July 15, 2012
Jay Rivait
Jay Rivait
Whenever an event happens in the Windsor Chapter, Jay Rivait’s name inevitably pops up. Her title within the Chapter is volunteer secretary and chapter assistant, but that unassuming title covers a lot of ground.

Rivait has worked in the industry for 18 years. She says she was first introduced to Landscape Ontario in a funny way, when, as a student in the Landscape Technician program at St. Clair College, she won an academic award sponsored by the Windsor Chapter.

The association has always been on her radar in her professional life, but it wasn’t until a previous employer became president of the Windsor Chapter, that she was encouraged to give some of her time to chapter projects and events. Now working as general manager at Top Grade Landscape and Garden Solutions in McGregor, Rivait says her current employer fully supports her volunteer involvement within the Windsor Chapter community.

As the Windsor Chapter has the smallest number of members in Landscape Ontario, a lot of work is carried out by a few volunteers. That means there can be a heavy time commitment for board members. “I’d been the Windsor Chapter secretary for a while, but it wasn’t until a few years ago that the board decided they needed to have a consistent liaison with local members, and they added the chapter assistant title,” explains Rivait.

“The idea with the new Chapter position was to have some continuity on the board, as well as develop a community connection that people could put a name and a face to.” The restructuring efforts of the Windsor Chapter board has paid off, as Rivait explains there are less than 40 member companies within the Chapter, yet meetings and networking events draw between 60 to 65 people.

“I’m really a go-between for the board and the Chapter members, as well as the Chapter and the local community. The Windsor Chapter has been involved in some worthwhile community initiatives, most recently Olivia’s Garden and the Windsor Hospice Solidarity Gardens (see page 5), and I’m proud to help promote our connection with these projects.”

Rivait is always on the lookout for ways to extend the reach of the Windsor Chapter. “Last year I touched base with a friend who is an instructor at St. Clair College, and have set up email contact with St. Clair students. They now have a go-to person working in the industry who can help them make connections and answer any questions they might have. We want students to take advantage of the networking benefits of Landscape Ontario, as they begin their careers.”

While Rivait is proud to herald the contributions and accomplishments of the members of the Windsor Chapter, she also benefits personally from her involvement with the chapter, saying, “On a personal level, volunteering with Landscape Ontario has been a great way to meet people. I’ve sat on the board for eight or nine years now, and have made some good friends.”