After nearly 12 years of service to the professional lawn care and landscape industry, National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) CEO Sabeena Hickman is stepping down from her leadership position. Hickman is going to serve as a consultant to the organization for the next six months to ensure a smooth transition of leadership responsibilities.
“I am extremely proud of all that this association has accomplished during my tenure and—in particular—of the people whom I’ve been lucky enough to work alongside of and learn from,” said Hickman. “While change is always bittersweet, I’ve reached a point in my professional career where I’m ready to explore new opportunities and take on different challenges. I’m excited about the opportunity this creates to pass the torch to a new leader who can bring fresh ideas and energy to NALP. As we prepare for this transition, I have every confidence in our talented and experienced leadership team and staff, and know that the association is poised for tremendous success in the coming years.”
Hickman continued, “It’s been an honor to serve in this role and witness the growth of this organization firsthand. In partnership with excellent leaders throughout the years, we have cemented NALP’s role as the premiere association for the landscape industry, known for its relentless advocacy efforts, first-class educational and training opportunities for members, commitment to expanding the workforce, tireless promotion of the industry and setting the highest standards of professionalism for the industry.”
“Sabeena leaves our association in a remarkably strong state, which is a true reflection of her strategic leadership, unfailing dedication to our members and passion for bettering the landscape industry,” said Jeff Buhler, NALP president. “Under her leadership, NALP has increased revenue by 38 percent over the past three years to $7.2 million and grew membership by 12 percent in the last year alone. From leading the association’s pivotal evolution—from the Professional Landcare Network (PLANET) to NALP—to strengthening our partnership with the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute and growing the Green Industry & Equipment Expo (GIE+EXPO), and from the creation of the Industry Growth Initiative to fostering new industry leadership on NALP’s board and staff, Sabeena leaves a long-lasting legacy, for which we owe her an enormous amount of appreciation and thanks.”
The NALP formed a task force to oversee transition plans and the organization’s search for a new CEO. Buhler noted that the association is going to continue to operate fully during the transition period. “The great work that is underway by NALP staff and our board, as well as all existing programs and member services, will continue without interruption while our task force diligently works to identify a successor,” Buhler said. “We are committed to conducting a comprehensive and careful search for the right person for the job, taking into consideration both the organization’s daily operations and long-term strategic goals."
Hickman joined the NALP, then known as PLANET, in 2007 as COO. She was appointed acting CEO in 2008 and named CEO in 2009. Prior to joining the NALP, she was chief of the learning center for the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association and the COO for the American Composites Manufacturers Association.
The NALP represents an industry of approximately 1 million landscape, lawn care, irrigation and tree care professionals. Through national advocacy campaigns, the association is growing the industry and its workforce. The association offers its members professional development through education, networking and training, and increases the professionalism of the industry through certification and accreditation programs.