Brock Goodman runs his Goodman Snow Services out of a tiny community in central Ohio, but he takes his cues from snow removal companies in much bigger cities like Erie, Pennsylvania, and Boston. He puts such cues at the forefront of his planning, which is why he and his crew were ready — and able – to grapple with an unexpectedly heavy snowstorm in early March 2015.
Places like Erie and Boston get five times the snowfall Cardington does, says Goodman, but that snowstorm still put Goodman Snow Services, which Goodman launched in the winter of 2010-2011, to the test.
“Some people may laugh at what we consider a bad storm here,” he says, but the daytime storm was trying, particularly for an area too far south of the so-called lake effect to qualify as a snow magnet like Cleveland, on the Lake Erie shore.
It had been a fairly mild winter until then, occupying Goodman’s company with a typical task like spreading salt — but pushing little snow. That day was different.
“We had just landed a large contract for a new shopping mall, our biggest contract yet, and we were providing them with excellent service. This morning we had been out on a quick salt run and had all the trucks back in the shop by 8 a.m. They had forecast off-and-on snow showers that day, but nothing was supposed to accumulate.”
Preparing for action nevertheless, Goodman watched the radar fill in the weather screen, and by 10 a.m., one to two inches of snow was falling hourly. “Any snow contractor knows that daytime snows are the worst, but this one was particularly bad for us,” he says. “The shopping mall we had signed for that year was having a special event that day and expecting nearly 10 times its normal number of visitors. This storm lasted until around 6 p.m. that evening and dropped close to 10 inches of the wettest, heaviest snow I have experienced.” With temperatures in the 30s, “the snow was like concrete. We finished getting everything cleaned up around 9 p.m., and then spent most of that night relocating snow piles.”
Between in-house employees and service providers, Goodman Snow Services encompasses 45 to 50 employees and runs around 35 pieces of equipment.
Calling that storm “a true test,” Goodman thinks it caught many of his employees off guard, forcing them to mobilize quickly and clear sidewalks multiple times to accommodate businesses and customers who wanted the situation handled but were otherwise oblivious to a storm’s demands. “To them snow is snow and it doesn’t matter much whether we get one inch or 10 inches,” Goodman says.
He calls the Goodman Snow Services response that day a “feather in our cap.” Many competitors were short-staffed and had already sent their rental equipment back for the season; Goodman’s firm holds onto it until April.
“After this storm we have switched to using dedicated sidewalk equipment instead of hand labor on any site that we can,” Goodman says. “In big snow events, sidewalks are the first place guys get tired and you start seeing service failures. We also make sure that even in late-season storms, all of our sites are fully staffed with equipment, and we have backup equipment for all sites ready to be dispatched at a moment’s notice.”
Visit PlowSite.com for more forums on equipment, business management and technical information. Join the conversation in the largest community of snow and ice business professionals.
via RSSMix.com Mix ID 8230377 http://ift.tt/2xQevew
What makes a great company? A highly productive partnership at the most senior level, according to Jeffrey Scott, landscape industry consultant.
“You have to unleash your company’s full potential by upgrading your role as owner and CEO by helping your right-hand person develop his or her role as chief operating officer, general manager and division leader,” Scott said on Oct. 17, at the “Effective CEO/COO Partnerships: The Power of Collaborative Leadership” workshop at NALP’s LANDSCAPES 2017 at GIE+EXPO.
After case studies of successful CEO/COO partnerships were shared by Drost Landscape of Petoskey, Michigan; Sun Valley Landscaping of Omaha, Nebraska; and Swazy & Alexander of Newburyport, Massachusetts, Scott reviewed the role of a COO or general manager and how landscape business owners can take their company to the next level and foster better work/life balance by developing this role in their companies.
So, what should a COO do? Here are Scott’s suggestions for the key responsibilities of a COO. Depending on the size or scope of your company, you can tailor the position to meet your needs.
1. Identify issues and priorities. The COO’s job is to be your internal consultant, collecting information and helping to establish priorities.
2. Align the organization’s goals. Make sure everyone on the team understands the company’s vision and mission.
3. Make sure the trains run on time. For example, managing budgets, integrating systems, etc. Look for someone with a systems mindset for this position.
