Calling 911


By Phil Harwood

When my father-in-law needed medical attention last summer, my wife and I took immediate action. We could have done nothing or let him handle it himself, but we recognized that this was a critical situation so we dropped what we were doing and supported him. This is what people do when there is a crisis, right? What about our industry’s labor crisis? Efforts to solve the labor crisis are underway. People are mobilizing. Momentum is building.

Over the past 20+ years, I’ve had the opportunity to serve on many committees and boards for trade associations and nonprofits. In every case, I cared deeply about the mission of the organization. This is especially true with my involvement on the Workforce Development Council for the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP). 

Our industry is facing a serious labor situation. This is not unique to our industry but we do have unique challenges due to the seasonality of our workforce, among other factors. For some, it is a true crisis, deserving a response. Sitting on the sidelines and doing nothing about it is not an option. 

In response to this crisis, NALP and its members developed the Industry Growth Initiative (IGI) to promote careers in our industry through aggressive public relations campaigns. The work of this initiative has been impressive with high-quality promotional ads in national publications and media outlets, in addition to hosting engaging websites and social media sites designed to attract people to our industry. Millions of dollars have been spent on these initiatives, on YOUR behalf, whether you have been a supporter or not. 

If you are not a member of NALP, I highly recommend taking a look at membership. There are a number of member benefits that are extremely valuable, including the popular Trailblazer program. There are other fine trade associations as well. My point is to get involved, if you haven’t done so yet. Your industry needs you, whether it’s for your time, talent, and or treasure. Some of you are short on time but can write a big check. Others of you are strapped financially but would be able to serve on a committee. How might you get involved? 

GrowTheBench is a contributing member to the IGI because we believe that there is power in the collective efforts of many people and we are clearly seeing results from these investments. We have made the IGI part of our financial planning, and your subscription to provides a funding source for the IGI. When you support GrowTheBench, you are supporting the IGI indirectly. 

Solving the labor crisis involves taking action on several different levels. Supporting a cause like the IGI is at the industry level. At the individual level, front-line supervisors, crew leaders, and managers are challenged with retaining and developing their people. This is exactly why we created, to provide your people with a developmental tool that will help them engage more deeply with your company and our industry. Are you taking advantage of what has to offer? Check out for a free all-access pass, good for an entire month. 

Now go forth. 

Tags: NALP , IGI , Industry Growth Initiative ,