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Podcast Links & Info

Episode #69 - Nextra's HR Director, Charolette Cascioli talks with Dave Hockley from Hockley's Landscaping about the temporary foreign workers, what the experience has been like and the impact it's had on Dave's business. 

Episode #68 - Wendy Ladd from Jim Pattison Lease talks about the services they provide as well as gives us an update on the current vehicle market. She provides information on timelines and availability of new vehicles and outfitting, and then touches on what’s happening with electric vehicles as well as discounts available to contractors.

Episode #67 - Paul Vanderzon is an advocate for the snow industry. He discusses his experience, the changes he’s seen and the ones he feels still need to happen, and benefits of being a SIMA member.

Episode #66 - Ryan Quigley and Mitch Bursey from Storm Solutions made a transition to liquid brine in 2019 and they share how they made that transition, what was involved, and how they trained their staff. Storm Solutions Plus is their sales, service and parts business. 

Episode #65 - We've been trying to get Brian Cotter on the podcast for a while and finally our schedules cooperated! Brian talks about his history in the industry, the growth of the artificial turf industry and the importance of company culture - he and his team have built a great one! He also talks about the benefit of outside help like consultants and peer groups. 

 Episode #64 - This episode is from the Landscape Ontario podcast where Grant was recently a guest. Grant discusses what he will be teaching at the Waterloo Chapter events this fall, as well as touching on current issues facing the industry like sales and staffing.

Episode #63 - This episode is an encore presentation of a podcast from 2021 with Jim & Jenna Monk from MPS Property Services. Jim and Jenna have created an exceptional company culture at MPS, but have had to radically alter their approach to staffing in order to continue growing the company.

Episode #62 - Charolette & Martin talk about the Crucial Conversations training they've developed. Hear why we feel this should be required training for everyone, but especially those in leadership. Learning how to have crucial conversations and address hard and emotionally-charged issues calmly and with clarity is a skill that will serve you well in all of your relationships - both at home and at work.   

Episode #61 - Paul McCallum is the Canadian Regional Sales Manager at Toro. He talks with Grant about how Toro is positioning themselves and their products to address the needs of landscapers and homeowners in the future, about some new products Toro is offering, and the improvements to today’s electric equipment.  

Episode #60 - Choosing a management software can be overwhelming. We’re hoping to make that easier for you. In the first of a few episodes focused on business management software for landscapers, Grant talks to Mark Bradley from Landscape Management Network (LMN), who discusses the origin of LMN and the solutions and efficiencies it offers to landscapers.

Episode #59 - Grant talks with Martin Tirado the CEO of SIMA, the Snow and Ice Management Association. They talk all about the snow industry - how Martin got involved, what SIMA is all about, the services and training they offer, as well as the future of the industry.

Episode #58 - Over the last couple of years, most landscapers haven’t had to work at sales. In fact, most have had trouble keeping up with the demand for work. The result is that we’ve been more like order-takers rather than salespeople. But as the economy starts to slow down a bit, it is important that we revert to being salespeople to ensure the continued growth of our business. Andrew Wall has been in sales for his entire professional life in sales, and he shares how to be effective salespeople.

Episode #57 - James Fullerton of Bidwell Financial has been a friend of ours for years and we thankful to have him on the podcast. He shares how he got involved in vehicle and equipment financing, the effects of the pandemic on commercial vehicle & equipment purchasing, the current state of the used vehicle market and what he predicts the future will look like. 

Episode #56 - Jordan speaks with Raqib Omer from Viaesys, an innovative technology company providing solutions to the snow and ice industry. Raqib shares how he got involved with the snow and ice industry, how he started Viaesys, as well as what's next for his company. He also discusses some of the biggest issues facing snow and ice contractors and his thoughts on the current and future states of salting/liquid de-icing.

Episode #55 - Jordan speaks with Joanna Philipps from ESOP Builders who shares her knowledge about ESOP (Employee Stock Option Plan), its goals and options, and the risks and benefits to both owners and employees. You will gain a strong understanding of an ESOP and if and how it would work for your company.

Episode #54 - Liana Desmarais from Plantscape Windsor talks about her introduction to the landscape industry, the resources she found so valuable in navigating her first few years, and how she’s grown the company. She also talks about what it’s like to be a female landscape business owner in an industry that is male dominated.

Episode #53 - Chris Penny from Lucrative Landscaping talks to Grant about marketing for landscape companies and how to attract more of your ideal clients. 

Episode #52 - Rob Murray talks about being more competitive by using your website and social media more effectively to position yourself for success. Rob is full of great information, and he delivers it in a way that is understandable for those of us who aren’t part of that world.

