July 15, 2015
Professional pride to discounts draw members to association
But most of the 2,400 members of Landscape Ontario would add other elements to that definition. Some simply say membership is a great way to obtain vehicle discounts, while others see membership as an investment in their knowledge and career.
Each month Landscape Ontario on average accepts 25 to 30 new members. As part of this special issue, the editorial department at the magazine decided to ask some of the newest members of Landscape Ontario, why they joined. We stopped by to talk to the family-operated business, Zarcon Landscape, near Fenwick.
For nearly 16 years, Joe Zaremba has operated Zarcon Landscape. It began as a part-time vocation to provide some income and give his sons Adam and Greg summer jobs. Those summer jobs have turned into career paths for both Adam and Greg, who are now a major part of the company.
After completing school a few years ago, the sons realized that if Zarcon Landscape was to move ahead as a company, then it needed to be a part of the association that represented the industry. So, in December of last year, Zarcon was accepted as an Active member of LO.
“We realized that by being a member of Landscape Ontario, it lets the consumer know your company has a high level of professionalism,” says Adam. “Our industry is self-governing, and Landscape Ontario provides the standard by ensuring companies must reach an established level of professionalism to become a member.”
Adam has studied landscape architecture at both the University of Guelph and the University of Canberra in Australia. Greg graduated from the Horticulture Technician program at Niagara College. Joe says he studied at the school of hard knocks.
Adam says that he has taken advantage of the courses offered by LO. “The cost break for the courses by being a member is another benefit of joining Landscape Ontario,” he says.
When Joe began the company it provided lawn cutting and maintenance services. “We have expanded the company into a design-build operation,” says Adam. He explains that the change has greatly affected the company, which saw business double in size last year. He notes that the present season is going very well.
The company has expanded its area of operation to Niagara Falls, Haldimand and Stoney Creek. Along with the three family members, there are three full-time, and one part-time employee. Adam says that the winter months are spent designing projects, marketing and preparing for the next season. “I strongly believe that preparation is important to become efficient and well organized in order to create a successful company.”
Part of the preparation for the new season has been taking courses at LO’s Professional Development Program. “I took a lot of plant courses last year,” says Adam. “I believe that proper plant selection is very important to creating a great project for the client.”
He adds that key members are attending various seminars, training, courses, exams and more. These range from the latest offerings in perennials, lighting design and installation, to safe equipment operation and 3D design solutions.
Another new member this year is Rob Jarnevic of S.J. Stone Mason Company in Maple. He learned about Landscape Ontario at Canada Blooms, Congress and from seeing decals on member trucks.
He has taken advantage of the vehicle and machinery discounts, but he is pleased with the amount of the information that comes through the electronic newsletter. He also intends to take some seminars in the off season.
Bruce Fitter from South Mary Lake Contracting in Huntsville heard about Landscape Ontario through friends who are also members. He too is enjoying the cost savings benefits through endorsed suppliers. Like Rob Jarnevic, Fitter finds the industry information through magazines an added bonus.
“I’m very happy to be a member of Landscape Ontario,” says Fitter.