET Genius Bar (at GIE+EXPO Booth #7114). My topic is How to Hire the Right Person  ~  SO, bring your questions and I’m there for an hour to help you in any way you need!
  • Fri. Oct. 25th, 9:45-11:15 am EST: General Session on HR

Collaborative Learning: Navigating Through the Ever-Changing World of Human Resources, and the Direct Impact It Can Have On Your Business

The daily grind of Human Resources paperwork, compliance and knowledge isn’t the most exciting part of running a business, but it can be one of the most important. Consistent and constant changes in law and reporting have turned one small mistake into a huge cost and liability for companies of all sizes with one employee or one hundred. In this facilitated discussion I’ll guide you through the ins and outs of the most critical portions of the topic. Bring your HR problem to present to the group and we will work through it together – for the mutual benefit of all attendees.

  • Fri. Oct. 25th, 11:30 am-1:00 pm EST: STIHL/Lawn and Landscape Social Media Awards at the STIHL booth #5074

This event gives you the chance to meet in person all the smart, fun and interesting folks you interact with on social media every day. They’ll also be announcing our first-ever Social Media Award winners – so be sure to come see who gets some hardware to take home!

Not Able to Attend?
PLANET will be streaming select educational sessions LIVE over the Internet. Register now to view these sessions on your computer or to order recorded sessions.   OR, you can follow the Twitter Hashtags #PLANETGIC and #GIEEXPO or my live Twitter feed as I’ll be updating non-stop.

#Giants vs #Royals: My Wager with @DavidSilverOak

David Duncan, with Silver Oak, and I have a friendly wager regarding who will win the World Series. Will it be the San Francisco Giants vs. the Kansas City Royals?

Watch the video below to learn more about our bet and to chime in with who you are rooting for!

Salt…or lack thereof | MUST Read if You’re In the Snow Business | Guest post by Kevin Gilbride of ASCA

Spreader truckEveryone remembers last winter’s salt shortage. Well, this shortage is far from over.

If you’re beginning your salt purchasing, then I’d suggest you look hard and fast and secure what you can find. And it you haven’t started by now, then you’re probably going to be out of luck.

Let me explain. At the beginning of last season, most road salt users (states, DOT’s, municipalities, and commercial contractors like you) were sitting on surpluses of salt as a result of recent light winters.

Then Winter 2013-2014 hit, and it continued to hit and never let up. This was a winter like no other. In some areas, it started in December and did not subside until the end of February. I had conversations with folks who had crews working 45 and 60 days straight. This was happening from Minneapolis to Washington DC.

In past winters, one area of the country would get hammered with unseasonable snow and ice while another received less than average snowfall. This past winter if you were east of Fargo you got hit and you got hit often.

There were not a lot of blizzards, instead there was continuous snowfall including numerous 2-3 inch events. The occasional 6 incher jumped in, and there were a few 12-inch events. Also, take into consideration that from early January to about mid-February, we had temperatures that were record lows. There were stretches where areas sat below 15 degrees for nearly a month. Mostly it kept snowing, and as we all know, you plow and you salt. And last winter the industry used lots of salt.

DOT’s that stock as much as 600,000 tons of salt to cover heavy winters were reordering in January. Those same DOT’s only used 400,000 tons the previous winter. They were ordering nearly a full seasons supply of salt in mid-winter. Of course, so were commercial contractors.

Salt bins that for nearly two years were overflowing were suddenly empty. And by season’s end DOT’s had barely enough salt to get through the winter.

By the end of the season, if you were east of Fargo, then you were nearly depleted. Every contractor, every DOT, every city and every state faced the same scenario – just about out of salt.

This means that since March, salt mines have been working to replenish the supplies of every city, state, DOT and supplier they sell salt to – every single one.

The bad news? The salt shortage is far from over. Mines and suppliers will simply not have everyone replenished by the time this winter hits. In fact, I have heard some suppliers lament that it could take as long as two to three years too catch back up.

I am certainly not in a position to accurately predict what will happen. What I do know is if you have not begun to secure your salt pile for this winter, you had better get moving. This is a classic supply-and-demand scenario. Since supply is short, those with a demand will pay the price. So brace yourself for a salt price hike this season.


Kevin GilbrideThis is a guest post from Kevin Gilbride, Executive Director of ASCA (Accredited Snow Contractors Association)

Kevin Gilbride started in the snow industry in 1996 as part of the team that launched what is today Snow Magazine. Deeply passionate about the snow and industry and the issues that face today’s professional snow and ice management companies, Kevin brings a level of experience from the business side that benefits ASCA membership.

Initially entering the publishing industry as a sales representative for Lawn & Landscape magazine, Kevin moved his way up the ranks of GIE Media, Inc. into a management role including Group Publisher of Lawn & Landscape, Golf Course Industry, and Snow Magazines. Along the way, he led the successful launches of Snow Magazine, Interior Business, and Commercial Dealer magazines, as well as the successful re-launch of Golf Course News, and its transition to Golf Course Industry magazine.

