Turf & Rec

Features Profiles
Congress expects 13,000 people in ‘18

45th Congress set for Jan. 9-11 at Toronto Congress Centre. www.locongress.com

December 18, 2017  By Turf and Rec Staff

The 45th Landscape Ontario Congress, scheduled for Jan. 9-11, anticipates more than 13,000 industry professionals at the Toronto Congress Centre. The event features a trade show spread over more than eight acres of floor space, several educational seminars and workshops, and networking opportunities.

The green industry show and conference is the largest of its kind in Canada, featuring more than 600 international exhibitors.

Prior to the official start on Tuesday, Jan. 9, an IPM symposium, a landscape designer conference and a peer-to-peer workshop on the business of improving business will take place simultaneously on Monday, Jan. 8.

Featured speakers and their topics for the official congress include:


Tuesday, Jan. 9
Hiring the opposite way of what you have ever learned (Mike Pennington, Lakeridge Contracting Ltd., Whitby, Ont.). In his travels throughout the landscaping world, the most often asked question of Pennington is, “Where do you find your guys?” The answer is, “Wherever you can.” Pennington will share unique hiring strategies and policies that help to retain a full staff season after season. He says, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. Lakeridge Contracting and the rest of the industry need them.”

Extreme weather (James J. Garriss III, Browning Media LLC, Las Vegas, Nev.). With rising difficulties associated with changing climate, industry professionals take their talents and succeed through preparation. Weather has become more extreme. Summers are hotter, winters are colder, and storms provide more moisture in shorter amounts of time. Global warming has the potential to be controlled yet natural climate is uncontrollable. Garriss will provide insight on short and long-term climate trends that impact weather and what to expect in the near future.


Spirit of stone (Jan Johnsen, Johnsen Landscapes & Pools, Croton on Hudson, N.Y.). The use of stone is often overlooked in the landscaping industry. Johnsen, a landscape designer and author, will demonstrate how the use of the most ancient of materials can add dimension to a garden, illustrating creative techniques for using natural stone in dry streams, stepping stone walks, rock gardens and more.

The $50,000 presentation (Mike Lysecki, LMN, Whitevale, Ont.). The average landscape company missed 25 per cent of its potential revenue each year in waste, mistakes and inefficiencies. Lysecki will share proven technologies to drive more revenue without having to add more people. Landscape professionals are urged to bring their employees with them to the session so that they can learn new methods to crush problems robbing a company and its staff of at least $50,000 of potential.

The art of growing food (Ellen Ecker Ogden, Kitchen Garden Designs, Manchester Village, Vt.). A kitchen garden opens the senses both in the garden and in the kitchen. Ogden will explain the tools necessary to create an edible garden that is both productive and attractive. The audience will learn how to grow an ornamental garden with an eye towards beauty, easy care and pleasure.

Nature water features: designing and creating something believable and beautiful (Randy Tumber, Tumber and Associates, Orangeville, Ont.). Natural-looking landscapes can be built with ponds, pools and waterfalls that have a look of permanence and timeless elegance. Tumber will share design and construction concepts that tend to elude professionals in the industry. He will share the importance of an initial concept and plan for the entire site, why natural elements are key to moving clients emotionally, an examination of the primary design concepts that should be a part of every project, construction concepts to help build what is seen, and project details from a 30-year professional.

Three surprising content marketing trends that will make a difference to your 2018 (Paul Tobey, Training Business Pros, Toronto). Email has made a comeback and is an important part of digital marketing. Contractors who don’t poll and segment their website prospects and deliver they customized, they are missing out on a chance to grow their businesses beyond their expectations. Explored will be the social alternatives in 2018 for the landscape professional looking to make social media worth his time and money.

Other offerings for the day include the keynote address by Beth Edney of Designs by the Yard in Toronto, who will lead an interactive session, a “Life Lessons at Lunch” session led by Javed S. Khan of EMpression who will discuss why “networking is in crisis,” and an “Owners Only Workshop” led by Ron Rosenberg of QualityTalk Inc. of Wake Forest, N.C. who will share strategies to “get more done, grow your business and take back your life.”