4. Hunt for and train talent.
5. Conduct strategic planning and budgeting.
6. Focus on continuous improvement personally and systematically.
7. Fill leadership gaps.
The post GIE+EXPO 2017: The 7 Key Roles of a Landscape General Manager or COO appeared first on Turf.
via RSSMix.com Mix ID 8230377 http://ift.tt/2gQzlVH
It’s not every day that a stop at a flower shop leads to recognition by the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP).
Nor was the project – dubbed Monte Vista – which earned J.W. Townsend Landscapes a Merit Award for Residential Contracting in the $100,000-$500,000 category, a quick in-and-out job for project coordinator Geoff Shaw.
Shaw explains that he was headed to a conference when he stopped to pick up for flowers for someone in the hospital.
“I know the people who own the shop,” he says. “One of the women who works there asked if we’d be interested in installing a cutting garden that could be used for commercial things.”
Shaw went out and looked at the property, based in Charlottesville, Virginia, and what he found was basically a blank slate. It had a large barn, with the house built into one side of it. The landscape, such as it was, consisted of one crepe myrtle tree.
“I looked at the property and everything it would take, and I said, ‘I think you need a landscape architect,’” Shaw relates. “At that point, I introduced the client to Mary Wolf of (locally based) Wolf/Josey Landscape Architects.”
Approximately eight months later, Shaw says he received a call from Wolf.
“She said, ‘I’ve finished the plans for the Monte Vista project, and I’d like you to look at them,’” Shaw says. “That’s how it happened. It’s unusual to have a job happen organically like that.”
Although the job encompasses only three-to-four acres around the barn, Shaw says it’s part of a much larger property.
“It’s a really big building, and to make the whole thing functional from a landscaping standpoint, it required a lot of work around the entire exterior of the building,” he says. “That’s where we came in.”
A major component of the job was excavating around the barn. Shaw says the site was relatively flat, but needed help with drainage. He says the excavation of the site alone cost more than $100,000.
“There was a pretty substantial amount of earth moving,” he says. “Everything behind the walls is either fill or cut or a combination of both.”
However, in the end, the site includes a ramp that leads to one of the doors, with much of the area contained behind more than 100 linear feet of poured concrete retaining walls.
“With some of them, to get deep enough, we had to go more than six feet deep,” he says. “Some of the walls have two feet showing, but four feet underground.”
That excavation also provided the job’s biggest challenge. Shaw says, quite coincidentally, one of the walls is right on top of the buried power line.
“It’s hard to dig a footer on a buried electric line,” Shaw says. “The guy on the backhoe was using it to scrape, and when it got down to the tape, he stopped. It was very tricky.”
He adds that the walls are followed with cobblestone thresholds and bluestone paving, as well as five-inch steel edging.
As for the drainage, Shaw says the biggest problem wasn’t the site itself as much as all the water coming off the roof of a large structure.
“We didn’t do extensive French drains or anything like that,” he says. “On the house side there are some 10-inch pipes that drain water from the roof out toward a creek.”
The other hardscape aspect of the project — lighting — was outside the scope of the J.W. Townsend contract. Shaw says the site now has heavy-duty down-lighting fixtures set in concrete bases.
Under the guidance of Wolf, the softscape aspects of the project grew well beyond a simple cutting garden.
“Mary Wolf and Paul Josey used a lot of native plants,” Shaw says. “Under the one remaining tree, we had to use an air spade to loosen the soil. And, we put in about 8,000 square feet of sod. Then, at the entrance, we put in 14 October glory maples, some northern catalpas, two magnolias, and two four-inch caliper northern red oaks.”
Boxwoods and 125 European hornbeams provide hedging and then, for ground cover, the company also planted 1,500 little bluestem and 1,953 sporobolus.
“It fills a big area, but it fits the scope when you’re doing the math like that,” Shaw says. “We had to be very careful how we prepared the soils and stayed away from fertilizer to not make them too rich and subsequently make the grasses suffer. I think that’s why they’ve done so well.”
The final piece of the initial puzzle for the property was the installation of a fruit orchard which includes 18 apple trees, 12 pear trees, and six each of plums, peaches and cherries, set out in rows of six.
“We built temporary cages to go around each of the trees to protect them from deer,” Shaw says. “They also have an above-ground drip system to provide some supplemental water. We get dry enough that if you don’t irrigate fruit trees in July and August, they’ll drop their fruit.”
