The board finalized their schedule of announcing Expo presenters, and finalized the schedule of booth staffing during the Expo. The annual banquet agenda and award presentations were finalized, and the Annual Membership Meeting agenda was reviewed and finalized. Moderators were assigned for the Breakfast of Champion topics. All final details for the Expo were reviewed. The financials were reported through December, noting a lower expectation in Expo participation and attendance – and therefore revenues – due to the general economic downturn. Membership renewal revenues are also down slightly reflecting the slowed economy. A new operating budget for FY 2009 will be presented for review in February. Patricia Denke, Pest Management Program Manager, and Michele Mettler, Nursery and Quarantine Specialist from the Department of Agriculture attended the board meeting as guests to present updated information to the board.
Montana Green Expo registration numbers were reviewed, noting that registration is down from last year. The Annual Membership Meeting Agenda was reviewed and approved. It was discussed that David will make a call for volunteers at the Annual Membership Meeting to host the Fall Tour in 2009. The Breakfast of Champion “moderators” were discussed and the board has a list of topics for which they will need to find “moderator” volunteers. Lori presented the 2010 Exhibitor Priority Packets for Missoula. The details were reviewed and approved. The February face-to-face board meeting is scheduled for Friday, February 13th. The board will tour the 2010 Montana Green Expo facilities as part of that meeting. The board attendance policy was discussed and it was decided that the policy would be reviewed at the February meeting. Josh Friendson and Dave Sapp are working on engaging sponsors for the IPM Certification program.
The Montana Green Expo details were reviewed. Andy Blanchford discussed the members of the Awards Committee and mentioned a member who is interested in running for the 2009 open board position. Lori mentioned the additional participants for the Great Green Ideas session. Lori also asked board members to consider a proposed date for the February face-to-face board meeting. There was a conversation about the details regarding the scholarship fundraiser at the Expo, for which Josh Friendson and Dave Sapp are responsible. Lori announced the sponsors of the 2009 Expo. David Anderson discussed the new full-time recycling drop off locations for the Nursery Plastics Recycling Program in the Flathead Valley. The financials were reported in good order. Lori is working to document all of the past Education Committee chairs. There was a brief discussion about the NLAE Green Industry webinar. The board agreed that it would be a good idea to participate in the PLANET Day of Service in April of 2009.
The 2008 Industry Survey was discussed. The board concurred that the survey results were statistically insignificant and not valuable to the membership. It was decided that the information would be condensed and disseminated to the membership via the website and the March newsletter. Full results will be provided to survey participants who provided their contact information. The Fall Tour received favorable feedback. The IPM Certification program was discussed. It was decided that the Education Committee and executive director Lori Curtis will discuss the costs and potential sponsorship of the program. The 2009 Montana Green Expo brochure has been distributed in a full data base mailing. Lori Curtis will maintain an up-to-date Expo To-Do list for the board. David Anderson will, in his newsletter article, reminding the membership that we are seeking a new board member. The Flathead Valley Nursery Plastics Recycling Program was discussed. David Anderson and the Regional Committee are placing collection bins at several sites in the Valley in the hopes of collection materials in quantities that warrant regular pick-ups. A postcard mailing regarding the continuation of the program is being sent to the Flathead Valley portion of the MNLA data base. David Anderson will present program results at the Annual Membership meeting. The financials were reported in good order, although investments are declining with current economic conditions. A membership campaign will run from November 15, 2008 to January 15, 2009 during which time a 25% discount on the following year’s dues will be offered to any current member who brings in a new member and to all new members. A Website Banner Advertising Program was presented by Lori Curtis and accepted by the board. A Board Reimbursement Policy update to reflect current costs was also presented and accepted by the board.
The 2009 Montana Green Expo details were reviewed. It was decided to add a panel of members to address surviving in economic downturns. Several members were identifies as potential panelists. The Great Green Ideas roundtable format and potential participants were discussed, with several sustainability experts identified. A list of dignitaries to be invited to the annual banquet was determined. The Breakfast of Champions topics were decided, and several table leaders identified. The judging criteria for the Best of Montana Landscapes contest, Container Gardening contest, and Booth Awards were decided. Potential awards committee members were identified and will be contacted by board members and the executive director. The scholarship fund raffle details were also reviewed and approved. The Fall Tour details and responsibilities were reviewed. The new board of directors recruiting packet was reviewed and distributed to board members. A membership campaign is scheduled for November 1, 2008 through January 31, 2009 and will include discounts for new members as well as existing members who bring in new members. New membership packets were reviewed and distributed.
