NCLC’s Impact on NALP President Mike Bogan
The National Collegiate Landscape Competition (NCLC) has had a significant impact on the careers of numerous industry members, including NALP’s current president, Mike Bogan, CEO of LandCare, based in Frederick, Maryland.
“From my first job 36 years ago, to my current role today, to my time serving on the NALP board, I have benefited from relationships that started at this association’s events, beginning at NCLC,” he says.
Bogan got into horticulture through his first job at a local garden center in Tennessee. He met a landscape architect there and went on to major in landscape architecture at Mississippi State University.
He first participated in NCLC in 1985 as a sophomore at Mississippi State when it was still known as ALCA Field Days. ALCA (the Associated Landscape Contractors of America) is an NALP legacy organization. Bogan was recruited to help with the activities by Bob Callaway, who co-created the event.
“I wasn’t very enthusiastic about it at first but was blown away at the industry support and the exposure to all the opportunities for landscape professionals,” Bogan says.
He says the event opened his eyes to how professional and broad-reaching the landscape industry is and all the opportunities that are available. He says his first thoughts about the career fair were, ‘Wow! All these employers want to hire us!’
“My friends were searching high and low for a job, and we had employers recruiting us from all across the country,” Bogan says. “I entered school thinking I’d return home with my degree and start my own business, but my eyes were opened to all the potential opportunities. And I was able to meet with senior executives and business owners who were leading the industry. I never knew there was such an amazing world of experiences waiting for me.”
Bogan got to participate in NCLC one more time as a senior when it was hosted by Richland College in Dallas, Texas. He was looking for a full-time job and interviewed with industry legends like Landon Reeve of Chapel Valley, Craig Ruppert of Ruppert Landscape, and Bruce Hunt from Brickman. He found his first employer Davis Landscape, based in Harrisburg, and later accepted a job in their Gaithersburg, Maryland, office.
Bogan went on to spend 23 years with Brickman and then created Monterey Pine Advisors, a consulting agency serving the green industry. He assumed leadership of LandCare at the end of 2014.
As the 47th NCLC returns to Mississippi State on March 15-18, Bogan says it’s an honor to return with his wife, who is also an alumna and his daughter, who will be recruiting for LandCare.
“To once again be at this event, 38 years later, as the NALP president, at the school we are so proud of, is an incredible honor,” Bogan says. “I can’t wait to share it with my LandCare teammates, my family and my NALP friends!”
When Callaway hosted the first ALCA Field Day in 1977, only five schools participated, and 18 industry members came at their own expense to judge. Now NCLC has over 40 schools competing, and hundreds of industry professionals attend.
“If you haven’t attended this event, you don’t know what you’re missing,” Bogan says. “Over 500 students, who will be the next ones leading this industry, will be launching their careers. The talent, the energy and the opportunity are unmatched. Put Starkville, Mississippi, and NCLC in your plans this March!”