Dowhy Designs and Landscapes Inc.
Like most people in our industry, I started cutting grass for my home town while I went to University to “find my career”. It didn’t take long to realize that my interests were in plants and ecology, so I eventually chose a Botany major. After 2 years of mowing grass I worked on a highway survey crew for 2 years, after which I returned to the city where I learned sports field maintenance and was responsible for the maintenance of our city’s ball diamonds, soccer pitches / football fields, and greenspaces. Once I had graduated from University, I just wanted to keep working outside and gaining more skills, so I was promoted to crew lead and was responsible for our city’s beautification department which included all annual beds and hundreds of hanging baskets.
A fortunate conversation with the Greenhouse owner that provided all of the city’s annuals introduced me to the Provincial Landscape Technician Apprenticeship Program. My instructor became my mentor when I left the city to become a labourer in the Landscape Design-build industry and I worked for one of the most prestigious and respected award-winning landscape companies in the province.
Upon completing the apprenticeship program, I became an instructor at Red River College, teaching alongside my mentor and other industry professionals. I have spent the last 19 winters teaching, promoting, influencing, challenging and encouraging apprentices in Manitoba. I have worked with CNLA to help Landscape Horticulture become Red Seal Recognized and became the first Red Seal Landscape Horticulturist in Manitoba. I have contributed to two more curriculum updates including the challenging harmonization process. I have also been able to participate in CNLA’s OJT, HR, and PDC committees over the last 10 years. As an instructor I have also supported several students of the apprenticeship and complimentary college Greenspace programs achieve success in the Landscape Gardening Skills competitions at the provincial and national levels.
After six years and working my way up to crew leader with my mentor’s company, I was offered an opportunity to run a landscape division for a greenhouse back in my hometown. Working for the greenhouse I was able to gain experience and confidence in sales, estimating, design, accounting, human resource management, and customer service. While getting an opportunity to learn more about the retail greenhouse industry as a whole.
I started Dowhy Design & Landscapes Inc. in 2010. Becoming a business owner gave me the opportunity to control the company so I could balance my personal life with the chance to grow and develop relationships with my customers and employees. As owner I could ensure I could continue to commit to being an instructor and program coordinator for the apprenticeship program in the “off-season”.
In 2017 I threw my hat in the ring to become a board member and was elected President of MBNLA. I’m hoping my connections and experience in the industry would enable me to help grow our local association and gain our industry more respect as a vital profession.