Elevate Expo features conversations with suppliers and sneak peek at innovations
NALP’s Elevate Expo featured 147 exhibitors representing experts and manufacturers of everything from equipment to business software. This expo not only provided attendees the opportunity to connect and learn about these new products but also featured numerous educational sessions.
“We definitely have been pleasantly surprised with just the whole conference, the exhibit hall itself,” said Chad Carney, VP of marketing and corporate communications with John Deere. “The people that are here, the PLC groups that we’ve been able to talk to, several of the CEOs and owners, it’s been a very good experience overall.”
Happy hours were also hosted on the show floor to encourage networking among industry peers and manufacturers.
“I think the biggest difference for me is that here is the attention being given by the landscapers that are walking through here,” said Roger Phelps, corporate communications manager for Stihl, Inc. “First of all, they’re all the decision-makers, and they brought their crew with them. So not only is it the owner, but it’s the foreman and it’s the right people that we want to be in front of, and it’s focused attention.”
The Expo also hosted 18 Campfire Sessions and two panel discussions at the Innovation Stage.
The Campfire Sessions were facilitated by NALP’s Latino Landscape Network, Women in Landscape Network, Young Professionals Network, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council, Workforce Council, and Safety and Risk Management Committee. They covered topics such as how to bridge the cultural gap and ways small businesses could overcome financial pressures.
The two Innovation Stage panels were forward-thinking discussions about how to future-proof your business with technology and the upcoming challenges and opportunities in lawn care maintenance.
At the “A Look Into the Future of Lawn Care Maintenance: The Challenges and Opportunities” panel, some of the challenges discussed included the supply chains impacted by the war in Ukraine, similar regulations being implemented in various states, and the EPA’s failure to abide by the Endangered Species Act and how it impacts pesticides.
Panelists stressed that while some of the issues are beyond landscape and lawn care professionals’ control, regulators and legislators can be influenced when the industry raises their voice.
One of the key takeaways from the “Future-Proof Your Business with Next Gen High-Tech Equipment: Robotics, Autonomous, and Battery-Powered” panel was the importance of gathering data from your equipment and utilizing it to not only work more efficiently but bid jobs better. Logan Fahey, founder of Fahey Group, that owns Robin Autopilot, said employee buy-in is critical to gather this data and the technology should make this tracking frictionless.
While the shift to battery power is expected, all the panelists agreed that dealers will still have an important relationship with landscape professionals as they help them select the right tools for the job and handle equipment repairs.
Carlos Haddad, head of the commercial business unit for Husqvarna, encouraged attendees to start experimenting with these new technologies now and turn to a progressive crew to test out this type of equipment. Fahey added that without a dedicated person responsible for testing out these new technologies, your company will not be able to successfully determine what is a good fit for the business.