December 15, 2013
Tim Cruickshanks grew into his role with the LO family
“I started out when I was 12, cutting lawns for my neighbours. I didn’t have a lot of contact or associates in the business. When I began the business, it wasn’t a second generation entity. So, I didn’t have many people I could turn to for advice.”
To rectify that, Cruickshanks turned to Landscape Ontario where he gained a business family to bounce things off of and learn from other people.
He attended some of the early Congress trade shows and was interested mostly in the equipment displays. “I went to my first meeting of the local Chapter around that time. I was hoping for some help with running the business better, but mostly to make local contacts.”
The first chapter meeting he went to was at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington. He recalls sitting in the back watching and listening. “It sounded good.”
It was good enough for him to return for more meetings. “The third time I attended a meeting, I arrived a little bit early. The board then would hold a meeting before the general chapter gathered. I sort of stood at the back, waiting. A few of the board members insisted I join them, as they had finished their meeting. The next thing I knew I was on the board as a director! I think I was in charge of safety/first aid.”
Since those days, Cruickshanks has served as president and currently represents Golden Horseshoe Chapter on LO’s provincial board of directors.
Some of his favourite memories serving the Chapter over the years are connected with the annual chicken roast. “I also remember many meetings that occurred in the hallways or parking lots after the formal Chapter gatherings.” Cruickshanks says he got more out of those than the meeting itself.
He has come to the realization that his business and personal experiences can now be helpful to other people. “I am happy that I can now offer advice to other young owners who come to our meetings. I guess, it all comes full circle.
“Being on the provincial board as a representative, I am back learning again, and I hope I can continue to pass on valuable information and experiences as I move through the provincial level and bring some representation of the Golden Horseshoe Chapter to the board.”
Cruickshanks says, “The Chapter does become a family of sorts. When our daughter became very ill in 2003, I remember the Chapter being one of the first groups of people to send us a note and a basket in support.”
He feels that Landscape Ontario is entering a new era with many new members on the board, excellent staff and financial stability. “There are going to be many great innovations and plans with which we can move forward.”
Cruickshanks says he is happy to see the chapters hiring coordinators. “In my opinion, it is one of the most important things to happen in a long time.” He is concerned that volunteer burnout among the chapters is a big thing. “Many of us run small companies and have young families. That makes it hard to run the chapter administration as well. I know with our chapter, hiring our own part-time person has helped immensely.”
Outside of running his business and LO events, Cruickshanks values the time he spends with his wife and two children. He also spends his extra time supporting and promoting organ and tissue donations in Ontario, and around Canada and internationally.
The issue is close to his heart. “My daughter Devan was fortunate to receive a heart transplant in 2004, thanks to a generous donor and family. This of course saved her life. So, we do put a lot of effort into promoting continued organ donation.” Devan speaks at a number of events throughout the Golden Horseshoe area and the GTA on the issue of organ and tissue donations.
“This may be something I would like to expand upon at the provincial level. I am sure Devan would be happy to speak at an event. I will have to work on that.”
There’s no more standing at the back for Tim Cruickshanks. He has grown into an important member of his LO family.