ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Heads Up Landscape Contractors was founded in 1973 as a four-man residential lawn sprinkler service. Nearly 40 years later, Heads Up is still designing, installing and maintaining New Mexico’s commercial and residential landscapes. The company also leads the xeriscape industry from its Albuquerque headquarters, employing 250 people. As part of its 40th anniversary celebration, the company will plant 40 trees in 40 weeks at sites of customer choosing.
“In 1973, we pooled our money and bought a 14-year-old Ford pick up truck, a new walk behind Ditch Witch Trencher, a used tamper, various pipe wrenches, and some shovels,” says Heads Up founder and CEO Gary Mallory. “I now know that the odds of a new company surviving three years are very small. The odds of a company with no money and four 18-year-old owners are even smaller. We screwed up everything we possibly could, but learned along the way.”
Mallory’s original partners have moved on, but the principles upon which Heads Up were founded remain. Heads Up has recycled a 7 million pounds of green waste, and captures 120,000 gallons of rainwater and snow each year to irrigate the landscaping at its headquarters.
Heads Up recently replaced 17 of its gas-guzzling trucks with smaller, more efficient cars to reduce greenhouse emissions, with plans to replace more in the coming years. The company also changed out its light fixtures and light bulbs for energy efficient CFLs. It also encourages its customers to convert thirsty lawns with xeric plants and water saving design. In fact, Heads Up’s LEED-accredited professionals help streamline the process of documentation and certification for projects.
After 40 years, Mallory reflects that he’s very fortunate to still be doing what he loves. “If you had told me back then that we would one day have 250 employees, 80 trucks, and had planted over 50,000 trees, I’d have said you were nuts,” he continues. “To me, it feels like we are 40 years new, not 40 years old.”