Irrigation contractors can find success in education.
Property managers and property contractors may butt heads from time to time, but Todd Magatagan, owner of Texas-based Around the Grounds, says that the key to a better working relationship is education. “The easiest way to facilitate understanding is education,” he says.
The problem, however, is that many irrigation contractors are not well-educated themselves. “I find the irrigation industry tends to be very mechanical minded, and that’s not a bad thing,” says Magatagan. “Focusing on the pipes, the glue, and the head spacing is obviously critical. But there’s a lot more to it. We’re not watering concrete – we’re watering living, organic things.”
The irrigation contractor needs to become an expert – a water manager, says Magatagan. “That’s really the difference,” he says. “There will be guys that cut and glue the pipes, but the successful guys will evolve to become water managers. Managers know about fertility, about plants and their specific water requirements, and about pH. All of those things affect the consumption of water.”
Magatagan feels that irrigation professionals need to push themselves beyond the basics and to learn more than the technical side – he’d like them to learn some agronomy. The Irrigation Association can be a resource for that type of education. “And once they’re educated, then it’s time for them to educate the property managers,” says Magatagan. “I strongly believe that education is the key.”