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Palm Coast Intern Learns the Value of Standardization

 

The following guest post was written by Ryan, about his internship experience with us this summer.

During my time as a Finance and Business Intelligence Intern at Yellowstone Landscape, I have gained an abundance of knowledge unparalleled by any other 13-week period in my life. Working under the mentorship of Nicole DiRienzo, Rich Weber, and Gabriel Perez has broadened my understanding of finance in the real world as I work towards my MBA in Finance at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University.

There are two main things I would like to discuss in this blog: the impact my “Mentors” have had on me and the importance of standardization in the world of finance. I have learned that working around people who inspire you every day, makes you want to improve. Every time I have an interaction with one of my mentors, I am humbled knowing there is still so much to learn. Most importantly, I am not intimidated! Having mentors who take time to explain everything helps you build a strong foundation of understanding which allows you to improve during the internship. Highly competent individuals also instill a confidence in you to complete the tasks you have been assigned, on time and to a high standard. During my internship at Yellowstone Landscape, those individuals have surrounded me the entire time. This has resulted in an awareness of the challenges while being confident I can find innovative solutions and contribute to the team and company overall.

Efficiency achieved through standardization is key for any company and Yellowstone has made incredible strides forward. I became aware of the importance of standardization from one of the many lessons Nicole taught me. An efficient workplace must have standards through the entire company. Standardization does not just mean the way in which information is submitted, it also includes the way in which the information is collected and assigned. Aspire, an industry specific software program is an example of how Yellowstone Landscape, through standardization, provided a system to encompass the varying systems that the branches use. Aspire has ensured that all branches enter revenues and direct costs in the same way, which makes the entire reporting of company results more accurate and efficient.

Yellowstone Landscape has many competent and talented individuals who move in the same direction using new software and hardware to ensure positive growth. They are an enviable powerhouse in the commercial landscape industry who I would love to work for upon my graduation!

 

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Charleston Intern Finds a Team Family!

The following guest post was written by Mason, about his internship experience with us this summer.

From a young age, I knew that I wanted to be involved in the green industry. After high school, I decided to continue my education at North Carolina State University where I am studying Horticulture Science and Ag Business Management. With horticulture being such a broad field, I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do. Yellowstone Landscape has changed that! After speaking with Intern Recruiter, Lisa Hall, and the Charleston Branch Manager, Remington Phillips, I knew that interning with Yellowstone Landscape would not only be a great learning experience but a family to join. The staff at Yellowstone is remarkable, they welcome you with open arms, answer any questions you have, and work diligently to ensure you have everything you need to be successful.

With previous experience in residential landscape, Yellowstone Landscape has opened my eyes to the commercial side and how it is different. I have experienced every aspect of the company including maintenance, irrigation, construction, and sales. I have seen these aspects from many perspectives, having the opportunity to work with crew members, Superintendents, Account Managers, Project Managers, and Business Development Managers. Each person I have worked with has had a positive impact on my 12 weeks here. The employees are knowledgeable and want to help you grow as a young professional in the industry. I can truly say I have gained a tremendous amount of knowledge about landscaping as a whole.

After rotating through all the departments, I decided to finish out the remainder of my internship working with the landscape construction division. I worked under the supervision of Project Manager Erick Castelo and Landscape Construction Business Development Manager Ashleigh Ewing. They have both been instrumental in my success within the company! For my project, I oversaw a small hardscape job and had the opportunity to run the project every step of the way. I learned about pricing the job, working with vendors on quotes, the review process, and creating a contract to deliver to the General Contractor. After receiving the signed contract, I learned about the installation process. From grading, to forming and pouring concrete, installing a base for pavers, and finally laying the pavers. I took a lot of pride in this project and it looks great!

Working at the Charleston Branch has been a great opportunity, which has allowed me to gain firsthand experience in the commercial landscape field. From running equipment to enhancing my professional skills Yellowstone Landscape has covered it all. The internship program has allowed me to travel to a new place and gain new skills at the same time. I would recommend the Yellowstone Landscape Internship experience to anyone!

 

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Atlanta West Intern Leaves His Mark!

The following guest post was written by Bradley, about his internship experience with us this summer.

I am a Horticulture student at Auburn University. I found this internship program through a recruitment presentation done by Yellowstone Landscape Intern Coordinator, Lisa Hall in one of my classes last fall. It seemed like a perfect opportunity to further my horticulture knowledge by learning through experience in the field. After several interviews I found myself moving to Atlanta for the summer and so far, my internship has been a fantastic experience! There are countless lessons learned working in the field that cannot be taught in school and I feel much more prepared for a career in the industry.