Episode #51 - Scott Sim from Moon Glow Lightscape talks with Jordan about how he became involved in the lighting industry, the challenges he faces and the logistics and rhythm of the industry. He says, “irrigation is science, landscape lighting is art”. In the episode, you’ll hear how much he loves his art!

Episode #50 - Lindsay Drake Nightingale owns Yorkshire Garden Services, which specializes in high end residential landscape maintenance and installations in Toronto and York Region. In this episode, Lindsay shares her experience and knowledge about business ownership, business growth, staffing, culture and networking.

Episode #49 - Trevor Lively is the second-generation business owner of Blue Jay Irrigation, whose head office is in London. In this episode, he talks to Grant about the transition in leadership from his father to him, the things he’s learned, as well as the way he’s expanded the business.

Episode #48  Jordan Smith from VSI talks to Grant about his history in the industry, the origin and development of VSI, its recent purchase by Boss Snowplows, and the future of liquids.

Episode #47  Grant talks to Ed Hansen from Hansen Lawn and Garden about a wide range of topics, from how Ed got into landscaping, to growing his business, to his chairing the Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging committee at Landscape Ontario. This episode just feels like a couple of friends chatting about life and work. And I know you’ll want to pull up a chair.

 Episode #46  It’s a great time to own a landscape business! Purchasing of landscape companies is on the rise as many larger companies and private equity firms recognize the value in well-run landscape operations. In this episode, Grant provides some information about how to make your company more appealing to potential buyers.

Episode #45  - Sam Bauman from Earthscape talks about the ESOP (Employee Stock Option Plan) program they’ve implemented and how it works. He also talks about the Traction program, which is also in place at Earthscape. It’s clear that Sam, like Grant, is a big fan of Traction! 

Episode #44 - Alex Cadieux from Techo-Bloc talks about the current state of the hardscape industry as well as the opportunities he sees in the next couple of years. He shares some excellent (and free!) resources that Techo-Bloc has recently developed. 

Episode #43 Grant talks with Jesse Savage, owner of Savage Gardens and freelance landscape designer. They discuss landscape design and how Jesse’s services can assist landscapers who do not have a designer on staff. They also discuss Nextra’s new peer group for landscape designers that will be led by Jesse. If landscape design is part of your business – or you wish it were – you’ll appreciate this episode.

Episode #42 Today our own HR director, Charolette Casioli, is taking over the role of host as she interviews Sally Harvey, Landscape Ontario’s Director of Education and Labour Development. They discuss the biggest challenge facing contractors this year – the labour shortage. They talk about attracting, recruiting and retaining great staff. Sally shares resources available to contractors both through the government and through Landscape Ontario. NOTE: this podcast was recorded in March of 2022. The information shares is current and accurate at that time. Government and LO programs and incentives are subject to change.

 Episode #41 Today’s guest is George Urvari from Oriole Landscaping. George has a unique way of looking at equipment purchasing and the investment that equipment can be. And considering the current labour shortage, equipment might be a great alternative to staffing – if you get the right equipment.

 Episode #40 - It's our season 3 kickoff with Grant! The singular goal of this podcast is to provide you with information and resources that will help you improve your business and encourage you along the way. We’re starting the year off by interviewing Grant to have him provide you with an update on the industry in general and Nextra in particular.

Episode #39 Nick Bohner joins us today. He is the president of NixSnow, a snow-removal company based in Stratford, Ontario focused solely on residential snow removal. Nick talks about his business model, developing his brand, expansion plans, and the future of the snow industry.

Episode #38 Frank Bourque is back! Frank is a fountain of knowledge regarding all things related to design/build business. In this episode, he gives us an update from the GIE show in Louisville, including introducing us to some new products and equipment and talks about the stages of business and how to scale your business effectively and profitably.

Episode #37 - Snow season is around the corner so we are revisiting Grant's conversation with Brad CatonFounder of Invictus Professional Snowfighters. Invictus is a leading snow and ice management company in the Pacific Northwest that is solely dedicated to snow and ice management. Brad shares his extensive industry knowledge, insight and experience. If snow removal is any part of your business, you’ll want to hear this episode.

Episode #36 - Grant gives a “state of the industry” update including owner health, staffing, materials, equipment, and a temporary foreign workers pilot project, along with some encouragement and tips for getting through the rest of the season.

Episode #35 Nextra’s IT Manager, Jordan Robertson, joins Grant on the podcast today to talk about technology in our industry, why owners are hesitant to accept new technology, and the biggest hurdles they face when trying to implement new technology. Jordan will introduce you to three technology suppliers: Easy Locates, Ready Chek and Viaesys. These suppliers provide exceptional products that will save you time and money and ensure accuracy and efficiency in your business.

