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5 Traits We Value in our Landscape Professionals

I recently had the opportunity to prepare a presentation for our 2017 Summer Intern Class. One slide in particular (the one in the picture at the top of this post) stuck out to me, and I wanted to share it here.

It’s a list of the 5 attributes that we value most in our employees.

We thought about the most successful people in our company. Men and women who have risen through the ranks and been given positions of great responsibility - Branch Managers, Business Developers, and Senior Account Managers. 

What are the traits they have in common?

1. Professional: They chose this industry as a career. It’s not just a job.

There’s a popular perception that people who end up in the landscaping industry just fell into it. Like we’re that kid who started mowing lawns during the summer and it became a full-time job.  While there are certainly a number of landscaping companies that get their start like that, our story is different. We formed Yellowstone by merging existing, successful businesses together. We saw a need for a strong, regional company that specialized in creating and maintaining complex, commercial landscapes across the South. That’s what Yellowstone is today, and why the Landscape Professionals who work here are so dedicated to solving the challenges that our clients face in their landscapes.

2. Hard Working: There is no easy button for what we do. Landscaping requires sweat and grinding it out, day after day.

Summer in the South is unrelenting. Average temperatures above 90 degrees and with the humidity it usually feels like triple digits. This is the environment that our Landscape Professionals sign up to work in.  They report before 7am and sometimes don’t get back to our shops until well after 5.  Fall, Winter, and Spring bring their own challenges. Leaf cleanup, pruning, fertilization applications, irrigation system testing and repair - there’s always something to be done when you work in commercial landscaping, and it’s never easy.

3. Positive Attitude: There are no failures, only opportunities to learn.

Let’s be clear with this one. Working at Yellowstone isn’t like walking down Sesame Street. But we’ve realized that there’s nothing more draining to the morale of a team than constant negativity. If we chose to focus on the things that go wrong every day, we’d be miserable. Instead, we want Landscape Professionals who choose to be positive in the face of adversity. People who are so confident in their abilities, that they see problems as opportunities to demonstrate their competence.

Clients don’t hire us for when things go well.  They hire us for how we handle it when things go badly.  When an irrigation line bursts, how quickly do we respond?  When someone takes a drive through the grass and tears up your HOA’s entry, how soon can we get the turf replaced? When a storm comes through, when are our crews there to start the cleanup?

4. Part of the Team: “We’re all in this together.”

If you’re around any of our branches for any length of time, you’ll here this phrase. “We’re all in this together.” We’ve adopted this mantra because we understand that our success depends on each of us pulling our own weight. From our CEO to front line service crew members, no one is more important than another.  A successful client relationship depends on all of us, using our individual skills to create landscapes that will make our clients proud when they drive through their properties.

5. Knowledgeable: As Landscape Professionals, it’s our responsibility to share what we know.

When we look across our management team, about three-quarters of them hold some level of advanced degree or certification that relates to what they do. From Bachelor’s degrees to industry certifications, our Landscape Professionals have accumulated a tremendous amount of knowledge about creating and caring for landscapes. Even after they’ve finished school, they participate in continuing education classes to stay up to date on new technologies and ideas. And they’re applying what they learn, to change how we serve our clients and their landscapes.

It’s a really simple slide. But when we pause for a few minutes to think about what each of these five traits means to us, it’s pretty easy to see why the Landscape Professionals that exhibit these traits are so successful within our company. It’s easy to see why we’ve entrusted them to manage our branch locations, represent us to new clients, and serve our existing clients.

If you’re a student, thinking about what to do after you finish school, we invite you to explore our Internship Program and read about the experiences of our past interns.

If you’re already in the industry and looking for a new opportunity, we invite you to check out our current Job Opportunities and join us.

If you’re a Property Manager in search of a new commercial landscape service partner, we invite you to meet one of our local Yellowstone Landscape Professionals and tell us about what your landscape means to you.

 

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Orlando South Intern Embraces Diverse Experiences and Languages!

This is a guest post, written by Paula, about her intern experience with us this summer.

