Conference Pass

Conference Pass includes 3-day conference and trade show access, admission to Tailgate Party and all LIVE Stage Demos. Early bird rate ends December 15, 2023.

Session sponsorship opportunities are available.  Please contact Meagan Sheehan for more information.

TUESDAY JANUARY 9, 2024 - 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. 

Economic Predictions for 2024

and how to respond

"In light of the looming recession there are huge opportunities on the horizon. Are you prepared?"

Nathan Helder - Southbrook Consulting


Nathan Helder is a third-generation owner and CEO of Gelderman Landscape Service who celebrated its 65th anniversary in 2020.  Nathan has a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Guelph. Nathan is passionate about finance, human resources and business development.  Nathan also volunteers in several forums.  He is on the Program Advisory Council for Niagara College, a 2023 Mentor at Niagara Parks, on the Board Directors for EduDeo Ministries and a member of the LO Trade Show Committee.

In 2014, Nathan created Southbrook Consulting, which focuses on providing customized management solutions for business owners who have become frustrated and worried about the direction and financial success of their companies. 

Nathan is also the Co-Owner of Arizona Outdoor Solutions, an irrigation and water management company that focuses on water sustainability.

In 2020, Southbrook Accounting Services was created to fill a void in the marketplace. Southbrook Accounting is a national bookkeeping & accounting firm for early-stage and high-growth companies in the Construction and Landscaping sectors. From day-to-day bookkeeping to monthly financials to tax preparation, we cover all facets.  Contractors no longer need to be stressed and frustrated.  We deliver customized, flexible, and fully managed accounting solutions.

Digital Transformation - What is it? Why is it important? 

All About CDAP Grants for SMEs. 

"Canada has a $4.4B fund to provide grants and assistance for small and medium businesses to advance their digital maturity. Web Conductors are approved advisors to CDAP and can explain the program to attendees."

Zachary O'Connor, Web Conductors Inc.

Zak O'Connor is Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Web Conductors, a digital transformation agency with a focus on providing technology driven solutions to create organizational change.  Zak's career began in a start up SaaS enterprise that was eventually acquired by a major Private Equity Fund.  Afterwards, he began his entrepreneurial journey Co-Founding Web Conductors.  Web Conductors is a recognized agency to deliver strategic plans & assessments under the $4.4B Canada Digital Adoption Program to qualifying SME's.  The company also has earned recognition as Google Partners, Shopify Partners, and more. 

Recruiting Soil to Tackle Climate Change

Mindful attention to and care of our soils provides positive solutions to a range of issues facing agriculture and our climate – from nutritional improvements to reduced inputs and

greater profitability, water conservation and quality as well as carbon sequestration. This

session will focus on key Soil Health principles and initiatives which are being incorporated into

current farming, landscaping and gardening practices to improve productivity and enhance

overall environmental stewardship.

Susan Antler & Glenn Munroe - The Compost Council of Canada

The Compost Council of Canada serves as the national advocacy and infrastructure development organization dedicated to advancing organics recycling and the return of organic matter back to our soils for ongoing health and vitality as well as a front-line offence/defence to climate change and resiliency. From their Soil Safari to multiple reports, communication initiatives and research programs, the Council has created partnerships with multiple groups and organizations to advance collective missions and causes including the many self-interests to be attained by paying better attention to the care and management of our soils.

TUESDAY JANUARY 9, 2024 - 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. 

How to easily incorporate permeable paving into projects; residential, commercial and industrial

"Changing climate patterns and changing requirements for stormwater management have more and more people looking for ways to manage stormwater in an effective, efficient and affordable manner. Permeable paving can be used to achieve the new requirements and is easy to include in all types of projects. This presentation would focus on what is permeable paving. How to install/basic overview. Where it can be used.etc."

Ellise gasner - Lid Paving

Ellise Gasner started her journey in the permeable paving world almost 15 years ago.

Her educational background was instrumental in the early days when permeable paving was a novel and innovative concept.

