Diversity: Getting involved in the industry cultivates diversity

October 22, 2019 -  By
Ed Wallace was the first African American president of the Orange County chapter of the California Landscape Contractors Association. Wallace and fellow contractor, Richard Cohen, man a CLCA booth. (Photo: Ed Wallace)

Ed Wallace was the first African American president of the Orange County chapter of the California Landscape Contractors Association. Wallace and fellow contractor, Richard Cohen, man a CLCA booth. (Photo: Ed Wallace)

Ed Wallace, owner of Midwest Landscaping in Long Beach, Calif., is active within associations representing the landscape industry. He was the first African American president of the Orange County chapter of the California Landscape Contractors Association.

He’s proud of the diversity within his own chapter, noting that diversity ripples out into the association at the state level.

“Gaining and retaining members is the lifeblood of the chapter,” he says.

There are two military veterans within the executive team of the Orange County chapter, one is the vice president of education and the other is the vice president of membership.

“They wanted to learn more about the industry and find out how they could further their careers,” he says. “They wanted to better themselves.”

Wallace says it’s important to tap into young folks, especially those from diverse backgrounds, and get them involved in industry organizations and leadership opportunities.

“Young folks coming in that have a passion for the industry — they’re really into educating the landscape people about the industry,” he says. “There’s a lot of room for growth here because of the disconnect between what this industry can provide for all people and the perception of what this industry is.”

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Christina Herrick

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