Roundtable Discussions

Kick off each day of the Western show by joining fellow WNLA members for roundtable discussions!

The 2018 Roundtable Discussions are:

  • Economic Benefits of Plants
    • Dr. Cathie Lavis, Kansas State University
    • Dr. Cathie Lavis has a diverse background that combines years of industry experience with theoretical knowledge.  She is an Associate Professor with a teaching and extension specialist appointment in the areas of sustainable landscape maintenance, arboriculture and horticultural irrigation, in the Department of Horticulture and Natural Resources at Kansas State University.  She has been recognized with several national and universities awards for teaching and advising undergraduates.  In addition to teaching, she interacts with students in various capacities outside the classroom as co-advisor to the Horticulture Club and co-coach for the Landscape Contracting Team for the National Collegiate Landscape Competition event held each spring.  This event is host to the largest green industry career fair in the country and 28 competitive events, typically the team places in the top 15 out of 60+ schools, often with K-State students placing in the top 3 in their competitive event.
  • Should Every Retailer Have a Second Store - Their Online Store?
    • Sid Raisch, The Garden Center Group and Bower & Branch
    • Consider the following questions, then join us at the 2018 Western for a lively discussion about online sales.
      • We don’t want to sell online, but consumers want to buy online. So, we
        won’t let them! Yea, that’s it. We’ll just not go there and make them come
        to our store. Really?
      • Who’s buying online anyway? Who isn’t should be the question. The truth
        on demographics and psychographics – It isn’t just young people who don’t
        own homes.
      • Why do people buy online? Why wouldn’t they? Let us count the reasons.
      • When do people buy online? When don’t they? When they’re sleeping,
        that’s when, and 70% buy when brick & mortar stores are closed.
      • It’s not about shipping stuff in boxes. BOPIS – Buy Online, Pick-up In-store
        and more.
    • Sid Raisch is a consultant, and advocate, for family owned and operated small business. He currently serves as a consultant to The Garden Center Group and is President/CEO of Bower & Branch. Sid has been inventing and reinventing the way things don’t get done into “get it done” strategies that increase profit-ability, market-ability, oper-ability, and owner-ability of garden centers, landscape operations and a few wise suppliers of plants and products. Sid doesn’t have more than 40 years of the same experience. He has invested thirty-eight increasingly effective years dedicated to improving and re-inventing the inter-dependent supply chain. He’s constantly challenging “that’s how we do it”, “we tried that”, and a dozen or so other excuses. Sid knows how to get people to get things done by overcoming underlying attitudes, fears and lacking resources. When you read Sid’s articles or hear Sid talk “put your ears on” and listen up, and get ready to think and implement changes that will take you and your company to new heights and new places.
  • Nebraska Statewide Arboretum
    • Bob Henrickson and Justin Evertson, Nebraska Statewide Arboretum
    • Justin Evertson and Bob Henrickson of the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum will provide information and inspiration on the work they are doing to develop and promote more sustainable landscapes using native and adapted plants and top pollinator plant choices to create naturally beautiful settings that work to improve wildlife habitat. Participants will learn about the unique initiatives of the Statewide Arboretum to enhance the environmental and economic benefits of plants— Environmentally Adapted Trees, Bloom Box for Pollinators and Community as Habitat
    • Justin Evertson has been involved with the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum and the Nebraska Forest Service since 1990. Since 2010 he has been Green Infrastructure Coordinator for the Community Forestry and Sustainable Landscapes unit of NFS/NSA.  Justin oversees programs that provide funding, technical assistance and educational outreach for sustainable landscape enhancements in communities across the state.  Justin has authored several publications over the years with an emphasis on woody plant selection. He earned his architecture and community and regional planning degrees from UNL (1988/92). Justin grew up on a farm in western Nebraska (Kimball County) where he learned an appreciation for shortgrass prairie and Nebraska’s wide-open spaces. Justin is passionate about trees, the native landscape, biodiversity and sustainable landscape development.  He lives in Waverly (near Lincoln) where he plants many trees and works to enhance landscapes throughout the community.
  • Container Garden Design
    • Sandi Hillermann McDonald, Hillermann Nursery & Florist
    • Creative container designs from fun, functional, edible and everything in between!
