View Full Version : Who I am and what I do....

12-12-2005, 12:07 PM
Hey folks. her is kinda the offical ..About me... for this thread....

I am the Landscape/Grounds Manager for Georgetown University.... we have about 6000 Undergrads and about 4000 post grad students. Of these students, 90% of the undergrads live on campus.
Georgetown U. is situated on 110 acres just west of Georgetown in the North West Section of Washington DC on the potomac River.

My reponsibilities include: snow removal on outliying sidewalks, stairs, cart paths, and some parking lots, All aspects of horticulture, Planting, mowing, trimming, design, contracts, Cleaning/emptying of trash cans, debris removal(flyers, posters, ect) Grafitti removal, tree pruning, Dumpster packing, Budgets, purchasing...the list I'm could go on. but you get the point..

My staff consists of 2 senior gardeners, 1 senior groundsperson, 7 gardeners, 12 laborers and one equipment operator. the workers are Unionized. I have been doing this for almost two years now, prior to this I was a manger for TGLC, ran my own business and worked for Walt Disney World in Florida.

12-12-2005, 12:35 PM
I am the Director of Landscape Operations for the Retirement Systems of Alabama (RSA). RSA is a state agency (kind of...long story and not sure I can explain it) that manages the retirement for state employees, teachers, state police and teachers. RSA currently has assets totaling somewhere around 24 or 25 billion dollars...but thats not my budget:D . I have been employed at RSA for 13 years.

Though RSA owns the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail and other resorts like The Grand Hotel in Point Clear Alabama I only maintain the buildings in downtown Montgomery. We maintain office buildings (one is a daycare), and small parks (2) that RSA owns. We are currently building another office building here in Montgomery and a 35 story office building in Mobile which we will maintain is one way or another. Most of RSA's tenants are state agencies however a few are private industry.

We perform all aspects of landscape management...pesticides, mowing, annual planting, some landscape installation and design, leaf and trash removal etc. I am also responsible for purchasing and making yearly budgets.
I have one Landscape Production Manager and 4 Grounds Workers that work year around. They are all merit system employees. During the summer we could have 2 to 3 summer employees...usually college students looking for a summer job.

12-16-2005, 12:16 PM
I did a post in another forum a few days ago and your name came up. I would move the post to this forum but I can't figure out how to do it. If you would go to the forum just starting a new business / Time to decide what I will do http://lawnsite.com/showthread.php?t=126265

Any help or comments will be appreciated


12-16-2005, 12:25 PM
DDaf. I will get back to you later today/tonight. I am getting ready to leave for my Manager's Christmas Luncheon and I don't think I'll be coming back to work today..:)

I did gloss over the post, but I'll sit down and got into depth for ya...

Chris Wagner
01-03-2006, 05:48 PM
Okay, maybe not as glamorous... I'm the Director of Grounds at St. Cletus Parish... a Catholic church and school in the Chicago suburbs.

Responsibilities include planting, mowing, trimming, fertilizing, aerating, prunning, pesticides, development of IPM strategies, snow removal (except parking lot), debris removal, etc.

For snow, the custodial staff of the school assists with walkways, especially to the school. I have a fulltime assistant, usually in college, from spring until fall.

I hold a not-for-hire applicator's license.

Some work:





01-04-2006, 08:13 AM
I've seen those pics before. Nice work.....

01-04-2006, 09:46 AM
Nice work!

John B Laidlaw
01-06-2006, 11:08 AM
I've been hoping that Lawnsite.com would come up with a thread in this category for a while! For those of us in this area of the Green Industry, it's nice to have a thread we can use to commiserate and/or share experiences.

I'm the Grounds Suprervisor for the sixth oldest private college in the country, Moravian College in Bethlehem PA.

Like all of the previous postings, I have the same duties. I have eight full time groundsmen and two part time in the summer. We are responsible for approx. 95 acres of campus and off campus properties. I say approx. because we are always aquiring new properties to accomadate our growing student body, which at this time is 1600. We are also a Seminary for the Moravian faith and we take care of the facilities that support that endeavor.

My previous experience and education consists of Horticulture certifications from institutions out west, owned and partnered in three different landscape firms, c-10 contractor (expired) California, Assistant Manager Chemlawn ( later TGCL), Sales Supervisor Scotts, Horticulture sales for a couple of nurseries here in the east, design lead for another horticulture firm in NJ. I've been with the college for over two years.

Areas that I would like to see discussed in this thread: employment issues and problems/solutions, student interaction positive and negative on instituional sites, budget tricks to obtain the monies we need to get what we want ( a hard and idealistic item!!!!) , and general advise and experiences of what others are seeing.

Thanks to all responsible at Lawnsite for this forum!:waving:

01-06-2006, 11:51 AM
Welcom John.....