However, no below-ground irrigation was installed on the property at the preference of the owners. Shaw says that’s partly because the property runs off a well. And, while J.W. Townsend supervised some watering to help get the plants established, the goal is to be water efficient.
The clients have liked the job done for them so much that the company was later called back to plant blueberries on the property. Additionally, Shaw is currently coordinating the installation of a seven-acre wildflower meadow.
“That’s still getting water but it was planted this spring,” he says.
Ultimately, he says the J.W. Townsend crew hopes the clients decide to build a house and the company will end of landscaping that.
In the meantime, Shaw says there’s a lot to like about what’s already in. His personal favorite is the work done around the barn – and the plantings.
“I like the front of the property with the hardscape of stepping stones and the steel edge,” he says. “And, I love the meadow. Mary’s vision of that was very intentional. The plants were very intentionally placed in groupings and we’ve had to do very little manipulation of them. Her vision for the long-term is breathtaking.”
In fact, he can’t praise Wolf’s plan enough. He says crews began on the job in the spring and wrapped up by Christmas, despite having as many as 20 people on the site at times, and dealing with multiple subs.
“I’m most proud that from a project management standpoint, and because the plans were so well done, we were able to come in, start the job and move through it in sequence and have it come to full fruition in a few months,” Shaw says. “It’s nice to move smoothly from start to finish without any major hiccups and come out with a beautiful final product.”
However, he adds, it also taught him the importance of logistics. Planning in advance is what made this job a success.
“It’s been a great property and a great place to work,” Shaw concludes.
The post Story Of A Landscape: Cutting Garden Grows Into Major Landscape Project appeared first on Turf.
via RSSMix.com Mix ID 8230377 http://ift.tt/2zjOndx
“It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future,” –Yogi Berra, New York Yankees Hall of Fame catcher
For what it’s worth, Turf Magazine consulted the Old Farmer’s Almanac to get some idea of what the 2017-2018 winter has in store for us. For what’s it worth?
OK, we’ll get into that soon enough, but first, this winter’s forecast:
Beyond the above broad regional forecast, the Almanac breaks down its 2017-2018 winter weather forecasts for the United States into 18 smaller regions and Canada into 7 separate regions. You can check them out, including shorter-range weather forecasts at www.almanac.com.
The Almanac claims it makes it forecasts based on a secret formula that was devised by the founder of this Almanac, Robert B. Thomas, in 1792, the year George Washington was unanimously elected to his second term as U.S. President.
Notes about that formula are locked in a black box in the publishing company’s offices in Dublin, New Hampshire. The Almanac claims that it also employs state-of-the-art technology and modern scientific calculations — the study of sunspots and other solar activity, climatology and meteorology — to make its long-range predictions:
There you have this winter’s weather from the Old Farmer’s Almanac, which are made 18 months in advance. The publication claims its forecasts are “traditionally” 80 percent accurate … for what it’s worth.
The post The Old Farmer’s Almanac Predicts Winter 2017-2018 appeared first on Turf.
via RSSMix.com Mix ID 8230377 http://ift.tt/2yRox4o
Nate Kohn, of Nate’s Landscape Company in Belgium, Wisconsin, started growing his landscape business when he was just a kid. But it wasn’t until he had graduated high school that he began adding snow services to increase his revenue. His first commercial snow clients included a gas station, a small manufacturing facility, and an apartment complex — and with those three clients, Kohn recognized the potential. In 2012, he phased out design/build in order to focus more strongly on the renewable revenue from commercial snow and ice control. Recently, Kohn came up with the idea for a system that would allow him to store and spread salt right on the job site via a skid steer — eliminating many of the efficiency roadblocks that stand in the way of profitability. Kohn took the idea to BOSS Snowplow who partnered with him to engineer and design the QuickCube System — released this past summer. We recently caught up with Kohn to talk a little more about him and his invention.
QuickCube is a response to the challenges we have in our industry. At first, the idea crossed my mind in an effort to speed up response time to our customers. If we had salt stored on our clients’ properties, we could use our skid loaders and operators that live near the sites to spread the salt. This would greatly reduce the time it takes to get a driver to our shop, load a truck and then send them out in the worst road conditions.
