The forgotten ‘me’

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At the WorkWave Beyond Service User Conference, former NFL quarterback Joe Theismann told attendees to check in with themselves.

February 8, 2022

Photo: Jimmy Miller

Former NFLquarterback Joe Theismann is an advocate for talking to yourself.

In just over an hour of speaking to the crowd at WorkWave’s Beyond Service User Conference, Theismann covered a lot of ground. He talked about his one-game stint as an emergency punter, where he booted a punt that traveled only a mere one net yard (then an NFL record). He poked fun at a Cleveland Browns fan, running out into the crowd to show off a Super Bowl ring that he told the fan he’d never see. He mentioned the salaries of current players like Patrick Mahomes and broke down why shoulder issues complicated the mechanics in other players like Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield.

And, of course, he recapped the play that will forever be recognized as one of the most gruesome sports injuries seen on live television. Theismann himself can narrate the 1985 play nearly step-by-step, where a hit by Lawrence Taylor caused a compound fracture to Theismann’s tibia and fibula on his right leg.

Of course, the lessons for the conference attendees were not just about Super Bowls and gruesome injuries. Theismann’s message around his infamous injury was a focus on checking in with yourself, something anyone — football player or not — can apply.

“The last few years for us have been really trying. It’s given all of us an opportunity to look at our business relationships, our personal relationships, but even more importantly, our relationships we have with ourselves,” Theismann said. “So often ‘me’ gets forgotten.”

On the night of his leg injury, he had checked in with himself. Theismann was amid a turbulent season, and it was time to have a heart-to-heart at his locker before kickoff of that Monday night football game. He remembers telling himself that his life was going to change forever.

“Little did I know I was into prophecy,” he said.

Theismann didn’t want his football career to end that night; he just wanted to rediscover a rhythm that helped him win 1983 NFL MVP honors. For a period of time, he felt like being a world champion once was enough. His check-in at his locker the night his career effectively ended was about recapturing his drive to be better.

Likewise, he said many companies feel they’ve done enough to be successful without realizing there’s even more room for accomplishment. Some people in business have operated the same way for years without embracing the idea their companies could be larger.

“I tried to live on yesterday’s performance,” he said. “You can’t live on the laurels of what you accomplished the day before.”

This was one of several messages Theismann broke down during his keynote address.

Let’s hear it

Theismann believes cheering for yourself (and for others) is critically important. He tasked attendees with recalling the last time they woke up, looked at themselves in the mirror and felt proud.

When’s the last time you congratulated yourselves?” he asked attendees. “Embrace who you are today. It’s important that you wrap your arms around it.”

Of course, it’s just as important to cheer for others, too.

Theismann said it’s incredible what types of things stick with people, whether it’s attending a kid’s dance recital or pointing out an employee’s good job during a work meeting.

To illustrate this, Theismann pointed to his Ring of Fame ceremony, which he shared with former Washington running back John Riggins. Just before the ceremony began, Theismann stood alone, waiting for Riggins to join him on the field to be honored alongside him. But Riggins was nowhere to be found.

Then, he heard the crowd begin to roar. Riggins had run out of the tunnel again in front of the fans just like he used to do as a player. When Theismann asked Riggins why the extra fanfare, the answer was quite simple.

“’Joe, I had to hear it one more time,’” Theismann remembered Riggins saying.

All the little details

Theismann acknowledges he’s probably a pretty smart guy. Quarterbacks in the NFL have to memorize hundreds of plays and then change them week by week, so it takes some shred of intelligence to play the position.

It also takes an acute sense of detail, Theismann said. If he closes his eyes, he can still envision the 1985 Chicago Bears defense and the way it lined up against him during their 45-10 beatdown that season. Similarly, he knows that after he got into the restaurant business that same year, the best way to appeal to customers was to envision the same level of detail. He started asking his hosts who answered phones to include their names when answering the phones.

When he asks CEOs who the most important person in a business is, Theismann said he’s often told it’s the person who answers the phone.

“It’s the little things that differentiate us that make the biggest difference in customer service,” he said. “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. That is the essence of customer service.”

Find your why

Theismann knows from firsthand experience that fear is a great motivator. Even at his athletic peak, he could not run a 40-yard dash faster than former lineman Reggie White, who turned out to be an inductee in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

That said, when they played in a game, Theismann outran him when White came barreling toward him. Why? Because fear was his motivator.

Beyond the football field, Theismann encouraged attendees to find something they take pride in. Check in with yourself and ask what makes you want to wake up and get moving in the mornings. Whatever that might be — kids, employees, revenue, or outrunning a man trying to tackle you as hard as you can — make it the centerpiece of your decision-making process, Theismann said.

“I don’ know what flips your switch, I don’t know what gets you going,” Theismann said. “All I know is life is so precious.”

Once you find the “why,” write down the goals. Theismann estimates that 98% of people don’t actually jot down their short- and long-term ambitions. He remembers walking into meetings with coaches where they had goals listed for the offense, defense and special teams groups. Likewise, most companies have some revenue goals listed somewhere in the office.

“Yet in our own lives, we don’t take the time to write down what we want. We don’t bring it out into the physical universe,” Theismann said. “What are you looking for? Write it down. You’ll be amazed how your life starts to go in that direction because it has direction.”

Landscape Workshop acquires Georgia company

A Cut Above Landscape Management is based out of Columbus, Georgia.

