January 15, 2014
By Dave Braun
LO President

Dave Braun It’s with a great deal of humility and appreciation that I write to you as your new Landscape Ontario president.  

While the role of president is a leadership position, my function is much more about serving and representing our members. I would like to thank the executive members for all of their support, as well as our sharp and energetic board of directors for their help and guidance.  

A great deal of Landscape Ontario’s success needs to be credited to its amazing staff, led by the uniquely talented and hardworking Tony DiGiovanni.  Additionally, I would like to thank the pioneers who built LO into the strong organization it is today. We appreciate your tireless work and will continue to build upon your successes.

I had the privilege of experiencing our industry first-hand while growing up. In grade school, I would get asked, “What does your dad do?” I would proudly reply, “My Dad grows trees!” Together, we have all been in the green industry long before it was fashionable and before the oil and gas commercials told us to feel warm and fuzzy about it. We don’t need to purchase carbon offsets to have a positive impact on the planet — we just need to put in an honest day’s work.  

Our members make up the real green industry. Our missions (and profits) are uniquely aligned with creating safer, healthier and stronger communities. The more work our businesses do, the more successful our communities become. Planting trees and enhancing the landscape improves the quality of our air, reduces energy needs, creates safer neighbourhoods and leaves a legacy of beauty.

Membership: What’s in it for you?

  • Sharing Ideas
  • Public Promotion
  • Strong Representation
  • Education
This is not an industry for the faint-hearted, for those who prefer the easy way out, or those who seek only a paycheque — fulfilment comes from a job well-done. Our members are the risk-takers and the doers. Struggle and sacrifice to make sure that the customer is happy is a way of life; we have never been ones for shortcuts, or settling for less.

We all know there’s no easy way to grow a business, but we are so fortunate to be able to learn from and share with our fellow members.  One very successful member shared with me that if he attends a meeting with ten people and shares one good idea, he’ll get nine other great ideas in return and be much further ahead. The LO model is one of generosity, long-term thinking, and pragmatism; one that has helped hundreds of our members grow their businesses many times over.

Whether members are landscapers, garden centre owners, growers or designers, we believe in the philosophy, “We’re all in it together,” instead of, “You’re on your own, and you have to fend for yourself.”  

Clearly, the business environment in which my grandfather operated is much different than the one in which we work today. We all realize that the world has changed and that we must change with it. Change is now a constant; our industry is increasingly competitive, regulated, litigious and global in its reach. Now, more than ever, we need to continue to help each other.

Although the threats to our businesses are new, the values of hard work, honesty, and quality remain. Members need support along the way and that’s what Landscape Ontario provides. Our mission is to be the leader in representing, promoting and fostering a favourable climate for the advancement of the horticulture industry in Ontario, which simply means that Landscape Ontario is here to help.

From the well-established companies where staff now measure in the hundreds, to our newest members with a staff count of less than five, we promise to represent you and to foster your growth. Whether it’s creating opportunities to learn from our colleagues, or providing formal education programs and training, we pledge to be a partner in your success. We will continue to represent our members at all levels of government and to positively engage with the community at large.

Everywhere we look, there is more work to be done. We will continue to improve our organization to make it even more relevant and impactful to you and your business. We can’t do it without you, and we look forward to your help.
Dave Braun may be reached at dbraun@landscapeontario.com.

Special issue: The value of membership

What’s in it for you?

In this issue of Landscape Ontario magazine we focus on the benefits of being a member of LO.
To highlight the many reasons to belong to Landscape Ontario, you’ll find an icon featuring the benefits mentioned in each column.
The reasons to become a member are diverse, but are ultimately only as valuable as you choose to make them.