The Unification is Complete!

As of April 30, 2023, the unification is complete! IGIA members who had joint membership with ILCA will renew membership with one unified organization moving forward.  Many of you have already done this through the ILCA renewal process.  IGIA members that were not previously affiliated with ILCA should have received a renewal packet the week after Mother's Day.  

We're happy to report that many IGIA members have gotten connected with the 26 ILCA committees.  The Growers, InVigorateU, and Spring Training Committees have now become part of the ILCA organization!  

As we look to the future, we encourage you to identify professionals within your organization that can get involved so that we have a diversified perspective as we enhance existing programs and build new ones. To learn more about the committee opportunities that are available, visit


If you have questions about our future direction or how to get involved with the unified organization, please contact Kellie Schmidt at 217-546-4733. 

Progress Toward Unification
August 2022

This spring, we shared the exciting news of our plan to unify with the Illinois Landscape Contractors Association.  We‘re happy to offer a report on our progress towards unification.

In May, we sent dues renewal packets, asking membership to pledge support one more time so that we can deliver on our promises before unification is complete. We are pleased to share that 75% of dues have been collected, with time remaining in the grace period for those who have not yet sent a payment.

At the end of June, the ILCA board of directors ratified the necessary bylaw changes within their organization so that progress could continue. On July 20, IGIA hosted a special membership meeting to vote on unification. The vote passed in the affirmative with a count of 49-1.

On July 28, IGIA hosted the annual membership meeting where financials for the previous fiscal year were presented, and IGIA President Brian Aaron and Executive Director Kellie Schmidt presented what members can expect moving forward.

In the remaining months of 2022, both IGIA and ILCA will continue to run a separate calendar of events. IGIA staff and the board of directors will continue working to promote and protect your interests, even as the effort to become part of the larger organization commences.

In April 2023, IGIA will cease operations, Kellie Schmidt will begin working for ILCA in her new role, and IGIA programs will move forward under the ILCA banner. IGIA members will receive an annual membership dues renewal from ILCA in mid-May 2023.

Illinois Green Industry Association and Illinois Landscape Contractors Association Announce Historic Unification 
May 2022

To better serve the nursery and landscape industry in Illinois, Illinois Landscape Contractors Association (ILCA) and Illinois Green Industry Association (IGIA) will soon become one unified organization.

This decision came as a natural result of stronger collaboration over the past few years. What started as simple information sharing between the organizations led to frequent collaboration during the pandemic to ensure the entire green industry was recognized as and stayed essential. Exiting the pandemic, the collaboration continued through joint legislative meetings between members and lawmakers. Finally, this culminated in a statewide education and networking event called Spring Training held on March 1, 2022. The more the organizations worked together, it became obvious that unification was not just possible, but pragmatic.

ILCA has expanded its scope in the past five years by bringing in outside organizations such as the Illinois Professional Lawn Care Association, Midwest Ecological Landscape Association, Landscape Design Association, and irrigation contractors. The precedent and record of success had been established for unifying with the IGIA. After a comprehensive review of our missions and after frequent meetings among our leadership, the path to becoming one, stronger statewide organization was set.

Beginning May 1, both organizations are taking important steps in transition. This spring, ILCA will undergo bylaw changes related to membership categories and dues. Throughout 2022, the two organizations will continue to run a separate calendar of events. Later in the year, ILCA will begin to lend administrative support to IGIA.

2022-2023: A Transition Year

Both organizations will continue to operate and run programs independently. This will allow for the foundation to be laid for one organization without any disruption of member services. IGIA Executive Director Kellie Schmidt and ILCA Executive Director Scott Grams will continue in their current capacities.

IGIA will still host its popular perennial programs such as Summer Conference, InvigorateU, and the Fall Growers Tour. ILCA will offer its full calendar of events, as well. IGIA and ILCA staff and committees will support one another when necessary.

2023 and Beyond: An Historic Unification

The unification will proceed under the terms of a Memorandum of Understanding between the organizations. This will consolidate all programs and committees into one organization.

IGIA will formally dissolve as a corporation on April 30, 2023, and the association’s assets will be transferred in accordance with the bylaws of the association and Illinois statute.

IGIA Executive Director Kellie Schmidt will join ILCA as the Statewide Director of Development. Working remotely, she will work alongside ILCA Executive Director Scott Grams who will remain the Executive Director of the combined organization. Kellie’s role will allow the unified organization to offer programs across the state while maintaining the popular programs ILCA has built in the Chicagoland area.

“As a unified organization, the Illinois nursery and landscape industry will speak with one voice moving forward,” said Schmidt. "I look forward to working with ILCA staff in my new role to continue representing the issues that are critical to the livelihoods of our members statewide. If we combine efforts to strengthen our relationships in Springfield, the push to advocate for member interests will be more focused and I can concentrate on grassroots efforts in each market.”

“I just can’t wait to get started,” said Executive Director Scott Grams. “Both Boards have filtered this unification effort through the lens of what is best for Illinois landscape and nursery professionals. Their transparency and openness, while adding an incredible asset like Kellie, allows us to turn wishful thinking into a practical reality.”

The Spring Training Event is the first of many training and networking opportunities for the markets outside of Chicago. ILCA has an arsenal of proven programs that have been sharpened in the Chicago market, that can be customized to fit the needs of the smaller downstate markets. Part of Schmidt’s role as Statewide Director of Development will be to work with the partners in these markets to determine what is needed and how the existing suite of programs can best be utilized.

There are some details that still need to be ironed out. To that end, the ILCA and IGIA staffs and board members will spend the rest of 2022 collaborating and sharing expertise. They will also jointly promote each other’s events and programs during the transition period. The Boards will continue to implement the MOU and a new, unified organization representing the interests of all statewide landscape and nursery professionals will debut in 2023. “This unification isn’t the end, it’s just the beginning,” concluded Schmidt.

IGIA members who have questions about the unification effort can contact Kellie Schmidt at 217-546-4733 or [email protected]. ILCA members may contact Scott Grams at 630-472-2851 or [email protected].

About IGIA

Founded in 1925, Illinois Green Industry Association (IGIA) is one of the oldest agricultural organizations in the state. We work on behalf of our members to promote and protect nursery and greenhouse growers, retail garden centers, and landscape professionals. Our mission is to help strengthen the position of our member businesses by offering industry certification, distinctive opportunities for education and networking, legislative and regulatory representation, and other member services.

About ILCA

Since 1959, ILCA has provided its members with the resources needed to enhance their performance and ensure continued growth and success. The Association’s mission is to enhance the professionalism and expertise of members by providing leadership, education, representation, and services while promoting environmental awareness and the value of the landscape industry. ILCA is a 501 (c) (6) nonprofit trade association with more than 800 member companies.