It has been an absolutely incredible summer interning with Yellowstone Landscape.  As a Plant Science major at the University of Florida, I look forward to entering the horticulture industry once I graduate.  After researching several landscape companies for my internship, Yellowstone was my top choice – and I made the perfect pick.  The people I have met not only take pride in caring for the landscapes of properties ranging from Disney resorts, vacation home communities, and HOA’s – but they also care immensely for each other.  It’s one thing to do what you love every day; it’s another to do it with people who love it too.  As a person whose horticulture background came strictly from books and not the “real-world,” this made all the difference in making my experience as an intern educational, practical, and enjoyable.

I have had many incredible experiences at Yellowstone that it is hard to pick a favorite!  One of my most memorable moments was the day I spent with Petra, an Irrigation Technician, at one of our largest properties in Orlando, Reunion.  It was my third time with irrigation and my two previous mentors were excellent at showing me the ropes.  I learned how to test a residential irrigation system, identify broken sprinklers and dig them out to repair, and how to work with irrigation boxes that house the valves for the property.  However, my day with Petra was different as she took identifying broken irrigation systems to a whole new level!  She did not need to test a system in order to discover broken heads, but rather, looked attentively for other signs of damage.  The biggest key indicator – erosion!  Often, a broken head would spew water uncontrollably, causing a buildup of sand and soil over the plant material and hardscape. Yet this wasn’t the only thing that made the day with Petra unique – our entire day was spent conversing in Spanish.  It was as if I was completing a “Study Abroad” experience in one day! I am fluent in Portuguese, and am conversationally-fluent in Spanish, so differences in language is not a barrier to me.  But Petra made it a unique experience, because she explained each irrigation part, tool, and scope of work, just as one would in English, but in Spanish.  She would point to a nozzle, an elbow, a shovel, and call them by name in Spanish.  She would speak slowly and clearly, often repeating the words with me until I was able to call out the pieces by myself.  This in turn, helped me tremendously to familiarize myself with the names of these important tools in Spanish, so that I can better assist a new team of irrigation techs that may not be strong in their understanding of English.  This just goes to show that it’s not just plants in the horticulture business!!

My internship with Yellowstone has helped me hone in on the skills I have learned in school such as; plant identification, professionalism, agribusiness management, landscape design, and plant chemistry.  It has also trained me in skills I would not have learned in a formal education such as; pest and weed management, irrigation, landscape installation and how to use a variety of equipment.  Above all, I have learned how to stay competitive – as both a company and as an individual – in this fast paced industry.  The crews I worked with are some of the hardest-working people I have ever met, and Yellowstone gives them a reason to keep returning.  Finding motivation like this is hard for any company, but it seems to come so naturally here – and after a whole summer with Yellowstone Landscape, it’s easy to see why.  I can’t wait until next summer to continue learning and make my mark!

 

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A Summer of Transition and New Experiences!

This is a guest post, written by Kevin, about his intern experience with us this summer.

I left Southwest Virginia to live on my own for the first time in my life!  I didn’t realize that it would be this easy to connect with a new cast of characters in an unfamiliar setting.  I am lucky, because the Yellowstone family didn’t hesitate to welcome me to their team.

Growing up in Virginia, I worked during the summer for my dad’s small landscape company, gaining great field experience through the years.  However, I went to Virginia Tech University to study Mathematics and Data Analytics.  I have spent the better part of these past three months, working as an IT/Data Analyst Intern at the Yellowstone Landscape corporate office in Palm Coast, Florida.  At the beginning of the summer, I was given the opportunity to work under not one, not two, but three Mentors, each of whom have taught me different skill sets.

I am humbled every time I learn something new, excited every time I shake a friendly hand, and surprised every time I accomplish something I think is impossible.  My experience has definitely been atypical of most Yellowstone Interns because I am not working in the field.  Instead, I’ve been assisting with the daily IT communications and business analytics of the corporate office.  I have set up “skype” meetings for managers and our bi-weekly Intern “catch up sessions”, worked on several resource analysis projects and researched the best programs for a mapping system to track business.  Whether setting up a computer for a new employee, creating a spreadsheet for a Branch Manager, or traveling to another branch to fix a fax machine, I’ve been thinking on my feet every day and building my “problem solving” skills. 

I quickly learned that facilitating a business spanning five states and employing several thousand landscape professionals requires a well-oiled headquarters.  Between Finance, HR, Operations, IT, and Systems Management, there isn’t much downtime.  As an intern, I tried my best to keep up with the pace, learning along the way. 