I have a wish list of items that I always want to buy/need so that way if any budget money comes available I am ready to pounce and have done all of my research so I am making an educated purcahse. I have some equipment(pre me) that was purchaed with out any regard for what it actually does....and now it sits and gathers dust....

For th emsot part I am told that the budgets ar enon existed, but for the second year in a row I plan onl being under my projected budget so I can afford new toys.....

This past Year I picked up three of these and I plan on picking up a new one each year until my 10 year old JD Gators and golf carts are gone.

and the university purcahsed a 120' JLG High Reach, Nice to be able to much more tree work in house....

I have three gravely Pro 40's wich are due for replacement I have alredy speced out 2 48" scag Hydro WB and one 36" WB to replace them. Jsut waiting for the right time and money....

You really have to be on the ball with your finance to know what you can and can't do. I saved 10G by rebidding my bulb purchases. Don't be afraid to put stuff out for a rebid. Keeps your vendors honest....

But you always need to keep a wish list handy.....I gave up a front end Loader Yanmar Tractor last year in exchange for a new 52" scag WildCat....Why...it made sense...Ive used the scag more in one year that the yanmar had been used in five....Don't be afraid to sell old equipment and use those funds to offset the purchase of new....

My mechanic is getting ready to move to a new shop and I plan on putting a bunch of stuff on ebay....small engines, parts, ect....Its free money. You have to think outside the box, but I guess the people above also have to aprove what you do and have faith in your desicions.

01-06-2006, 11:57 AM
I wish we could sale old equipment to help offset the cost of new. Everything we have (over a certain dollar amount...I think it's $500) that we want to get rid of has to go to State Surplus. Once a month they have a sale but we never get the money...not sure where it goes...I will have to inquire about that.

01-06-2006, 12:06 PM
that does kinda stink that you cna't getth emoney form the equipment. Then there is no incentive for you to get rid of the old equipment. it sits and collects dust, or more money ends up being spent on it to keep it running than whats its worth....

John B Laidlaw
01-06-2006, 01:05 PM
You guys are lucky!!! If we can't use it 24/7/365 then justification is lost on the higher ups. I have a wish list that is fairly long and fortunately, I've been pretty lucky but the tap dancing I need to do just to get it!!! For instance, I have a 1981 Ford 1100 tractor that some how keeps going even though the amount of $$'s spent to keep it running could have been used for newer models. Go figure.

I've made suggestions about ebay but our unique politics here has pigeoned holed it! Oh well, keep plugging!

01-16-2006, 03:36 PM
Haven't lurked here in awhile. Nice to see this new forum added. I am grounds maint mgr for a catholic indian school in south dakota. One other full timer with me who floats to the carpenters in the winter. Snow removal, mow, trim, spray, design, install... you do it all when you are in the sticks. LOL. The athletic field maintenance caught my eye. We are looking a installing a new athletic field and am searching for tips and techniques. Regards, Foster

01-16-2006, 03:39 PM
Sorry, Forgot to mention the 2 seasonal employees.

03-12-2006, 08:54 PM
I'm the Grounds Supervisor for a school district in Southern California. I do everything the rest of you guys do, except not as much, not as well, and not in the snow.

I'm looking for a substitute for Roundup for burning soccer, jog-a-thon, volleyball, and other sports lines, as well as perimeter weed control. I'm trying to incorporate IPM into our schools, but am encountering resistance.

What are you guys doing?

03-13-2006, 07:42 AM
Depending on the landscape, you could try a Diuron based soil sterilant... but if the area is near any trees, slopes or very heavy soils, you can get some chemical movement makingthe lines bigger than they need to be and huring the trees/shrubs.

Razor and Lesco's Prosecuter are roundup knock-offs.

When Iworked at disney we did IPM, but we had year round abilityto do so and very deep pockets. I get people wrinkling up their noses when my guys are spraying herbicide in shrub beds. I can only imagine how many complaints I'd get if I had to multiple apps of soaps or oils or BT's. I have gone to using merit a lot both ins granual and drench. it has a braod range and the systemic action works really good. You may not see results right away, but it works, and with the drenchs you are not hurting your benificial population of insects.

03-13-2006, 08:37 AM
Good morning all! Season started for me just about full swing FINALLY! I operate my own private landscaping business and learning everyday! :) Marc you said one of your duties are to come up with "contracts?" Were can I go to learn how to write professional contracts? Do you order yours from a company? I feel this has been the hardest part of starting my business. All of my customers I don't feel the need for them, but some in the future I will. YOu think you could help, or offer some guidance? Thanks... next time I visit maryland I'll take a drive by georgetown. Once in a while I got to maryland university... :usflag:

03-13-2006, 09:02 AM
I manage contracts, in that when contract work is signed for work that is done in an area that fall under my responsibility, I have a hand in managing the contract and ensuring that the work is done satisfactoraly.. So I don't actually write the contracts or anything like that. BUt I will write specifications for stuff to be included in contracts. We have a legal department for the contract writing.

