A monthly publicAtion for members And other stAkeholders
F EBR UARY ■ 2011

Board of directors
Ken Clemmer, SynaTek

Message from Kenneth J. Clemmer, Chairman of the Board
HEY, WE NEED YOUR HELP…. “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth." --Muhammad Ali “What skills do you have?” they asked me. “Well, I’m an okay administrator, I can build spread sheets, make budgets, that kind of stuff ”, I quipped. “No we meant can you paint, do carpentry, electrical work or plumbing? “I thought to myself, I don’t even do those things at my own home, so I replied “not really.” That was the routine on day one as a volunteer for me a few weeks ago. I had volunteered to help repair houses with a group of 16 people from my church in New Orleans. The amazing thing about this organization and others who accept volunteers is that the organization takes anyone and they did so in my case. I found myself immersed in work that I would normally not be doing with people that I barely knew. The work wasn’t particularly “Presidential” (those of you

Randy Tischer, Green Velvet Sod Farms

Roger Ogalla, BTSI

Allen Bohrer, Newsom Seed

Kevin Connelly, Landscape Supply

Mike Hull, Matrix Turf Solutions

Bill Walker, Walker Supply

Primeraturf iNc. P. O. Box 39418 North Ridgeville, OH 44039 440.748.0177 440.748.0176 Fax

who took the Presidents Course at Aileron with Dave Sullivan know what I’m talking about). It was a lot of grunt work and we worked hard, lights out at 10:00 up before dawn ready to go by 7:00. Sleeping in a bunk bed (I got there late so I had to take the top) in a room with four other guys, shower room like high school gym class stretches one, if you know what I mean. No surprise that there is plenty of work to do in home repairs in New Orleans even five plus years after Katrina with an estimated 55,000 homes still vacant and not

habitable. As a result, the population of the city is still almost 20% less than it was pre-Katrina. We worked through Catholic Charities who funded the cost of repairing the homes for the people who qualified for their program; we supplied the “sweat equity” to do the work. Volunteering is a highly personal thing, I believe. Not everyone is willing to do it and that’s okay. I asked some of the people that came to New Orleans that week, why they came. I got

coNteNts of tHis editioN
• Message from the Chairman.
the value of volunteerism.

Message from Kenneth J. Clemmer, Chairman of the Board
answers that ranged from wanting to help people, to wanting to not have a guilty conscience, for some it was a spiritual thing, I would guess that some of us secretly wanted to get out of the cold Northeast for a couple of days. I’m sure that a lot of you are volunteers with organizations in your local area and perhaps abroad. Based on statistics, it's estimated that 27% of the population is involved in some form of volunteering. Many organizations could not operate or even exist if it wasn’t for the generosity of people giving their time. The dollar amount assigned to the value of volunteers’ time is estimated on an annual basis to be $169 Billion. Even in our PrimeraTurf Coop, volunteering is necessary to make the organization work. Over its history many of you as owners have donated your time and talent to serve on the board, committees etc. So when the time comes and we tap you on the shoulder to ask for your help in Primera, please give generously of your time. I know you will and we promise that you won’t have to sleep in a bunk bed. Anyway, after my week in New Orleans, I have a new appreciation for volunteers. That segment of the population that is willing to put their lives on hold for a period of time or to do something that is a little out of their comfort zone to make this world a better place for all of us deserves more credit than they receive. I’m looking forward to seeing all of you in Orlando. Best Regards

• The News.
the Quiet before the storm.

• A (Non)Sense of Union.
Have unions become a hindrance to progress?

• The Purpose of a Purchasing Co-op.
a refresher course.

• Speaking from Experience.
what’s selling? what’s Not? By dana wilson.

• Immigrant, Inc.
the positive side of the immigration story.

• All A-Twitter.
By Pat Jones.

• Member Challenge.
we are in the final stretch and a few members have separated themselves from the field.

• RISE Column.
legislative season is officially open.

• Water.
itt recognizes the water challenge.



