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at the career fair. By attending the competitions, you can see who the star performers are if you are looking for new employees.


WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE STUDENTS WHO ARE ATTENDING NCLC? For students who are attending, my advice is similar. Take full advantage of the opportunities that are available. Get out in front of companies that you are interested in. Don’t just walk up to them, grab the free stuff and leave. Talk to companies. Ask them if they’d be willing to do a telephone interview with you so that you can talk even more after the event. Come prepared and make sure that companies have a way to reach you afterwards. Of course, you have to think about how you’re going to present yourself. Dress appropriately and position


Alyssa Brown senior, Brigham Young University


TELL US ABOUT YOUR NCLC EXPERIENCE. This will be my fourth year attending NCLC, since I went as a freshman—which is admittedly unusual. But I went because I wanted to immerse myself in the industry


and make sure that I was definitely in the right program. I currently am a senior at Brigham Young University working toward earning a bachelor’s of science degree in landscape management. This year, I’m the team captain, which means I’m responsible for helping everyone prepare for their event.


WHAT’S THE KEY TO A SUCCESSFUL EXPERIENCE AT NCLC? Having been to NCLC three times previously, I’ve learned a lot. I think that the key to success when attending the event is to get outside of your comfort zone. This is how you’re going to make the most out of it. I think a lot of students go and stay focused on their competition or maybe trying to get a summer internship and they limit themselves from all of the other opportunities. You should try to experience as much as possible. I would also suggest that you network as much as possible while you’re there. Don’t just go and try to get a bunch of free t-shirts. Make it a true learning experience. I have met people who I may never go to work for but that I know would be there to answer a question if I had one. That’s really invaluable to me.


yourself as a professional. Take this event seriously and you’ll be taken seriously. Companies are looking for people who stand out as leaders.


WHY DO YOU PERSONALLY ATTEND NCLC? In terms of how this event benefits Timberline, I think there are great opportunities for us. With this being our first year as a major sponsor, I feel this helps me professionally by broadening my approach to recruiting and helping within our industry. It will also allow me to learn from others who have been sponsoring this event for much longer—like HighGrove Partners, who sponsored for 16 years before us. They have learned a lot and have passed that knowledge on to us. In general, it’s just another great example of how this industry is full of people who really take the time to support one another.


WHAT HAS MOST SURPRISED YOU AT NCLC? One thing that has surprised me is that this industry is so open. People want to help one another and they’re willing to do so. I would guess that a lot of other indus- tries aren’t like that. On top of that, since it’s a national event, there’s even less concern about direct competition so there are opportunities to ask questions and learn a lot. What you learn can help you make better decisions for your own career path. I think that when you’re in school, you’re really only exposed to what is right there in your own community. But NCLC is an opportunity to see what else is out there—on a national level. It can really open up the vision for what your career opportunities could be. You might even learn that there are opportunities you didn’t know existed within this industry.


WHY DO YOU PERSONALLY ATTEND NCLC? For me, my goal has always been to learn more about myself and my career path, and this event has allowed me to do that. In fact, by doing this work and being team captain and preparing for competition, I’ve learned that I love teaching. My long-term goal is to become a university professor. I’m certainly not opposed to going into the field first, but I love the idea of ultimately teaching others. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in NCLC and learn so much about myself and the industry as a result. There’s no question it’s had a major impact on me.


NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF LANDSCAPE PROFESSIONALS 11


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