Episode #34 - We’re talking to our very own HR Director, Charolette Cascioli about employees. She’ll share how expanding staff training opportunities, using automated solutions, and thinking creatively about wage and benefit options will help you secure great employees, as well as programs available to help you. 

Episode #33 -  Today we’re resurrecting an episode from our archives. Jason Taylor from Predictive Success was our guest over a year ago. And now a year later, still one of the most common issues facing business owners is staffing – finding the right people and making sure they’re in the right role. Predictive Success empowers leaders with the data and skills to maximize the investment in their people. This was – and still is - a really interesting and enlightening conversation. If you have any staff at all, you will learn something from this episode.

Episode #32 If you’re a contractor, you’re probably already tensing up at the mention of insurance. Insurance premiums over the last number of years have skyrocketed and the way that claims are handled and managed by insurance companies is frustrating – even maddening at times. Enter The Insurance Market and its Self-Insured Retention program. This is a unique, common-sense alternative to traditional insurance that gives you a say in how claims are dealt with. On today’s podcast, Mark Jackson from The Insurance Market explains the program and its benefits, how they handle claims and how they screen members. They know the snow industry and want to help contractors minimize their insurance costs and aggressively defend any claims.

Episode #31 - Jacki Hart is back! As someone with her finger on the pulse of the industry, Jacki Hart’s insights, impressions, and perspective are worth listening to. This episode is no different. This is a sort of “state of the industry” address, where she speaks about the labour challenges and how we as industry leaders and business owners may need to change our perspective and attitude. Be prepared to be challenged. Her opinion and perspective is thoughtful and will make you think about your own.

Episode #30 - Today we welcome Chris, Jarred, Ryan, Joe and Gerald to the podcast. They are all contractors who have implemented liquid brine into their snow operations and share their experiences and insights about the product and process. If you are interested in liquids, you are not going to want to miss this episode.

Episode #29 - On today’s episode, Grant talks with Chris Thacker, owner of Mr. Mow It All in downtown Toronto. Chris started mowing lawns at the age of 12 and has since grown that business into one that is a leader in residential and commercial urban property gardening, lawn mowing, and snow removal. If you need some encouragement and inspiration, you’ll love today’s podcast.

Episode #28 - Today Grant talks with Joel Beatson, the Executive Director of Landscape Alberta and Landscape Saskatchewan. Joel shares his industry experience and talks about what’s happening in their associations, as well as the landscape industry in the west in general.

Episode #27 The book we have recommended the most in the last year is, by far, Profit Works. It’s all about creating effective incentive programs. Grant describes it as the best book on incentive plans he’s ever read. We’ve given away many copies and even hosted an online book study on it. Today, one of the authors – Alex Freytag – is on the podcast talking about the book – what prompted him to write it, the anatomy and psychology of an effective incentive program, and the results of plans that have been implemented using his system.

Episode #26 On today’s episode, Grant speaks with LO Executive Director, Tony DiGiovanni. Tony is an industry giant if ever there was one. Even better is the fact that he is a humble man who simply seeks to serve others and encourage them in their work. We are honoured to have him on our podcast and expect that at the end, you’ll love him as much as we do.

Episode #25 Today we're talking with Ben Zlotnick, the founder of Eden App, a program he created to connect consumers who are looking for landscaping or snow removal services with contractors who can provide that service. It’s been built by contractors for contractors and it’s brilliant and revolutionary for both homeowners and contractors. We love talking to creative, out-of-the-box thinkers creating products that solve problems we didn’t even know we had. Ben is one of those people.

Episode #24 Need some inspiration? Listen to this episode. This is one of the most interesting and revolutionary episodes we’ve recorded. Constantine Grechko is leading the industry in the practice of giving back to his team and his community. In fact, his company is called Give Back Contracting. You will be encouraged, challenged and amazed at his perspective and business model.

Episode #23 -Today we’re sharing an episode of the Landscape Ontario podcast from last month, in which Grant had the opportunity to talk about owner health. The purpose of this podcast is to encourage you to get and stay healthy in all aspects of your life – physically, mentally, emotionally, and relationally. We hope you’ll be encouraged by today’s episode.

Episode #22 Today we welcome Ryan Johnson of Mountview Landscaping and talk to him about the evolution of Mountview, continuing education, teaching your staff about business finances, staff retention and company culture, and exit strategies. There’s a whole lot here today and you won’t want to miss it.

