President's Message: Tips and tricks for Spring preparedness
With a last name like O’Neill, it’s a pretty safe bet I know when St. Patrick’s Day lands. Green beer. Loud, "off key" singing. These are all things I associate with St. Patrick’s Day. But the business man in me views March 17 in a completely different light.

That was my deadline day … the middle of March. Somewhere about this time of the year, in the Piedmont Region of the Carolinas, the phone starts to ring. And each week, the frequency of phone calls grows until mid April. Then you hang on for dear life until winterizations are done.
So at this time of year, I would say to myself … I have until Saint Patrick’s Day! For what you ask?

  • Serious staff specialty training. Do I want to be sure my repair specialists know how to use an “amp clamp”? Darn right! Do I want to train them now or in April when there aren’t enough hours in the day. The answer should be NOW!
  • Safety training and First Aid. We work in a field that, at best, is physically demanding and at worst … dangerous. What is your procedure if someone gets hurt? Does your crew know what to do? Also, go through the First Aid kits at this time of year. Replenish and replace.
  • Truck maintenance and paperwork. Do you want to park a truck/crew NOW for an inspection or in June? Now. How about truck number three, with that wonky starter? Get that replaced now or risk having a stranded crew when they have 25 start-ups to do.
  • Scheduling start-ups. When will you do your start-ups? Like what week EXACTLY? In February, our office would start calling all the homeowners in certain neighborhoods.
  • Product training. Does Hunter have a cool new widget this season? What about Rain Bird? Toro? K-Rain? Rachio? HydroPoint? Weathermatic? Now is when you call your preferred distributor and ask what they have seen that can help differentiate you this season.
  • Hiring. NOW is when you bring the bodies on board, not in the middle of April. Hit the ground running WEEKS before your competition.
  • Our numbers. How much will you sell in May? September? Second quarter? If you don’t have a clue, look at last year's numbers. Use them as a road map. But plan … now.

Where will I be on St. Patrick’s Day? Probably getting too loud and chest bumping strangers, but I won’t be scrambling to get my business ready for Spring. The time to do that is NOW.

Clark O'Neill
CIA President
Thank you for a successful Green & Growin' event!
We hope the irrigation sessions were relevant and insightful.

Green & Growin' sessions delivered beyond expectations
The Carolinas Irrigation Association hosted an irrigation education track at the 2023 Green & Growin' conference Jan. 16-20.

The six irrigation sessions were led by Chris Keating, The Toro Company, Kurt Thompson, K. Thompson & Associates, LLC, Jed Birch, Smith Turf & Irrigation, and Greg Goudeau, HydroPoint Data Systems.

"Thanks to everyone for their time, their expertise, their professionalism and their passion for this industry we are all crazy enough to love. I was proud to be an irrigation professional today. I will hold most of you responsible for that," says CIA President Clark O'Neill.

Green & Growin' was well attended and most of the irrigation sessions were standing room only. If you missed out on this year's event, save the dates, Jan. 15-19, for next year! FUTURE DATES
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NCRWA Backflow Prevention Assembly Certified Tester Course
Jan. 30, 2023, Asheville, NC
Feb. 6, 2023, Sanford, NC

CIA Virtual Spring Water Summit
TBD, March or April, 2023, Virtual

CIA Waterpalooza Conference
Oct. 12, 2023, Raleigh, NC

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Carolinas Irrigation Association
8280 Willow Oaks Corporate Drive, Suite 630 | Fairfax, VA 22031
703.536.7080 (p) | 703.536.7019 (f) | info@carolinasirr.org