"It's what our members want. We have surveyed our members, spoken with them, and finally asked them to cast a ballot. Each time they told us they want a national association that unifies and serves the entire horticulture industry."
Foertmeyer & Sons Greenhouse
"We will have the largest national nursery, greenhouse, and garden retail membership of any horticulture association in the United States. Those communities will join together with breeders, distributors, interior and exterior landscape professionals, florists, students, educators, researchers, manufacturers, and all who are part of the supply chain to represent our industry with one, strong voice and a greater base of volunteer, staff, and financial resources."
Spring Meadow Nursery
Grand Haven, Michigan
"By including research, industry promotion, regulatory and legislative efforts, education, and countless opportunities for buyers and sellers to interact, we will deliver a broad range of business-based services to our industry and be the quintessential resource for the horticulture industry as a whole."
Michael V. Geary, CAE
Columbus, OH/Washington, DC
"I have made long-term dues investments in both organizations. ANLA is the leader in legislative and regulatory representation for our industry, and OFA offers outstanding educational programs and runs the largest horticultural trade show and convention in North America. With the addition of programs like the Next Level conference and the significant expansion of the retail segment at the 2014 Short Course, we can already see the benefits of these two associations joining together. It will be better for my business, and it is a true win for our industry. Congratulations to our leaders and members who made this historic decision."
Members of OFA — The Association of Horticulture Professionals
and the American Nursery and Landscape Association (ANLA)
have voted in overwhelming support of the consolidation of the two organizations into a new, national trade association to serve the entire horticulture industry. The announcement on September 28 followed a 30-day open ballot and an in-person vote for OFA's members, held in Columbus, Ohio.
The new trade association, named the American Horticulture Industry Association, will be known as AmericanHort, and will begin operations by January 1, 2014. The mission of AmericanHort is to unite, promote and advance our industry through advocacy, collaboration, connectivity, education, market development, and research.
The new organization will represent the whole of the plant industry, including breeders, greenhouse and nursery growers, garden center retailers, distributors, interior and exterior landscape professionals, florists, students, educators, researchers, manufacturers, and all of those who are part of the industry supply chain. The association will have its primary office in Columbus, Ohio and an office in Washington, DC to facilitate government relations and research activities.
The inaugural board of directors was appointed by the legacy organizations. For the first year, the board will have equal representation from OFA and ANLA.
Members of the new Board of Directors.
The Board includes the following leaders:
- Chairman of the Board — Mark Foertmeyer, Foertmeyer & Sons Greenhouse
- Vice Chairman of the Board — Dale Deppe, Spring Meadow Nursery Inc
- Treasurer — Lisa Graf, Graf Growers
- Past Chairman of the Board — Mike McCabe, McCabe's Greenhouse & Floral
- Past Chairman of the Board — Bob Terry, Fisher Farms
- President & CEO — Michael V. Geary, CAE, AmericanHort
- Joe Burns, Color Burst
- Terri Cantwell, Bates Sons & Daughters Inc
- Tom Demaline, Willoway Nurseries Inc
- Bob Jones Jr, The Chef's Garden
- Terri McEnaney, Bailey Nurseries Inc
- Dan Mulhall, Mulhall's Nursery
- Morris Newlin, New Garden Landscaping & Nursery
- Cari Peters, JR Peters Inc
- Sid Raisch, Horticultural Advantage
Questions or comments about the consolidation efforts may be directed to our chief staff executive, Michael Geary, CAE, at email@example.com
You can also share your opinions and ideas for the new organization on our AmericanHort Facebook page
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What will it cost to be a member of the new organization?
A: The intent is to create an equitable system that provides an affordable membership for every company, regardless of size. Some companies may pay more and others less than they're currently contributing to OFA or ANLA. Combining the respective memberships into one association makes it possible to spread the operating costs over more firms. It is expected the value of membership will increase, making it an easy decision to join. At the time this prospectus was prepared, the dues structure was not yet finalized.
Members of OFA and ANLA as of December 31, 2013 will automatically become members of the new association in January 2014. Your membership will continue through June 30, 2014. The dues renewal process for the new association will begin in the spring for the membership year beginning on July 1, 2014.
Q: What will the leadership structure look like in the new organization?
A: A governance model has been developed and the inaugural board of directors has been approved by the legacy organizations. The board includes thoughtful and strategic leaders from both organizations. The board will be authorized once the new corporation is formalized.
The core governance beliefs include:
The goals of the proposed governance structure are to:
- Ethical, legal, and transparent decision making;
- Candid, thoughtful, inclusive, and diverse dialogue on issues;
- Accountability to our members and other stakeholders; and
- Operating in the interest of our industry and the public.
- Simplify and accelerate governance and decision-making;
- Empower the chief staff executive and enhance staff expertise;
- Involve individuals that are committed, experienced (professional and industry leadership), and have relevant expertise for the governance of a trade association;
- Reflect, but not mirror, the diversity of the industry (people and businesses); and
- Represent the entire industry.
