Embracing leadership through change

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This year’s Women in the Green Industry event focused on making the most of these uncertain times while also bolstering women’s presence in landscaping.

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November 2, 2020

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The coronavirus pandemic has caused plenty to change. From the way business is done, to people working remotely, 2020 has brought along all sorts of obstacles. Attendees of SiteOne Landscape Supply’s annual Women in the Green Industry (WIGI) event learned how to cope with these challenges and lead through them.

WIGI was held virtually in October and featured four presentations on a variety of topics along with supplier-partner exhibits and live chats.

Changing the way you make changes.

The keynote was delivered by Dr. Michelle Rozen and titled “Leading Forward through Change with Confidence.”

Rozen shared personal stories from her own life about making changes and empowering yourself to stick with those changes.

Rozen, who has a PhD in psychology, gave an analogy of a person waiting for the elevator and hitting the button multiple times while waiting for the elevator to arrive.

“Why does our mind cause us to do things that don’t make any sense, just to get the same result?” she asked.

In order to adopt new behaviors and make an effective change, Rozen pointed out that a person is working against their own brain, which wants to remain in its “default setting.” Due to the coronavirus pandemic and the state of the world, Rozen said being able to lead through change is more important now than ever.

Rozen then shared five steps with attendees so they could lead more effectively through these difficult times.

She said the first step is to empower yourself and those around you.

“Be present and give people your undivided attention,” Rozen said.

According to Rozen the second step is a critical one – focus.

“We spend major time on minor things,” she said.

Rozen suggested that attendees learn to utilize her “0-10 Rule” to rate all tasks and goals. She said to focus to focus on the 10s first and ignore anything that was under a 6.

Step three from Rozen was overcoming mind biases. She advised the group to block out criticism that is inevitable when making changes.

Rozen said step four is to adhere to the “20 Minute Rule” and take a short break from a task that is causing stress and come back to it later when you’re refreshed.

“Wait it out like a pot on a hot stove,” Rozen said. “When you come back it will be cooler and you won’t burn your hands.”

And Rozen’s fifth step was simple – believe in yourself.

Following her keynote, Rozen also facilitated a workshop where attendees were able to share goals they had, and how they would achieve them and she gave them encouragement and guidance.

From top left: Jennifer Myers, Jaclyn Ishimaru-Gachina, Brigitte Orrick and Jennifer Lemcke all joined SiteOne’s Women in the Green Industry event, which was hosted virtually due to the pandemic.
Photo by Kim Lux

H-2B know-how.

WIGI also included a presentation on the H-2B process by Scott Patterson, a shareholder with Detroit-based law firm Butzel Long.

Patterson discussed the legal requirements and considerations for seeking H-2B visa labor, along with the timing, costs, certifications and other aspects of the process.

Patterson said that while some attendees may have been hiring H-2B labor for years, it’s important to review your process regularly.

“You don’t want to just copy and paste what you did last year,” he said.

Patterson shared that annually, there are 133,000 workers entering the country on H-2B visas and about 70% are from Mexico.

“The landscaping and lawn service industries are huge users of H-2B labor,” Patterson said.

Because of the high demand, Patterson suggested starting the process early as it usually takes around 120 days.

Patterson also said there a few changes this year to keep in mind, including new filing fees and no longer having to post a newspaper ad for the job beforehand.

One of the new fees is the $1,440 premium processing fee. While premium processing is optional, Patterson said anyone who wants to be in contention should pay it.

“Premium processing has essentially become regular processing, so assume you’ll have to pay the fee,” he said.

Patterson also touched on what COVID-19 has done to the H-2B process and what the year ahead could hold. Earlier this summer, President Donald Trump halted H-2B visas until Dec. 31, 2020.

“What is going to happen in 2021 is still unknown,” Patterson said “They’re still processing applications. We will all have to wait and see.”

WIGI included four in-depth presentations and live chats with supplier-partner exhibitors.

Celebrating women in green.

Next on the agenda was a panel titled “A Forward Focus: Recruiting, Retaining and Empowering Women in the Landscape Industry” with members of the National Association of Landscape Professional’s (NALP) Women in Landscape Network.

The discussion was moderated by NALP’s Jennifer Myers and also included Brigitte Orrick with The Davey Tree Expert Company; H. Jaclyn Ishimaru-Gachina from Gachina Landscape Management; and Jennifer Lemcke with Weed Man.

