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Media Advisory: Nursery and Landscape Association hosting Winter Symposium Wednesday at Embassy Suites in Charleston

WV Press Release Sharing

Charleston, W.Va. – The West Virginia Nursery & Landscape Association is holding its Winter Symposium, “Growing A Great Landscape,” from 9:15 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 22, at the Embassy Suites Hotel in downtown Charleston.

Two tracks of programming featuring national and regional expert speakers will allow attendees to focus on both landscape design and business development best practices.

WHEN: Wednesday, February 22, 2023

WHERE: Embassy Suites Hotel, 300 Court Street, Charleston, W.Va.

SCHEDULE: The Landscape Design and Business Developmentspeakers run concurrently

Landscape Design Sessions – Salon A; Business Development Sessions – Salon B

9:30 a.m.         Peggy Cornett, “Preserving Plants from the Past – Monticello’s Historic Landscape” – Salon A

9:30 a.m.         Dan Loch, “Moving Forward: Gas or Battery Powered Equipment?” – Salon B

10:30 a.m.       Break

10:45 a.m.       Larry Weaner, “Breaking the Rules: Ecological Landscape Design and Traditional Landscape Methodology” – Salon A

10:45 a.m.       Renic Perry, West Virginia Small Business Development Center, “Small Business Financials” – Salon B

Noon  Lunch and Vendor Exhibits in Salon C

1:15 p.m.         Lisa Roper “The Evolution of Chanticleer’s Gravel Garden” – Salon A

1:15 p.m.         Bret Chandler and Doug Harper, West Virginia Small Business Development Center, “Marketing Your Business / Operational Management” – Salon B

2:15 p.m.         Break

2:30 p.m.         Paul Westervelt, “Are These Plants Better, or Just New” – Salon A

2:30 p.m.         Panel Discussion of Green Industry Workforce Development in West Virginia – Salon B

  • Michael Biafore, WVNLA – Biafore’s Landscape Development in Morgantown
  • Nancy Ligus, Pierpont Community and Technical College
  • Cindy Bailey, WV National Guard
  • Scott Byars, WV National Guard
  • Lisa McDavid, WVNLA – Lisa’s Gardenscapes in Charleston

3:30 p.m.         Networking Reception

Landscape Design Speakers:

Peggy Cornett, curator of plants at Monticello, will present “Preserving Plants from the Past—Monticello’s Historic Landscape.”

Larry Weaner, principal and founder of Larry Weaner Landscape Associates, will explore “Breaking the Rules: Ecological Landscape Design and Traditional Landscape Methodology.”

Lisa Roper, horticulturist at Chanticleer Gardens, will share “The Evolution of Chanticleer’s Gravel Garden.”

Paul Westervelt, annual and perennial production manager and head grower at Saunders Brothers, Inc., will discuss “Are These Plants Better, or Just New?” 

Business Development Speakers:

Business Coaching: Speakers from the West Virginia Small Business Development Center specialize in business coaching to encourage the success of small businesses in West Virginia. They provide expert advice on marketing, business management and planning, human resources, succession planning, cyber security, financial analysis, government contracting, and technology commercialization.

Electric vs Gas Equipment: As some administrators and policymakers advocate for electric-powered equipment usage, some cities and municipalities are mandating electric-powered landscape equipment. A representative of Stihl will update attendees on the benefits of both and where the industry is headed with its equipment.

Workforce Development: WVNLA has been working on multiple levels to attract and develop green industry employees:

  • crafting a “Landscape Technician Boot Camp,” a 40-hour course to be offered at the state’s nine community and technical colleges.
  • developing a lawn and landscape training course through the National Guard to present to Jobs & Hope participants and to WVNLA member companies as a training resource,
  • making presentations to high school agriculture and career and tech students, and
  • creating videos and presentation materials.

A panel of those involved in workforce development initiatives will include Michael Biafore, chairman of WVNLA’s Workforce Development Committee and president of Biafore’s Landscape Development; Cindy Bailey, director of economic development for the West Virginia National Guard (WVNG); Scott Byars, WVNG trainer, former WVU Extension agent, and landscape business owner; Nancy Ligus, director of workforce, continuing education and economic development at Pierpont Community & Technical College; and Lisa McDavid of Lisa’s Gardenscapes.

“We’re privileged to bring such talented speakers with impressive professional credentials to Charleston for our Winter Symposium,” said Julie Robinson, WVNLA’s executive director. “Our mission at WVNLA is to serve our members and the public they serve through education and outreach. The symposium is a great opportunity for both landscape professionals and anyone with a keen interest in design or running a landscape business to be inspired and informed.”

INTERVIEWS: Julie Robinson, executive director of the WVNLA, will be on-site media coordinator and can help reporters gain access to her board or Symposium speakers. Her contact information is [email protected] or 304-553-1234.

VENDORS: Eight vendors will be exhibiting at the conference. We welcome Acorn Farms (Galena, OH), Cole Nurseries (Pipestem, WV), Finn All Seasons (Streetsboro, OH ), G & G Nursery (Lesage, WV), Klyn Nursery (Perry, OH), Labor Consultants International (Coeur d Alene, ID ), Michael Gwinn Insurance Agency (Lookout, WV ) and SiteOne Landscape Supply (Columbus, OH).

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West Virginia Nursery & Landscape Association, Inc., established in 1939, is a professional trade association dedicated to supporting nursery and landscape businesses and vendors throughout the Mountain State.

WVNLA members support West Virginia college students studying horticulture and landscape architecture with scholarship opportunities. They also share expertise and support in their  communities; meet for volunteer projects; and support worthy, industry-related endeavors through Association donations. Regionally, WVNLA co-owns the annual Mid-Atlantic Nursery Trade Show along with the Maryland and Virginia associations.

For membership, events or mission priorities please visit