August 1, 2020
Remembering JPLBY PAUL ST. PIERRE
Editor’s note: The landscape profession recently lost Jean Paul Lamarche, a pioneer teacher, speaker and consultant. JPL helped contractors on both sides of the border know their true costs — and charge accordingly. He created software toward that goal, and his book What the Market Will Bare is available on Amazon.com.
I LISTENED TO JPL SPEAK at a conference over 15 years ago, and he changed my life ever since. He had a brilliant mind, a warm and engaging personality, and was someone who genuinely cared about the people he worked with. That includes the company owners he consulted with, their teams, and all others he came across in the landscape industry during his hugely successful 36-plus years of consulting. He was, above everything else, an amazing communicator and teacher.
I was the “lucky one” who got him to cross the line and we became close friends. He tried to stay arm’s length away, but I finally cracked him.
Friendly beyond the definition of the word, I remember thinking about an hour or so after the first time I met him, ‘this guy is one of those people you could put literally anywhere, and he would make friends.’ His stories were awesome. Whether recounting the many different situations he had come across in business, or retelling tales of his junior hockey days and his long drives to see his adored wife Stella from Niagara-on-the-Lake. His favourite client of all time.
He was un charactere as we say in French. Someone you would see in a movie or read about in a book; translation does not do it justice. His influence on me personally will carry on positive effects for the rest of my life. At my company LFX, JPL is a system, it is a way of life for any of us who work on budgets. We have JPL pricing, JPL thresholds, we ask each other if you have done the JPL numbers … and I could go on. He has touched almost every piece of our business. He was a strong mathematics-based consultant but could not keep score on the golf course. I am sure others can attest to that — but who cares? He shared his wisdom every time he spent time with us. He actually retired eight years before he told me, because he wanted to make sure WE — LFX — were going to be OK.
He fired me with a letter and included a book with all his most-admired quotes. At the same time, he gave me my three- and five-year wish plan for my life. His visits to our workplace were less frequent in recent years: “You guys don’t need me anymore.” But he would tell me he was never far. Our relationship actually got stronger, we communicated a lot more and we had more fun. I think that’s one of the ultimate compliments you can pay a person: how even the little things they did, the little nuggets of conversation you had with them here and there, stay with you.
JPL never seemed to be in a rush. He would explain the same thing a hundred times over if you were having trouble “getting it,” while never losing his patience in the process. He was simply a Class Act through and through. That was J. Paul. The Man loved people. He loved life. And his was a life Lived! Which is why I know he is in the most beautifully kick-assed, fully-JPLed landscaped place right now. Pain-free. Cocktail in hand. Cigar at the ready. And shooting 68 whenever he wants to!
It’s time to make him proud with all we do here on Earth. Take some time tonight or tomorrow to send an email or text to your mentor or the most influential person in your life. JPL will be looking down at you saying, ‘well done’ with his big smile. RIP my dear friend, and as many of his text messages ended: GIDDY UP! LT
Paul St. Pierre operates
Belle River, Ont.-based Lanscape Effects.
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