Landscape Workshop recently acquired the landscape operations of A Cut Above Landscape Management, based in Columbus, Georgia.

Brad Terrell started A Cut Above Landscape Management in 1989 with a focus on large commercial maintenance work.

Landscape Workshop is a full-service grounds management company that has been providing maintenance for outdoor commercial spaces since 1984. Landscape Workshop serves 12 Southeastern markets in Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky and the Florida panhandle. Landscape Workshop is backed by Carousel Capital and McKinney Capital.

The company ranked No. 47 on our Top 100 list last year.

“Landscape Workshop has an established presence in central Georgia, Montgomery and Auburn, and we are excited to grow into the Columbus community,” said JT Price, CEO of Landscape Workshop.

Photo courtesy of Schill Grounds

Schill Grounds Management acquires Enviroscapes

The 200-employee company in Ohio is Schill's largest acquisition to date.

Schill Grounds Management, a commercial landscaping and snow and ice removal service provider, has acquired Enviroscapes, a family-owned landscaping business serving customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Based in Louisville, Ohio, Enviroscapes serves hundreds of commercial customers through its landscape maintenance, snow and ice removal services.

It also offers design and installation services, as well as public utility clearing and mowing. Enviroscapes’s team of 200 employees will join Schill’s team of 400 employees.

Enviroscapes is the largest acquisition in Schill’s nearly 30-year history and the company’s fifth acquisition in the last 18 months as Schill continues its expansion throughout the Midwest.

The transaction advances Schill’s services across the entire state of Ohio and in select parts of Kentucky, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Following the transaction, Enviroscapes Founder and CEO Todd Pugh will have an ownership stake in the combined company and will serve as the company’s market president in Akron/Canton. Schill will continue to operate under the Enviroscapes brand in the Akron/Canton and western Pennsylvania markets.

The combination of Schill and Enviroscapes complements Schill’s previously completed acquisitions including Ward + Thornton Landscapes in Cincinnati; Fredericks Landscaping in Cincinnati and northern Kentucky; the Ohio Valley Group in Cleveland; and McCoy Landscape Services in Marion, Ohio.

BrightView acquires Hawaiian company Performance Landscapes

Performance founders Matt Lyum and Benny Abrigado will remain with BrightView.

Photo courtesy of Performance Landscapes

BrightView recently acquired Performance Landscapes, a commercial landscaping company headquartered in Honolulu, Hawaii. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Formed in 2002, Performance Landscapes provides landscape maintenance, irrigation, enhancement, installation, arbor care, and pest control services.

The company has more than 100 landscape employees who serve clients across the HOA, high-end residential, commercial, and private military housing market segments.

BrightView Development Services has been a licensed landscape and irrigation contractor in Hawaii since 2008.

Performance Founders Matt Lyum and Benny Abrigado, as well as their senior leadership team, will remain with BrightView to guide the integration process and provide leadership continuity.

Residential division of John Lucas Tree Expert Co. joins Davey

The third-generation family business started in 1926 and employs 550 people.

The Davey Tree Expert Company added the residential division of John Lucas Tree Expert Co. of Portland, Maine.

Lucas Tree Experts is a third-generation family business that opened in 1926 in Bangor, Maine. The company is currently headquartered in Falmouth, Maine, and employs 550 people across all of its service lines. The majority of its business involves providing vegetation management services to utilities along the eastern seaboard stretching from Nova Scotia, Canada, to South Carolina.

In 1982, Lucas Tree Experts developed the residential tree and plant health care division, which will now operate under Davey Tree. This division provides residential and commercial tree services, plant heath care and lawn care in Portland, Maine, and the surrounding area. The residential division employs over a dozen employees who will all be joining the Davey Tree team.

In 2021, Davey Tree landed third on our annual Top 100 List, while Lucas Tree Experts was 33rd.

Green Group expands

The company has added two businesses via mergers in Aggieland Green and Integrated Lawn Care.

Green Group has expanded into Texas and entered the Colorado market with the additions of two companies, Aggieland Green and Integrated Lawn Care.

Aggieland Green and Integrated Lawn care were founded, owned, and operated by Tim Schnabel for the past two decades. Schnabel founded Integrated Lawn Care in Colorado Springs and later founded Aggieland Green in College Station, Texas. Although Schnabel will step down from daily operations, he will remain involved as an owner with Green Group.

The merger will grow the Green Group team by 50 associates. The company plans to further invest in Aggieland to build its Houston expansion market, including adding additional hires and a permanent facility to serve Houston area customers.

Green Group will retain all employees at each location. Two employees also received promotions to general manager: Troy Ellis will lead the team at Integrated Lawn Care, and Kersten Dupree will lead the team at Aggieland Green.

McHale Landscape Design acquires Hawkins Landscape Service

An agreement to purchase the DC design/build firm was reached in early January.

On the heels of celebrating its 40th anniversary, McHale Landscape Design, a residential landscape architecture and design/build firm, announces acquired Hawkins Landscape Service, a high-end, residential design/build and estate gardening firm in the DC metro region.

McHale currently operates five locations throughout the DC region: Upper Marlboro, Annapolis, McLean, Easton and Clarksburg.

“McHale Landscape Design shares our passion for design, quality service delivery, customer satisfaction, and employee development,” said Hawkins founder, Bob Hawkins said. “As such, we believe McHale is the best fit to carry on the Hawkins legacy and uphold my commitment to employees and clients for a seamless marriage of the two companies.”