Lorie & Greg Walton

BA '83 Psychology with ECE & BMATH '84

Family comes first

Lorie and Greg Walton with their family.Ever since she was a child, Lorie Walton knew that she wanted to work with children. And when she started her undergraduate degree at the University of Waterloo, her dream was reinforced. She is currently the owner and manager of Family First Play Therapy Centre Inc. and works with children on a day to day basis, assisting children and families who are dealing with attachment trauma and emotional/development issues.

Lorie’s story is certainly one of inspiration. She met her husband, Greg Walton, a Mathematics alumnus, while attending Waterloo. Greg is the lead owner/ CEO of Dynaplas Ltd.., a world leader in the production of precision plastic components. Both of them have fond memories of attending Waterloo and Lorie connected with us to share some of those memories and talk a little about their inspiring careers.

Can you reflect on your experience as an undergraduate student at the University of Waterloo? (For example, memorable experiences, favourite class, a professor who made an impact, etc.)

Lorie (L): I can remember my very first day at uWaterloo and my very first class: Psychology 101. When I walked into the amphitheatre filled with 100 or more students, I was terrified!  But then the professor started teaching, and I knew I was ‘home’. I was so excited and wanted to learn all that I could. I think I took almost every Psych class that was offered!  I couldn’t get enough of the learning. As a kid, I always knew I wanted to work with children and so when I discovered that Waterloo offered Developmental Psychology with an option to study Early Childhood Education (ECE), I was so excited! I was one of the first students to take the ECE program and I was the only one in my year to complete the ECE and Psych program! 

How do you feel your education at the University of Waterloo impacted your career path as both of you are successful CEO’s/ president of reputed companies?

L: I loved my experience at Waterloo.  I consider it one of the most fulfilling experiences in my lifetime for so many reasons!! Going to Waterloo helped me to grow into the person I am today. As a young woman, it was the first place where I learned to believe in myself as a ‘smart’ person; it was the first place where I learned I had a passion for learning; it was the first place where I discovered I could be me and others liked who I was!   Waterloo’s standards were high but in reflecting back, I think that is what drove me to achieve to my highest potential. I have carried those standards with me ever since. Passion, compassion and a desire to do my best work is what I learned from my experience at Waterloo. Learning how to strive for success as well as how to balance knowledge with humility is how I choose to be a leader with confidence in the work that I do today.

Can you both tell me a little bit about your careers? What is your favourite part about going to work every day?

L:  My career started out with teaching as a primary school teacher (B.Ed from University of Toronto; M.ED from University of Western Ontario). Eventually, while teaching special needs children, I became aware of Child Psychotherapy Play Therapy. I then worked hard at getting certified as a Child Psychotherapist Play Therapist with a specialization in helping children emotionally regulate through attachment work. I left teaching more than 10 years ago to open up a private clinic, Family First Play Therapy Centre Inc. in Bradford, Ontario Canada, a centre focused on assisting children and families dealing with attachment, trauma and emotional and developmental issues. This centre is unique in that all of the therapists who work here, have post graduate degrees and are specialized in Child Psychotherapy using evidence based models.  I am also a Certified Child Psychotherapist Play Therapist Supervisor and a Certified Theraplay® Therapist Trainer Supervisor. I have extensive training in working with adopted and foster care children who experience attachment related issues and trauma. Along with my private practice in Canada, I am a part of the Theraplay Institute’s International Training team. Over the last 10 years, I have had the privilege of bringing Theraplay to communities across Canada, England, and the United States. 

Before training to become a Child Psychotherapist Play Therapist, I devoted my life and studies as a Special Needs Resource teacher for children, especially those with Developmental and Physical Disabilities, including Autism. I worked with the Ministry of Education Program Standards Unit (Ontario, Canada) as well as for the Ministry of Community, Family and Children’s Services, Special Needs Branch (Ontario, Canada) as a consultant in developing programming for children with Special Needs.   My involvement at the community level consists of being a past member of the Board of Directors for Blue Hills Child and Family Services in Aurora Ontario for three years. I was the President for the Canadian Association for Child and Play Therapy (CACPT) from 2005 to 2010 and am currently the Past-President. I also provide clinical consultation and play therapy clinical supervision to several agencies in Ontario and to Play Therapists and Theraplay Therapists all over the world.

