November 15, 2017
Pathways on the journey to success
LO Education and Labour Development Program Coordinator
Not every person travels the same road to get to where they want to go. Every person’s idea of success is different. Just because your road is different doesn’t mean it’s the wrong one or the final one. One thing I have learned over the years is that we are always learning, always growing, always changing — and always facing new forks in the road.
Over the next few months, I plan to share the stories of various landscape professionals, describing how they started out their career and the paths they took towards achieving their own definition of success.
Lindsey’s roadLindsey Ross is a father, a husband, and a leader within the landscape profession. Lindsey is also active in the association as a director on Landscape Ontario Ottawa Chapter board.
Lindsey’s road began in 2001 where he studied parks and recreation at Fleming College in Peterborough, Ont. With a love for the outdoors and no desire to sit at a desk all day, the program seemed a natural choice for Lindsey after completing high school.
Upon graduating college in 2003, Lindsey had learned a lot and did very well in studies. He had spent over $10,000 on his education and was working various retail/service type jobs.
In 2005, Lindsey got a small taste of the landscape/horticulture profession while working for a small landscape maintenance company. By the spring of 2007, Lindsey decided to explore a new path, and applied for a job at Garden Creations of Ottawa, a large landscape company owned and operated by Tim Kearney. Lindsey was offered a position, but another opportunity presented itself, and Lindsey seized the opportunity and took a job as a Watch Officer, working on a tall ship. Suddenly, on July 13, 2007 everything changed. The tall ship had a serious fire. A couple of days after the fire, the crew were sent home for a break. This event proved to be a turning point in Lindsey’s career and his journey would now lead him to new heights.
While returning home, Lindsey received a call from Garden Creations. They had an opening, and wanted to know if he was still interested in the position from a few months before. This time, Lindsey took the job and a new path appeared before him. Lindsey began his career as a landscape maintenance professional.
After only a couple of months at Garden Creations, it was obvious to owner Tim Kearney that his new, young employee was someone to hold on to. Tim needed to seize Lindsey’s energy, passion and enthusiasm and feed him knowledge and experience. Tim registered Lindsey as an apprentice.
While Lindsey completed the in-class portion of the Apprenticeship Program, he steadily worked in the profession, gaining over 5,400 hours of practical experience. In a span of 10 years, Lindsey’s role progressed several times: junior foreman, foreman, maintenance supervisor, assistant snow manager, maintenance manager and general manager.
Today, Lindsey has once again taken a new opportunity presented by a new path. On June 1, 2017, Lindsey along with two of his colleagues, Kent Merkley and Lynda Blackburn (also apprentices), started a new company called Living Green Landscaping, and acquired the maintenance contract portfolio from Garden Creations.
Although Lindsey and his team are only in their first year as business owners, they are thoroughly enjoying their new career path and are planning to help others like themselves who have a passion for the profession. They too, will be taking advantage of the training available to their staff through the Horticulture Technician Apprenticeship program.
The future goals for this new team are to complete their sign-off books and register as official Journeypersons with their Certificate of Apprenticeship, followed by challenging the Certificate of Qualifications by early 2018.
As in life, the road through the Apprenticeship Program may be different for everyone. Sometimes it can be a sprint, other times more like a marathon. If the path towards completing the journey is three, four or 10 years long, the end goal remains the same.
Find your path and help others start and find their own path. Learn. Teach. Raise the bar of our profession, one apprentice at a time.
For more information or help getting started with the Apprenticeship Program, visit horticulturetechnician.ca, or contact LO’s apprenticeship team.
Rachel Cerelli at 1-800-265-5656, ext. 2354 or firstname.lastname@example.org
or Alex Gibson at 613-809-5093, email@example.com.