The women touched on a variety of topics including maternity leave and pregnancy, promotion and advancement in the workplace, mentorship, inclusion and creating a work/life balance.

Recently, Ishimaru-Gachina noted Gachina Landscape has been promoting women in the industry on social media as a way to attract more women to her company.

Orrick and Lemcke said their companies have been working to get better fitting uniforms, safety gear and tools for female employees, along with having appropriate restroom facilities available for them near jobsites.

“We identified important things that women have to have to be successful,” Orrick said.

Lemcke added that women becoming more involved in the industry has been a natural progression at Weed Man with many women owning franchises.

Ishimaru-Gachina said that while hiring women is essential – it’s not enough.

“It’s not important to just hire them but we need to promote them to be decision makers,” she said. “We need to give them the opportunity to affect change.”

Lemcke and Orrick said their companies are mapping long-term job plans that documents a clear pathway on how to move into an executive role.

The group also discussed how working from home in the midst of the pandemic can affect attendees’ work/life balances.

Lemcke shared that finding a balance has always been a struggle for her, and she accepts that most times the scale will be uneven.

“It’s very had to have balance,” she said. “It just doesn’t always balance out.”

Orrick agreed and said that the most important thing to do is recognize that everyone is in the same boat and take it easy on yourself and others.

“Just give yourself grace,” Orrick said.

Cutting Edge Services acquires Parkside Landscaping

The Colorado-based Parkside Landscaping was founded in 1992.

BOISE, Idaho – Cutting Edge Services, a commercial landscape company in Idaho and Utah, recently acquired Parkside Landscaping in Denver, Colorado.

This acquisition will enable Cutting Edge to expand and strengthen its position in the Colorado market. More acquisitions are planned to further enhance geographic reach.

Parkside Landscaping was founded in 1992 and provides landscape maintenance and snow removal services to the greater Denver area.

Gene Baker, president of Parkside Landscaping, will continue to lead the company alongside the new ownership group. “We are very excited to partner with Cutting Edge," he said. "This will allow Parkside to strengthen our presence in the Front Range while creating more advancement opportunities for our team members."

“We are looking forward to growing the Denver market while continuing to expand our operational footprint in the western United States,” said Cutting Edge Co-Founder Ben Helton.

Bob Wheeler, Cutting Edge co-founder, said, “Expansion into Denver has been a long-term goal of ours, and we could not have picked a better company to partner with. Gene and his highly skilled team are a great addition to our operation.”

You can learn more about Cutting Edge by reading Lawn & Landscape’s December 2019 feature at bit.ly/llcuttingedge.

BrightView acquires Commercial Tree Care in California

The purchase of CTC followed the sale of BrightView Tree Company to Devil Mountain Nursery.

BLUE BELL, Pa. – BrightView Holdings recently acquired Commercial Tree Care, a full-service tree care company based in San Jose, Calif. The purchase of CTC followed the sale of BrightView Tree Company to Devil Mountain Nursery of San Ramon, Calif. Terms of the transactions were not disclosed.

Founded in 1992, CTC is a full-service tree care provider specializing in pruning, tree removal, stump grinding, cabling, bracing, fertility treatment, pest and disease control, install and transplant, forestry fire fighting and timber harvesting.

The company also consults for development, appraisal, maintenance plans and overall site evaluation.

“The acquisition of Commercial Tree strengthens BrightView’s maintenance operations in Northern California and positions us to be the foremost tree care service provider in the San Francisco Bay Area,” said President and CEO Andrew Masterman. “The acquisition of CTC followed the sale of BrightView Tree Company, a tree nursery division that typically generated between $25 million and $30 million in revenue. Redeploying assets from our Development segment to our Maintenance segment is consistent with our overall strategic growth plan.”

“I believe that Commercial Tree Care shares much in common with BrightView and this transaction provides a solid foundation in which to continue our growth in the greater Bay Area,” said CTC President Todd Huffman.

Huffman, along with his senior leadership team, will remain with BrightView and continue to run the day-to-day operation of the business.

LandCare assumes Rosborough Partners’ commercial business

RPI announced recently that it would narrow its focus to residential services.

