Driving back from another amazing Water Garden Expo — a great event for everyone — we hit some snow somewhere in Illinois. Slowed us down some, but the Suburban tracks well in that squeaky, crunchy stuff that snow turns into when it’s really cold. What almost stopped us dead was a brief period where we couldn’t see the road ahead. Scary. Luckily, the road wasn’t invisible for long, and we kept on truckin’.
It reminded me of what’s happened to a number oforganizations representing the Water Feature Industry. We make great strides, then the weather changes. We slow down, maybe lose sight of the way. Tensing, we strain to see the road ahead. With luck, we find our way and keep moving forward.
To help me keep on track, I often look to LinkedIn discussions. There is so much insight there that it makes a wonderful resource. I went through and summarized the 79 collected comments of the Water Feature Forum discussion started by Meyer Jordan about the IA CIG. The positive contributions of all participants taken together provide a fairly balanced, objective consensus that maps the way to an ideal water feature trade group.
The Way Forward
The consensus calls for a Not-For-Profit organization with reasonable dues and concrete benefits that:
- represent all five categories of members — contractor, retailer, wholesaler, distributor, manufacturer — without bias toward any single category;
- offer a single consolidated source of water feature information from as many peer-reviewed and vetted sources as possible;
- provide informative and beneficial exchanges at industry conferences with a broad cross section of participants;
- inform membership about regulatory efforts and correcting misinformation in potential legislation, like Water Sense and the Water of the United States (WOTUS) initiative to control all the waters in the U.S., including our waterscapes;
- compile Best Practices to eliminate the need for outside rules and regulations, demonstrating active participation in the betterment of our members and industry;
- and champion the principles of Inclusion and Cooperation.
Who We Are
The IPPCA is a state- and federally recognized 501(c)(6) not-for-profit organization. Contractor and Dealer dues range from $25 to $250, and Corporate Memberships start at $500 — but you can give as much as you wish!
The IPPCA excels at water feature education. Informational extravaganzas indeed, INFO TANZAs have offered over 100 presentations during the last eight years, from waterscaping basics to advanced practicums, taught hands-on by water feature industry experts. This year’s INFO TANZAs will offer a complete course of study, from introductory Best Practices to advanced Large Pond Management, at no additional charge to current Members.
For the first time the IPPCA will be offering identical classes at two of the best Green Industry shows in the country, East and West. To halve travelcosts and double networking opportunities, attend either the GIE+EXPO/Hardscape North America Show October 21-23 in Louisville, Kentucky or the Irrigation Association Show November 11-12 in Long Beach, California. On-site testing and certification will be available to members in good standing.
In Louisville the IPPCA puts vendors and manufacturers within reach of an expected 9,000 contractors at the 14th largest show of any kind in North America. The IPPCA Waterscape Pavilion anchors a new space in the North Wing right behind the main entrance. 3,000 square feet of premium booth space around the water feature await those who sign up first.
The Missing Piece is You!
But … everything that IPPCA can do for you requires your participation.
Together, we successfully withstood a proposed ban on water features during Water Sense. The Waters of the United States initiative attempts to control every body of water in the nation — natural or man-made, large or small. We — all of us: contractors, retailers, wholesalers, distributors and manufacturers — need to stand together to be heard, or our voices will be washed away.
Basic, useful, peer-reviewed Best Practices demonstrate our ability to regulate ourselves and are an effective tool against the imposition of rules and regulations from on high … but these practices must be equally valid for everyone. We — all of us — need to review and adapt them until they work for all.
New certification programs and exams and a library of presentations will help our members advance best practices as they promote themselves in their communities. We — all of us — need to make the development of these certifications and presentations an inclusive, cooperative effort.
Most of all, we — all of us — need to drive these initiatives forward. JOIN US. If you can’t, let us know why not. What else can we do for you? If you have questions or reservations about the way forward, ask us. If there are gaps in the roadmap above, tell us. Your suggestions add value to IPPCA, and adding services benefits everyone! We need as many guideposts as we can get.
The right road is right in front of you.
Investigate levels of membership here: http://ippca.com/membership
Find out more about exhibition space at the GIE+EXPO/Hardscape North America Show here: http://gie-expo.com/gieexpo/index.php/attendee/at-a-glance
Help Rip put together the educational initiatives we’ve started here:
Rip Sokol IPPCA.Rip@fgnsales.com
Let me know how to make IPPCA more relevant and valuable to you here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sign up for IPPCA Pond Pulse Newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/bfEdR5