It’s fair to say that Kirk McLean has retailing in his DNA. Specifically, hardware retailing. Along with his grandfather, father and brother, Kirk is the fourth in his family to choose hardware and building supplies as a vocation. Today, he is one of three partners for the Home Hardware retail and building supplies operation on West Street South in Orillia.
Before joining Home Hardware eight years ago, Kirk spent many years as an executive chef, travelling the world, conjuring up creative menus and many memorable meals. Although he loved the travel and the creativity involved in his work – along with his then partner, now wife, Jennifer, they knew the time would come to shift gears and look for work and a community that would support their longer-term goals, including raising a family.
And what better fit for Kirk than to join the merchandising world here in Canada.
On a number of levels, it’s fortunate for us that Kirk eventually settled in Orillia. Since arriving in town, he has been contributing as an active family man, business man and community leader. And it has been particularly fortunate for Sustainable Orillia as Kirk brought with him a commitment to the environment. Kirk has been a member of Sustainable Orillia’s board of directors since last February.
On the job, Kirk spends a great deal of his time on the floor working directly with customers, contractors and tradespeople. He sees first-hand the increased interest and demand for sustainable practices across all areas of their clientele. And as reported elsewhere, like his colleagues and counterparts, Kirk has seen an uptick in renovation and retrofitting activity over the past two years. As more and more of us act on the need to take counter measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on the home front, Kirk and his team are well positioned to provide advice, services and solutions for everyone, from the do-it-yourselfers to the most experienced contractors.
A driving factor for Kirk’s participation with Sustainable Orillia is to protect the beautiful waters around Orillia. Although Kirk is a long way from his coastal home town of Whitianga on New Zealand’s North Island, his deep love and respect for nature transferred seamlessly to the Simcoe-Muskoka region, and he is committed to doing his part to protect and preserve it.
Kirk speaks passionately about lake health and advocates action and solutions at both the municipal and individual level. At the municipal level, a priority for Kirk is how waste is handled. At home, Kirk and family have been clear-bagging their household waste for almost a year and he acknowledges that it is a challenge at times, but feels strongly that the benefits are worth it.
When asked what individuals can do to protect lake health, he recommends that installing ‘microplastic filters’ on everyone’s washing machine would go a long way to reducing the amount of plastic (micro or otherwise) that leaks into our drainage systems and then into our lakes every day.
Kirk ‘walks the talk’ when it comes to sustainability and the environment. In addition to his contributions to Sustainable Orillia, he is in the planning stages to build a new sustainable home for his family. The McLeans recently purchased a wooded lot in Severn Bridge where they will begin building in the months ahead. Kirk’s enthusiasm for the setting and his passion for nature come together when he shares his plans and hopes for their new home. Putting his passion into practice.
Kirk has two young boys who share his love for outdoor activities. Like most of us in this movement, much of Kirk’s energy and motivation comes from the desire to protect our quality of life and the environment for his children. Kirk is keenly aware of how fragile our eco-systems are, and he pushes hard for positive action around the Sustainable Orillia Board table (or screen).
Sustainable Orillia thanks Kirk and all its volunteer board members for their contributions and commitment. Individual board members are featured in articles like this from time-to-time and readers are encouraged to visit ‘sustainableorillia.ca’ to learn more about how they can be part of this critical community movement to protect our quality of life, our environment and the future for all Orillians, today and tomorrow.