Ellise is now the owner and director of sales of LID Paving Canada and guides clients in choosing the correct permeable product for their needs while supporting them along their journey.

In her free time, you will find Ellise in a hot yoga studio, walking along nature pathways throughout the city and playing with her grandchildren.

Unlocking the Potential, Big Ideas for Small Gardens

"Big city living, often comes with small garden spaces. From balconies to terraces, courtyards to front yards, discover how to embrace your small space. Confront the challenges, explore the opportunities, and maximize the potential with Paul, The Tattooed Gardener. Whether your interests are kitchen gardens, flower gardens, or something in between; the garden is an extension of your home, regardless of size. Discover how to improve or create your own dynamic small space. Paul will share how he maximizes space and opportunities in his small-scale home garden; recently featured in Tara Nolan’s book Gardening Your Front Yard: Projects and Ideas for Big & Small Spaces."

Paul Gellatly - The Tattooed Gardener

With over 30 years in the Horticultural Industry, and social media posts reaching 30-35 million people a month, Paul Gellatly, CEO of The Tattooed Gardener Inc. is inspiring people from every generation, and sharing his love and passion for all things plants.  He is currently the Vice-President for the Etobicoke Horticultural Society; is the former Director of Horticulture at the Toronto Botanical Garden, and former Curatorial Gardener at the Toronto Zoo;  

An affinity for rare and unusual plants from all over the world, has resulted in a personal collection of over 800 tropical plants. He is also an experienced hybridizer of Hemerocallis, with 70 registrations with the American Hemerocallis Society. Paul has industry experience in every corner of the horticulture world.  Hybridizing to Garden Design. Garden Consulting to Garden Coaching,  Join him as he walks down this winding road of Horticulture.

Digital Engagement, Digital Influence, and World of the "NOW" Customer

"This presentation will dive into the world of digital engagement, dealing with the “NOW” customer created by the hyper-acceleration of technological adoption in the COVID era. What’s your digital footprint look like today? Are you easy to do business with in the “NOW” economy? The company that kills you will look nothing like you. We will review the recipe for a successful digital presence and social media, discussing how to meet your future customers where they are and make sure their customer journey with your company is positive.

Kevin Battistoni - Hunter Industries

Kevin Battistoni is the National Customer Experience Manager for Hunter Industries, a global irrigation and outdoor lighting product manufacturer. Based out of the Chicagoland area and baptized in sprinkler water, this fourth-generation irrigator spent two decades in family business rolling around in the dirt before turning in his shovel for a broom, working in the green industry supply chain. During his decade in distribution, he played all positions, including store manager and sales manager, focusing on irrigation, landscape lighting, drainage, and water features. With over a decade of service at Hunter Industries, he has experienced a rebirth with technology-driven products and services entering the green industry. He aims to help green industry professionals leverage technology to grow their businesses and increase their profits.

WEDNESDAY JANUARY 10, 2024 - 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. 

What it takes to win a National Award

Examine a Canadian National Landscape Award of The Year project & learn about Randy Tumber’s client process; including how to deal with high end clients & encouraging them to ‘dream big’. 

See how your photography, portfolio, marketing & reputation for quality work all play an important role

Randy Tumber

Randy Tumber APLD, CLD, CHT, ISA is widely known for his excellence in specializing in the design & installation of mature, native landscapes. Some of his areas of expertise include: overall project & site planning; creating natural looking, low maintenance, frost free water features; working with natural stone & native habitat restoration. Randy quite purposely steers away from many trends. His naturalistic designs are built to reflect a statement of permanence & timeless elegance. 

How to scale your landscape business

An over view of how we are continuing to grow, and the systems we use to keep it in check.

Kevin Scott - Muskokalandscapers Inc.

Kevin is the owner of, a landscape design build business operating in Muskoka Ontario for the past 15 years. From its humble beginnings Kevin and his team have grown Muskokalandscapers into a 45 person team with annual sales north of $10m. 