The News
Chairman Clemmer picked a good time to be away from the business. He most likely did a lot more good in New Orleans than he could have done in the office and we commend him for stepping out of his comfort zone and giving his time and labor to the most needy. It is awfully quiet! Silence before the storm? Are we in the eye of the hurricane when everything is eerily still? Are we waiting for the other shoe to drop or are we at the start of a serious uptick in business activity? Hard to tell. We

Member Owned
PrimeraTurf is a Member owned cooperative. We are very aware that our only reason for existence is to improve conditions for the business of our Members. We need your (the Members) input and active participation. This newsletter, our personal visits with Members, our web site, our Policy Book and Members’ Code of Conduct are all tools designed to make sure that PrimeraTurf accurately represents the interests and views of its membership community.

will congregate in short order in Orlando for the GIS and try to figure it out. And we will tell each other stories about the way we see the business going from here, being very careful that whatever

message we deliver it supports our best interest. The deal between ChemChina and Koor closed and consequently Makhteshim Agan is now a privately

The Next PrimeraTurf Membership Meeting Will Be Held February 8, 2011 At The Holiday Inn Resort – The Castle on International Drive In Orlando The 2011 Primeraturf Annual Meeting And Trade Show Will Be Held July 12-14 At The Embassy Suites – Brooklyn Center In Minneapolis, MN


The News
owned company with shareholding by ChemChina (60%) and Koor (40%).Who is next? Who’s next is also the question we are asking about the succession of Frans Jager as the leader of the pack. The search is in full swing and – reportedly – there is no shortage of (qualified) contenders. PrimeraTurf will hold its traditional membership meeting the day before the GIS Trade Show opens and – in addition to dealing with its internal business – will work with Michael Marks of Indian River Consulting Group on sorting out the challenges and opportunities for the distribution business in the USA at a time that the economy is trying to get out of its long hibernation. Then we will all be there for the by now traditional Think Independent networking reception of which PrimeraTurf has been a long time promoter. It has become a unique meeting and networking opportunity for Independents and their Manufacturers. Thanks go to ITODA for keeping this important initiative alive. Coming out of Orlando, hopefully the worst of the winter will be behind us and we can start thinking about Spring and a whole new campaign.

A (Non)Sense Of Union
This article is about the role of trade unions in the contemporary globalized world and if you think this topic has no relevance to PrimeraTurf and the business we are in: Think Twice! In spite of the fact that union membership in the private sector has diminished substantially from the 1950s when more than a third of workers belonged to

unions – it stands now at 11.9 percent of the workforce in the private sector – unions exert a disproportionate influence over what is happening (and not happening) in our economy and we are all affected by it. Even with their diminishing representation in the working populace, unions are working hard behind the scenes to change the

labor laws by means of a deceptively titled 2007 legislative initiative that keeps coming back as “Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA)”. If put into law, EFCA would strip American workers of their right to a private ballot vote, require companies to submit to binding arbitration and increase penalties for unfair labor practices committed by employers but not by unions.

Taking advantage of a labor friendly administration, unions have also successfully convinced the National Mediation Board to abandon a 75 year old rule that required a “yes” vote from a majority of the workforce in a particular business or company in order to unionize. In May of last year the National Mediation Board announced new rules that would only require

A (Non)Sense Of Union
a “yes” vote from the employees who actually cast ballots. It is our view that trade unions are a classical example of a (type of ) organization that has failed to keep up with the changing world and the changing requirements of the global economy of which we are a part. Nobody can deny that the early labor movement of the 19th and 20th century was a much needed reaction to abusive labor practices and the lack of balance between the interest of labor and capital in business. But things have changed, labor laws have codified the necessary protection of workers’ rights and business has learned to look at its human resources as an asset rather than an expense, a cost burden that needs to be kept low. While the unions’ influence in the private sector may be waning somewhat and would be waning faster if it were

not being shored up by the political system, in particular the Democratic Party, it is vibrant as ever in the public sector where 36.2 percent of all workers belong to a union. It is somewhat surprising that unions would even be required in the public sector. What kind of abuse of labor would they have to guard against? What organizational power would they have to offset? In our democracy, public servants are employed by the people through their elected representatives. The public is there to serve its interest by means of the voting booth. Do we need unions to second-guess the democratic process? However one answers that question, we will see the unions in the public sector severely tested and challenged in the next couple of years. In the current fiscal situation of the country, the States and many municipalities it is inevitable that not so much the unions will

come under scrutiny, but more what the unions have wrought in the public sector. Within that debate, but in a whole separate category, we will see the debate intensify about the role of the unions in education. In fact, if you think about the large failures in our society, unions have played a large contributing role in many of them. Teacher unions have been a major impediment to the restructuring of our educational systems and to the introduction of accountability for

results in that critical sector of our public life. Unions have so far extended their demands for compensation, workand retirement- rules and benefits that it has brought the American automotive industry to its knees causing severe damage that could only be corrected by a government bail-out and a forced bankruptcy of Chrysler and General Motors. Now, the union muscle in the public sector, which has feathered the beds of its own leadership and public employees way beyond anything seen

