The History Of CLCA
CLCA Through The Decades1950s
History records that the California Landscape Contractors Association incorporated as a non-profit entity in April 1952. But for seven months prior, it existed as a non-incorporated statewide industry trade association, formed at Yosemite Park in September 1951, as the result of an emergency alliance of three regional landscaping trade groups who banded together to fight those who sought to curtail the activities of the C-27 license.
Prior to this, the three groups acted locally to develop plans and programs to further the interests of the industry in their areas. Each had a different focus. It soon became apparent that if there were to be a concerted effort at the state level, where decisions were made that affect all landscape contractors, they would need to band together and present a united front.
No history of the association would be complete without noting its beginnings in these local trade groups, which became CLCA's first three chapters when the new organization chartered.
A far-sighted assembly of aggressive contractors who realized the necessity of a cooperative program to cope with the problems of a growing industry conceived the San Francisco-Bay Area Chapter, the so-called "granddaddy of the chapters," in May 1937. This pioneer organization was known as the "Landscape Operators Association," and in 1947 became the "California Landscape Contractors Association," the name it would later cede to the new organization. C.J. "Jerry" Schromm, one of the original group's founding officers, would go on 17 years later to become CLCA's fourth president.
The Los Angeles Chapter met for the first time in October 1948, coming together to help draft a new set of questions for the state license board for C-27 applicants. Henry Soto and John Moulder, who served as founding officers, were later elected as CLCA's second and fifth presidents, respectively.
The San Diego Chapter held its organizational meeting in June 1951 to help support the action to defend the C-27, and assisted many operators in obtaining their licenses. One of San Diego's founding officers, Ed McEvoy, became CLCA's second executive secretary of record in 1953.
Charter members attending the Yosemite meeting to form the new statewide association were: Paul Moulder, Glendale; Dana Tyson, Sacramento; Harry A. Moore, San Diego; Blair Burkhardt, San Diego; Bailey Justice, Oakland; Henry C. Soto, Los Angeles; R.B. Gregory, Berkeley; and Kenneth E. Jenner, also of Berkeley. Jenner eventually became CLCA's third executive secretary (the title was later changed to executive director), and served in that capacity for nearly two decades.
Jenner was also the first to write about the early history of CLCA, which was published several times in the association's annual directory. In a 1968 article recounting the early days, he wrote:
"With the many problems confronting the members of this rapidly growing industry at this period, particularly unwarranted actions by certain labor pressure groups to curtail the scope of work allowable under the landscape contractors' license (C-27), through legislative proceedings and other procedures, industry members recognized the vital importance of establishing a strong cooperative trade association to preserve and protect their interests. It is needless to say that through the fine support of its members, CLCA soundly defeated these early attempts to limit the C-27 license (1951-1953)."
Bailey Justice was elected CLCA's first president, with Henry Soto serving as vice president and Merrill Winans as secretary-treasurer. In the early days of the association, state officers served from July to July (today they are installed in January). Soto became CLCA's second president in 1952, at which time the association retained its first executive secretary, Andy Barrigan. It was also in that year that the first annual Landscape Industry Directory was published for the benefit of its industry members and those engaged in allied fields.