Formative Pruning of Young Deciduous Trees 

This topic will focus on the pruning principles and practices that would be appropriate for  first 15 years of formative pruning. This would be applicable for street trees as well as residential and trees planted in urban parks. These practices will focus on subordination pruning of temporary lateral branches and excurrent pruning techniques.  

Darrell Bley - Niagara Parks Commission School of Horticulture

Darrell Bley has been working in and teaching horticulture for the past 39 years. Currently Darrell is the Instructor and Curator of the Woody Plant Collections at the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens and School of Horticulture. His curatorial responsibilities include the woody plant collections within the gardens including the conetum and arboretum. Darrell provides knowledge, guidance and direction for the maintenance and the diversity of these plant collections within the Botanical Gardens. Part of his is role includes the international seed exchange program and plant propagation as it relates to the woody plants. In his instructional roles, Darrell teaches courses related Plant Identification, Arboriculture and Tropical Plants. As well he oversees the 3rd year programs related to national and international internships and mentorship. Darrell has spoken at numerous international, national and local conferences on a wide range horticultural subjects.  

WEDNESDAY JANUARY 10, 2024 - 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. 

Landscape Professionals and Public Land Managers in Canada are uniquely important in slowing the pace of Climate Change. How and why is the Landscape Industry changing - perhaps just in time?

This presentation will outline why we, here in Canada - in the northern part of Earth's Northern Hemisphere, are gifted with a unique geographic importunity to help Earth's Biosphere back from the brink - to health and stability. Landscape professionals, public and private land managers, are already well underway on a path of technology change. These folks have seen and accepted what science makes clear; plants need healthy living soils to flourish; plants are the stewards of the air and water - if we let them have the chance, the era of synthetic plant care is over - let's find out how every landscape professional can be part of the next wave of Restorative Landscaping. 

Bob Reeves - Root Rescue Environmental Products

Bob has come to believe that the secret to plant success (and our professional success) is hiding in the soil beneath our feet. He began the Soil Health/Root Rescue project in 2005 with a discovery made at his family’s nursery / garden centre, Reeves Florist & Nursery, in Woodbridge, Ontario. He has worn many hats over the years: grower, nursery buyer, sales manager, staff trainer, IT manager, and landscape designer & estimator for his own design-build company: Reevisions Designs.  Bob was also the original developer of the widely used landscape design and quotation software suite - DynaScape:

At the core of Bob’s career he has been on the pursuit of his twin, loves: plants, and industry innovation. He advocates strongly for a regenerative approach to growing and sustaining the plants, and ecosystems we all depend on.

Bob is the Founder and CEO of Root Rescue Environmental Products: and also serves as the Soil Microbiome Advisor to Flash Forest – leading innovators in drone-powered reforestation:

Plant quality and health in the nursery: the impact on landscape performance

Root quality, soil health and, overall plant health and vigour are fundamental in the production of high quality nursery stock. I would use the Ontario Landscape Tree Planting Guide as a framework for understanding the importance of nursery stock quality as a key component of a successful landscape project, alongside other essential considerations such as species selection, site preparation and follow-up maintenance. Lessons learned from a variety of trials we have been conducting at NVK Nurseries to improve root quality, soil health and plant health would be shared and critically examined. 

Ryan Munroe - NVK Nurseries

Ryan Munroe is a Horticultural Advisor and leads the Plant Health Team at NVK Nurseries, which is focused on supporting the nurseries’ growers in enhancing integrated pest management, soil health, irrigation quality and efficiency, weed management and overall plant quality. He has over a decade of experience in the forestry, nursery and landscape fields, beginning with summer jobs as a tree planter in northern Ontario for three seasons, a landscaper in Newfoundland and held ecology and horticulture research assistant in positions in Quebec, Ontario and Nova Scotia… he was a fan of the work-travel concept in his early twenties. 

He acquired a Bachelor of Science and then a Masters in Forest Conservation degree from the University of Toronto in 2014 and worked as a research technician at Vineland Research and Innovation Centre from 2016 to 2022, where he contributed to Landscape Ontario’s “Ontario Landscape Tree Planting Guide”. At Vineland he worked collaboratively with a wide variety of nursery and landscape companies and organizations towards the shared goal of improving transplant success in nursery fields and in landscape settings. Much of this work was centred upon understanding the environmental tolerances of landscape plants and matching those with site characteristics, including soil properties, as well as improving tree liner quality throughout the nursery production cycle.