A (Non)Sense Of Union
in the private sector, is fighting hard against any attempt to restore fiscal discipline by bringing the compensation, pensions and benefits of public employees more in line with the public sector. No wonder that there suddenly is serious discussion of what was unthinkable up to now: States declaring bankruptcy as a tool to get from under the crushing burden of future entitlements of public employees and retirees. If you step back and look at the big picture, you can clearly see where unions have failed to stay in tune with the modern day reality: UNIONS IN AMERICA AFTER THE SECOND WORLD WAR HAVE FOCUSED ON PRESERVING AND EXPANDING THE RIGHTS AND ENTITLEMENTS OF THEIR CURRENT MEMBERSHIP AT THE EXPENSE AND WITH BLATANT DISREGARD OF THE EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS AND – IN THE CASE OF TEACHERS’ UNIONS – AT THE EXPENSE OF THE QUALITY OF EDUCATION. Time and again, unions have been self serving to the point of bringing corporations and now public sector bureaucracies as well - in a position of insolvency without regard for the future employment in these institutions. In the private sector this self serving and short sighted approach has ended in numerous bankruptcies notably in the airline and

automotive industry that probably could have been avoided with a more forward looking attitude of the unions involved. For the public sector the way out from under the burden by bankruptcy does not exists, at least not for now, at the Federal or State level. So, the only way to pay for the sins of the past is to tax future generations with the cost of excessive union pandering. That is the way Illinois has chosen to address its huge budget deficit: it has increased the personal income tax rate by 66% and the corporate income tax rate by 45%. That, by itself, will not come close to curing all the ills of the State. Illinois is facing $77.8 billion in underfunded pension liabilities. So hold your breath for what’s next. But the question is: how much longer will the taxpaying public accept to pay for union excesses and public larceny? The relevancy of all

A (Non)Sense Of Union
of this to our business is obviously that as citizens and corporate citizens we all pay a stiff price for the lack of fiscal discipline the public sector has exhibited under union pressure. We will all pay a price in much higher taxes or –worse – in a debt crisis that will devastate our economy and further erode our standing in the world. That is –of course – unless we allow the public sector to use bankruptcy as a tool to get from under the crushing burden of unfunded and unwarranted entitlements in much the same way United Airlines, Delta Airlines, US Airways, General Motors and Chrysler were given a new lease on life by restructuring their “legacy cost”. It will be interesting to watch how far the unions will go in favoring the status quo and their current constituency over the future opportunity for all, including their future membership. “Union” is a misnomer in this context. There will be more discord than union between the trade unions and the public at large before our fiscal house is restored to order.

Red Carpet Treatment
There is one more thing you can count on, besides death and taxes: If you are a PrimeraTurf Supply Partner, you will get the Red Carpet Treatment from every PrimeraTurf Member. No fail, no excuse, no exception. If you call and set up an appointment, you will be seen, listened to, questioned and answered with attention and respect. It is part of the PrimeraTurf value system that this policy is carried out by every Member, without exception. When your experience does not match this expectation, we urge you to notify the Member not living up to your expectation in writing and copy the PrimeraTurf Board and Chief Executive Officer.

The Purpose Of A Purchasing Co-Op
PrimeraTurf has never shied away from public clarity about the purpose, for which it exists, but the question keeps coming up and members and supply partners themselves sometimes lose track of the reason why they have chosen to become partners in growth. A brief refresher course appears to be in order. Our purchasing co-operative serves two

constituencies: 1) it’s Member Companies, which are Independent T&O Distributors, and 2) it’s Supply Partners, which are the manufacturers of the merchandise flowing through the co-op. We call these two constituencies “Partners in Growth” because growth cannot be accomplished by one without the other, at least not inside the co-op.

