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Get ready for the ride

By Randy Tischer

PrimeraTurf just celebrated its 13th year in grand style as members and supply partners met in Stone Mountain Georgia for its July Annual Meeting and Trade Show! I heard nothing but compliments from both members and suppliers on the new, revised meeting format. I have to admit my initial reluctance towards the idea of packing most of our supply partners into a large room separated by nothing but pipe and drape, but it worked great! So great, that my Green Velvet contingent was able to meet with many supply partners that were not even on our “dance cards “! I can safely say I did not miss the old Embassy Suite days of traveling up and down the elevator for two days straight trying to make our next meeting. Change is good!

As Kevin Connelly announced in his treasurer’s report, we have just had the biggest year in the 13 year history of PrimeraTurf! We did this because PrimeraTurf owners are adopting the keyword that our CEO John Gertz has been preaching for the last two years: PARTICIPATION. PrimeraTurf owners are increasing the amount of business they’re doing within the cooperative. The more we participate with our suppliers, the more opportunities we have before us! It’s a win for owners and suppliers, and if you look at the numbers from Kevin’s report, we are making huge progress.

I particularly enjoyed the time we spent with our “communication tree” members. PrimeraTurf members are divided into seven groups, each group led by one of PrimeraTurf’s seven board members. In theory, the communication tree is an effective way for the board to have a direct channel to each of our members. In reality, we have not used this communication tool to its full potential to date. As our supplier meeting format has changed this year, so has our use of our communication tree. From now on, we will have much greater involvement with our communication tree members, continuing these break-out meetings at both our winter and summer conferences.

“The success that we have enjoyed as members of PrimeraTurf for the last 13 years has been very rewarding. But the new opportunities that are coming our way make membership in PrimeraTurf even more exciting!”

PrimeraTurf has come a long way in its short 13 years. Much of our most recent growth can be credited to our staff who works very hard on our behalf. My grandfather always told me that a great CEO will always surround himself with talented people, and John Gertz has certainly done just that. With Royal Tyler’s talents as our director of sourcing & supplier relations, Cheryl Kuenzel watching the numbers as our director of systems & administration, and the newest member of the PrimeraTurf team, Rachel Boehm, handling customer relations this is a tough team to beat! This talented staff of ours is bringing tremendous opportunities to us every day, making it easy to increase our PARTICIPATION to even higher levels in the years to come!

We welcome to the PrimeraTurf board Jim Ross, president of Horizon Distributors Inc. Jim was just elected to a 3-year term on the board and has already made huge contributions to PrimeraTurf as a new board member. We also need to once again say thank you to retiring board member Roger Ogalla, head of BTSI in Chicago. Roger served as a director of PrimeraTurf for 7 years, 3 of which he also served as PrimeraTurf’s treasurer. While we will miss Roger’s wisdom in the boardroom, he will not completely retire, as he continues to serve on our membership committee. You never want to let great leaders like Roger get very far away!

The success that we have enjoyed as members of PrimeraTurf for the last 13 years has been very rewarding. But the new opportunities that are coming our way make membership in PrimeraTurf even more exciting! Our owners/members see it, our supply partners see it and the entire industry sees it!

It is indeed a great time to be an independent provider of Turf and Ornamental solutions to the green industry - If you’re lucky enough to also be a member of PrimeraTurf, hold on, you’re in for the ride of your life!