February 15, 2013
Michael van Dongen
Michael van Dongen
It didn’t take Michael Van Dongen CHT of Van Dongen Landscaping and Nurseries in Hornby, Ont., long to become fully involved in Landscape Ontario.

“I knew a bit about the industry, but really wanted to be fully immersed in it, so I joined Landscape Ontario. I wanted to see all the moving parts and get to know more of the people within it,” says Van Dongen.

He vividly recalls the day he met LO executive director Tony DiGiovanni. “I had a short meeting with Tony, and the following day I was enrolled as a director on the Garden Centre Commodity Group.

Chair of sector group

Van Dongen now serves as chair of the Garden Centre Sector Group, and helps with the Certification program as a volunteer and judge. He is also a member of the Prosperity Partners Committee.

When asked if he had any favourite memories of his volunteer time with LO, he said that is still to come. Interviewed just prior to Congress, he quipped, “I just found out about this Tailgate at Congress.”

Loves interaction

Michael Van Dongen says the biggest benefit he receives from his volunteer time at LO is interaction with other LO and industry members.

He is continually impressed by the amount of work he sees from many of the staff and volunteers. “Really, they all work tirelessly.”

Other volunteer work by Van Dongen includes the United Way, although he says he doesn’t put in that much time in it. “I am still looking for that organization that works for only one month in the dead of winter. Perhaps I should begin my research in the Caribbean?”