Our Member Companies are also Owners of, Shareholders in the business. Collectively they own PrimeraTurf and all its assets (including the PrimeraOne® brand) and each Member Company owns one share of stock in the company. The Member Companies are being served by all the advantages that PrimeraTurf provides them and by the Patronage Dividend that



The Purpose Of A Purchasing Co-Op
they collect at the end of each fiscal year. Our Supply Partners are Stakeholders rather than Shareholders, but they are equally indispensable to the operation. Supply Partners are being served by PrimeraTurf furthering, promoting and growing their business with PrimeraTurf Member Companies. No Supply Partnership survives unless PrimeraTurf finds a way to grow the business for the Supply Partner. Without the co-op, the distributors would each make their own sourcing decisions and arrangements, which would likely mean that the business in a particular product gets split up in as many pieces as there are potential suppliers for it in the USA. THE PURPOSE OF THE CO-OP IS TO SELECT FROM THE AVAILABLE SOURCES FOR MERCHANDISE THE ONES THAT ARE BEST POSITIONED AND INCLINED TO MAKE THE CO-OP AND ITS MEMBERS SUCCESSFUL. It is our job to evaluate potential supply sources, pick the ones that we want to work with and then drive the Members’ business their way. It is our job to make PrimeraTurf important to some select suppliers (and not to others). If we were to do it different we would have everybody who is a supplier involved in our business and we would be irrelevant to all of them. This is exactly the situation we are trying to avoid by putting a purchasing co-op in place between the distributors and the manufacturers. If our founding fathers had not preempted us, we could have picked the tag line E PLURIBUS UNUM for the way we go about our business as a purchasing cooperative. All of this is easier said than done. How do you make sure you pick the right supply partners and what do you do when circumstances change and you have alienated all the manufacturers you have previously spurned? Two great questions that deserve thoughtful attention and an unequivocal response. Fortunately PrimeraTurf did not have to re-invent the wheel here in order to come up with its solutions. We like to learn from the best and there are great purchasing cooperatives in almost every sector of the business, particularly in distribution. And all of them that preceded us had, by necessity, addressed these same questions and come up with answers that they were more than willing to share with us.


The Purpose Of A Purchasing Co-Op
PrimeraTurf picks its Supply Partners using each of the following criteria: • The position of the company in the global T&O business • The capability of the company to be the low cost supplier and innovate the business • The long term commitment of the company to the T&O business in the USA • The company attitude towards Independent Distribution • Management compatibility between the company and the co-op The weight we attach to each of these 5 criteria may fluctuate from time to time and depending on the circumstances of each individual case, but a very high score in the last two criteria is important: it takes two to tango! Supply Partner evaluation is an ongoing, never ending, process. The picks that we make today are certainly different from the ones we made only a few years ago and they are most likely different from the ones we will be making a few years down the line. PrimeraTurf will walk a fine line between showing loyalty to the Supply Partners who brought it to the dance and the imperative to make sure that it will be lined up with the Supply Partners that matter most going forward and (continue to) meet the five criteria spelled out above. To that end, all of PrimeraTurf ’s Supply Partner Agreements are either open ended and renewable from year to year or limited to a three year term (which is the rule for private label supply arrangements). This way we make sure that no legitimate supplier is ever locked out of our business other than for a limited period of time.

Speaking From Experience
By Dana Wilson, Business Development Manager WHAT’S SELLING? WHAT’S NOT? I’m sure that everyone has established growth objectives for the upcoming season and has developed strategies to make them happen. In most cases, growth will come from: • Increasing sales with existing customers • New customer attainment • New product introductions Each of these growth avenues require well

thought out strategies, acquisitions, training programs, marketing plans, etc , but I want to focus on the introduction of new products or SKUs. We, at PrimeraTurf, are constantly looking for new, innovative, profitable products to introduce to our Members. We want to be sure we have as many bases covered as possible from a category perspective, and have the best possible assortment of products within those categories.

