by David DeJohn, NHCLP
How did this happen? It seems like just yesterday I was 25 and walking down highway 10 just outside of a little town called Van Horn, Texas hitchhiking east or west, I don’t really remember. Now I’m about to turn 65 in a few days and I’m still getting daily reminders to sign up for Medicare!
I kind of miss that kid who could stand on the side of a road for hours and hours, patient, not too concerned if I got a ride or not. Now I lose my sh*t if the person in front of me at Dirt Doctors takes too long trying to decide what color mulch they should get!
I can’t complain though. I’ve had and have a great life, and it was hitchhiking that led me to what would become my home and career. Leaving Terre Haute, Indiana, heading west but not getting a ride, I walked across the highway and decided to head east and visit a high school friend who lived in Concord, and the rest is history. A chance meeting in the winter of 1979 with Rick Rideout, who was just starting Three Season Landscaping, led me to return to New Hampshire in 1980 and start working for him. Rick would become president of NHLA in 1995, and now here I am into my second year of my third time as president of the Association and starting my 35th year in business. Really happy I didn’t continue west that day!
Looks like we’re finally heading into some warm weather this week and by Thursday it could be in the 80s. I’m sure everyone is in full swing now with spring cleanups and projects, and I hope it’s going well in spite of the continued lack of help and supply shortages. The issues from last season seem to be continuing this year (maybe to a lesser degree?), so it will be interesting to see where we are by mid summer. I haven’t run into too many material availability problems yet as I pre-bought or at least had set aside what I need for several jobs; so we’ll see how long that lasts.
We have a lot going on this year as far as the NHLA Board and the Association in general is concerned. Now that we’re back to being able to have in-person events again, the Education Committee is putting together a full schedule of Twilight Meetings, starting with our first one at Gale Park in Exeter on June 15. From there we plan to have one each month, leading up to our Field Day event to be held at Canterbury Shaker Village on September 14, so keep an eye out for information on that. Of course we have our annual Golf Tournament coming up on August 2, which is always a good time. Beyond that we’re working on some Dinner Meeting topics to be announced and hope to start working on getting back to our annual January Winter Conference.
Among other things the Board has been working on this year to make this a better, stronger organization has been to review and propose some changes to the By-Laws. We’ve done this a few times over the years, the last time about five years ago.
Under Article 4 of the constitution you will see that we have proposed to change who is a member by adding the wording that a member shall be ‘ any entity, New England based company and all current employees of that company…’ This would allow employees to have access to the Newsletter ( we’re exploring digital options for the Newsletter but more about that another time) and information about educational opportunities, as well as other events that NHLA and others like UNHCE put on.
We’re also proposing under Article 1 in the By-Laws that ‘upon receipt of application and payment membership is obtained’ This does away with the rather cumbersome and time-consuming process of having the Board vote on each and every application. This also means that if someone fills out an application and pays at one of our events they are immediately a member.
Under Article 5 in the By-laws we have formalized the practice of allowing the Business manager to take over some of the duties of the Secretary/ Treasurer. These duties include, but are not limited to the general supervision of the financial affairs and keeping records and books of account on NHLA, prepare budgets, collect dues, and disburse funds. Other changes throughout the By-Laws have mostly to do with either adding or omitting wording. While none of the changes would be all that major it is very important that all members of NHLA take a look at the By-Laws and the changes we are proposing. Over the next two months you will find By-law and proposed changes in the Newsletter and on the website. Please take some time to read through and on September 14 at the Field day at Shaker Village there will be a vote to approve or not approve the proposed changes. Please vote!
If you haven’t seen it yet the NARFA (National Automotive Roads and Fuel Association) page is up on the website (nhlaonline.org). If you’re looking for a health insurance plan for your employees or for a way to attract and retain workers NARFA has many different types of insurance packages and benefit programs to offer. Check it out.
Also new on the website is the HELP page. The Horticultural Enhanced Learning Experience is a new program available to NHLA members as a way to find and hire new employees as well as a way to bring the next generation into the horticultural industry.
Another soon-to-be new addition to the website will be the Greenius page. Greenius offers a whole series of online training classes that covers a wide range of topics for employees, foremen and supervisors.
Representatives from NARFA and Greenius may be at the Field Day in September and both could be topics for future Dinner Meetings.
These are just some of the things that we have been working on and will continue to work on to bring you more value to being a member of NHLA. As always we look to you for ideas, suggestions and feedback, what are we getting right and what needs more work? Let us know.
Well that’s it for now. I turn 65 in a couple days, I think I’m going to go kick some kids off my lawn just for the hell of it!
Have a great Spring!