ROI really kicks in when you can eliminate the salt truck. I realized if we could store enough salt on site to make it through an event that we could completely eliminate the need for a salt truck.
This system is all about efficiency. A QuickCube System consists of 1,000-pound capacity “Cubes” and a steel spreader that attaches to a skid loader. The spreader is powered through the machine’s hydraulics. The operator can spread salt that is stored directly from the Cubes through the spreader, switching from empty Cube to full Cube without having to leave the machine.
I like the feeling of being relied on — and knowing the efforts of our services are appreciated. Snow and ice control are services that are required to keep facilities like retail centers, schools, banks, and health care facilities operational and safe during the winter months. If snow and ice is not managed properly, these can be costly in the form of liability and lost revenue.
Like most snow and ice contractors my biggest challenge is labor. Finding enough seasonal help for snow services is an ongoing issue.
When I am not working, my wife Katie and I keep busy chasing our three kids around. Our family enjoys RVing and traveling to new sights as well as old favorites like Disney World.
Visit PlowSite.com for more forums on equipment, business management and technical information. Join the conversation in the largest community of snow and ice business professionals.
The post Contractor Turned Inventor: Creating the Quickcube System appeared first on Turf.
via RSSMix.com Mix ID 8230377 http://ift.tt/2zggYQE
Winter annuals germinate and develop in the fall, overwinter as plants, mature in the spring, flower, set seed and then die during the summer. Annual bluegrass is one of the most common winter annual grassy weeds in turf. Henbit, purple deadnettle and common chickweed are other examples of winter annual broadleaves. Here, we’ll review four common winter annual weeds, plus provide tips on how to control their growth.
1. Annual bluegrass
One of the most persistent weeds, annual bluegrass, Poa annua, is also one of the most common weeds in the United States. Leaf blades that are crinkled part way down are a key characteristic of annual bluegrass, according to the University of California, Statewide Integrated Pest Management program.
Read more about Poa annua on golf courses: Controlling Poa annua With The Right Tools
The best defense against henbit is to properly maintain turfgrass. This includes selecting the right species for the location and usage, plus proper cultural practices including mowing, fertility, irrigation and aeration.
3. Purple deadnettle
Purple deadnettle, a winter annual broadleaf weed, germinates from seed, grows and dies in less than a year. The nectar of purple deadnettle is attractive to bumble bees, honey bees and digger bees, a group of large bees that nest in the ground, according to Michigan State University Extension. If you are trying to eliminate it with a herbicide, it is best controlled in fall or when actively growing.
4. Common chickweed
Common chickweed is a prostrate, winter annual that’s found throughout North America. Common chickweed mainly blooms February to September. The small flowers have what appear to be 10 petals, but are really five deeply-cut white petals. The best time to control chickweed is in the fall or spring.
Read more: 5 Tips to Enhance Broadleaf Weed Control
via RSSMix.com Mix ID 8230377 http://ift.tt/2yrPJ6z
Standing out from the crowd — in a good way — is great for business. And sometimes the smallest efforts make all the difference when it comes to standing out. Fred Oskanian, owner of Terra Lawn Care Specialists in Collegeville, Pennsylvania, says that they are constantly looking at ways to differentiate themselves from the competition. At the end of the day, that effort comes down to treating people right.
“I am a big believer in the fact that you must find ways to differentiate your business for ongoing success,” Oskanian says. “Anyone can throw a number out, be the lowest price, and get the job. But we want to be more than that. We don’t want to get the job solely based on being the lowest price.”
In fact, Oskanian says, they often aren’t the lowest price, making it even more important that their customers are able to see the value that they provide, even if they’ll be paying slightly more. Oskanian says it comes down to being what he calls “user friendly.” He wants customers to feel like Terra Lawn Care is easy to reach and easy to work with as many lawn care companies often get a bad rap for not returning calls or being unavailable.
“We focus on responding to calls and returning emails quickly,” Oskanian says. “From the very first email inquiry we get, that is our goal. Communication is really important to the client and it’s an area where we can’t fall short.”
Of course, communication can’t end after that initial inquiry. Oskanian says it’s important that the team continues to carry on that level of responsiveness with the client as well as do “little things” that set them apart.
