May 15, 2013
Bruce Morton
Bruce Morton
For Bruce Morton CIT, CLP of the Ottawa Chapter, being a member of Landscape Ontario only makes sense. “It makes me wonder how for less than $500 per year, a small business person can afford to not take advantage of being a LO member.”

A member since 1988, Morton remembers when he first learned about the association. “In December of 1985 my boss took me to the Ottawa Chapter Christmas party. There I had an opportunity to socialize with a number of peers, and other contractors who I had worked with during the season. I also won the big Christmas door prize, a commercial gas trimmer. Winning the prize was great (my father got the biggest present he’d ever received from me that Christmas), but I was most impressed by what I learned by talking with some of the more experienced industry people I met.”

He remembers thinking at the time that he had very cleverly found a secret way to get help to be better at his job. “I now know I had simply discovered the value of networking,” he says. “I continued to use my new-found source of savvy coaching advice. When I started, two years later, I applied for membership right away in order to keep in contact with my valuable network of mentors and friends.”

He says if he was allowed to choose a legacy he would like to leave in LO, it would be to be remembered as the person who created the compelling marketing statement that LO uses in future membership drives. “That statement would explain very simply, for all the members and potential-members who ‘don’t get it,’ that the absolutely priceless, invaluable benefit one gains from membership in LO is the wisdom, coaching, guidance, mentorship, advice, examples, and help with any problem (you only have to just ask) you will get from the peers and industry professionals who you will get to know, just because you got involved as a volunteer,” says Morton. He concludes the thought with, “I do want to figure out how to make that message simpler.”

Morton serves as Ottawa’s representative on LO’s provincial board and as chair of Ottawa’s GreenTrade Expo. “I serve with a really great team on the Ottawa Chapter board.” He also helps on the Chapter Relevance Committee and with the Ottawa Chapter coordinator Martha Walsh.

Asked to recall his favourite memory during his time volunteering for the association, Morton responded, “Wow, that’s like asking me to pick out my favourite star in the night sky.” He related how that with everyone of his LO volunteer projects, he had a great experience with the people around him. “Our board meetings are certainly always fun.”

He did manage to recall a couple of events back in the early nineties. “I was up in Toronto helping at Congress, and a number of us were ‘relaxing’ at a pub, after a long day. We were telling stories and laughing, and I remember one of the older members (I won’t risk calling him more mature), laughed at a joke, and then said, ‘Ahhh, we may be poor, but we see life!’ I can remember at the time thinking it was a cool expression. As I got older, I realized how much of a life message is buried inside that simple statement. I still remember it, and use it.”

A humorous memory for Morton is a time when the Ottawa Chapter was quite involved in doing feature gardens with the Ottawa Home Show. “For years I helped out Tim Kearney, who chaired those projects. Each year Tim would ask his young son if he wanted to go along on setup days and help. The response was, ‘Is Bruce going?’ ‘Why?’ ‘Because, he always stops to eat. If he isn’t going, I’m not going, cause you never stop.’ I’ve always enjoyed the food part of volunteering.”   

Morton feels Landscape Ontario is in a challenging phase. “But, it’s in the most exciting stage of its growth and development since I’ve been involved.”

He says that what makes LO stand out above all the other professional associations in North America is that “we never sit still; failure is not an option, and we have leaders who are always looking for a better way to strengthen our association’s ability to serve our members and our industry. LO does this by always challenging the status quo.”

He offers as an example, the chapter relevance initiative, that he feels will revolutionize how LO manages and governs its affairs. “It will create a stronger, united chapter system, improve communication between chapters and head office, bridge gaps between the regions, ensure continuity of our initiatives and strategic plans, and ensure that every member, no matter how far from Milton, feels like he’s connected to something bigger. All the time. That’s cool!”

Along with his LO volunteer time, over the years Bruce Morton has helped coach various sports and activities involving his daughter. “That’s probably my favourite job.”