    • Sandi is President of Hillermann Nursery & Florist.  She is proud to have followed her dad in his footsteps of being President of all nursery industry associations that there are, from St. Louis, Missouri State, 6 state and National associations (including the Western Nursery & Landscape Association)! Some of them she did twice!!  Locally Sandi has served on the SFB School board and Parish Council for 12 years, the City Chamber for 12 years, and is still involved on committees of the Chamber. Together with the Hillermann team, she stays involved and committed to Downtown Washington as well.  Sandi is happily married to Tim since 1978. They have a fantastic daughter, Abbey, who has married Eric, and blessed us with three beautiful grandchildren, Anna, Noah, and Gabrielle. 
  • Landscape Design Tips, Tricks and Strategies
    • Virgil Widger, Country Landscapes
    • Virgil is a Landscape Designer for Country Landscapes Inc., a design/build firm working throughout the state of Iowa . He started in the Horticulture industry at the age of 14 pulling a lawn mower behind his bicycle. As the lawn service grew so did Virgil's hunger for information to further help his clients. This lead him to Iowa State University where he studied Landscape Architecture for two years before making a switch over to the Horticulture program with a focus in Landscape Design. Including the part-time employment during college, he has been with Country Landscapes 15 years and has worn many hats to fill in where the need was greatest; nursery sales, landscape crew, crew foreman, carpenter, and design/sales. Virgil's passion for landscaping is second only to his love of fishing
  • Landscape Design Tips for the Midwest
    • James Widman, Cornerstone Landscape Studio
    • Tips and tricks to design landscapes that survive (even thrive!) in the crazy Midwest weather!
    • James is first and foremost a follower of Jesus – a gardener following the life of a carpenter. He is 17 years married and has a busy home life with 8 children.  James is a self-proclaimed plant geek whose passion lies in the melding of art and horticulture. With emphasis on design while partnering with property owners, James creates landscapes that wow. He is co-owner and designer at Cornerstone Landscape Studio where he manages the day to day operations of office staff, three landscape crews, landscape design and sales, and has been integral in growing the business more than 200% in the last year. James is a 2001 graduate from KSU and has more than 19 years of experience in the field.
  • Designing with Native Plants in Residential Landscapes
    • Chris Cardwell, Green Hand, LLC
    • Join Chris to discuss design successes and failures, tips and advice on using native plants in residential landscape design, and critiques from nay-sayers and responses.
    • A 3rd generation hort industry professional, Chris began his career in restoration ecology contracting, and made his way through residential landscape and nursery positions before starting his own native-focused firm in 2013. As an advocate for ecologically responsible landscaping practices, he emphasizes native, pollinator-sustaining plant selections and designs.
  • Health and Well-being Benefits of Plants
    • Cale Doornbos, SWT Design
  • Bringing Ecology to Landscaping and Gardening
    • Dr. Jennifer Reithel, Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory
    • Plants, insects, fungi, vertebrates, and other organisms interact in a multitude of ways in their natural environment.  There is growing interest in bringing ecology into our gardens.  Learn how species interact in the wild and discuss how to make our gardens more attractive and beneficial to native organisms.  Topics will be participant driven, but may include native bee biology, butterfly food plants, pollination, soil communities, animal behavior, hummingbirds, native plant communities, and invasive plant management.
    • Jennifer Reithel is the Science Director at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory, which is home to more than 65 PhD ecologists, whose expertise covers a number of topics including pollination biology, plant genetics, stream and pond ecology, and animal behavior to name just a few. She has a PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the Univ. of California, Irvine.  She has conducted a variety of experiments in native ecosystems in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.  She has research experience with native bumblebees, butterflies, ant mutualisms, insect herbivores, and native plant communities.  In addition, she has conducted research to inform invasive plant management and restoration of native plant communities.  
  • New e-Commerce Data from the Green Industry
    • Cheryl Boyer, Kansas State University Center for Rural Enterprise Engagement
  • Native Plant Stewardship Training
    • Scott Woodbury, Shaw Nature Reserve
    • Scott Woodbury is the Curator of the Whitmire Wildflower Garden at Shaw Nature Reserve, where he has been developing the garden for 23 years. The wildflower garden is a five-acre demonstration for landscaping with Missouri Native Plants. In addition, there is about 25 acres of reconstructed tallgrass prairie surrounding the garden.

      Scott received a BS degree in horticulture at the University of Wisconsin – Madison and has worked at various public gardens including Old Westbury Gardens in New York, Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania, Castello Di Uzzano in Italy, and Tudor Place in Washington D.C.

      He currently serves as an advisor to Wild Ones St. Louis and is the education chair for the Missouri Prairie Foundation’s Grow Native! program. Scott also volunteers for the Ozark Regional Land Trust.