Of my experiences, one of my favorites was the Intern Symposium, held in early July.  Starting with a sailboat ride on the waters of St. Augustine, then team building activities and meetings with corporate officers, the three days went by entirely too fast.  At the end of it, not only had the interns become great friends, but we also learned a lot about the inner workings of Yellowstone Landscape.  The attention and appreciation we received during the symposium spoke volumes to how much this company values its employees. 

As I wind down my summer, I am trying to take in as much as I can.  I am already envious of the next group of wide-eyed Interns spread out amongst the many branches of Yellowstone Landscape.  I hope they are ready for an action packed summer that will go by way too fast!

 

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Houston Design Intern Gains New Experiences the “Second Time” Around

This is a guest post, written by Krystin, about her intern experience with us this summer.

As a Landscape Construction and Landscape Architecture dual major at Mississippi State University, I have looked forward to a “design” internship since I chose my career path.  Returning to Yellowstone Landscape for a second internship was a great choice because they have given me the opportunity to build my skillset through a variety of experiences.  Last year my internship focused on landscape maintenance and installation which gave me a great foundation.  This year I worked with the company designer, sales team and maintenance division, attended a MUD conference in San Antonio where I interacted face to face with potential clients and worked from start to finish on a large scale design project.  These opportunities have improved my presentation and communication skills with clients and employees of the company.

My intern project, an apartment complex called Buffalo Pointe, is the largest project I have worked on, estimated at 40K worth of improvements.  The client wanted a tropical atmosphere for the entire property and a completely new Zen Garden, replacing plants that were not doing well.  I was also given the opportunity to share my ideas and designs with the clients.

Attending the MUD conference gave me the chance to gain a better understanding of what the sales team does and work on my communication and networking skills.  Attending with the Business Development Managers from the Houston Central Branch gave me insight into how hard they work to build relationships and gain new business.  I was also given the opportunity to design the booth with ideas I had researched, as well as answer questions pertaining to Yellowstone Landscape and the services the four Houston branches offer.  Being at the conference gave me the confidence to approach customers knowing the sales people would be able to answer any questions I couldn’t.   

This internship has given me a chance to experience different aspects of the company and strengthen many skills I was unaware needed strengthening.  Taking the leap of faith with a last chance offer has been one of the best decisions for my education and career path so far!

 

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Atlanta Intern Develops a New View of the Landscape Industry

This is a guest post, written by Dennis, about his intern experience with us this summer.

Coming into this internship without any previous experience in the landscape industry seemed quite daunting, but the East Atlanta branch made me feel like part of the team from day one.  As an Agricultural Operations student from the University of Florida, I was unsure of what to expect and was anxious to learn what the industry was all about.  A common misconception I had about the landscape industry is that it only cuts grass and trims hedges, this couldn’t be further from the truth.  This internship has opened my eyes to a much larger, more complex business than I ever thought landscaping is.  After riding around with my Mentor on the first day it was apparent I had much to learn and at the same time I would be able to apply my classroom knowledge to this industry. 

Throughout the summer I have experienced many different aspects of the industry such as; maintenance, construction, installation, irrigation, fert-chem, management, and sales.  This has taught me that learning all aspects of the operations side of the business is essential to becoming an effective Account Manager. 

My favorite experience was a start to finish construction and installation project.  After going through the projected price summary with the Atlanta General Manager and the project Account Manager, I was able to go into the field and see how the plan would be executed.  When we first arrived to this new apartment complex, I realized that we had our work cut out for us!  The first task was to remove a sizeable amount of large rocks from the clay where we would be grading and laying sod.  After that was done, I was able to put my skills of operating a bobcat into use by grading the clay behind the leasing office of this apartment complex.  We had to grade so that water would flow into the drains away from the building.  As I worked, the Crew Leader would give me tips on more effective ways of operating the bobcat, which helped speed up the process tremendously.

The Yellowstone Landscape internship program has taught me far more than what I expected.  Not only did it teach me the various operations within the landscape industry, it also has helped me develop professionally.  I am grateful for the many opportunities and lessons learned working with each member of the Atlanta Yellowstone team.  These are lifelong lessons and skills I will be able to use throughout my career.  