Episode #21 - On today’s podcast, Grant speaks with Arden Urbano, Greenius’ VP of Sales and Marketing. Arden has been with Greenius from the very beginning. She loves this industry and has a sincere desire to help contractors make the most of their biggest investment, their staff. Regardless of the size of your company, if you’re interested in growing your business, then Greenius is for you.

Episode #20 - Insurance is a necessity but understanding what you need and how much you need can be confusing and frustrating. Not any longer! Today Grant talks to Kyle O’Brien from Hub International Insurance, a 20-year insurance industry veteran, specializing in providing insurance to landscape construction, maintenance, arborist and snow removal companies.

Episode #19 - We're talking with Jim & Jenna Monk on the podcast today. Their company, Markham Property Services, is one of the premier companies for building culture. People want to work for them and once hired, they don’t want to leave! On today’s episode, Jim and Jenna share their journey to creating a great culture and provide insight on how you can improve your own.

Episode #18  - We’re talking about mental health on today’s episode. This is a topic that has come up time and time again during the last year. We’ve decided to devote this episode to providing some simple tips on helping us all be healthier during these uncommon – can we just call them weird? - days. We hope you’ll find today’s podcast to be helpful and encouraging.

Episode #17  - Grant interviews Ryan Hebel of Green Ventures. Ryan is going to be one of the speakers at our ICE event on February 9 where the focus will be electric equipment. If you’re interested in adding electric equipment to your operation, you’ll really benefit from today’s episode.

Episode #16 - Meet the new Deputy Executive Director of Landscape Ontario. Joe Salemi shares his history in the industry as well as his vision for the future of landscaping in Ontario.

Episode #15 - Grant speaks with Shayna Beeksma about how proper legal contracts and advice can protect yourself, your company, and your future. Shayna is a lawyer who understands our industry and is focused on small business owners. This episode can save you a lot of headaches in the future.

Episode #14 - On today’s episode, we’re switching things up and Marla will be interviewing Grant about the Nextra Network, what prompted him to start it and how it will benefit business owners. You’ll also hear a little bit about their story.

Episode #13 Wendy Ladd from Jim Pattison Lease talks all about vehicle leasing and fleet management. She shares how to get the most out of your fleet, how to know when it’s time to sell, and how having her on your side will save you time, money and stress.

Episode #12 - Jay Murray from TLC Landscaping Design & Pools in London talks about working with a business partner, knowing your numbers, engaging your employees and giving back to the community. Jay is knowledgeable, educational and inspiring. You’ll be glad you took the time to listen.

Episode #11 Pierre Marc Laforest transitioned his snow operation - Reliable Care - from rock salt to 100% liquids about 4 years ago. The industry is moving toward using more liquids and Pierre-Marc is a wealth of information and experience in making that transition.

Episode #10 - Jason and Denise Gervais are from WEB ROI, a digital marketing agency based in Milton. They share information and tips on hiring a marketing firm, on building a social media presence, on getting traffic to your website, and on how to successfully work with your spouse. We know you’ll benefit from what they have to share.

Episode #9 - Brad Caton is the Founder of Invictus Professional Snowfighters, a leading snow and ice management company in the Pacific Northwest that is solely dedicated to snow and ice management. Brad shares his extensive industry knowledge, insight and experience. If snow removal is any part of your business, you’ll want to hear today’s episode.

Episode #8 Frank Bourque is a hardscape professional, speaker, writer, consultant and entrepreneur with an extensive background in business. He is knowledgeable, honest, passionate and genuinely wants to help contractors be better. You’re gonna love Frank.

Episode #7 Jim Landry is the Executive Director of Landscape New Brunswick/Prince Edward Island. He shares how the landscape industry in the east is faring through COVID-19 and how being part of the association benefits the whole industry.

Episode #6 - Jason Taylor shares how he uses technology to help business owners find the right people and make sure they are in the right role.

Episode #5 - If talking equipment gets your motor running, then fasten your seatbelt! Greg & Mack introduce the features and benefits of the Merlo telehandler and how it can help you do more, faster.

Episode #4 - Gavin MacDougall heads up the subcontractor program at Landscape Effects. Hear his story and how they’ve grown their subcontractor partners to over 500.

Episode #3 - Andrew Wall (Sandler Training) has 30 years of sales experience, 18 years of sales management experience and 13 years (so far) of business ownership. He shares his desire is to see businesses identify their ideal clients and increase their closing rates with those clients.

Episode #2 - Jacki Hart will encourage you. You’re not alone. Whatever you’re dealing with, help is available.

Episode #1 Paul St. Pierre shares how he built his business from a one-man operation to a thriving group of companies.



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