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Less Than a Week Away

Less Than a Week Away

The 2013 APLD International Design Conference – Detroit, MI

For over two years now, I have been chairing the Local Site Committee for The Association of Professional Landscape Designer’s annual conference to be held at the GM RenCen on August 2 – 5, 2013.   It has been a lot of work, but we are in the home stretch with less than a week away.  Many of my close friends and colleagues have wondered why I would take on such a large commitment.  It also has been very difficult getting APLD-Michigan members to buy into and volunteer.  Even though I have spent a lot of time on this event, probably neglected my family and business a little as a result, it was definitely still worth it.  Being the chair was not about the time and effort I put into the conference, but about the leadership skills, positive attitude and business relations that I developed.

It is one thing to lead your kids who usually love you and need you.  And then there is leading a company.  Motivating employees can be difficult, but they need you and the pay you provide to support their family.  Your leadership skills are really tested when you are asking volunteers to take time away from family, work and leisure time.  I definitely have not been Gandhi during these past few years, but I have learned.  I can look back and see my mistakes and how I will change my action in the future.

I have always dealt with confidence and negative attitude issues throughout my life.  But from the initial possibility of Detroit as a location, through the bankruptcy and mayor news, and until now the last push to complete the small tasks, I have always kept a “Can Do” attitude.  I would definitely like to thank Mildred Hurley, the LSC Tour Captain, for helping me out in this.  She radiates with positivity! Especially about Detroit, Southeast Michigan and our State.  Funny thing because she is originally from North Carolina still carrying the Southern draw after over 20 years of relocation.

During this process, I have met and learned so much by the people I have met.  Of course, this group includes my fellow local site committee members, Ellen Johnston (International Program Chair), and Jennifer Cramer (APLD Staff), but also includes designers of the tour gardens, speakers, and other people involved with the conference.  As the program chair, I get to ask questions and see things that most people would not have access to.  Speaking of exclusive access, the LSC is getting a private tour on top of the largest green roof in the WORLD!  The conference garden tours will take us to the Ford Rouge Plant in Dearborn, but attendees will only see the 10.4 acres of green roof from an observation deck.  Discovering this contact has gotten me and the LSC this exciting opportunity to be right in the heart of this amazing sustainable site.

To learn more, please visit  Stay tuned for exciting pictures and descriptions of the exciting gardens in my next blog.

Steven D. Thoms,  APLD, CGIP, CLP

APLD-Michigan President and Founding Member

2013 International Design Conference LSC Chair


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