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Arbor Intern Grows Through Experiencing Daily Challenges and Obstacles!

This is a guest post, written by Matt, about his intern experience with us this summer.

Interning with Yellowstone Landscape’s Arbor Division in Southwest Houston has been a rewarding experience, showing me what to expect from my future career, and realizing I made a great choice in studying Urban Forestry at Stephen F. Austin State University.  Arboriculture has always been an interest of mine and this internship has only piqued and focused this interest into what may be a lifelong endeavor.

As an Intern at Yellowstone Landscape, I have worked in the heat hauling brush and using a chipper, climbed trees and trimmed them with a chainsaw, excavated trenches and installed root barriers, pruned with an extended chainsaw, and stacked giant logs moved by a crane.  I’ve also gathered valuable experience in the sales sector; from shadowing my Mentors, to bidding my own jobs and managing and supervising crews.  Bidding jobs has boosted my confidence by meeting with clients in a professional environment.  My Mentors have provided supportive guidance and instruction while also giving me the freedom to use my intellect and make important decisions.

One of my favorite experiences was the removal of a large ash tree in a client’s front yard.  It was a huge tree with two main branches, each the size of large tree. One of the branches was leaning over the house and had the potential to cause tremendous damage if it fell.  A few years prior the tree was bolted at the base and cabled throughout the crown to keep it standing.  A recent storm caused some splitting of the base and the bolt was visible where it wasn’t before, so the homeowner decided it was time to have the tree removed.  We started around 7:30 AM and it took until 4 PM to finish.  I helped with hauling limbs to the chipper and stacking logs to be picked up later that day.  It was hot and humid, and our climber was pushing to finish in one day.  Late in the morning a section of limb became wedged between him and the tree while he was roping it down. This was a little scary, but he managed to get around it and drop it the way he intended. We could tell he had become fatigued and it was time for a break.  After lunch he went right back to the removal and worked with even more gumption than he had earlier in the day.  Once he had the tree down to a snag, the foreman decided to saw it and let it fall in the yard. When the snag dropped, it split in two showing that it was completely hollow in the middle.  Had this tree not been bolted and cabled, it would have failed long ago.  

It was interesting to see that the past work of an arborist kept a tree standing that wouldn’t be otherwise, and that over time, even with these mitigation techniques, the tree became dangerous as it decayed.  Best takeaway; a questionable tree and the installed hardware should be inspected regularly.

This was the most challenging job I’ve seen a single climber do, and he did it very well. He was tied in climbing around and using a chainsaw from 7:30 to 3:00 with only one brief break.  I have a lot of respect for these climbers, and having done a little climbing myself, I know that they are in much better shape than I am.  It is a difficult and dangerous job that takes a tremendous amount of effort and skill to perform. 

Being an Intern with Yellowstone Landscape’s Arbor Division has provided me the opportunity to learn many aspects of arboriculture.  My interest in this field has increased significantly and I have confidence that I will be successful in the future.  Yellowstone Landscape is a wonderful company to Intern with, and I highly recommend it to students for future work experience!

 

 

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Central Houston Landscape Management Intern Finds Her New Passion!

This is a guest post, written by Baylee, about her intern experience with us this summer.

As a horticulture student from Texas A&M University, I came into this internship knowing I wanted to work in landscaping, but had absolutely no idea of where I would fit into this well-oiled machine known as Yellowstone Landscape! Over the past two months, I have experienced a little of everything; management, maintenance, irrigation, enhancements.  Use of my new knowledge of these various areas will help me figure out exactly what I want to do after I graduate.

I’ve enjoyed working in all areas of the company, and ultimately, I’ve found a passion for irrigation and enhancements.  I love troubleshooting and solving the puzzles that go into designing and running a successful irrigation system.  After spending a day with our irrigation Account Manager in the Houston Central Branch and observing him work on a backflow system, I was hooked!  I plan to not only become a certified irrigator, but to earn my own backflow license.  I already knew I loved plants, but lately I’ve begun to appreciate the need for a functional irrigation system to keep them alive!

