Lawn & Garden Services in Midtown Toronto & East York

2023 Holiday Speech

Blurred holiday party 2023

This speech was given by our General Manager Michael Chudy at our end of year holiday party in December, 2023.

Hi, everyone –
It’s so nice to be here with all of you again,
celebrating the end of our tenth landscape season.
I’d like to thank our office team – Robin, Kaysha, Marc and James – for making tonight happen –
and our friends and family for joining us –
and I’d like to thank our snow team for a great first run
and for being here after a very early start to the day
Most of all, I’d like to thank our maintenance, garden and installs staff for a truly exceptional season.
By any measure, this was our
best and biggest –
in total sales, the size of our team, and the number of properties we cared for –
across the board, we set new records, and I’ll touch on those in a few minutes.
First, though, it’s the things you can’t measure
That I’d like to call out and celebrate.
This season more than any other,
I’ve been struck by what an exceptional group of people we have here.
The bustle around Robin’s desk in the morning –
laughter and stories shared as crews plan their day.
The warm welcome from our maintenance team,
coffee in hand, as they banter early morning in the front yard.
And the countless emails, letters, phone calls and reviews we get from clients
who hire us for the work,
but come back time and again for the people.
A company is its people – full stop.
And the people here tonight
are what make Gardenzilla such a special place to work.
It’s coming up on seven years now
since James and I sat down at the Landscape Ontario congress,
and he agreed to leave a senior role with a much larger company to take a chance on a little startup
called Gardenzilla.
we talked about people –
about a shared value
that when you put people first
amazing things happen. > and its true >
that year we bought the company’s second vehicle together –
the same big Ford Transit van that Tiffany and Mary drove this year –
and we’ve gone on to buy twenty nine more vehicles together since
Justin, you joined that same year, and welcomed your daughter Alice
at the same time my wife and I welcomed our son James
And then Robin in 2018. You met James and me in the basement office of my house
and took a nine month maternity leave contract that’s still going strong six years later.
Josh, Kailan, Kaysha, Sara, Simon, Hilary and Vittor followed in 2019, now all in senior roles with the company.
I look back fondly on those early years at 618 O’Connor Dr.
with a river of wonderful people coming and going through our lives and home –
You all hold a special place in my heart.
And then in 2020, we moved to our current offices and worked under pandemic conditions –
almost doubling the size of our fleet so we could keep people safe, one-per-vehicle –
joined that year by Jim, Ryan, Sean and Mackenzie.
In 2021 Claire, Jesse, Lee, Mary and Tiffany joined the team –
pandemic restrictions lifted, but they left a new world in their wake –
and we introduced our health plan as a first step in a new direction for the company
In 2022 we welcomed Alex, Andrew, Gab, Jasther, Jessica, John, and Matthew.
it was the year we purchased our forklift, and when they delivered it
we realized none of us knew how to drive it off the delivery truck
And in 2023? Mark on maintenance and Marc in the office,
Aiwa, Ben, Eric, Fiona, Ian, Lauren, Silas, Tucker and Ussman
Joined later in the season by Drew, Monique and Erika
and for snow this winter by Adam, Jaiden, Justin and Nate
For some of you, this will be
a stop on the journey
For others, you’ll put down roots
and build a career with us
All of us can be proud of the work we did this year
The people here tonight
made amazing things happen in 2023.
By the numbers, here’s a rundown of what we accomplished –
9 the number of crews using battery powered trimmers and hedgers full time, up from 1 crew part time last year
next year we expect to have them for every crew in the company
14 snow routes this winter, up 55% in the last two years
45 size of our team during the busy season this year, doubled from the beginning of the pandemic
340 garden care clients, up 80% in the last two years
685 maintenance clients, up 25% in the last two years
1100 ecosalt buckets delivered to client properties last winter
2,900 quotes sent to clients by our office team this year
10,000 donated to the Daily Bread Food Bank, doubling our commitment from last year
16,500 paid out to staff through our new sick day program
29,400 approximate number of visits to client properties this year
47,000 the number of individual email conversations our office team managed
51,000 the number of yard waste bags we used this year
54,000 the number of hours we collectively worked this year
822,000 the total of value of quotes sent out in just May of this year, the highest month of quoting in the company’s history
I have one last award to hand out,
for Best Team Player in the company.
This year’s Best Team Player award goes to Hilary.
I’d also like call out
Ang and Jacky
from National Discount Tire & Automotive –
Ang and Jacky keep our fleet and many of our personal vehicles on the road –
thanks so much everything you do for us
Staff at Amsterdam
thanks so much for hosting us this evening
We finished this season in the best way possible –
Early –
And as a team, closing out the last of more than 1500 fall cleanups together.
I don’t have words to capture how much all of you –
and this team together –
mean to me.
Thanks so much for an exceptional season.
So –
A perfect ending to an amazing year.
I really look forward to sitting down with each of you over the winter, and
I really hope to see each of you back here next spring.
As always, on behalf of our snow team –
I will be dreaming of a Green Christmas.
Happy holidays everyone.