The Fall Tour details and responsibilities were reviewed. The website redo is complete and published with new features including an online store, searchable member database, and the ability for members to make changes to their profile online. Board member recruiting was discussed as the board is actively seeking new members. A recruitment mailing was sent to the membership. The finances were reported in good order. The executive director visited with the association fund manager to discuss portfolio balancing in the current economic downturn. The 2009 Montana Green Expo speaker roster is filled. Panel sessions, Great Green Ideas, and the Breakfast of Champions details were discussed and assignments made to complete these sessions. The executive director reported the details of her site inspection in both Missoula and Helena. The board voted to hold the 2010 Montana Green Expo at The University Event Center and its neighboring property at the Doubletree Hotel Edgewater in Missoula in 2010. The new Helena facility at the Lewis & Clark Fairgrounds and its neighboring hotel - the Red Lion Colonial were discussed for possible use in 2011 or 2012. The awards committee discussed the Container Planting Contest and the Best of Montana Landscape Contest mailings and plans. The education committee reviewed the details for the upcoming CPP exam and the new IPM course
The Fall Tour brochure has been mailed to members and the details of the event were solidified. The new MNLA website was presented by the executive director and reviewed in test format by the board. The new site will go live in August after a few changes are made and the online store is completed. The documents and forms for the association are being revamped and will be available in hard copy and online formats in August. A few improvements to The Leaflet newsletter and Membership Directory and Buyer’s Guide to better service the membership have been made. Membership renewals are in process with a high percentage of renewing members. The finances were reported in good order. Speaker commitments for the 2009 Montana Green Expo were reported with many critical slots filled and entertainment booked. The executive director is doing a site inspection for a newly built facility in Helena that might serve as an excellent location for the 2010 Montana Green Expo. The first Nursery Plastics Recycling Program was reported a success. The board will work on some educational and logistical issues to improve it for the fall timeframe.
This was the first meeting attended by the newly appointed Executive Director, Lori Curtis. She reported that the process of transitioning the work of the ED from Robin Childers is proceeding successfully. The Association finances were reported in good order, showing some additional expenses incurred for the ED search. The Nursery Plastics Recycling Program brochure was presented and will be mailed to members and non-members in the Flathead Valley. This program is a result of the work of the regional meetings held by the board in that area. A website refurbishing proposal was presented by the new ED for consideration and was accepted shortly after the meeting. Ideas for increasing participation in the Certified Plant Professional program were discussed and will be enacted. The remainder of the meeting time was used for Montana Green Expo 2009 planning. The new website will be presented to the membership at the annual membership meeting in conjunction with the Expo, though it will be live before the end of July. The 1st Vice President vacancy will remain vacant and the current board members will move up one step in January with president David Anderson and past president Andy Blanchford retaining their current titles.
Executive Director Robin Childers presented an update on the 2010 Montana Green Expo. In an effort to hold the Expo in Missoula, the Adams Center and Doubletree Hotel are being held. The Adams Center will not provide a final acceptance until spring of 2009, causing some planning issues for the event. Recommendations for 2009 Expo speakers were reviewed. The Flathead Valley, Bozeman and Missoula Regional Meetings were discussed. The first region to put together a program will be the Flathead Valley with a Nursery Recycling Program. The website refurbishing elements were identified and agreed upon, and it was decided that the incoming executive director will be given this task. The Education Committee reported a go-ahead on an Integrated Pest Management course. Robin discussed her plans for the executive director transition period which will take place in May. The Member-at-Large board position was given voting rights. Two members have expressed interest in working on the newly formed Awards Committee, and a pending scholarship application was reviewed. Bylaw updates were presented and approved.
A budget was approved for regional meetings. Board member Bill Pond’s resignation was sadly accepted and passed. Planning continued for the 2009 Montana Green Expo. The 2010 Expo facility inspections were reviewed and deemed inappropriate, leading to a plan to look at the Adams Center. The financials were reported in good order and the 2008/2009 budget was presented and approved. Requested support of an Integrated Pest Management program was reviewed and will be supported by MNLA. The search for a new Executive Director has concluded and the board voted to accept the Search Committee’s recommendation to hire Lori Curtis of Kalispell. An Awards Committee description was voted to be adopted as presented. Updates to the Bylaws were recommended by the ED and will be presented at the next meeting for review and approval.