Sorry for the confusion.

03-26-2006, 02:18 PM
Hey Marc,

I saw a news story today on CNN that took place at Georgetown University. They showed a shot of the Grounds. They looked good. Congratulations.

03-27-2006, 07:54 AM
Its amazing what they can do with cameras....Ive been out all week with pnuemonia so I had no idea CNN was on campus....

Id love to know where they were filming....I was hoping that they would go farther in the NCAA tourney, get more pics of the campus on TV...but I'm not that upset.....Go Gators....

Thanks for the compliments.

I'llhave to get some tulip pics posted soon....I need to slit seed and start my truf fert for the front lawn so it survives graduation...

03-27-2006, 03:09 PM
I'llhave to get some tulip pics posted soon...

Lookin forward to those!

Glad your feeling better.

03-27-2006, 03:33 PM
quite literally its just a matter a few days until they really start poping a few of the early tulips are showing up... so now I gotta go count and see mow many of the 40000+ bulbs actually bloomed....:laugh:

04-21-2006, 12:46 PM
Hello all. I recently started here at the University of Hartford in Connecticut. We have about 8000 students, 2/3 living on campus. We have 10 full time guys, all union (united auto workers, of all things). We seem to spend the majority of time picking up trash, but other duties are what all of you described.. We are finishing up building 3 artificial turf fields. 1 Lacrosse/Soccer, 1 baseball, and 1 softball. Also being built is a "general use" natural turf field.Slowly buying more equipment. We are looking to pick up a couple of Z mowers (we have the need for speed around here), a new 52" walk behind, and I'd love to get an aeravator and a soil shatterer. We have a fair amount of turf here, and foot traffic compaction is our #1 enemy. The campus is suffering from years of no centralized plan. Buildings were built and added on to, and the surrounding landscape was just sorta fixed. We have multiple styles of sidewalks made of multiple materials, and these are not wide enough, so there is virtually no grass along side them. We have some irrigation, more to be added. We now have a master landscape plan, which is mosty being followed (as budget allows). I would like nothing better than to just bulldoze the whole central campus, and re grade everything, putting in new sidewalks and beds as we go. Anybody have $10 million I could borrow?? As far as my background goes, I am a graduate (with honors) from the college of been there and done that. I started string trimming and cleaning up behind the older guys (to young to run the equipment, per labor laws) and eventually moved up into the glamorous world of walking behind a 48" Bobcat. CT has a very tough pesticide supervisory license, and I took and passed that (1st try!!) 5 years ago. Worked as an applicator for a mid-sized lawn care company for 3 years, went organic for a while for another outfit, worked at an estate management company (held the title of "Turf manager". woo-hoo) as the 2nd banana. We got into athletic field maintenance, learned the ins and out of baseball fields. Worked for Lesco for a little while, and the University called (we were a vendor) and asked if we knew anybody who might be interested in a job. For laughs I gave them a resume, and here I am.

04-25-2006, 10:27 PM
New guy to the boards.

Golf Course Superintendent at a private facility in Ontario.

Hope to help a few guys out and learn a wee bit along the way.

06-11-2006, 01:19 AM
[QUOTE=Chris Wagner]Okay, maybe not as glamorous... I'm the Director of Grounds at St. Cletus Parish... a Catholic church and school in the Chicago suburbs.

Responsibilities include planting, mowing, trimming, fertilizing, aerating, prunning, pesticides, development of IPM strategies, snow removal (except parking lot), debris removal, etc.

For snow, the custodial staff of the school assists with walkways, especially to the school. I have a fulltime assistant, usually in college, from spring until fall.

I hold a not-for-hire applicator's license.

Some work:



They look great. How do you do it? I'm not talking about the straight stripes but the complex ones - Sox, ribbon, 911 etc? Do you cut the entire area with a stripe kit then use some sort of weighted roller for the extras???


Chris Wagner
06-11-2006, 01:36 AM
The first step was to lay the "background".... either the light stripes or the dark stripes... depending on how you want it to look. In the case of the Sox logo, I just "boxed" in the area I wanted to lay the pattern down.

Mowing is a small part of my patterns... but the heart of the actual design comes by running the irrigation system to wet down the turf, then bend the grass with the flat part of a garden rake (flip it over on it's back). Having the grass wet lays it down a little better.

I did the Sox logo freehand... with an 8.5 x 11 photo of the logo next to me. I used regular marking flags at all of the points I wanted to connect... similar to what a connet-the-dots game was like when you were little. I love the way the "S" turned out, but my "X" isn't the right angle. Darn perfectionist I am!!

Both my USA and Sox logo made the Chicago NBC5 news.