July 15, 2017
By Denis Flanagan CLD
LO Manager of Membership and Public Relations
Denis FlanaganThis issue of Landscape Ontario magazine includes a special section describing the many benefits of belonging to, and being engaged in the activities of the association. To go along with that, I thought I would take a look back to the time before I began working for the association to see how it has changed my own life and career.

Thinking back to that time, I quickly realized before working for LO, I was surrounded by future members who now run very successful businesses and have contributed to the association and their communities.

Before they were members

Before working full-time for Landscape Ontario, I co-hosted a TV show called, One Garden Two Looks. The weekly show, which aired on HGTV, would pick two neighbouring houses and I would design a landscape for one garden and my co-host, Charlie Dobbin would design for the other. We had a great crew who then installed the projects and for two consecutive summers the crew was made up of landscape/horticultural students from the University of Guelph and Fanshawe College. Many of the crew went on to become student members of Landscape Ontario and after graduating have developed very impressive careers.

Kevin Forestell

Kevin Forestell started a successful design/build company and opened offices in the GTA and Ottawa. His portfolio now includes installing award-winning gardens at Canada Blooms. In partnership with Paul Brydges, Kevin recently opened a new venture called Dozr which enables companies to rent out (and rent) equipment to other contractors. Kevin has certainly used the networking opportunities available through Landscape Ontario to his advantage to create two very successful companies.

Jordan Murfin

Jordan Murfin started in a similar way by developing a design/build company in Innisfil, Ont. called Vast Exteriors. Jordan has also built an award-winning garden at Canada Blooms and has won LO Awards of Excellence for some of his projects. I recently ran into Jordan at our Member Appreciation Day at Stonemen’s Valley/Zander Sod, where he told me he has expanded his company to include home construction and renovation.

Greg Scarlett

From day one, Greg Scarlett insisted he would one day own a company that did quality work and would price his jobs accordingly. Obviously, this became a winning philosophy because both Greg and his wife April have a very successful company in Urban Landscape Solutions. Concentrating on large residential properties east of the GTA, Greg also recognized that being involved in LO was important to the growth of his business. Greg served as president of the Durham Chapter for two terms and the couple have supported many community projects.

It has been wonderful to watch these three individuals blossom as successful business owners and LO members.

LO is here to help

The current generation of students also have a support network in place from Landscape Ontario that includes financial assistance (scholarships) via LO’s Foundation.

Both students, and educators in horticultural related institutions are eligible for a free membership in Landscape Ontario. Educators get a free subscription to our magazines, enjoy cost savings benefits on new vehicles, equipment and business programs and are welcome to attend chapter meetings.

Students qualify for educational discounts on seminars, and can also take advantage of the incredible networking opportunities at chapter meetings and events. Why not learn form some of the seasoned professionals (like I have mentioned here), who have gone from students to well-respected and successful entrepreneurs. What bigger benefit could there be?
Denis Flanagan can be reached at dflanagan@landscapeontario.com or at 905-875-1805, ext. 2303.