WGIF’s board of directors began strategically planning in 2013 to become a more sustainable, effective organization for the green industry. The strategic plan and action plan has evolved and was accelerated with executive director Brian Swingle announcing his retirement from both WGIF and WNLA.
Reorganization of WGIF has been needed to reduce expenses, increase efficiencies and better serve members. The current member organizations are: Wisconsin Nursery and Landscape Association, Wisconsin Sod Producers Association (WSPA) and Commercial Flower Growers of Wisconsin (CFGW) and the Wisconsin Christmas Tree Producers Association (WCTPA) is an affiliated association of WGIF.
WNLA signed a three-year agreement with the Wisconsin Association Management LLC of Milwaukee, effective July 1. Chris Ruditys will become WNLA’s executive director. A secondary executive director is yet to be named.
Ruditys, owner of Wisconsin Association Management LLC, and Swingle, owner of Torri Phillips Association Management, worked with one another and staff members for the past five years on joint association conferences and events. Ruditys also manages over 20 associations at the state and national level, with 11 professional staff members who help him.
Through the merger, WNLA will assume the legislative and regulatory responsibilities, including lobbying. The WGIF board voted to transfer the legislative fund to WNLA in June 2018.
WGIF dues have already been paid for 2018 by the member organizations, so the WNLA board will set the dues amount before the 2019 membership renewal period in October.
WNLA will assume the partnership with the Illinois Landscape Contractors Association in iLandscape, the annual Brewers Game in September, membership communications, the Spring Spectacular and the Hall of Fame. In addition, the Cornerstone Credit Card Processing Program will be assumed by WNLA and open to all members. WNLA also has its Winter Workshop program, which the merged association anticipates will include all members going forward in a new format.