Speaking From Experience
By Dana Wilson, Business Development Manager When a distributor decides to add a new product, it should be a strategic decision accompanied by a sales/marketing plan. I’m sure we are all familiar with the ‘80/20 rule’ where 80% of the sales come from 20% of the SKUs. SKU proliferation can become a huge problem and can happen quickly. Just look at how many ways one can kill a dandelion! In my prior experience, there was a point where 80/20 became an improvement goal. In other words, we had a ton of SKUs that sat on store shelves and in distribution centers. We attacked the problem and made dramatic improvements, but along the way tried to identify where things went wrong. • Introduction of new product categories and new SKUs within existing categories. We were primarily a fertilizer, control products and seed distributor for many years. As the core business grew and we began to enter new markets, we, over time, added mowing equipment, irrigation supplies, Golf Course accessories, aftermarket parts, exterior lighting, flower bulbs, custom embroidered Golf flags, and several other lines I’m sure I missed. The overall number of SKUs increased exponentially and the company began to lose control of inventories. • These additions required more Product Managers to work with an increasing number of suppliers. In addition, the goal

of the Product Manager is to grow their product line and introduce new SKUs to the mix. • Sales people are goal oriented and will attain their goals in the best way they can. There are products they believe in and are comfortable presenting, and they will work hard to obtain their objectives by selling these products. When new products are introduced, there must be an adequate amount of training and coaching to provide the confidence level necessary for the sales team to present these new products to their customers. We found that our sales people who had a comfort level with equipment would sell it – those who did not stuck to fertilizer, control products and seed. All of


Speaking From Experience
By Dana Wilson, Business Development Manager the other new product categories that were introduced had some success here and there, but never really became part of the core business. In my opinion, we introduced the products with a big splash, but didn’t do an adequate job in training and support. • Customers welcome the introduction to new products, but also have developed a comfort level and confidence in what they are currently purchasing. It is the role of the distributor and its sales team to instill confidence in the customer to the point where he is willing to take the risk and make a change. If introducing a new product line or category, the customer is probably purchasing from a competitor that has established a relationship with that category. Getting them to change is usually a process that won’t occur overnight. Customers are normally quite loyal and like to do business with several suppliers. Our objective was always to be the ‘one stop shop’ for our customers, but in reality it rarely occurred. Adding strong, profitable products is key to continued growth and success in our business. At the same time we must evaluate what is already on the shelves for sales activity and profitability. If a SKU is not meeting our expectations we need to determine why. It could be the need for a promotional program, need for sales training, or it could just be lack of demand. Once we know why, we need to put plans in place to improve performance or to get it off the shelves and out of inventory. The ultimate goal is to turn inventories, focus our efforts on selling new technology and improve sales and margins.



The Power of One to One.
Call on your PrimeraTurf distributor to experience

the Power of One to One — outstanding results and value from PrimeraOne products

and “just around the corner” support and service from the local Independent.

Learn more about the power of independence. Visit us online at

Immigrant, Inc.
Immigrant, Inc. is the title of a book by immigration lawyer Richard Herman and journalist Robert Smith about the impact immigrants have on our economy. This is not a book in the style of Lou Dobbs wringing his hands about the burden illegal immigrants place on our society but an analysis of the positive influence immigrants – legal and illegal – have on the American way of life. Already on the cover flap the book asks us to consider the following facts: • Today’s immigrants are nearly twice as likely as non-immigrants to launch a business • Immigrant founders are behind more than half of the high-tech start-ups in Silicon Valley • Immigrants have become more likely than nativeborn Americans to earn an advanced degree, to invent something, and to be awarded a U.S. Patent. Google, Intel, Yahoo, Hotmail, Sun Microsystems,

YouTube and eBay were all founded by immigrants. From this perspective it becomes clear that immigrants – far from taking jobs away from native born Americans – are actually creating employment opportunity by starting new businesses of all kinds. The book goes deep into the reasons why there are so many immigrant success stories. It interviews a large number of immigrant entrepreneurs, many of which have succeeded against all odds. One of them is the Italian founder of Cadence Design Systems, Alberto SangiovanniVincentelli who says “In some sense, you can say the immigrants are more willing to sacrifice their life to do something significant; that is an important characteristic of an immigrant.” Psychologist John Gartner is quoted in the book saying “Who but a restless dreamer could leave everything they knew

and trusted to start a new life in a strange land? As a nation of immigrants, America became a nation of optimistic risk-takers”. Ric Fulop, a Venezuelan immigrant and co-founder of battery innovator A123, says: :”I think an important part of being an immigrant is desperation. Failure is not

an option. You’ve landed here, you’re alone, you have to make a new life for yourself.” Another explanation is offered by Indian immigrant Gururaj Deshpande, who left India at age 22 for college in Canada, moved to Boston and pioneered the architecture of optical