Greg has always worked in the auto manufacturing industry. He started out as a co-op student for General Motors of Canada in Oshawa Ontario and once he graduated and we married, he was hired there full time (at the Fabrication Plant). We lived in Oshawa for a bit and then we moved to Dorchester Ontario when he was transferred to the Cami Plant. After being there for 3 years, he was hired by Magna International in Aurora Ontario, where he became the VP of Sales for Decoma...so we moved to Bradford at that time. 3 years ago Greg become the lead owner of Dynaplas - a world leader in the production of precision plastic components. Dynaplas Ltd. is a leading high-precision injection moulder of complex, plastic components manufactured using highly-engineered, specialty resins. The Company designs, engineers, tests and manufactures technologically advanced vehicle components sold primarily to global Tier I automotive suppliers. Dynaplas also believes in helping students learn about the manufacturing business and therefore highers co-op students from Waterloo. It’s a win/win as Dynaplas gets input and innovation from the enthusiasm of the students and the students get great quality exposure and learning opportunities!

What do you do in your spare time? What are some individual hobbies/ interests? What are some fun things you all do as a family?

L & Greg (G): Our favourite thing to do as a family is hang out together.  We purchased a beautiful cottage when the boys were 10 and 13 in the hopes that the boys would fall in love with it and always want to hang out there with us. Well that plan worked! Even though the boys are grown up now, they come frequently. One of our favourite times there is our annual Walton Winter Olympics where we gather at the cottage with our family and friends to celebrate New Year’s Eve and have fun playing winter games. It helps that I am a “Play Therapist” and am proud that our ‘crew’ understands the value of enjoying fun time with family and friends. 

Recently, just last year, our twin boys were married 3 months apart.  Our family now includes two wonderful daughters. Our youngest son, Scott, is attending uWaterloo. He is in the third year of Management Engineering co-op program and he loves it! We were absolutely thrilled when he choose Waterloo and Waterloo chose him. He loves the co-op experience, he loves the engineering program and he loves the social atmosphere.  

Greg and I recognize how blessed we are to have had such a wonderful journey with our careers and the support and love from our family and friends.

Walton Winter Olympics 2010.

Where were you both born and raised, and where is your residence now?

L: I was born in Montreal, Quebec, raised for part of my youth in Rhode Island USA, and then Oakville Ontario for my high school years. 

Once we were married, we moved to Oshawa then moved to Dorchester Ontario (right outside of London) for Greg’s work (and where Lorie went back to school for her M.Ed) and then moved to Bradford Ontario 18 years ago and have been here ever since. Because we both moved around a lot as kids, it was important for us to find a place where we could settle and raise our boys. The small town of Bradford fit that wish for us and as a result, our boys have enjoyed (and so have we) a real sense of belonging within a community with lifelong friends and neighbors.

How did you both meet? (At uWaterloo itself?)

L: We did meet at Waterloo! I (Lorie) lived in East 3 Village One during my first and second year. Although Greg didn’t get into residence for his first semester, he eventually moved into East 3 in his second year.  Although we met at that time, I was really shy and didn’t think that Greg would be interested in me. So although we knew of each other, we didn’t really hang out together. I studied in the library a lot and Greg hung out with Mathies and Engineers. Greg and I met up again during a 3rd year party (we were both living off campus by then) and we haven’t been apart since! I always say that I am the Artsy in the family and Greg is the Mathie! I like to think that we balance each other out perfectly: Greg is the left brain (Math and logic) and I’m the right brain (emotion and creativity).

Do you have any advice or insight to share with students, especially those seeking careers similar to yours? Arts or Mathematics graduates.

L: I suggest that: students should always follow their passion, don’t let the challenges of building a career stop you from working hard to make your dream come true. Envision yourself and where you would like to end up, and work hard with pride, commitment and positive energy. If you can dream it, you can do it!

You can connect with Lorie through her business website and with Greg, through his company’s website.

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