New this year, early arrivers attended three hands-on business workshops focusing on business strategy, social media and water feature maintenance, hosted by experts Yolanda Ortiz of Corazon Business Coaching, Melanie Downes of The Grapevine Pro and AWG’s own Sean Bell.
Thursday began early with a message from Weemhoff and Thorsten Muck, CEO of OASE Living Water, on the bright future of the AWG-OASE merger. Presentations on social media, advanced bog construction, product development, water feature estimating, and distributor meetings preceded lunch. After lunch, we boarded buses and headed over to AWG headquarters.
There, seven demonstration stations showcased the power of PondoVacs; the new AWG InfiColor lighting system; automatic ScreenMatic filtration; tips on multiple fountain nozzle installations; the ease of adding FiltoClear pressure filters to existing ponds; programming the Easy Garden Control cloud-based control system; and a workshop on photographing water features by last year’s Atlantic Professional Contractor of the Year, Shane Hemphill.
A highlight of the conference was the surprise stop at the company’s new 165,000 sq. ft. facility on the way back to the hotel. The buses pulled right inside the huge building, where a champagne toast accompanied the reveal of the building and a surprise awards presentation.
AWG-OASE … FTW!
Congratulations to 2019 Atlantic Professional Contractor of the Year, Travis Whitaker. Not only is Whitaker Farms a key contractor in their market, landing multiple large, high profile projects, but Travis, Shannon and their team also excel in combining excellence and creativity with a whole lot of heart.
AWG introduced the Presidential Award this year for those who have demonstrated outstanding creativity and performance. Congratulations to another standout member of the community, Matt Boring of Texas Ponds and Water Features. Matt earned the APC Presidential Award in recognition of the creativity and excellence of his work, as well as his constructive and helpful attitude to all in the industry.
Finally, in recognition of his longstanding dedication to the water gardening industry and his unique standing among (and usually a head above) his peers, AWG was proud to present the APC Monster Award to our beloved Lloyd Lightsey. AWG dedicates this award to those who go above and beyond in the industry. Always there to lend a helping hand and always smiling, Lightsey and his wife Karrie have also dedicated their time and energy — and even his beard — to the very serious challenge of raising money for cancer research. AWG has named this award in the Lightsey’s honor, to recognize those who go above and beyond for the good of all.
Attendees spent the final evening playing and partying together at the Punch Bowl Social on the water in downtown Cleveland, the end of another rewarding, informative, unforgettable Atlantic Water Gardens-OASE Professional Conference.