Financial Master Class for Landscape & Hardscape Businesses

In this seminar, we will show you exactly how to get a grip on your numbers. From estimating, to tracking KPIs, to implementing changes and new systems and processes, the information will help you run your business more confidently, improve your profitability, cash flow, and it will help you improve growth across all areas of your company.

Frank Bourque - Greenmark

Frank Bourque has been part of the Green Industry for over 26 years. As a business owner, he has built, scaled and sold multiple million-dollar companies. Now, as an industry leading consultant, he coaches and speaks at some of the largest conferences and contractor events throughout the US and Canada. He has been part of the speaker line-up and host of the events such as Hardscape North America, GIE Expo, Landscape Ontario Congress, Landscape & Hardscape Business Success Summit, Home Service Super Summit and many more. Frank is dedicated to helping landscape business owners and their teams to improve growth, efficiency, business systems, profits and their quality of life.

THURSDAY JANUARY 11, 2024 - 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. 

The True Cost of Equipment

When we step back and access the original price of our landscape/construction equipment, along with maintenance & repairs, life cycle and depreciation, not to mention down time, the numbers can be astounding. Learn the overall savings of quality equipment, equipment versus labour cost and what equipment is best suited for your needs from Vince Borgdorff who has been serving the landscape/construction industry for over 30 years. Vince will give practical tips to help make your business thrive!

Vince Borgdorff - WPE Landscape Equipment

Vince Borgdorff is the president of WPE Landscape Equipment. WPE has served the landscape equipment industry for over 35 years, since 1988, when Vince and his wife Pauline formed the company. After high school, Vince went on to trade school, completing the course to become a licensed small engine mechanic at Sir Sanford Fleming College. Vince has continued to read and take courses on Business Management to be better equipped to manage a growing dealership. Vince has taught Small Engine courses at Mohawk College and Equip Maintenance courses at Landscape Ontario, and also teaches children and youth at his local church. 

Vince and Pauline are heavily involved in their community and church, and support local events that are integral to the Dundas/Hamilton community. Vince and Pauline have 6 married children and 14 grandchildren who all live close to the family home and business. Their son Dan manages the Hamilton store. Vince enjoys helping other businesses and strives to bring professionalism to the landscape and construction industries. He believes that when one does better, we all do better – this is how a community works.

Making Ontario's New Excess Soil Regulations Work for You, Your Residential Clients and the Environment.

The age old practice of removing "poor" garden soil and replacing with "fresh soil" has seen its day for residential landscape construction projects. The new Excess Soil Act gives our industry the motivation (permission) to embrace new best practices that not only will save the contractor time and money and reduce project costs for the client, but benefit the environment by reducing a project's carbon foot print. Learn why working with the soil you have on site is beneficial for the plants and how easy it is to overcome a soil's negative properties through the use of organic amendments. Create future work opportunities by selling the concept of ongoing soil maintenance packages as an important aspect of good soil health and a successful garden.  

Sylvia Szot - Sylvia Szot Landscape Design

Sylvia has her BSc in Botany from the University of Toronto, a Landscape Design Certificate from Toronto Metropolitan University, and is CHT and FLP certified.  A lifelong addiction to gardening has led to many interesting jobs within the horticultural industry including garden center sales, natural pest control product sales and marketing, teaching horticulture courses in soil and botany at Sheridan College, and most recently providing landscape design consultation for her clients in the west GTA.  She enjoys collaborating with her clients to develop personalized designs that encourage the introduction of native plants and use of sound horticultural practices. Sylvia was also a garden builder and “Do Up the Doorstep” award winner at Canada Blooms in 2020.

Running an efficient Jobsite - Coordinating between Landscapers and pool builders. Dream building or never ending nightmare? 

