In a move that was not wholly unexpected, the Boards of Directors of OFA – The Association of Horticulture Professionals and the American Nursery and Landscape Association (ANLA) have voted to begin the process of organizing a new association. 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.
In January 2012, OFA and ANLA announced the formation of a joint venture to support business education and government relations activities. Since June 2011, leadership of both organizations had been discussing 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 was discussed by the joint venture working group.
According to ANLA board member Dan Mulhall, of Mulhall’s, “The two organizations bring very different strengths to the table with little overlap.” He said that 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, Mulhall said. “It’s about increasing the programming and services available to both memberships while increasing the audiences that support those programs.”
“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, owner of McCabe’s Greenhouse & Floral in Lawrenceburg, Indiana.
The timeline is to have a new organization established no sooner than July of 2013 and no later than January 2014. “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.
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 January 1, 2013. The organizations will continue to be governed separately, but Geary will lead the day-to-day operations of both associations.
For more information on the new organization, visit OneVoiceOneIndustry.com.