Recently, Tom Fochtman, Ceibass, CEO, was a judge at the National Collegiate Landscape Competition at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado.

The NALP Foundation puts on the National Collegiate Landscape Competition.  In its 43rd year, the event draws the largest gathering of green industry students entering the job market. According to the NALP Foundation, approximately 850 students, 150 faculty, and 300 green industry professionals attend this event.

“What startles me, is not the people who show up, but the people who do not show up,” said Tom Fochtman. “Think about it…top talent, labor, recruiting is the number one challenge facing our industry. And at this competition the best and the brightest young talent is all gathered together. This is the cream of the crop, students who have declared our industry as their industry of choice…why aren’t their more companies here trying to impress, cajole and recruit the talent?”

For more than two decades, the NALP Foundation (a 501c3) has been focused on supporting the education of future landscape industry professionals. Through the generous support of its donors, the Foundation has awarded more than $1 million in academic scholarships to landscape and horticulture students.

“Here’s the deal. If you own a lawn and landscape company you cannot afford to NOT be here. Your future general managers, HR professionals, presidents and vice-presidents are here,” said Tom. “And further more, you need to be here to network, and get-to-know the professors and administration professionals at these universities. They can tip you off about the best and the brightest, the motivated, the exceptional candidates who are entering the job market. If you miss this event you are losing the war on recruiting top talent. And top talent is going to help you produce competitive advantages and get you top dollar for your company, if and when it is time to sell.”