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Branching Out

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"Adaptation: From Traditional to the New and Beyond..."

  Branching Out Horticulture Career Expo is an opportunity for KPU Horticulture students and employers to engage insightful conversations about careers in the horticulture industry. The event consists of open networking, industry panelists and a networking roundtable as the main event. 

 Thank you for participating to the 2020 Branching Out Horticulture Career Expo.

We look forward to seeing you at our next event.

Networking Roundtables

The main event consists of a networking roundtable and followed by an open networking session. During the networking roundtable section, students will spend 15 minutes at each table with 4 rotations in total. Guests will remain at their pre-assigned table and host a discussion each round. Conversations range from a discussion on generic information about working in the industry to specific job duties or hiring techniques. Overall, students will be looking for information to help guide them with their career exploration. The Career Development Centre will also have ‘conversation strips’ to help move the conversation along.

For more information, email


Hedy Dyck, Chief Operating Officer of BC Landscape & Nursery Association


Hedy started her plant-based career at the age of 5 when she and her 3 siblings picked berries with their mother in the summer.  This was the 1960’s when many people had large subsistence vegetable gardens, canned their fruit and vegetables and froze everything else.  Both parents had a green thumb, eventually building over an acre in a landscape garden that was natural to love and grow up with. 

BCIT’s Bio Sciences ‘Production’ diploma was a good fit, with hands-on learning, along with the Physics and Statistics.  Then the real career started.  Firstly, Field-based Quality Control for what became Pillsbury, followed by a year with Brian Minter in Chilliwack in greenhouse propagation and garden retail, then selling and marketing plant protection products and fertilizers with Green Valley.  Handling marketing and advertising for 16 Buckerfields Stores came next, followed by more wholesale, then jumping into managing issues and administering associations.  Time at the BC Raspberry Industry Development Council led to the BC Landscape & Nursery Assn, where she has been for about 20 years.  Starting at the ‘front line’ with reception and moving up, handling the Phytophthora ramorum crisis for the landscape horticulture sector, then spreading into other commodity groups, and finally 6 years ago, took the top job at BCLNA. The most recent challenge has been the incidence of Japanese Beetle in Vancouver, which jeopardized the wholesale nursery sector.

It's an excellent experience working with the BCLNA, which uses every skill and competence she has learned previously.  The best part is working with industry people who come from diverse backgrounds and love the industry they are in, so by building consensus and finding opportunities, together we support the industry to learn, connect and grow.  

So, it can be done.  Make your own future;  you can get to the top if that is what you want.  You will be challenged,  tested and learn something new every day. And expect to be a little bit afraid.  

Owen Croy, Professor at the University of British Columbia


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Owen Croy worked in the forest industry and was also a program officer with Agriculture Canada before joining the City of Surrey in 1992.  There, he managed Surrey’s park system for 25 years and also taught in the Surrey Leadership Program.  He is a founding member of the Municipal Forestry Institute, where he teaches leadership courses to international participants.  Owen is currently an Adjunct Professor at the University of British Columbia where he teaches urban forestry and park management.

In 2018 he received two international awards: The International Society of Arboriculture’s Presidents Award for his involvement in mentoring the next generation of urban foresters in North America, and Tree Canada’s Royal Galipeau Award of Distinction for his contributions to urban forestry in Canada. He was also awarded the Life Membership Award by the Society of Municipal Arborists for contributions to international municipal forestry and was the co-recipient of the Fraser Institute’s Award for Economy in Local Government for developing a model for continuous improvement in city operations. Owen writes and lectures widely on various aspects of governance in municipal park operations and urban forestry.


Ruben Houweling, General Manager of Houweling Nurseries


In an industry that’s centred on hands-on education and training, helping out in the family business came second nature for Ruben Houweling.

As a young boy of seven, he started out washing flower pots and mixing soil, gradually adding to his duties as he grew older. With a father, two uncles, siblings and cousins involved, Ruben knew at an early age that this was where he belonged.

Three decades later, he’s still very much involved in Houweling Nurseries as the General Manager in Delta. Ruben knows there’s no such thing as a typical day in the greenhouse business but that’s part of what keeps him going. He and the rest of the staff bend their schedules to whatever the plants need, planning their lives around the crop and seedling cycles.

For Ruben, nothing compares to seeing that first cluster of tomatoes on the vine, after watching it grow from seed to plant. It’s a feeling that hasn’t changed for him in over twenty years.


2020 Employers