There is true value in a professionally installed and landscaped pool. The same can be said for the homeowner who knows they have hired a pool contractor and landscaper who can handle the pressures and complexities of working with each other. 

John JJ Bouwmeister - Bouwmeister Inc

John a.k.a JJ is a third generation landscaper who has been involved in the landscape industry since his late teens. John’s Opa came over in 1957 from Holland. Landscaping and mainly construction is steeped deep into the Bouwmeister family roots. John graduated from Humber college Horticulture program and Landscape Architecture at Ryerson. Currently John is a partner at Bouwmeister Inc where he teamed up with his cousin Hary 20 years ago. 

THURSDAY JANUARY 11, 2024 - 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. 

Permits and their impact on landscaping 

Permits are an essential part of most landscape projects, and lack of a permit or

incorrect drawings can seriously impact schedules and costs. This session will discuss

how to obtain permits for projects, the consequences of building without them, and

strategies for successful applications. Topics covered will include: building permits, site

alteration permits, pool enclosure permits, letters of permission from conservation

authorities and tree protection plans.

Participants will learn how to create clear permit drawings, and how to design and

build to comply with requirements.

Adele Pierre

Adele Pierre Landscape Architect is acknowledged as a leader in ecologically sound solutions for landscapes. The firm regularly provides training for businesses and

landscape professionals in the use of sustainable materials, water conservation and stormwater management through the use of native plantings. As a landscape architect and arborist, Adele Pierre has designed projects requiring

sensitivity to the changing requirements of municipalities and conservation authorities.

Projects have twice been awarded Hamilton Urban Design and Architecture Awards (2018, 2022). Designs have also been recognized with Kitchener Environmental Awards

and Landscape Ontario Awards of Excellence.

Xeriscaping: The Necessary Wave of the Future

Many gardeners think drought-resistant landscaping needs to look like a desert. It CAN (and that would be pretty cool!) but it doesn’t NEED to. Selecting plants for sun or shade that aren’t thirsty still allows a large pallette of species that are surprisingly low-maintenance. We will cover different gardening techniques such as drip irrigation, as well as styles of landscaping such as scree gardening.

Sean James - Consulting & Design

Sean owns ‘Sean James Consulting & Design’. Named by Landscape Ontario as 2020 and 2021’s Garden Communicator of the Year, gardening has been Sean James’ passion and profession for almost 40 years. Fusion Landscape Professional certified, a graduate of Niagara Parks School of Horticulture, a Master Gardener, writer, and teacher, Sean focuses on eco-gardening techniques. He has spoken at events from the Maritimes to Seattle and landscaped from Nova Scotia to California. Sean had the honour of being part of creating the new Ontario Landscape Tree Planting Guide, the Grow-Me-Instead guide, the Ontario Horticultural Apprenticeship Curriculum, the national Red Seal Occupational Standard, and the Master Gardeners Reference Manual.

Hiring Temporary Foreign Workers for your Business 

The process and delays for hiring temporary foreign workers with closed work permits, as well as the employers obligations. Tips on how to maintain a reliable and efficent work-force when dealing with temporary foreign workers. How TFWs can help canadian companies grow. 

Erinn Johanson - ARIMÉ Inc. 

Erinn Johanson has firsthand experience working with Temporary Foreign Workers. She managed a greenhouse operation for over 10 years, working cooperatively with Temporary Workers.  She learnt how to properly manage them and plan their stays. Today, Erinn works for ARIMÉ Inc has an International Recruitment Advisor and has gained experience with all LMIA based programs to bring in Temporary Foreign Workers. 

Rose Bilodeau - ARIME Inc. 

Having studied international studies and languages, the international recruitment field seemed like a perfect way to combine these two aspects for Rose.
She's been working at Arimé for about 2 and a half years, and she's had the opportunity to learn every step of the recruitment process. She is now managing the representative team who works with employers from different types of industries (agriculture, manufactures, landscaping, food processing, etc.). 

Rose considers that international recruitment is the best way to help our local businesses while offering good opportunities to foreign workers.