Immigrant, Inc.
fiber networks. He believes innovation springs from hard times. “People do not more than what they can dream of. So I dream big.” “With less to lose”, he thinks “immigrants are bolder players”. “With a fresh look at the landscape”, he thinks “they are better at spying opportunity”. Deshpande agrees with legendary venture capitalist Michael Moritz, who in 2000 wrote: “Force a venture capitalist to choose between a well heeled Ivy League student and a smart and impoverished immigrant, and we’ll pick the latter every time.” “To immigrate is an entrepreneurial act” says Edward Roberts, Founder of MIT Entrepreneurship Center. And Google Vice President Omid Kordestani told San Jose State University graduates: “To keep an edge, I must think and act like an immigrant. There is a

special optimism and drive that I benefited from and continue to rely on that I want all of you to find. Immigrants are inherently dreamers and fighters.” The 2000 Census found that immigrants, while accounting for 12 percent of the population, made up nearly half of all scientists and engineers with doctorate degrees. It is a misconception that immigrants by definition are poor, unskilled and uneducated. The other side of this coin is that the United States have offered exceptionally fertile soil for immigrant entrepreneurs to ply their trades in. Monte Ahuja, the Indian founder of Transtar Industries says: “Most immigrants that I know, they don’t say, “I’m going to America to find a job.” It’s bigger than that. They come here because they see this as a land of opportunity, where you can achieve anything you want”. “In the U.S. it does not matter where you’re

from, only that you have a good idea” says Alberto Sangiovanni-Vincentelli. Arnold Schwarzenegger acknowledged this when he said: “To think that a once scrawny boy from Austria could grow up to become Governor of California, that is an immigrant’s dream. It is an American dream.” With all this evidence of the blessings immigration bestows both on the immigrants and the nation, it is really hard to fathom why we don’t do everything in our power to attract foreign talent. Even Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the Fed, acknowledges that “our immigration laws discriminate pretty heavily against highly talented

scientists and engineers who want to come to this country and be part of our technological advancement”. Says Czech immigrant and philanthropist Jan Vilcek: “We must help our fellow citizens understand that for this great country to thrive and retain its unique characteristics, it must be open to immigrants”. The book and the message in no way detract from the necessity to fend off illegal immigration but it makes a compelling case for doing that by greatly facilitating the opportunity for legal immigration. Particularly of talent that is only scarcely available from home-spun sources.



All A-Twitter
By Pat Jones In the same column, I pretty much wrote off the other popular social media outlet, Twitter. As I recall, I decried it as a fad with no apparent business benefit…an excuse for people to broadcast how yummy their fruit smoothie is or state their important personal feelings about what Kim Kardashian wore to the Golden Globes. It would pass like a digital gallstone, I thought. Then I took a second look at Twitter. This time I looked hard at how superintendents, LCOs and a lot of sports turf managers are Tweeting. And, more importantly, I looked at what they were “following” on their Twitter feeds. Suddenly, it occurred to me that there is value for industry marketers in this odd little communications phenomenon. Twitter is simple: it’s basically a broadcast

Okay, so I changed my mind. Just a few months ago, I wrote a column about social media usage for Green Industry marketers. I extolled the virtues of Facebook as a way for distributors to build relationships with customers, pass along agronomic updates from field sales reps and learn more about what floats the boats of the people who buy your products. I noted that it’s free, easy and basically just requires a commitment of time and focus on behalf of the distributor owner or key manager.

e-mail network that allows you to send and receive short messages (140 characters or fewer) and links to web pages with articles, photos, videos or whatever. By its nature, it works most effectively with folks who live and die by their mobile devices: smartphones like the iPhone, BlackBerry or Droid. It’s texting on steroids, only your message goes to however many folks are following you. Based on my second look at Twitter, here are the advantages:

