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Minutes - September Membership Meeting
Friday, September 23, 2005
at the State Fair Offices, Richmond, VA

The meeting was called to order at 9:10 a.m. by President Lin Diacont with the following people attending: Cary Gouldin, Rick Baker, Tom Tracy, Paul Hartzell, Bill Bonwell, Sylvia Wright, Greg Eaton and Jeff Miller.

Presidents Comments – Lin discussed the possibility of moving some of the VGIC meetings around the state to make it easier for different partners to participate. He is working on establishing a meeting calendar for 2006. The next VGIC meeting is scheduled for Monday November 14, 2005 at the State Fair Office. He urged committee chairs to provide written reports before meetings to expedite meetings.

Executive Directors Report - Jeff reported on the clipping service results from news releases sent to 105+ non-daily newspapers. There were 122,560 contacts with the Christmas ’04 news releases, 91,665 for the spring news releases and 61,018 for the summer releases. Copies of the last 12 months of web activity on VirginiaGreen.org and VirginiaGardening.com  were presented and he noted that 90% of the people go directly to the site vs. going through a search engine.
Allied groups – Jeff reported that the Virginia Christmas Tree Growers and the MAC-ISA were still considering their participation in the VGIC after the PowerPoint presentation he made to their respective boards this past January. There has been no response to the Farmers Direct Marketing board. All groups have been receiving all the VGIC email info. We have not been able to coordinate a time with Scenic Virginia for a presentation to their board. Lin just received a membership form from the Virginia Turfgrass Foundation.
Jeff suggested that with the VTC economic survey being done this year, that this would be a great opportunity for the VGIC to publish a one-page economic impact statement of all the green industry. It will be added to the agenda for the November meeting.
Greg Eaton’s tenure has not be extended beyond June 2006, so Jeff suggested that the VGIC should write a letter and meet with the Virginia Tech Dean of CALS, the Provost, and President to express the green industry’s concern with the extreme swing to trying to be in the top 30 research universities to the detriment of teaching and extension and placing little value on these areas in evaluating staff.

Treasurers Report – Jeff presented the year-to-date balance sheet and income/expenses (see attached reports). Rick Baker reported that the FSMIP grant has been extended to 12/31/05 when all projects under this grant should be completed.

Committee Reports
Budget
- Cary presented the first draft of the Budget for 2006 including expenses that would continue that are currently being funded by the FSMIP grant (website work, news releases, etc). He requested all committee chairs to provide him with any income or expense items they would have for 2006 so he can present a final 2006 Budget at the November VGIC meeting.

Communications - Public Relations: The use of Green Industry Newsletter to market VGIC was discussed and it was agreed that Sylvia Wright should complete the first 4-page Newsletter and have it ready by October 30 to include information on the FSMIP grant, a President’s Message, website info, and upcoming events.

Membership, Mary Williams (absent) Jeff reported on the current membership status (total dues up slightly over last year but sponsorships are down some. Lin is still working on several groups to encourage them to join the VGIC.

Green Industry Day update - Rick Baker reported that he and Bill Bonwell had visited several sites in the Richmond metro area and felt that Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond would the best location and had tentatively reserved September 9, 2006 for the first Green Industry Field Day which would be an consumer oriented interactive, educational and fun event.

Legislative – Lin announced the Gubernatorial Candidates meeting at 12:30 pm Friday, September. 23rd and had tickets available to enter the fair grounds for the event
RISE – Lin reported that RISE (Responsible Industry of Sound Environment www.pestfacts.org) would make a presentation at the next VGIC meeting. Jeff had been with them recently and they will be providing information that can be used on the VGIC’s websites.
Activities
State Fair Update: Horticulture Gardens
– Lin and Bill reported that the gardens look great and that they had extra annuals this year which should help the plant sale on Monday, October 3, 9 am – noon. Lin requested that several VGIC members volunteer to help with the plant sale.

VAC Food Festival – Lin reported that the VGIC’s “Ask the Expert” booth was very successful and had good participation on professionals to answer questions.

Maymont Flower Show 2005 was discussed. Since there was only $300 in the budget to sponsor a speaker at Maymont-speaker and their sponsorship has gone to $500, it was decided that we could only offer a $300 sponsorship for this year.

Other Old Business
VGIC Booth Display
– Jeff gave preliminary estimates for a VGIC booth that could go to consumer and industry trade shows and was asked to get more definite estimates for the November meeting.

New Business
America’s Anniversary Garden
program was discussed and a request from Joyce Latimer for funding from the VGIC for additional printings of the AAG Virginia Tech publication # 426-210 “Plant America’s Anniversary Garden” and possible POP material. Lin will discuss this more with Joyce and Jeff will get printing estimates from a local printer.

Adjourn - The meeting was adjourned at 12:15 pm. To re-group at the State Fair to hear Gubernatorial Candidates address industry at 12:30 pm.
Respectively submitted, Jeff Miller, Exec Dir.

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