Badges of Honor in the Bluegrass State

Everybody's a green industry pro at GIE+EXPO, regardless of badge color or company size.

My how this year has flown by. It's hard to believe, but another GIE+EXPO is just a week or so away. As is the case every October, our team will be making the trek down to Louisville, KY, to learn about as many of the industry's new products as humanly possible. Assistant Editor Maile Bucher and I will also be looking to connect with as many of our readers as possible, which can get tricky given all of the activities that keep us running from one end of the expo center to the other.

But we definitely love catching up with our readers. When people I've never met approach me, I find myself first glancing at their badge to pick up on a color; green is a landscape contractor, red is an equipment dealer. Knowing the "type" of green industry pro I'm about to engage in conversation with helps me mentally prepare for that conversation. Dealers and contractors, you see, are very different people running very different businesses.

Their common denominator, though, is the equipment that makes this industry go round. Dealers sell it and fix it, contractors use it and break it. That's why GIE+EXPO caters to both dealers and contractors. That's why our magazine and website cater to both. It makes sense, and it works.

The dealers and contractors attending GIE+EXPO have another common denominator: They are interested in bettering themselves as business owners and managers. The extensive offering of business seminars, some geared toward dealers and some geared toward contractors, is typically very well-attended.

One more thing about those badges: No special color-coding or other design elements signify how big the dealer or contractor's company is. At GIE+EXPO, a dealer is a dealer and a contractor is a contractor. You are there because you are an important part of the industry. You are there because you're looking to improve yourself and your company. That's something to be proud of, whether your company has two employees or two hundred.

And make no mistake, it is not just the industry's largest companies that attend GIE+EXPO. Case in point, a spokesperson for the National Association of Landscape Professionals says that of the 1,000-plus landscaping professionals who attend the contractor educational conference (LANDSCAPES, formerly the Green Industry Conference), more than a third come from companies with annual sales under $1 million.

You see, anyone looking to gain a competitive edge in their respective market can—and does—attend GIE+EXPO. I encourage you to attend this year. Check out our GIE+EXPO Preview to see some of the things you have to look forward to. And if you do attend the show, please stop by our booth (9048) to say hello. We'd love to visit with you, no matter what color your badge is.