January 15, 2012
Gerwin Bouman believes in value of LO association work
“I met many great people, one being Bart Brusse of Sheridan Nurseries, who then was co-chair of Growers’ Sector Group. It was his kind insistence that led me to participate in this association,” remembers Bouman. He notes that he began in a passive mode working with the growers’ group. “But as time went on I became more active.”
Today he serves as vice-chair of the growers’ group and more recently the “honourable and responsible role” of growers’ representative on the provincial board. He also sits on the group’s sub-committees, research, safety and summer tour.
His involvement with LO began when he acquired Stam Nurseries. “At first I thought that LO was just another industry association. To be honest, we ‘inherited’ the LO annual membership status with the purchase of the business.”
He remembers hearing a comment from then-employee, saying that LO was “a good thing to be part of, since they do a lot for the industry.” He says, “How true this is! Beside paying the membership fee and displaying the LO signage, we also joined LO’s Safety Groups in 2008.”
One of Bouman’s favourite memories is his time spent with fellow active LO members at the annual growers’ short courses, auction and tours. “These are all great memories. I would not be active in LO if they weren’t. One of the most recent great experiences being involved with LO was hearing finance minister Jim Flaherty speak to the LO board at Parkwood Estates this past summer.”
He believes the greatest benefit is his personal development. “There is a wealth of knowledge to glean and it’s great to have the mentorship of association members at large, many of whom have been around for much longer than I have. I try to learn something new all the time, if possible on a daily basis. The networking opportunities are many and there is hardly a time when I drive home after a meeting or event, and say that I haven’t learned something.
Bouman believes that an association is only as good as its members. “We need to look to ourselves to make a difference. The old saying many hands make light work, means all of us need to step up to the plate and take our turn, even if it is twice. It’s easy to say we are too busy (I have to fight that excuse frequently), especially when times are not like they used to be.”
When asked if he was involved in any community volunteer activities Gerwin Bouman said, “Webster’s definition of the verb to volunteer is ‘to offer to give or enter into some service of one’s free will.’ That hopefully covers a lot of what we do in life. I guess between Stam Nurseries, Landscape Ontario, and a family with five younger children, there is not much more time in the day left for anything else; at least not at this time.”