January 15, 2018
Georgian Lakelands Chapter celebrates excellence
Michael LaPorte accepts the Service and Leadership Award from Volunteer of the Year recipient Nick Solty.
Landscape Ontario’s Georgian Lakelands Chapter held their annual Awards of Distinction at Casino Rama in Orillia, Ont., on Nov. 30. Emceed by Clearview Nursery’s Michael LaPorte, the evening included  socializing and dinner prior to the announcement of winners in each of the eight categories to a crowd of about 80 people.

Nick Solty, a past-president of Landscape Ontario and founding member of the chapter, presented a new award, the 2017 Service and Leadership Award, to Michael LaPorte for his efforts in expanding the chapter’s boundaries while at the same time unifying its members.

Solty commented, “He [Michael] worked to find a way to build a stronger chapter by creating an inclusive chapter, where all member companies would have the opportunity to attend meetings where they live. Through his work on the board, Michael has been able to foster a greater sense of belonging to the Georgian Lakelands Chapter family.  He has been one of our greatest supporters and continues to help out wherever he can.”

Congratulations to the winners:
•  Hardscape Material Supplier of the Year: Cast N Stone
•  Plant Material Supplier of the Year: Solty’s Garden Centre
•  Equipment and Accessory Supplier of the Year: Linzel Distributing
•  Best service Supplier of the Year: Barrie Blue Printing
•  Best Salesperson of the Year: Mike Rohricht, Solty’s Garden Centre
•  Best Boss of the Year: Andrew Beattie, Ideal Landscape Services
•  Volunteer of the Year: Nick Solty
•  Employee of the Year: Dayna Pinkney, Clearview Nursery
•  Service and Leadership Award: Michael LaPorte, Clearview Nursery

Chapter member Lexi Dearborn of Dearborn Designs gave a summary of the chapter’s many projects over the years and recognized the hard work and dedication of the many volunteers in advance of presenting the Volunteer of the Year award to Nick Solty. Dearborn stated volunteers have “planned chapter meetings, looked for speakers, booked speakers, found locations for meetings, planned the food, invited members, and acted as hosts. Volunteers have planned chapter events, sat through board meetings, sat on LO committees, sat on LO sector groups, been our Provincial Rep., and been LO President (three times). We’ve sat in the LO booth at community garden shows, been speakers at garden shows, set up garden shows, sat in the LO booth at Congress with the GL trailer…”

Dearborn also noted, “Four years ago, our chapter had 151 member companies. As of last week, we had 321 member companies. If you want bragging rights, our chapter is larger than the Ottawa or London chapters. This growth isn’t because LO has a great truck discount, it is because of our volunteers.”