With both history and innovation on its side, the trade association known as the Professional Landcare Network, or PLANET, is going strong midway through its fourth decade. Based in Herndon, Virginia with branches across the contiguous United States as well as Alaska, Hawaii, and Canada, and formerly known as the Associated Landscape Contractors of America, PLANET promotes business management skills and profitability, as well as a set of customer-oriented, environmentally-conscious organizational goals.
While the organization itself is composed of landscape maintenance, installation, design and building contractors, and interior landscaping firms, individual members comprise numerous intra-organizational committees devoted to everything from building college training programs to monitoring marketing efforts and legislative issues to assessing membership needs. It is this extensive network of committees that forges such a strong connection between the beginning of a career in the field as a student explores the industry's many options and the evolution of that individual's prowess as a businessperson.
Yet PLANET does not just concern itself with the recruitment and development of members and member firms. The organization also has a strong code of ethics stressing devotion to members and clients, as well as to the earth itself. PLANET's mission enjoins members to be honest and professional in business conduct, to honor and preserve the environment, to adhere to the laws surrounding the industry, and to offer employees not just a fair and safe working environment, but opportunities for growth and advancement in their field. This attention to ethics, conduct, and environmentalism sets PLANET apart as a group operating for more than bottom-line profits.
Transition and Opportunity
The transition from ALCA to PLANET took place in January of 2005, in an official merger with the Professional Lawn Care Association of America (PLCAA). The organizations merged to become the Professional Landcare Network, or PLANET, representing more than 4,000 member companies and more than 100,000 employees. The merger reflects a mutual devotion to the green industry by passionate, active members committed to exploring and expanding the cutting edge of all aspects of landscaping.
The PLCAA/ALCA merger also added a satellite office in Atlanta, Georgia to the home office in Virginia, as well as expanding services offered by the range of firms in the association. The services now offered include sod and seeding, nursery, the landscaping of interiors, sports turf, water gardening, landscape design/build and maintenance, natural area management, wetland management, lawn care, landscape restoration, landscape architects, tree and shrub care, irrigation, and even snow removal.