- Like Facebook, it’s another thing that positions you – the distributor owner, rep or manufacturer’s rep – as an accessible business contact for end users. Think about the meaning of the words “social networking.” That’s exactly what it is. It’s the modern version of a business cocktail party. You meet, you talk, you decide if you smell profit in the relationship and you act accordingly. - It’s relatively easy to build followers from amongst your

All A-Twitter
By Pat Jones customer base and industry contacts. Simply sign up, choose some keywords like “turf,” “golf,” “lawn,” “superintendent,” etc., and Twitter will begin to generate suggestions for people you should follow. The more you choose to follow, the “smarter” Twitter becomes in recommending others to follow. - Chances are your local university turf programs and PhD researchers have a Twitter feed. Follow those and also “mine” their followers for potential customers. Unlike Facebook, Twitter generally doesn’t require a person’s permission to become a “friend.” You just click on “follow” and you’re good to go. Essentially, you’re subscribing to their broadcasted Tweets. - Getting people to follow you might not be as important

as what you learn by following them. It’s not unusual to read a Tweet from a superintendent saying “Dollar spot emerging” or “Getting ready to aerify next Tuesday.” Those little clues might add up to a sale. - Following various folks also keeps you in the loop on plant pathology (lots of researchers Tweet), industry news (GCI, GCM, L&L, PLANET, etc., all have feeds), vendors, competitors and others. It can actually save you time because the Tweet links

directly to a news item or feature on their website and you don’t have to search for it. - Most superintendents and landscapers with blogs also Tweet to announce each new post, so you can keep up with what they’re saying. This is vastly easier than having to check these blogs regularly. Maintenance blogs by superintendents are growing dramatically as a way for them to communicate with golfers. I strongly suggest you monitor them to keep your

finger on the pulse of the market. - You don’t need to have your Twitter feed clogging up your phone or e-mail inbox. You can view everything from your PC or install a Tweet Deck feature on your smartphone that collects all of your feeds and just lets you know when you’ve been Tweeted directly or your handle is mentioned. So, what are the disadvantages? - Time


All A-Twitter
By Pat Jones Twitter is one more thing that can eat away at the available time in your day. I’ll warn you now that you can become addicted to it just like any other hightech “gee whiz” thing. Yet, like Facebook, you can manage it fairly well by checking it at least weekly, but it’s better to give it a few minutes a day will keep you current. Essentially, it’s another e-mail inbox to look at, but you’re mostly scanning quickly for items of interest or particular feeds that you know are worthwhile. If 10 minutes a day on Twitter gives you customer information or ideas that convert directly into sales, it may be worth it. Only you can judge the ROI. Curious and want to give this a shot? Here’s your golf/turf business starter list for Twitter. Just start an account (pick a “handle” that refers to your business) and search for/follow: John Kaminski Turf Diseases Local PhDs Golf Course Industry magazine - Golf Course Management magazine - Key vendors (XYZ Chemical, ABC Mowing, etc.) As always, a reminder that no single marketing tool is enough. A great website without print advertising to drive it will be unvisited. Spending a pile to exhibit at a trade show without a specific sales goal is pointless. Not using earned co-op dollars from a supplier is dumb. You MUST have an integrated plan that ties sales goals to print advertising, co-op programs, web, face-toface, PR and social media like blogging, Twitter and Facebook. I know that seems like a daunting task…but it’s not if you invest a little time and brainstorming with your team to consider all the possibilities, prioritize them and figure out what you can afford. I’ll wrap this up by saying I hope to see all my PrimeraTurf friends at the GIS in Orlando next week. It’ll be a crazy few days for all of us, but feel free to track me down if you’d like to talk. You can reach me by e-mail, mobile phone, text, Facebook, Twitter (@gcimagazine), smoke signals, semaphore, flare gun or Pony Express courier. Or you can just drop by booth #901 and say hello. I know that’s a pretty old-school concept, but it still works nicely too. Check out my industry marketing blog: http:// gcimarketing.blogspot. com/ (Pat Jones is publisher and editorial director of Golf Course Industry magazine and a longtime industry consultant. He can be reached at 440-478-4763 or

Member Challenge — The New Challenge
Pocono Turf Supply AmeriTurf GreenLife Supply Outdoors, Inc. Herod Seeds

