- Q: OFA and ANLA seem to be very different organizations. Why are they working together?
A: Once you get past the question of “outside or under glass?” our member businesses look pretty similar. Our grower members are selling through similar supply chains - including garden centers, interior and exterior landscape firms and florists — with similar legislative issues and educational needs.
Both organizations have the same types of member companies, including breeders, distributors, nursery growers, greenhouse growers, garden centers, landscapers, allied trades/services, trade media, and the educational community. Additionally, OFA’s membership includes retail florists and interior plantscapers. In fact, there is very little overlap in membership among the companies so the consolidation will essentially be a doubling of our impact.
There is little duplication in how our two organizations serve the industry, so coming together is not a bid to save money but rather to make the industry’s dollars go farther. Together we can provide greater government representation, a world-class trade show, innovative business and technical education and stronger ties to the researchers and students who represent our industry’s future.
- Q: What will be the dues and leadership structure?
A: The devil is in the details. Some companies may pay more and others less then they're currently contributing. The most important detail was the question of whether working together makes sense and the leadership of both groups says, "Yes, it does." When it's the right thing to do, you figure out how to get it done. At this point, numerous financial models have been reviewed and a final budget for the first year, including the dues, has not been finalized.
Regarding leadership, a governance model has been approved by the legacy organizations. Eventually, a board of directors will be organized and they will begin working on the new association while the legacy organizations continue to serve their members throughout the entire year.Our core beliefs include:
- Ethical, legal, and transparent decision making;
- Encouraging 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 CEO 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: Does bringing more industry segments to the table weaken my voice?
Both OFA and ANLA have long histories — sover 200 years combined — of serving a vertically integrated membership and making sure that each segment of their membership has an equal voice in guiding the work of the organization. From a legislative and regulatory standpoint, size matters. It is important for state and federal policy makers to understand the economic impact our industry has on this country and in the global marketplace. By having a larger and more unified voice, our message is better heard.
- 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 we're 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 looking to cut back on programming; in fact, the goal is to increase services to our members and the industry. ANLA and OFA pride themselves on continuously getting better. Now we will get better together.
In January 2013, the new Next Level conference will replace the Management Clinic. Additionally, the plan is to expand Short Course to include more nursery, landscaping, and garden center products and education.
Q: What about the name for the new association?
A: Naming the organization will be one of the last decisions made by the new board of directors. First we have to finalize a strategic plan, confirm the core products and services, and seek additional feedback from our members. All of these activities will inform the naming process.
- 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.
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 our offices in Columbus.