6 December 2017

Year End Message - Alan Jones


Season Greetings!

2017 - A Good Year for IPPS Regions Around the World!


As we approach the end of 2017, I wanted to bring the membership up to date on recent International Board activities, discussions and decisions. 

All regions held successful conferences, with an increase in attendance as we continue to see an improving worldwide nursery industry economy.

2017 International Tour
The International Board met in July, during a very successful international tour, hosted by the European Region. Over 75 people participated in the tour which started in Southern England. After visits to world class nurseries and spectacular gardens, the tour also visited the famous Hampton Court Flower Show. The tour continued with visits in Belgium and the Netherlands. One of the highlights of the tour was an early morning visit to the Aalsmeer Flower Auction where over twenty million flowers are traded daily. The building that houses the auction is the largest building by footprint in the world covering one hundred and twenty-eight acres.

The European Region conference was held near the historic nursery region of Boskoop and it was very encouraging to see so many students attend the conference, especially many who had never attended an IPPS event before. Thank you to the European Region for organizing an educational and enjoyable tour and conference.

2017 International Award of Honour
Congratulations to Pete Bingham, the worthy recipient of the 2017 International Award of Honour. This award is presented by the International Board with gratitude to acknowledge exceptional and distinguished service to the Society and its members.

The International Editor
As many members know, our International Editor Charles Heuser is retiring in 2018, after many years of service to IPPS. Volume 67 of The Combined Proceedings will be the last edition Charles will edit. The strategic committee and the International Board have been working on a transition plan for the past few years and advertised for a new International Editor a few months ago. We were very pleased with the quality of the applicants and the interest shown in this important position. Six members of the International Board were involved in interviewing the top four candidates via Skype video calls. Following very successful interviews, the Board selected Bob Geneve to be the next International Editor. Bob is a professor of Horticulture at the University of Kentucky, and has authored books on plant propagation. Bob is a member of the IPPS Eastern Region of North America. He will be working closely with Charles as we make the editor transition during 2018.

The Combined Proceedings
As part of the editor transition, the Board has also made a significant decision regarding the format of the Proceedings. There has been a lot of discussion about the future of the format of the Proceedings during the past few years. The new IPPS website has now allowed for some of those discussions to finally become a reality. With the launch of the new website all 65 Proceedings Volumes were made available online for members to access at now extra cost. This service has proven to be very popular, members have downloaded more than 5000 papers since it was made available beginning 2016. Due to continuing increases in printing and distribution costs and with improved member access to the IPPS Online Proceedings Library, the Board has decided that volume 67 (2017 conference papers) will be the last edition of the Combined Proceedings printed in the Black Book format and distributed in the traditional way.

Starting with the 2018 regional conference papers (vol.68), the new editor will continue to edit the presentations in the traditional manner and then upload them to the IPPS website. The conference papers on the IPPS website will look similar to what is currently available in the printed edition, except there will be the opportunity to add PowerPoint presentations. All members will be able to view the “new style”. Combined Proceedings online and if necessary will be able to print individual papers or the entire proceedings directly from the IPPS website. One of the main advantages of this change will be a dramatically reduced time between a regional conference and the publication of the Proceedings on the IPPS website.

New Potential Regions
The Board continues to work on new regional development with interest in China and more recently in India. The Australian Region is sponsoring the potential IPPS China Region and has now appointed a secretary and established a budget to help establish this region. The Western Region of North America is sponsoring the potential IPPS India Region. A former Western Region president and current International Board member Dharam Sharma is from India and has contacts who are interested in helping form an IPPS India Region.

Membership
With the unfortunate decline in IPPS membership in recent years the Board is encouraged by the interest in establishing IPPS regions in other parts of the world. The Board is also encouraged by the increase in student membership, and the number of students who are attending annual conferences. Attracting younger members is critical for the future of IPPS. We need to continue to help the students understand the significance IPPS can play in their horticultural career. At a recent annual meeting I asked a group of students what had impressed them about the IPPS meeting. The comment that stood out was – “I was very surprised to sit down at lunch with so many leading university professors, authors of horticultural books used at school and owners and managers of great nurseries. What surprised me even more was how open and friendly they were to students.” What a great industry we work in!

IPPS LinkedIn and Facebook
IPPS LinkedIn Group has over 2320 members and still growing. The IPPS International Facebook Group has 495 members.

Website
Volume 65 of the Combined Proceedings is now available on the IPPS website. Interesting IPPS website facts: June 1, 2016 – May 31, 2017 There were 38,000 sessions, 131 pages viewed, 35,000 actual users and 3718 papers downloaded. About 8,400 individual users have logged onto the IPPS website in the past year. 33% of traffic is from returning visitors.

IPPS International Tours
The 2018 International Tour will be hosted by the Eastern Region of North America. The tour will start in New York City on the September 11th and ends September 22nd in Newark, Delaware. Details are available on the IPPS website.
The 2019 International Tour will be hosted by the Australian Region. Tour dates May 17 – June 2, 2019 in Queensland, Australia.

What Does IPPS Mean to You?
In closing, I would like to share with the IPPS membership something Richard McKenna, International Director for Europe asked the Board during a discussion about membership. Richard asked each Board member to describe in one word the meaning of their IPPS membership. The following were the responses:
Friendship, networking, motivation, integrity, sharing, career-building, professionalism, relationships and knowledge.

As members, we understand the value and benefits of the IPPS tradition. However, we need to continually get this message out to non-members and others in the industry. Many of the values of IPPS are recorded in the proceedings and in the memories of older members. As a way to record some of the traditions and history of IPPS it has been suggested each region make contact with their older members and video their reasons for being members of IPPS. These videos could then be posted on the IPPS website as a historical reference to many of the industries great members.

I wish all IPPS members around the world an enjoyable holiday season as we approach the end of 2017 and a very prosperous and industrious 2018.

I hope to see many of you on the 2018 International Tour hosted by Eastern Region, starting in New York City in September.


Alan Jones
International Chair
Monkton, Maryland, U.S.A.

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