TPI’s 2020 International Education Conference & Field Day attracted more than 800 people who enjoyed a whirlwind week on February 17th – 20th in Orlando, Florida. Attendees spent a week together learning, networking, catching up with old friends, and meeting new ones. Attendees came from 36 states and 11 countries including South Africa, Norway, Iraq, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and even Japan to take part in the vigor and excitement of this event.
The week kicked off Monday morning with over 100 participants at the Rootin’ Tootin’ Clay Shootin’ event to benefit The Lawn Institute (TLI). Attendees compete against each other and tested their shooting skills by taking aim at clay targets on a scenic swampy course. After a group breakfast, the teams took to the course and competed for the title. Congrats to all of the winners!
Meanwhile, several attendees and their families made their way on the Wild Florida tour!
A visit to the Florida Everglades proved to be the wildest adventure in Central Florida. Our group enjoyed a close look at alligators & exotic wildlife as they glided through 4,200 acres of untouched nature preserve on an exclusive airboat ride. They also had the opportunity to stroll through the Gator and Wildlife Park to see lemurs, sloths, zebras, and other animals native to South America, Africa, and Australia.
Upon return to the hotel and after a bit of rest, our attendees attended several activities across the resort including lounging in cabanas by the pool, our first-ever Women in Turfgrass reception and our First Timer’s reception. Monday evening, TPI president Hank Kerfoot opened the conference on to a packed house at the Opening Reception at the Hilton Orlando Bueno Vista Palace. Here attendees got a chance to network and relax before conference education the next morning.
Karl Mecklenburg, former Denver Bronco, kicked off education with an inspirational speech to TPI members during the General Session and morning breakfast. Attendees enjoyed two full education days focused on improving office processes, communication, best sod farming practices, the latest on regulations, Keeping it Real, and so much more.
TPI Executive Director Casey Reynolds hosted the TPI Annual Business Meeting at Tuesday’s lunch where he presented information on TPI and TLI budgets, TLI scholarships, current, and new initiatives, and more.
Exhibit Hall and Field Day
The Exhibit Hall opened Tuesday with an eager crowd ready to visit with over 50 exhibitors lining the hall. Vendors were able to share information about their products with the attendees during dinner and in the reception afterward. Then we headed down the hall into the massive dessert reception complete with Disney Characters!
Wednesday morning attendees headed to a field day at nearby H&H Sod Farm. With beautiful weather and over 20 exhibitors, attendees were excited to learn about new products and technologies while enjoying lunch with over 800 of their closest friends.