Kevin established exclusive partnerships with Mills Insurance to bring unique insurance products to the professional snow and ice management industry.

As Executive Director of the ASCA, Kevin is committed to helping drive our industry to new levels, and getting the outside world to recognize both the professionalism that exists in the industry and the unfairness that the outside world places on your business.

Attend #MecaChallengeKC in Downtown Kansas City on Oct 5 2014

MecaChallengeI couldn’t be any more excited to be participating in this amazing event for young entrepreneurs right here in my hometown as one of the Six Lead Mentors. Please see the press release below and support this event, a huge investment in entrepreneurial incubation, not only in Kansas City, but beyond. I believe wholeheartedly in the development of young business leaders, and this event will certainly provide that to 40 talented and driven young people. Please see the link at the bottom of the press release if you’d like to attend the Final Presentations here in Downtown Kansas City on Sunday, October 5th. See you there! ~Jason


MECA Challenge Promises to Bring Real World Business Experience to Students Interested in Entrepreneurship


This year’s MECA Challenge, a student innovation competition, is shaping  up to be an impactful, community­ centered event, focused toward paving the way for students interested in entrepreneurship.  The event, which brings together high school and college students to solve real business problems for Kansas City startups over the course of a weekend, is slated to take place October 2, 4, and 5.

“It’s exciting to see MECA Challenge continue to grow!  We have 40 committed student participants this year, a marked increase from our numbers last year.  It’ll be fun to see theseteams work together to solve business problems for LittleHoots, Knoda, FitBark, Leap.itVeriQuik, and SquareOffs,” said Adam Arredondo, co­founder of the Kansas City Startup Village and organizer for MECA Challenge.

Six lead mentors will guide the team through their problem solving process, and speakers will present relevant topics throughout the Challenge. In turn, the students can apply the speakers’ tips and advice to their solutions and final presentations.  This year’s speakers include former KCK mayor, Joe Reardon, professional storyteller, Laura Packer, and Bishop-­McCann’s CEO and co­founder, Dan Nilsen.

MECA Challenge is free to students.  This is due to generous support from sponsors like Affinity Enterprise Group, Kauffman Foundation, KCSourceLink, and Kansas City Startup Village.   In addition, event space was donated by the Sprint Accelerator, where the students will work during the first two days of the competition, and the Alamo Drafthouse, where the students will deliver their final presentations on a movie screen.

Food will be provided by Johnny’s Tavern, GoodCents, and Affinity Enterprise Group.

“We have no doubt that the students will blow our minds again this year with their fresh perspectives and innovative solutions to real business problems.  We encourage anyone who is free from 2­4pm on Sunday, Oct. 5, to join us for Final Presentations at Alamo Drafthouse,” stated Arredondo.

MECA Challenge Final Presentations is a free event.  Those who come will see all six teams present their business solutions to a panel of judges, including MindDrive’s Linda Buchner, John Pajor of KCMO, and Marisa Gray of KCKCC.  Attendees will then witness the announcement of winners and awarding of prizes to student participants.  An opportunity to mingle and network will immediately follow.  Final Presentations are open to the public.  Please RSVP at www.MECAFinalPresentations.eventbrite.com



Press Contact:
Abby Zwier
abby AT ceedthefuture DOT com

International Day of Happiness #HAPPYDAY, via #PHARRELL @silveroak @twomey

Screen Shot 2014-03-20 at 11.45.23 AM

Hi there friends…

Let me say that life and work and family and friends and everything in-between has been quite busy for some time, hence the lack of writing.  That needs to change, and as a result, it will.

The signature line on my email, courtesy of the HOLSTEE Manifesto says:

“Life is about the people you meet and what you create with them. So, go out and start creating.”

I truly believe this is the mantra of my life, and should be a part of everyones lives around them.  I love people.  I love relationships.  I love building business and friendships via the same parallel lines.  It’s been the way I’ve always been.

I didn’t know this until an hour ago, but today is the International day of Happiness.  Did you know that?

Well, ironically, as recent as yesterday, I was talking to a friend about Pharrell Williams and his song “HAPPY” – I’m sure you’ve heard it.  It’s catchy.  It’s simple.  It’s positive.  It’s awesome.  And it’s HAPPY.  Just makes you want to sing, dance, clap and shout out to everyone around you how happy you are.  And happiness to me is surrounding myself with amazing people in everything I do.

My good friends at Silver Oak and Twomey shot a video for #HAPPYDAY of their team dancing, clapping and sharing their joy to be alongside one another, their businesses, their community, their industry, and their clients.

If you’ve ever been to Napa or Sonoma, you’ll love the video simply for the shots of the area.  If you love the song and the concept, you’ll love it times 10.  Trust me.

Take a watch, take a listen, celebrate being #HAPPY in all you do.  I know I did.  :)

(If you want to link directly to the video, please click HERE)

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