An experience that I will never forget is my intern project. Every intern is required to come up with a project for the summer with their Mentor’s guidance. Mine was to create a small nursery area for the enhancement crew. This included constructing a shaded hoop house for temporary plant storage. This was on the Atlanta West’s wish list for a while, but their team did not have the time to put it together. When my Mentor, Matt, presented the idea to me during my first week, I told him I had the skills to do it! While I was confident I could manage most of the project on my own, there were times when I needed help. For instance, the nursery needed irrigation, but my only experience was a short time this summer working with the irrigation department. Needless to say, I needed guidance when it came to planning and installing the irrigation. Our Irrigation Manager, Tom, was crucial in helping me complete the job successfully as he guided me through the irrigation process. When the project was finished, I was very pleased with the results and happy to make a positive impact and leave my mark.

The great part about Yellowstone Landscape’s internship program is they provide many opportunities for interns to apply what is learned in the classroom to real-world experience. It is also a great way to expand knowledge and gain new skills in ways one might not expect. I highly recommend this internship to any student interested in becoming more prepared to work in the green industry and especially the landscape field!

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Marketing Intern Leaves Her Mark!

I am a Food and Resource Economics in Marketing and Management major at the University of Florida. I learned about this internship during the UF CALS Career Fair where I met their recruiter, Lisa Hall and during the interview process I was able to communicate with my soon to be Mentor, Marketing Director, Joseph Barnes.  Both Lisa and Joseph were very personable and excited to have me on board, and this is one, of the many reasons I decided to accept this internship.

At first, I was nervous because I had never worked at a company where English was the primary language spoken.  During my previous internships in Nicaragua, Spanish is the native language.  Coming to Yellowstone Landscape, was a totally different experience from the different business culture and language to seeing my work valued and used.  From the start everyone was so friendly and immediately made me feel welcome and at home!  Of course, I had to adjust, but it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it was going to be. This company is really good at making every employee feel comfortable in their work space and I appreciate that.

At the start of this program there were goals set and a project to develop and present. My project was to redesign the Intern Webpage and create a recruiting video. I had a lot of fun working on this project and was able to utilize my creativity to develop a fresh updated webpage and a really cool video!

This internship has exceeded my expectations. I had the opportunity to work with various components of this outstanding landscape company and the experts in their field including; the sales team, Senior Account Manager Scott Barnes, Designer Helena Obrist and Vice President of Business Development Jim Herth. Working closely with each of them helped me discover the essence of what Yellowstone Landscape is all about.

I have learned so much over these past 12 weeks and I’m excited to utilize these skills in my next career opportunity. I am very grateful for this experience and I know that everything I learned from working at Yellowstone Landscape has helped me further develop my professional skill set.  

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Austin Intern Enhances Her Problem-Solving Skills!

This guest post was written by Brynn, about her intern experience with us this summer. 

This fall, I will be a senior at Kansas State University where I am studying Landscape Horticulture and minoring in Business. I did my internship at the Austin Branch where I have been creating designs and learning about our industry with the help of my coworkers and Mentors, Matt and Robbie. I have met so many wonderful people during my time here and have had an amazing time in Austin. A few of my favorite experiences include; learning about plants native to central Texas, smart plant selection and problem solving.

Even though there are strict water regulations and additional restrictions from the climate and soil conditions, there is still so much room for creativity when it comes to choosing plants and problem solving. Coming from a state with a very different climate, I was nervous about what type of plant materials I would need to know. But that didn’t last long as I was shown many resources for looking up native and drought tolerant plants.  On my first day, Matt showed me a book called, Native and Adapted Landscape Plants: An Earthwise Guide for Central Texas. This book has been a helpful resource for learning more about the plants here, which allowed me to focus on the design aspect of my internship. Another great resource he showed me (that everyone can use) is https://www.wildflower.org/collections/; it is mostly focused on native plants for Texas, but has a lot of great information for native plants in other states as well.

This summer has brought a lot of sporadic heavy rains that have affected the plant life and brought some drainage issues to light. It has been interesting to learn different ways of solving these problems in real situations. Working with people I enjoy, makes problem-solving even easier when we can discuss ideas and come up with a solution together!