Q: How can I get involved?
In the coming months, we will solicit ideas and participation from the membership. Hundreds of OFA and ANLA members are already involved as volunteers and we hope to include many more in the future.
Q: When will the new association begin operating?
A: It is planned for the association to formally take over in early January. Until then, if approved by the members, our legal counsel will finalize the necessary paperwork to organize a nonprofit corporation. Because most of the operations will be in Columbus, Ohio, the organization will be incorporated in that state. The association will seek exemption under IRS Code 501(c)(6) as a business league not organized for profit, and no part of the net earnings of which inures to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual.
Q: What will happen to the programs I love like OFA Short Course, the Management Clinic, and a strong advocacy program? Are you cutting back on services to members?
A: Coming together means taking the best of each organization's programs and services to provide meaningful value to members and the industry. Serving a broader membership, some things will stay the same and some will change, but we aren't interested in cutting back on the programming; in fact, the goal is to increase services to members and the industry.
ANLA and OFA pride themselves on continuously improving their programming. Now we will get better together. In January 2013, the new Next Level conference was launched, which replaced the retired Management Clinic. Additionally, the plan is to expand Short Course to include more nursery, landscaping, and garden center products and education.
With more people involved, we will have more strength for our advocacy efforts with the U.S. Federal Government. Numbers matter; therefore, the industry needs more companies involved with the new association so we can have an influential voice on legislative and regulatory matters. With your support, we will definitely not reduce our efforts in Washington, DC.
Q: What happens to OFA and ANLA?
A: Upon the formal consolidation of the organizations into the new nonprofit corporation, ANLA and OFA will cease to exist. However, the rich history of the legacy organizations will not be forgotten. We will continue to recognize the past leadership and award winners, and celebrate the impact the organizations have had on our communities and the industry over the years, among other historical markers. Even though there will be a different name and corporation, the new association will honor the legacy of 215 years of ANLA and OFA.
Q: What will happen to the staff and offices?
A: OFA and ANLA have little overlap in their current staff teams. After serving as ANLA's Executive Vice President for 22 years, Bob Dolibois retired on December 31, 2012. OFA's Michael Geary now serves as the CEO of both organizations, with offices in Columbus and Washington, and will continue to serve as the CEO of the new group.
Our teams are far too busy for this partnership to be a downsizing exercise. A legislative/regulatory and communications team will remain in Washington, DC where their work is done, while our events and management teams will remain at the office in Columbus.
If you have further questions or have any comments, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The mission of AmericanHort is to unite, promote and advance our industry through advocacy, collaboration, connectivity, education, market development, and research.
The vision of AmericanHort is to be a leading and unifying organization for the horticulture industry in order to cultivate successful businesses, and for our industry to enhance lives through the benefits of plants.
Be influential advocates.
The association will maintain the connections and clout to impact legislative and regulatory decisions for the benefit of the horticulture industry and our consumers.
Be authoritative educators.
The association will leverage our industry's collective knowledge and experience, supported by ongoing research, to be the leading authorities in the business of growing and selling plants, and related products and services.
Be collaborative across the industry.
The members of the association will work together as a professional community to share knowledge, resources, and connectivity for the mutual success of all horticulture industry sectors.
Be fervent supporters of plant businesses.
The association will help our members grow the business of growing and selling plants, and related products and services, by promoting the expertise of fellow professionals, supporting the development of quality products, and inspiring better design, which will lead to increased sales across the industry.
Be passionate promoters of healthy communities.
The association will support activities that lead to healthier and more beautiful communities, and inspired living due to our industry's products and services.
- September 2013
- ANLA and OFA members vote to consolidate the two organizations into a new, national trade association to serve the entire horticulture industry.
- July 2013
- ANLA and OFA Boards of Directors vote to affirm the consolidation and send the question to the respective memberships for their vote.
- January 2013
- Next Level conference occurs, which is the first formal joint program between the two organizations.
- Bob Dolibois retires from ANLA; Michael Geary assumes responsibility as CEO of both associations.
- October 2012
- Boards of Directors meet and resolve to the necessary steps to consolidate the two organizations by January 1, 2014.
- July 2012
- Boards of Directors meet and resolve to do the necessary research to consolidate the two organizations.
- Organizations announce to respective memberships and industry this decision of the Boards.
- June 2012
- Working group meets and reflects on positive feedback about joint venture. They suggest plans for a full consolidation between the organizations should be explored.
- March 2012
- First joint effort announced: Next Level conference to be held in 2013.
- February 2012
- Both boards of Directors meet jointly to review the membership surveys and plans for collaboration.
- January 2012
- Joint venture scheme announced to respective memberships and industry.
- September-October 2011
- Boards of Directors resolve for both groups to formally work together on joint programming.
- Membership surveys conducted.
- July 2011
- ANLA and OFA Boards of Directors begin discussions about future collaboration.
- Working group of volunteer leaders from both groups is appointed to discuss opportunities. This group meets several times in 2011 and 2012.