The 2021 Western Keynote speakers will be announced on this page in the coming months.
See below for details on the keynote speakers from the 2020 Western.
Saunders Brothers, Inc.
Thursday January 16, 2020
Are they Better or Just New
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Description: Paul Westervelt is a professional plant geek who has run the annual and perennial program for Saunders Brothers Nursery in Piney River, Virginia since 2004, where he grows over 800 varieties across 13 programs. His work is plants, his hobbies are plants, his vacations are plants, his dreams are plants – he’s living the plant geek dream.
Paul grew up in Winchester, VA across from a multi-acre Oehme van Sweden garden. He earned his B.S. and M.S. in Horticulture from Virginia Tech (2001 and 2003 respectively). In 2009 he was awarded the "Young Professional of the Year" by the Perennial Plant Association. He was selected for the 2013 Class of 40 Under 40 for Greenhouse Product News. Each year, GPN recognizes 40 industry professionals under the age of 40 who are helping to determine the future of the horticulture industry. These individuals are today’s movers and shakers who are already setting the pace for tomorrow. Paul is a contributing columnist for Grower Talks Magazine and is a popular speaker at national and regional events.
Paul lives and gardens with his wife and two children (propagules) on their farm in central VA. Free time not spent gardening is spent visiting gardens and landscapes around the country and abroad.
Engaging a Modern Workforce Notes from Phil Harwood
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Thursday January 16, 2020
Creating a Modern Workforce: Emerging expectations of a new generation
Description: Employers today are facing a new generation of workers with expectations that are vastly different from previous generations. Successfully creating a modern workforce requires an understanding of these emerging expectations and significant cultural and policy changes to attract and retain a new generation of workers. This keynote session will provide insight into these emerging expectations and tangible solutions to be implemented in response to them. Following his presentation, Phil will be moderating a panel discussion with industry leaders addressing the following questions:
- What is working for you in recruiting? What are your methods?
- How are you approaching recruitment differently today than before the labor shortage?
- What are you doing to improve retention?
- What have you tried that didn’t work as well as you had hoped?
- How have you addressed compensation in an environment of rising wages?
- What does the industry as a whole need to do to improve attractiveness of landscape careers?
- What initiatives are already under way that you are involved in or supporting?
Bio: Phil Harwood, MBA, CSP, LIC is a managing partner with GrowTheBench.com, one of three companies he has founded since retiring from a successful landscape & snow management career.
Phil holds an Executive MBA with honors and Bachelor of Arts degree in Marketing, both from Michigan State University. He was nominated "Alumnus of the Decade" by Michigan State's Executive MBA Program. In addition, he is a Certified Snow Professional, Landscape Industry Certified Manager, National Association of Landscape Professionals Trailblazer, and Landscape Ontario Preferred Consultant.
Phil is a management consultant, frequent guest speaker, and contributing writer for several publications and websites. His consulting firm, Pro-Motion Consulting (mypmcteam.com), has been recognized twice by the Snow & Ice Management Association (SIMA) with the prestigious Snow Industry Commitment Award. In addition, two of his clients have won the coveted CEO of the Year Award from SIMA.