“We are constantly preaching how important it is to be friendly and thoughtful when visiting clients’ properties,” Oskanian says. “That means closing all gates when they’re done working, bringing up the trashcans if they see they’re empty, and saying hello when they see the customer. So often you drive around and see lawn care technicians that look miserable. I want our team to be different. I want them to build some rapport with our clients.”
Oskanian says these may seem like little things but they can make a big difference. And when it comes down to a client paying a little extra for your services, you want them to feel like it’s worth that investment.
“The last thing I want to find out is that a customer left us just to save a few bucks,” Oskanian says. “A lot of that falls on how our team behaves when they’re on a client’s property.”
A no-smoking policy is one way that Oskanian encourages his team to show respect to the company’s clients. But he says that attitude is also so important. He wants his people to exhibit a positive and professional attitude when they’re out and about — and representing the company.
“That comes down to paying a good employee well to keep them on board,” Oskanian adds. “When you find good people, do what you can to keep them. And when you have a bad feeling about someone, don’t let that linger — trust your gut because chances are you’re right. You have to be quick to fire and slow to hire — and you have to treat your people well so they treat your customers well, too.”
Our Like a Boss series highlights some common business challenges landscape professionals face and how they conquer them. Discuss your biggest business challenges on LawnSite’s Business Management forum.
via RSSMix.com Mix ID 8230377 http://ift.tt/2xJu1ZG
Martin Flores is the director of urban design and planning for San Diego’s Rick Engineering Co., a 60-year-old multidisciplinary planning, design and engineering firm that has grown to 430 employees and nine offices.
Flores oversees efforts in all five California offices. He and his staff manage large- and small-scale land-use planning and development; land entitlements; master planning; redevelopment; streetscapes; wayfinding and gateway signage; and river and urban park projects throughout California, Arizona, Colorado and Mexico. In addition, his team performs public outreach and supports participatory design endeavors, particularly with public realm improvements, civic buildings, community centers and parks.
Before joining Rick Engineering, Flores served for 15 years as the senior urban planner and landscape architect for the San Jose Redevelopment Agency. In that capacity, he designed and managed land development and public realm improvements and completed streetscape, lighting and signage design guidelines as well as neighborhood, river and urban park projects throughout San Jose.
A graduate of California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo in landscape architecture, Flores has guest lectured at Stanford University, the University of California at Berkeley and San Jose State University. He is a board member of Lambda Alpha International. Other memberships include the Downtown San Diego Partnership, Urban Land Institute, American Planning Association and the American Society of Landscape Architects. He is the past chair of the Landscape Architecture Design Council at his alma mater and most recently served as a panelist at the 2015 LABash, an annual student-led landscape architecture conference hosted each year since 1970.
Proudest moments in business: My most satisfying moments are when I see a project I helped design or manage come to life. Most of my work is in the public realm. It begins with an idea that needs to be vetted through a political process, continues through funding and design processes and ends with construction. This may take many years and often includes the delicate negotiation of trade-offs and consideration of alternatives. This takes patience and persistence, but in the end, if and when it is built and people are enjoying or engaging in the space, that is my greatest joy.
I also started as a lecturer at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and was one of the original founders of the Landscape Architecture Design Council. This opportunity to mentor and teach students by “giving back” is rewarding. There is significant reward when students contact me years later about how I made an impact on their careers and lives. That is an unbelievably proud feeling.
Biggest business challenges: One is the creation of new public and private environments in older communities. Many times the existing infrastructure is aging or failing, requirements for stormwater control are challenging, and in some communities denser developments are misunderstood or opposed. Our public and private clients are looking at strategies to solve these issues. Sometimes these strategies are at odds with each other. My background in redevelopment and working for a multidisciplinary firm enables me to more easily solve the problems with creative, sustainable solutions.
Second, because of the economic upswing, our middle- to upper-management staff members are looking for more opportunities to advance their salaries and careers. We are being challenged to provide
adequate compensation and find qualified people to fill the void.
Landscape design/build inspiration: I love to travel and read the entire range of books and periodicals about building and design. My travel often takes me to cities where I love to walk and ride public transportation. I can see how spaces work, touch new and different materials and get a personal feeling of being in the spaces. I request and read the periodicals from our Geographic Information Systems, engineering, water resources, lighting, graphic design, planning and landscape architecture divisions. They all provide me with a much deeper understanding and appreciation of the synergy among the disciplines and the role each plays in a quality outcome.
