OFA, ANLA Boards Vote to Form New Joint Association

July 14, 2012 - 21:03

The board of directors of OFA – the Association of Horticulture Professionals and the American Nursery and Landscape Association’s board of directors both voted this week to explore the joint formation of a new trade association. The timeline is to have a new organization established no sooner than July of 2013 and no later than January 2014.

The board of directors of OFA – the Association of Horticulture Professionals and the American Nursery and Landscape Association’s (ANLA) board of directors both voted this week to explore the joint formation of a new trade association. The announcement was made on Saturday at OFA Short Course in Columbus, Ohio. The timeline is to have a new organization established no sooner than July of 2013 and no later than January 2014.

Following several months of working together in a joint venture, the working group comprised of leaders from both organizations determined it was time to formally explore creating a new trade association.

“The first question we needed to address was whether our members and the broader industry would benefit from our two associations working together,” says ANLA president Bob Lyons, Sunleaf Nursery, Madison, Ohio. “The clear answer that emerged was yes.”

“We are listening to our members. Results of a membership and organizational study performed at the end of last year indicated that members of both associations want the organizations to work closer to unify the industry,” said OFA president Mike McCabe, McCabe’s Greenhouse & Floral, Lawrenceburg, Ind. “They want their industry association to be all encompassing – one that touches and links all pieces of the horticulture industry, which can be offered by a new organization. After significant exploration and evaluation the elected leadership of OFA determined this is the best way to meet the needs of our members and the industry.”

OFA and ANLA announced in January 2012 the formation of a joint venture to support business education and government relations activities. The vision statement adopted by OFA’s board of directors expressed the desire to form a new organization if it brings more value to our members and the industry. Since June 2011, OFA’s executive committee has been meeting with ANLA’s leaders about the opportunity for and viability of a formal relationship between the two organizations. As early as the first meeting, the idea of forming a new organization has been discussed by the joint venture working group.

According to ANLA board member Dan Mulhall, Mulhall’s, Omaha, Neb., “The two organizations bring very different strengths to the table with little overlap.” Dan explains that ANLA offers the industry’s most-respected government relations program and executive education while OFA brings a world-class trade show and strong technical and management education. “This is not about cutting,” says Dan, “It’s about increasing the programming and services available to both memberships while increasing the audiences that support those programs.”

“In the meantime,” says Mulhall, “the activities of the joint venture, announced earlier this year, will continue, including working together on government relations activities and developing a new executive and key management education program, Next Level,"  scheduled for January 2013.

 “This is not a merger. This is taking the best of what both associations do to create a new organization that will advance the industry and better serve our members,” said Michael V. Geary, CAE, OFA’s chief executive officer. “We have many details to work through, but OFA’s leaders are committed to ensuring that our members are involved in the decision-making process. It’s an exciting time for both organizations and the future of the horticulture industry. The combined 215 years of service and resources will create a powerful and meaningful association.” The new association will replace OFA and ANLA.

In further developments of the joint venture, following ANLA executive vice president Bob Dolibois’ scheduled retirement at the end of the year, Geary will become the chief staff executive of both ANLA and OFA beginning on Jan. 1, 2013. The organizations will continue to be governed separately, but Geary will lead the day-to-day operations of both associations.

Updates on the formation of the new organization, will be posyed at www.OneVoiceOneIndustry.com.

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