Texas has a strong appreciation for their native plants that I have enjoyed experiencing and hope to take that appreciation back to Kansas with me. Although I have enjoyed using and learning more about the Adobe programs, learning about the plants in this region and the design process has been both impactful and inspiring. This internship has been an amazing experience and I have many valuable new skills to take home with me!

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Charlotte Intern Gains Valuable Knowledge in a Different Region!

This guest post was written by Maggie, about her intern experience with us this summer. 

As a horticulture major at Stephen F. Austin State University I was introduced to Yellowstone Landscape through Lisa Hall, who came to my school to recruit students for their internship program.  After Lisa gave a great presentation and shared the many attributes of Yellowstone, I decided to apply for the internship position in Charlotte, NC.  Charlotte is far from my home in Austin, TX, but I was up for an adventure!

Having prior experience at a plant nursery and a minimal amount of landscape knowledge, I was eager to learn more about the industry.  This internship has taught me so many things, from working out in the field planting flowers, to being in the office working with the sales team.

Although all my internship experiences were impactful, the one that stood out the most was the time spent with the Charlotte sales team, Kelly and Mark.  During my time with them, they included me in measuring new properties, bid meetings, and allowed me to speak with clients.  In fact, they allowed me to design a small project in a prestigious neighborhood, prepare the bid and present it to the client.  It was exciting to make my first sale and the entire process and experience was impactful!  It was a great feeling to do something of value for the company.  Kelley and Mark also took me under their wing and made sure I always had a project or work to do and didn’t feel homesick.

My internship has been a great experience and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to learn the different aspects of the landscape industry.  I gained skills in landscape management, enhancements, sales, and design that I will carry throughout my college and professional career.  The close-knit team in Charlotte is unbeatable, and the experiences I gained at Yellowstone Landscape are incomparable!

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Landscape Construction Intern Builds New Skills With Additional Responsibilities!

This guest post was written by Zach, about his intern experience with us this summer. 

As a student at Mississippi State University, dual majoring in Landscape Contracting and Landscape Architecture, I knew interning at Yellowstone Landscape's Houston Central Branch for a second year in a row would be a great decision!  Last year I worked with an Estimator and Project Manager and learned a great deal about the landscape industry.  I came back because I wanted to learn from every job role and diverse experiences this company has to offer and Yellowstone made it happen. I worked with Project Managers, Designers, Business Development Managers, Estimators and the purchasing department. This summer I worked under Project Manager, Jose Gonzalez, who took me under his wing last year and placed a lot of trust in me to complete any given task. I’m glad I had the opportunity to work with and learn even more from him this summer.

One of the projects I worked on was Harries County Pct.1 Trail Improvement. This job included a trail install and improvements to four parks including the excavation of 4” of top soil, and installation of 80,000 linear feet of 4” edging, and 3,650 CY of decomposed granite.  I took measurements to estimate material quantities for purchasing and assisted with the installation of edging, fabric and aggregate. The site is looking great and in a few months will be complete.

For my "Intern Project" I built a metal sign for an entrance enhancement at a quarry in Hondo Texas. To start, I cut out a sample letter from metal that we had in inventory and prepared it to show the owner to see if it fit his vision.  After the design was approved, I looked at several vendors who could supply Corten steel and create the letters. The owner of the quarry had a boulder brought in for the letters to be mounted on and the finished product along with the plant materials looks amazing!

Working with Yellowstone Landscape this summer has improved my skill set in the field and in the office. I have been provided with the tools and knowledge needed to succeed professionally and I have gained a better understanding of what I want to do after graduation. I am very grateful for the opportunities provided to me by so many outstanding people and a great company!

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Information Technology Intern Builds Skills Through the Help of Others!

This guest post was written by Donald, about his intern experience with us this summer. 

I am a sophomore at the University of Central Florida majoring in Information Technology.  Prior to starting my summer internship at Yellowstone Landscape, I had no experience in the field and was uncertain on which area of IT to focus.  However, after exploring different options I learned about Yellowstone Landscape through a close friend, who referred me to Lisa Hall, their Internship Coordinator.  Lisa shared with me the opportunities this internship offered, helped me with the interview and application process and has maintained an active role during the entire internship.  From weekly intern meetings to email-etiquette and professional development exercises, Lisa has shown that she really cares about the interns at this company and I am thankful for that.

When I began my internship in May, I was a little nervous to work at such a large company, but at the same time I was excited to learn what it meant to work in IT.  I came into the company with limited skills but with each week I became more proficient with networking and programming and gained vital communication skills from the IT team.  As a Help Desk Intern, I was given admin permissions that other employees don’t have access to.  These permissions include the ability to install software, modify the active directory, and remote into different computers across the Yellowstone network.

