Sunday, October 31, 2010

GIE + EXPO staying in L'ville through 2014

LOUISVILLE, KY — The GIE + EXPO is staying here at least through 2014 and Hardscape North America is returning for 2011, reported Bill Harley, president and CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI). This was the first year that hardscape suppliers, under the sponsorship of Interlocking Concrete Paver Institute (ICPI), had a large presence at the event.

Harley’s announcement Thursday, Oct. 28, ended speculation (as little as there was) that the GIE + EXPO might move elsewhere as the original agreement between the three-sponsoring associations approached its end. But the board, made up of members of the OPEI, the Professional Landcare Network (PLANET), and the Professional Grounds Management Society (PGMS), decided Louisville was the place to be, at least for the next four years.

This year’s event, Oct. 28 – Oct. 30, featured 750 exhibitors and attracted an estimated 20,000 participants (including exhibitors), Harley said at a press conference the morning the trade show opened. The trade show is reported to be the 14th largest in the United States, says the OPEI. Final attendance numbers will be announced soon.

Why Louisville again?

A number of factors figured into the GIE Board’s decision to keep the trade show in Louisville, not the least being the 190,000 sq. ft. of indoor space in the Kentucky Exposition Center and the 20 acres of outdoor demonstration space just outside its doors. All of this located just minutes from the Louisville airport and an easy 10-minute drive from downtown. What other cities east of the Mississippi can offer this?

Important as that is, the efforts made by the convention people in the city itself appear to be an equally large reason why the event isn't moving soon. They genuinely seem to appreciate having the event and, from appearances anyway, do everything they can to accommodate the trade show and the concurrent PLANET and PGMS business conferences.

It's strictly business

While many of us, myself included, wouldn't squawk if a different venue were chosen (just for a change), there's no denying that, unlike other cities with huge convention centers (Las Vegas, Orlando, New Orleans immediately come to mind), if you're coming to the GIE + EXPO in Louisville, you're coming to learn, network, operate some really neat equipment out in a big dusty field and, perhaps, do business. As nice as the city's smallish Fourth Street Live entertainment district is, Louisville is not regarded as a family vacation destination. Not like other big convention cities, anyway, and certainly not in late October.

In the end, the decision to keep the event in Louisville for another couple of years is a good one. Louisville is a nice city with good facilities, and the people that run the event do a very good job.

Hey, that's just my opinion. What do you think? — Ron Hall

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A chance to grab a Rain Bird grant

Here’s a heads up about a neat new contest from the folks at Rain Bird. You’re getting the news here before it’s released to the public. We’re one of the partners in this contest and we’re very excited about it because it addresses just what our landscape industry is all about.

In other words, we'd love to learn that one or more of the readers of this blog pick up some of the more than $50,000 in grants that Rain Bird will be awarding to companies, non-profits, homeowners or, in fact, anybody in the whole wide world that submits a winning water conservation or environmental sustainability project that promotes green spaces. The company is awarding three $1,500 grants, three $5,000 grants and three $10,000 grants.

The contest is the latest wrinkle on the company’s Intelligent Use of Water program it initiated in 2008. Any internet user can submit a project via the Intelligent Use of Water Awards (IUOW) website and can promote it within his or her own community.

All projects can be anonymously voted upon by visitors (one vote a day per project, per individual user. The projects with the most votes will receive funding from Rain Bird according to their funding category.

OK, there you have it; you can get a head start on submitting one of your great water conservation or environmental sustainability project. Visit the IUOW awards website here to get the details, submit your project, let people know about it and start voting . . . In other words, get crackin’. — Ron Hall

Friday, October 22, 2010

New 1099 Tax Rule = Paperwork Nightmare


The very word sends a shutter through folks in almost every profession who after long, tiring days must succumb to the job that's not quite finished until the i's are dotted and t's are crossed.

Detectives who chase down bad guys spend most of their waking moments conducting witness and suspect interviews, but each evening as they get back to the office, there are mountains of paperwork necessary to record their day's work and justify whether someone is guilty or innocent. Paperwork lays the groundwork for their cases in court.

Doctors who make rounds from patient to patient, adjusting medications, performing surgeries, making emergency medical decisions. At the end of each day, medical charts must be in order to ensure the right continued health care for every patient and for insurance purposes.

While business owners have their own paperwork struggles ... their situation just got worse.

The impending 1099 tax rule that's slated to go into effect in 2012 in conjunction with the new health care legislation means a business owner - landscapers, too - have to file 1099 forms for EVERY vendor you spend more than $600 with in a year.

Consider this example, which shows how daunting the paperwork filing task will become: A business that spends $20 a week on pizza for its employees, for example, would spend a total of $1,040 a year — and would need to file a 1099 form to that local pizzeria.

Reuters has an easy-to-understand breakdown of how and why this rule came to be, the likelihood it will actually go into effect, and what business owners need to know about it. Check it out here and let us know what you think.

- Nicole Wisniewski