Favorite plant or plant combination: I like all varieties of Japanese maples for their delicate trunks and branch and leaf structures. Their colors and form offer a textural foreground or background, providing a beautiful accent for nearly every occasion.
Monday morning motivation: I am motivated by the joy of my work, projects, co-workers and clients. They all work together. Sometimes one motivates me over the other. I have truly been very lucky to be surrounded by very talented people who care about how and what they do.
Business worry that keeps you up at night: I worry about maintaining a steady client base and taking care of the people who work with and for me and their families.
Landscape design mentor: Very early on, I just knew I would be in the design field. I was mesmerized when I saw photographs of the seminal work of Mexican architect Luis Barragán. I felt an instant connection as he transformed the International Style into a vibrant, sensuous Mexican aesthetic by adding vivid colors and textural contrasts and accentuating his buildings’ natural surroundings. He convinced me that the use of color, form and a simple and very limited palette of materials can be dynamic and everlasting.
I also have been really fortunate to collaborate with some very talented people and design firms over my career, including George Hargreaves, Tom Adiala, Cheryl Barton, Royston Hanamoto Alley & Abey and SWA. Their combined talents and approaches have really been my mentors.
Favorite business or landscape design book: I am an avid reader, constantly looking at any and all books about design. I designated one part of my office as a library, where I read about planning, landscape architecture, development, sports, fashion or graphics on my lunch hour. There are four or five stacks of reading materials that I keep just in case one of my projects requires research. Sometimes, when clients or staff members visit my office, they need to sit next to one of the stacks. This can be embarrassing, but then I realize it helps reinforce to my visitors how I appreciate that design is not fixed in time, but is evolving, obligating me to stay abreast of these trends.
Project that makes you smile every time you see it: That would be the streetscapes, river parks, urban corridors and multifamily housing units in downtown San Jose that I worked on for 15 years with the San Jose Redevelopment Agency. My daughters still live in San Jose, so I have many opportunities to see how my projects are holding up and, in some cases, aging. I know practically every tree, utility box and element of public realm infrastructure there. Whenever I walk in downtown San Jose, I get such a feeling of accomplishment.
Five-year business projection: The projection, if it tracks anything like the past 12 months, is that we are going to be very busy. There’s every sign that we will be starting projects that have been dormant for years. I see the public and private sectors becoming more active. Our offices in California, Arizona and Colorado are becoming very busy, which is a very good indicator of things to come. In the next five years, I look forward to the challenges of a new set of design issues, such as water management, aging infrastructure, environmental compliance and environmental stewardship. I also like challenges, and in the next five years, I want to push myself to teach, learn and advance the craft.
Connect with Martin Flores
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in September 2015.
via RSSMix.com Mix ID 8230377 http://ift.tt/2yLxc8g
As if the news on plant benefits couldn’t get any better, a new study from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that vegetation around schools cuts down on air pollution and boosts memory and attention.
The results of the study revealed children who went to schools surrounded by more vegetation showed more progress in working memory and attention over the course of a year.
The plant life soaked up the carbon around the schools, reduced city noise and stress and increased opportunities for exercise.
The study concludes that green spaces can be an important factor in designing future school environments.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in September 2015.
via RSSMix.com Mix ID 8230377 http://ift.tt/2yhmu8T
Want to keep up with the latest news in lawn care and landscaping? Check back every Thursday for a quick recap of recent happenings in the green industry.
Annual GIE+EXPO Comes To Louisville Next Week
Plantation Products Acquires SUPERthrive
Monarch Landscapes Continues Buying Spree
WaterSmart Innovations Draws More Than 900 Water Pros
Reardon Honored for Efforts to Defend Preemption
Toro Selects Edric Funk to Direct CATT
EnP Appoints Jim Miller as Business Development Manager
Deere expands hurricane relief support with $1 million donation to Habitat for Humanity
Read last week’s industry news roundup: Manufacturers Go Pink to Support Breast Cancer Awareness Month
The post Annual GIE+EXPO Comes To Louisville Next Week: This Week’s Industry News appeared first on Turf.
via RSSMix.com Mix ID 8230377 http://ift.tt/2i7B7oG
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.