Everyone at Yellowstone Landscape is friendly and there is a great working environment.  My mentors; Erik, Melody, and Gabe gave me the knowledge I need to be successful in the IT field.  Erik taught me a lot about network & system troubleshooting as I learned from him that all problems have an answer and during the entirety of the internship I haven’t seen a single issue go unresolved.  I also assisted Erik with moving the network from an old branch location to their new facility.  Melody has shown me how to work the “Help Desk” and Active Directory.  The biggest lesson that I learned from her is that you are expected to fail, and it is important that you learn from your mistakes and apply that knowledge to future challenges and assignments.  Gabe has shared many programming techniques and has taught me that if you can’t figure something out then one of the best options is to research it.

Working with the IT Department has been a great experience and taught me a lot during the time I have spent in this fast-paced department.  This internship has been a great opportunity for me to get hands-on experience in the Information Technology world, and I am excited to apply these new skills to my classes next year and my career after graduation.

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Texas A&M Student Learns the “Ins and Outs” of Irrigation!

This guest post was written by Teresa, about her intern experience with us this summer. 

My summer interning at Yellowstone Landscape’s West Houston location has been wonderful and extremely conducive to learning.  As a horticulture student at Texas A&M University, I was very excited for the chance to use some of the skills I have learned in the classroom and apply them to the field.

Throughout my internship, I received the opportunity to focus solely on irrigation.  Irrigation was a subject in school that I have not become acquainted with so far.  The first few days of my internship I was nervous and unsure, but as I met more people and learned more things, I realized that I had no reason to feel that way!  Through the patient guidance of my two Mentors, Todd Wilson and Luis Cardona, certain goals were established, I became accustomed to what I was to do, and I fell into a natural rhythm of work.

One particular day, I had the opportunity to work in the field with one of the irrigation technicians, Jaime.  This would be my first day working out in the field, and I was a little anxious as well as quite a bit excited.  Jaime, quickly put my fears at ease.  On that day, I performed irrigation inspections as well as installed new solenoid valves.  I learned the ins and outs of installing these valves as well as other useful irrigation tricks.  Jaime’s good humor and familiarity with the irrigation process greatly aided me and helped me grow in confidence and knowledge.  Jaime was a special teacher because he not only taught me irrigation techniques but because he also taught me Spanish terms and phrases relevant to what we were discussing.  This experience taught me that it is not only important to learn irrigation, but also the native language of those who work with you.  It is extremely important to be able to communicate with everyone on your team as well as understand and get to know them.  This builds a level of mutual respect and compatibility when working together.

My experiences this summer, working with Yellowstone Landscape, has been instrumental to my overall understanding of landscape management.  I have learned that irrigation is a component that is often overlooked – primarily due to the fact that effective irrigation systems are never seen by the ordinary person appreciating a landscape.  Working with this team of extremely friendly and helpful people have been such a blessing on my journey.  I am extremely grateful for the patience and support from everyone, thank you!

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University of Central Florida Intern gains Knowledge about the world of Technology

This guest post was written by Kyle, about his intern experience with us this summer. 

I am a sophomore at the University of Central Florida, majoring in Computer Engineering.  I did not know what to expect coming into the IT Department at Yellowstone Landscape, but it absolutely blew my expectations out of the water!  I have learned so much about the working world in such a short time and gained a lot of knowledge about the world of technology.

My Mentors have been fantastic!  Melody Schlenker, the Service Support Manager, taught me about discipline and how important it is to be vocal and ask questions, and to stay on top of tasks when the office becomes busy.  My other Mentor, Senior Programmer, Gabe Perez gave me the foundation for learning and understanding the programs that I have been using throughout my internship and provided great support with my project.

My “internship project” focused on creating a form for Capital Expenditures which would increase efficiency for requests and approvals.  In the past, employees would email a request back and forth resulting in long wait periods and missing information.  The form gives a platform for people to submit their request and it automatically distributes to whoever it needs to go to.  This entire process taught me a lot about patience since I was learning a whole new program.  Through perseverance, problem-solving, and the help of my Mentor, Gabe, we created the form which has been presented to the company leadership and successfully launched.

Overall, I was, and still am surprised by how much I have learned.  I am excited to take these learning experiences and expand on them throughout my academic and professional career and Yellowstone Landscape has given me the platform to do this!

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