December 15, 2013
Tony DiGiovanni CHT
LO executive director

Tony DiGiovanni I can’t believe the year went by so fast, and 2014 is nearly here. Landscape Ontario will be 41 years old in 2014. In my 25 years working with this great industry and our wonderful members, I (and your staff) have been inspired by hundreds of individuals who served on the many boards, committees, chapters and sector groups.

Although unique, they share many of the same attributes. We have been blessed with a long list of contribution-oriented members who care and are constantly working to elevate, advance and grow the landscape/horticulture industry and the people in it.     

In January, Past President Tom Intven will step off the board, after decades of service. Tom brought a great deal of wisdom, passion and fun to the board. He represented the industry in an exemplary manner. I and many others will personally miss him on the board. However, I am sure Tom will continue to contribute to the growth of the industry in some other capacity.  

Another excellent leader and representative is also moving on after a lifetime of contribution. President Phil Charal will join the exclusive club of Past Presidents at the AGM in January. He will serve another two years on the board, acting as a wise counsel to the executive and the new president. Phil reflects integrity and leadership. He has done an excellent job at guiding Landscape Ontario the last two years.  

I would also like to welcome Dave Braun as the new president of Landscape Ontario. Dave represents a new generation. At a recent Toronto Chapter meeting, I was speaking with two long-time members of Landscape Ontario. Both had worked for Braun Nurseries before Dave was born. I look forward to working with Dave, as he puts his signature on the president’s position.
man in a hoodie and sunglasses holding a microphoneThe two sides of Tom.
man at a podium speaking

man at a podium speakingThe two sides of Phil.
man holding bottle of wine and glasses

In the Annual Report, you will find highlights of the many activities, achievements and a few disappointments of 2013. I will use this column for some general musings about the future.  

To continue to remain relevant to its members, Landscape Ontario must consciously ensure that every action, product, event and activity must be focused on providing benefit and stimulating growth. We must listen and observe. We must define clearly what our members require for success. We must take action that will bring the most benefit to the greatest number of people. Our vision is to grow a prosperous, professional, ethical, recognized and valued industry that enhances the lives of our stakeholders (customers, employees, suppliers, public and future generations).

Our means for achieving our vision is to engage and develop leaders who are willing to work collectively within a spirit of mutual benefit and improvement to realize the vision.   

We also need to better understand the expectations of the different generations. Within our membership, we have boomers (born between 1946 and 1964), Generation X (born between 1965 and 1979) and Millennials (born after 1980). These generations are very different in their approach to business. What does this mean to our offerings?  How do we maximize relevancy? I think it’s great that our next President is a Millennial. It speaks well of our future.    
However, it is important to realize that many values remain the same through generations. As individuals, we all desire financial growth, social interaction (sense of belonging, community), learning/education/professional development (technical as well as business) and legacy — the need to make a positive difference.

As we consciously focus all of our activities on these four interrelated benefits, we will continue to grow in relevancy and prosperity. The road to relevance and prosperity is engagement and leadership. It follows that the more we engage members and focus on their development as leaders, the more relevant we become.

On behalf of the staff of Landscape Ontario, we wish you a wonderful holiday season and a healthy and prosperous 2014.
Tony DiGiovanni may be contacted at or at 1-800-265-5656, ext. 304.