Newly appointed CEO of Landscape Queensland Industries Inc Mark Sorby talks to ODS E-News about his appointment and what his plans are for the association, both in the short-term and beyond.
When were you appointed CEO of LQI? What role did you occupy prior to this?
I commenced on November 4, 2009 after a number of years with the Housing Industry Association in Business Development and Branch management roles.
How did you get into the landscape industry?
I’ve always been interested in construction and horticulture. At school I worked part time in a nursery potting plants and shrubs. The scope of works of a landscaper is very broad and covers both construction and horticultural. My knowledge of the construction industry through my time with HIA is sound but I have to go back to my school days for the horticultural side.
However, being the CEO of the peak body for the Landscaping Industry in Queensland required someone experienced in the operations of an industry association. Having a strong background in membership development, membership services and relationship management, the board of LQI believed I had the experience to grow the association and manage the various facets required to see the organisation continue to succeed.
Can you tell us a bit about your background – education/employment?
I started off in the finance industry in the days when customer service was a priority and progressed through to lending and a relationship management role with a portfolio of business clients.
Over the years I’ve gained a strong grounding in finance and have achieved qualifications in business and business management.
Joining HIA I was very successful in a membership development role then progressed through to other sales and management positions. Now with Landscape Queensland Industries Inc I’m looking forward to the challenge of running a growing organisation, providing for the needs of its members and raising the profile of the industry.
What is the aim of LQI?
As a member-based organisation, LQI aims to provide its members with a range of value for money services and benefits which help them with the day-to-day operations of the businesses.
We are also focused on promoting and acknowledging best practice, improving industry standards through training and development and encouraging employment in the industry.
We wish to be an organisation which is truly representative of the broad range of industry participants that the landscaping industry encompasses.
What are some of the activities LQI is involved in?
We provide our members with a variety of information on technical and legislative changes, new products and techniques via our industry publications, web page and events. Our annual state conference covers all areas of running a business in the landscape industry whilst our annual awards of excellence brings the industry together to celebrate and acknowledge the best of the best in landscape.
LQI also has involvement with other industry bodies identifying opportunities to work together for the benefit of the construction and horticultural industries.
What are your plans (both short-term and long-term) for the association?
In the short term - continuing to create and provide value to our members and support the industry by promoting best practice and encouraging training and up skilling.
Landscape Queensland is also committed to bringing industry and schools closer together to address potential skill shortages and give school kids the opportunity to gain exposure to the industry with the possibility of landscape being their career of choice.
It is also necessary to promote the many positive benefits that landscaping can contribute to society including health benefits and heat reduction in the high density urban environment. All aspects of Landscaping need to be considered a vital component when developments are being designed to ensure the liveability of our cities is maintained.
Landscape Queensland Ind. Inc is actually in a unique position of straddling both the construction and horticulture industries, making it well placed to be a conduit with the ability to funnel information from one industry to the other. This provides individual businesses and industry with valuable information at both ends of the supply chain. I’d like to take advantage of our position by assisting both industries develop better products and services and by creating and facilitating research and development opportunities.
What has been your career highlight to date?
I actually think obtaining this position with LQI is my highlight, only because I can see the potential for the association and the fact that this industry is so diverse, interesting and I believe so important to how we will live in this country moving into the future.