I’ve also learned, perhaps most importantly, how hard the crews work.  They are the very foundation of our industry and absolutely nothing could be done without them.  They’re extremely knowledgeable and have been nothing but willing to teach me what they know.  They work long hours to keep our clients happy and make sure their properties are always in tip-top shape.  Working with, speaking with, and making friends with these men has brought home just how fortunate I am and how many opportunities I’ve had.

I am so grateful for the opportunity to work at Yellowstone Landscape this summer and learn real, practical skills that I can build my career on.  Thank you for everything, Yellowstone Landscape!

 

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Charleston Intern Experiences the Value of Building Solid Relationships

This is a guest post, written by Alic, about his intern experience with us this summer.

I met Yellowstone Landscape in 2016 during the National Collegiate Landscape Competition at Mississippi State. This past spring, at the same competition I was approached by their recruiter, Lisa Hall, who remembered me from the previous year. This simple act stood out to me and after several conversations, I accepted an internship with Yellowstone Landscape for the summer of 2017. Approaching the internship, I had high anticipation for what Charleston, South Carolina had in store and it has not disappointed!

Throughout my career as a Kansas State student, I have taken many classes that pertain to the landscape industry. I have gained experience through those classes and other internships that have enhanced the value of my time here at Yellowstone Landscape. With previous experience in estimating, my Mentor and I structured my internship to focus mostly around that area of the landscape construction process.

My days are often spent in the office where I devote time looking through plans and discovering how they are built. Once the plan is reviewed it’s then time to do a take-off. Using a specialized program, I count the areas and estimate quantities of products like mulch, concrete, sod, pavers, etc. to ultimately determine the project cost. It is a lot like completing a puzzle where each piece has a price, including mark-ups and labor. If pieces are missed, the cost of the bid will not be precise, so accuracy is key.

When learning how these projects are put together, it’s easy to see how much information and detail are needed. Every day I learn something new. I have spent time in the field where knowing Spanish is an asset and contacted suppliers and clients where it is imperative to be patient and polite. I have also learned the value of time management and organization to meet key deadlines. These are just a few of the countless skills I have improved during my time at Yellowstone Landscape.

My time spent in Charleston is not limited to what I’ve experienced inside the office. I have also had the opportunity to network socially with the company at baseball games and dinners and observe how relationships are built within other areas of our industry.

Overall Charleston is a beautiful place and Yellowstone Landscape is an awesome company! I recommend this Internship experience to anyone considering the landscape industry as a career.

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Infographic: Economic Benefits of Green Spaces

It's something we've written about many times before, but the economic impact of green spaces really is remarkable. Check out this infographic we created to share some facts about just how important professionally managed landscapes are.

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Spruce Up Your Commercial Landscape by Planting Some New Trees

Maintaining your commercial landscape is a task that is important to you. Not only does your landscaping say a great deal about how well your property is maintained, it brings countless benefits to you and your community. While it’s obvious that trees offer energy-saving and health benefits, there are at least two reasons to plant some new trees on your commercial property today: appearance and property value.


Appearance
A quick and fairly inexpensive way to make your landscaping appear more sophisticated is to plant new trees. Research has shown that commercial areas with trees are more attractive to shoppers and tenants. By simply planting some trees and properly maintaining them, you’re able to stimulate economic development. In addition to providing a beautiful environment, trees offer shade and reduced energy costs which are valuable to you and your customers. A laboratory experiment also claims that visual exposure to settings with trees reduces recovery time from a stressful situation. Adding some trees to your commercial landscape will not only add beauty but peace.


Property Value
With an abundance of tree types available, the possibilities for improving your commercial landscape are endless. If you’re looking for a great way to increase your property value, trees are an excellent solution. If you’re looking to benefit from increased property value sooner than later, look for trees that are known for their quick growth habit. Some examples of fast growing trees include Red Maple and Eastern White Pine. Because these types of trees grow quickly, it’s important to plant them in a suitable area and have them properly maintained. If you don’t need fast growing trees, there are plenty of trees to select based on other requirements.


A great way to improve the overall appearance of your commercial landscape is to plant new trees. In order to ensure that the right trees are selected for your specific landscape, consult the professionals at Yellowstone Landscape today.

 

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PO Box 849

Bunnell, FL 32110
877.785.6685

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