Rosborough Partners, a landscape design, build, and maintenance firm in the Chicagoland area, has narrowed its focus to residential services and selected LandCare to assume its commercial business.

For the past 30 years, RPI has provided full-service landscaping solutions to commercial and residential clients. RPI partner Blaine Owens will now lead the integration with LandCare as vice president of client relations, while founder Philip Rosborough will continue to lead RPI.

“This is an exciting time for our commercial team. They are joining an industry leader with core values and a culture that closely resembles ours – putting their people and customers first,” Rosborough said. “And Rosborough Partners will continue to grow our residential design, build and maintenance business in the same manner that we have in the past.”

This merger marks LandCare’s entry into Chicagoland and Milwaukee, just months after branching out to Columbus, Ohio, and Indianapolis.

LandCare partner and executive vice president Neil Carter, who has been instrumental in expanding the company’s presence in the Midwest, said he believes that LandCare will benefit from assuming RPI's strong, existing infrastructure.

“Rosborough Partners built a strong commercial maintenance business focused on premier properties across the market,” he said. “In addition to a talented, well-led team, they have a balanced portfolio of loyal customers. We are excited to build on such a solid foundation to enter and serve the greater Chicago area.”

“I am excited to grow our business with the support of a larger partner exclusively focused on commercial maintenance,” Owens said. “I’ve known and respected Neil and many of the leaders at LandCare for over three decades, so reorganizing our team under people I know and trust is incredibly reassuring and makes the transition much easier.”

Ruppert hires Pam Berrios as director of multicultural training

In this newly created role, she will develop and deliver training programs to empower the company’s diverse workforce.

LAYTONSVILLE, Md. – Ruppert Landscape has added Pam Berrios to the team as director of multicultural training and development.

In this newly created role, she will develop and deliver training programs specifically designed to grow and empower the company’s diverse workforce; particularly Spanish-speaking team members.

Berrios, a resident of Springfield, Virginia, holds a bachelor’s degree in business from George Mason University and owned a full-service landscaping company in the northern Virginia area for 24 years. She served on the board of directors of the National Hispanic Landscape Alliance for eight years, where she held many titles including main trainer, speaker, secretary, treasurer, vice president and then president of the association. She is a certified bilingual trainer, coach and motivational speaker and has traveled all over the country as the lead instructor of the acclaimed ELEVATE Program en Español.

“Pam’s unique ability to fully connect with team members sets her apart, and her experience as a previous company owner gives her extraordinary insight into proven methods of growth and success,” said Mike Monde, Ruppert’s director of training and culture. “She has dedicated her entire career to helping people realize their full potential, and we hope she continues on that journey for many years to come here at Ruppert.”

Real Green Systems names Robinson as COO

With more than 20 years of experience, Tim Robinson will be responsible for key business functions in this new position.

WALLED LAKE, Mich. – Tim Robinson has joined the Real Green Systems team as chief operating officer. He will be responsible for company operations, customer engagement and continued expansion.

In this new position, Robinson will be responsible for key business functions as he oversees the business development, corporate marketing, customer success, marketing services and sales organizations.

With more than two decades of experience leading marketing, sales, business development, product management and support teams, Robinson was most recently chief operating officer of FMG Suite. Prior to that, he served as chief operating officer at FRONTSTEPS and subsequently as an Advisor to FRONTSTEPS.

Yellowstone Landscape partners with Acres Group

Yellowstone ranked No. 5 on Lawn & Landscape’s Top 100 list in 2020, while Acres Group finished 27th.

PALM COAST, Fla. – Yellowstone Landscape has partnered with Acres Group, based in Wauconda, Illinois. Yellowstone does not disclose terms of partnerships or other confidential information.

Yellowstone ranked No. 5 on Lawn & Landscape’s Top 100 list in 2020, while Acres Group finished 27th with an annual revenue of $69,355,727 and 865 employees.

Yellowstone Landscape, based in Bunnell, Florida, operates over 40 branch locations across the South and Southwest. In partnering with Acres, Yellowstone has now expanded into the Midwest.

Founded in 1983 by Jim Schwantz, Acres Group provides landscape maintenance, snow and ice removal, tree care, irrigation, and plant health care services. Schwantz, Jeff Kelly, Paul Washburn, Riley Skaggs and the Acres management team they lead will continue to run the company’s operations and growth.