2625 Butterfield Rd. Ste 104S
Oak Brook, Illinois 60523
Phone 630-472-2851
Fax 630-472-3150


Hot Topic Panel and Networking Event

The ILCA Board of Directors is pleased to
announce its fourth hot topic and networking event:

Responsible Growth: How I'm positioning my company for a new decade of success

Thursday, December 12, 2013
Location: Fox Run Golf Links
333 Plum Grove Rd.
Elk Grove Village, IL 60007

Sponsored by:

Premier Sponsor:

Martin Implement
South Elgin, Orland Park, and Wauconda

Additional Sponsors

Quick Links:

Dean MacMorris, Night Light, Inc.

Confirmed Panelists

  • Mike Schmechtig, Schmechtig Landscapes
  • Eric Moore, Moore Landscapes
  • Chris Kane, Kane Brothers Water Features
  • Jennifer Fick, Wilson Nurseries
  • Tom Kelly, Balanced Environments
  • Charlie Keppel, The Care of Trees, ILCA President

The event is scheduled for 3 hours (4pm-7pm).

4pm-4:30pm: Attendee registration, appetizers, and bar opens.
4:30-4:45: Welcome from Charlie Keppel and introduction of the panelists by Dean MacMorris.
4:45-6:20: Moderated Panel & Questions from the audience.
6:20-7:00: Networking. Bar will remain open until 7pm.



Mike Schmechtig
Chris Kane
Charlie Keppel
Jennifer Fick
Eric Moore
Tom Kelly
Dean MacMorris

About the Program

He who forgets the past is doomed to repeat it. The recession left the landscape industry vulnerable, timid, and fractured. With light flickering at the end of the tunnel, it is time to start looking forward. Businesses must not forget the difficult lessons learned in the past five years. At the same time, we must possess the courage to look ahead and make life-altering decisions to ensure the long term success of our businesses.

We know a seismic shift in labor is coming. We must start valuing what we produce and charge customers accordingly. We must remember the crash course in management we underwent when the economy crumbled. We must realize that successful companies remember, but never live in the past.

The slate has been wiped clean. The strong survived. It is time to cast our eyes on the future. The recession was outside of our control; our growth and future success are not. 

Learn from responses to the following questions:

Questions are organized into three categories: commercial, residential, and supplier (business to business).

Questions to be asked:


  1. How do you groom or train your salespeople in order for them to be successful? Do you have a training program with checks and balances to insure it is mutually beneficial for both the company & the salesperson?

  2. Business development professionals seemed to be the trendy hire in the past few years. Have any of you on the panel hired a Business Development person to be the point person for your organization? Are they responsible for sales as well as business development? What will there role be in a growth economy?

  3. Is there disconnect between the sales force and management? Is the tail wagging the dog when it comes to pricing or does the sales force only cut to meet unrealistic expectations? How can this cycle be broken?

  4. If sales are necessary for growth where does the effort need to be placed? Meeting more prospects to propose more contracts, because it’s a numbers game where the more people you see the more sales you make or networking and cultivating trusted advisor relationships that focus on what’s in it for the potential client?


  1. How am I preparing for the seismic shift in labor on the horizon?

  2. What does the industry do about “benefits”? The Affordable Care Act has added a new cost and responsibility to large companies. Given this new reality, how can small companies compete on benefits and how can large companies compete on price?

  3. What is the most productive compensation program for a salesperson that allows for growth of the organization and for the individual? Is it a salaried position, a base salary plus commission or a straight commission program?

  4. It has been consistently reported that above all else, leadership is what helps companies survive and thrive. How have you become a better leader and how have you empowered others around you to become leaders.

Industry Practices

  1. How do landscape companies better value what they produce and charge customers accordingly?

  2. What did the recession teach me about my business and what one lesson can I never forget?

  3. What will the landscape industry look like in five years and how will I position my company to be an industry leader?

  4. The industry has gotten especially competitive in the past five years. Snow and commercial maintenance are the best examples. How can a company break the cycle of “how low can you go?”


Registration includes appetizers, non-alcoholic drinks and program. Cash bar.

  • ILCA members = $45 (guests of members receive the non-member rate)
  • Non-member fee = $65

Online Registration
Online registration is now closed. If would like to attend and have not yet registered, please fill out a paper form and bring it with you to the event.
Thank You

Paper-based Registration


There are sponsorships available for $150. Put your company front and center at this groundbreaking event. Sponsorship includes two free attendees ($90 value).

Sponsorship Form

About the Panelists


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