5 Questions: Derek Madden

Derek Madden (Photo: LM Staff)
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Derek Madden (Photo: LM Staff)
Derek Madden (Photo: LM Staff)

Derek Madden

Vice President, Go Green, West Chester, Pa.

1. Tell me about Go Green and how you ended up working there?

Andrew Gabries is the owner. He owns Andrews Lawn & Landscaping and Go Green Lawn and Pest Control. He started when he was in high school with his mom driving him around cutting grass. 2012 is when he started the Go Green lawn services. I came on in January of 2013. He had bought a small company with about 50 customers and decided to go full force with it. It was the right place, right time for me, I took a job doing sales for Andrew. We’ve been growing ever since. We’re up to 5,000 customers between pest control and fertilization, and we still have the Andrews (business) that does all the landscaping, snow removal and grass cutting.

2. What are some industry trends you think will make headlines in 2022?

What I think is going to hit home is No. 1, the labor shortage. We’re paying people $20 an hour right now, with no experience — $20 an hour to weed wack grass! And people who don’t get their product now, if you don’t have the warehouse space to store your urea or all your seed, you might not get it. I have a whole parking lot full of products. I’ve got to walk out and try to figure out where to put it. We have five tractor-trailer loads of seed getting delivered, four tractor-trailer loads of urea. You can’t wait a week, or a month anymore, because it might not be there.

3. What’s your attitude toward this supply chain chaos? Does it make you mad?

I don’t get mad. I know that everyone is in the same situation. I’m just always trying to be ahead of the curve. We just deal with things as they come. Nothing is ever smooth in business. You’re always going to have your issues, your ups and downs. We try to take things as they come and always be prepared.

4. You recently became a new father, right?

Yes, I have a 2-month-old at home. My wife, Gabby, and I got married three years ago. We just recently had a little boy. His name is Kane. It’s great, I’m happily married and I’m happy to be a new father. I turned out to be one of those dads, if you look at my phone, I have about a thousand photos because I want to document everything.

5. What is your most memorable day at work?

We’ve had a lot of fun times. We’re a family-owned company, and basically my whole family, except my mom, work here. I remember a big group of us flew to Key West for Andrew’s wedding. We flew to New Orleans for another co-worker’s wedding. But one of the most memorable days was when one of the guys at work challenged me to a foot race. Neither one of us are fast, but he was insistent he would beat me. Everyone went out there, and we lined it up in the parking lot. At the very end, I ended up tripping and doing a complete swan dive.

I scraped up my arm and my face. And they got it on video from about five different angles. So they cut it and edited it and set it to different music … that floated around for about a year.

Photo: Seth Jones

Seth Jones

Seth Jones is is editor-in-chief of Landscape Management, Golfdom and Athletic Turf magazines. A graduate of Kansas University’s William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications, Seth was voted best columnist in the industry in 2014 and 2018 by the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association. He has more than 23 years of experience in the golf and turf industries and has traveled the world seeking great stories.

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