Wednesday, Jan. 10
Getting to the heart of customer satisfaction (Ron Rosenberg, QualityTalk Inc., Wake Forest, N.C.). Marketing and customer service expert Rosenberg will share proven strategies to help develop an instant customer rapport, enhance customer loyalty and increase retention rates, and turn existing customers to the best salespeople.

B4 gardening: blooms for bees, butterflies and birds (Sean James, Sean James Consulting & Design, Milton, Ont.). Any garden can be a pollinator garden, and the session will address how, including a brief discussion about pollinators. Also discussed will be the methods and benefits of drawing birds and butterflies into the garden, along with biodiversity in general, and how incorporating these concepts can make a company more desirable to potential customers.

Recruiting to the rescue: find, attract, get onboard and keep the right people  (Bill Arman and Ed LaFlamme, The Harvest Group, Wilton, Conn.). A landscaping business cannot grow with a limited workforce and labour costs that are too high. Attendees will learn how to set up a comprehensive recruitment program, including how to source, screen and select the right people. They will also learn to identify the right person for the job, creative ways to find the right people and get them to be a part of the team, how to ask questions that will root out what is really needed to be known, how to be more attractive than the competitor, and why the first 90 days is so critical to a new employee’s success.

Developing a value proposition that resonates (Dr. Charlie Hall, Texas A&M University). Consumer demand in the green industry marketplace is maturing, according to current trends and driving forces. Hall’s session will focus on a three-pronged approach for future success: value, relevancy and authenticity.

What to do with a downpour (Sean James, Sean James Consulting  & Design, Milton, Ont.). Urban development has led to large areas of impermeable surfaces that have triggered poor water quality and erosion. Consequently, municipalities, conservation authorities and other stakeholders are seeking low impact development. Techniques will be discussed to assist in soaking rainwater into the soil while beautifying landscapes and allowing use of a more unusual palette of plants. Rain gardens help the environment by infiltrating water to clean it and restore the water table and base flow. The session will cover how to design and build rain gardens and other LID features.

Garden gems, aka awesome colour in your displays (Dan Heims, Terra Nova Nurseries Inc., Portland, Ore.). Some of the newest, most exciting and colourful perennials, tropical and woodies seen today will be discussed.

Fundamentals for long term success (Janna Bradley, TBC Environmental Inc., Whitevale, Ont.). Workflow is increased, time is freed up and profit is driven when fundamental systems in a company’s day-to-day business is improved, more so than when the focus is on growth. Better managing accounting, business development, human resources, logistics and general administration can set a company up for long term success.

Other offerings for the day include a keynote address by Harry Jongerden of Toronto Botanical Garden about “Why gardens matter, now more than ever,” a “Life Lessons at Lunch” session offered by motivational humourist Meg Soper of Meg Soper Presentations about “Getting connected and staying plugged in,” and an “Owners Only Workshop” led by Bill Arman and Ed LaFlamme of The Harvest Group in Wilton, Conn. that asks, “Are you a fierce competitor?”

Thursday, Jan. 11
Wood: a designer’s secret weapon (Yuill McGregor, North on Sixty, Toronto). McGregor has worked with wood his entire life and speaks from experience as to when, where and how to use wood properly in projects. He will also share the latest trends from around the world.

Shade gardening with new perennials (Dan Heims, Terra Nova Nurseries Inc., Portland, Ore.). The session will explore how to conquer problems of root and light competition. Attendees may be surprised to learn what thrives in dry, shaded areas and will learn to create outstanding shade containers.

Successful content marketing: what to say and how to say it (Javed S. Khan, EMpression). While realtors emphasize “location, location, location,” success in digital marketing is about “content, content, content.” The session reveals the keys to great content and shares time saving tips, techniques and apps to help with content and the way it is shared.

Print this page


Stories continue below