If you had a down year in 2009-2010, you are probably well-positioned to see your company name on a BIG check next year because the Board of Directors is again offering a Member Challenge worth $25,000 in an effort to boost Member participation in PrimeraTurf programs in what they think will be another challenging year in our industry. The Challenge will reward those Members that increase – within some important parameters – their rebate generation through PrimeraTurf from FY2009-10 to FY2010-11. In order to be rewarded under the Challenge, Members must: • Have a PrimeraTurf rebate track record of a minimum of two years • Generate rebate revenue of at least $50,000 through PrimeraTurf in FY 2010-2011 The measurement to be used for the Challenge is the percentage increase in rebate generation by Member from FY 2009-10 to FY 2010-11.

• The first prize is $12,500 in cash • The second prize is $7,500 in cash • The third prize is $5,000 in cash The Challenge will be paid out at the Annual Meeting in July 2011. We will measure Member performance under this Challenge every month and publish standings on the website and in the Monthly Newsletter. JANUARY 2011 STANDINGS: As of the closing of the month of January, the top five contenders in the new Member Challenge are: 1. Outdoors, Inc. 2. AmeriTurf 3. GreenLife Supply 4. Pocono Turf 5. Herod Seeds Keep it up! Remember that you need to generate at least $50,000 in rebate revenue for the 2010-11 fiscal year to qualify. Last year this parameter cost one Member second prize.

Guest Column ... Legislative Season Is Officially Open
more about the network and to begin receiving our monthly newsletter and issue updates. Here at RISE we are seeking opportunities to be a partner with resources and science while legislation is on the drawing board and as it moves through the political process. In addition to providing the facts, our industry must also win the hearts and minds of our neighbors and policy makers. To do that, each of us must become a partner and a positive voice in the debate. We are most often ready and willing with science, but not as often ready and willing to engage in the emotional aspects of public policy. We know that an overwhelming majority of people want the benefits of pesticides and fertilizers and have a clear understanding about the need for the products. However, people have a lot of questions and that’s where you can help. For the past two years – with your support -- RISE has been working through the Debug the Myths program to win hearts and minds while also communicating the facts about our products. We are well prepared and resourced to continue this work and to engage every member in this effort to help us extend our reach into communities and state houses. Won’t you become a partner as a Debug the Myths Ambassador in your community? Partnership also applies to our inter-industry activities. While the lawn product bans enacted in Canada seem like ancient history, they are not and here in the U.S. this year we are again seeing product prohibitions advanced that seek to divide our industry. Partnership and unity, bolstered by science are the way forward for our industry. During what is mostly the off season, I urge you to consider how you can become engaged with your association, your customers and your community. Contact your RISE staff for resources and information at or visit www. for consumer-friendly resources about pesticides and fertilizer.

Most state’s 2011 legislative sessions are now one month old -- and what a month it has been. Legislative language is dropping all around us for pesticide and fertilizer prohibitions with science barely visible. To those of you who are part of our RISE industry Grassroots Network this is hardly news. However, to those who have not signed up to participate in the Grassroots Network, there’s no time like the present. In fact, before you read any further, contact Ben Cuddy, bcuddy@, to learn

coNtact i Nfo
By Aaron Hobbs, President, RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment)®

–Thomas Jewell



“No one knows the value of water until the well runs dry” (Benjamin Franklin). ITT announced in January that it will be splitting in three separate publicly trading companies, one of which will be entirely dedicated to water technology. It will include ITT’s residential and commercial water, flow control and wastewater business. This segment of the business is expected to report $3.6 billion in revenue in 2011. GE has announced that it has entered into a Strategic Cooperative Agreement with the Israeli venture capital company Kinrot Ventures to develop New Water Technologies. Global Industry Analysts, Inc. released a comprehensive global report on Drinking and Wastewater Treatment Chemicals market, which is forecast to reach $23.9 billion by 2015. (For comparison, the T&O Chemical market is between $600-$700 million).

Where To Reach Us
The Executive Office of PrimeraTurf is located at: 8748 Timber Edge Drive North Ridgeville, OH 44039-6302 The Mailing Address is: P.O. Box 39418 North Ridgeville, OH 44039-0418 20