5 Questions: Mike DePriest

Mike DePriest (Photo: Lou Ferraro, Park South Photography)
Mike DePriest (Photo: Lou Ferraro, Park South Photography)
Mike DePriest (Photo: Lou Ferraro, Park South Photography)
Mike DePriest (Photo: Lou Ferraro, Park South Photography)

Mike DePriest

General manager and Owner, Longs Peak Landscape, Longmont, Colo.

1. How did you start Longs Peak Landscape?

It started when I was a 14-year-old kid mowing lawns in my neighborhood. I was so passionate about snowboarding, I didn’t care how hard I had to work in the summer as long as it supported my winter snowboarding. At 16, I partnered with my best friend, Colton Hoge. We would mow 35 to 40 yards a week after high school. We would drive our trailer to school and then go mow as soon as school got out. Then I went to Colorado State University to study landscape horticulture and turf management. My dream was to move to Vail or Steamboat and work as a golf course superintendent from May until September, then snowboard all winter. It turns out no one wants to hire an 18-year-old as a superintendent, so I kept pushing the growth of my landscape company. We started moving into design/build type work, commercial landscape management, snow removal … we’ve had pretty impressive growth. The local business journal featured us as one of Colorado’s fastest-growing companies. I feel that now we’re one of northern Colorado’s premier landscape companies.

2. What do you and Barb and the kids (Jamie, 5; Micah, 3; and Marlo, 1) like to do for fun?

We love traveling and exploring the world. That’s what me and Barb did before kids, and now that we have kids, we try to take them exploring whenever we have spare time. We want to instill that sense of exploration into our kids. And we also enjoy outdoor sports — skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, fishing, mountain biking, swimming, wake surfing … We are outdoors as much as possible.

3. What is the most impressive thing you’ve seen in your travels?

Without a doubt, the Inca Trail that leads up to Machu Picchu in Peru. The incredible Incas that built that did some tremendous work! I’ve built some retaining walls in my time, but the walkways, the castles, on the sides of the mountain? These insanely steep mountains are the most impressive thing I’ve ever seen. I would recommend that trip to anyone; it’s insane.

4. How do you show your employees that they’re appreciated?

It’s a big part of our culture; I’m constantly trying to make it a point to make sure our people feel appreciated. I was probably a little better at it when we were a smaller company. Now that we have 80-plus guys, it’s a harder to see everyone. The thing that I tell all our managers is that we don’t ask guys to do something you wouldn’t do yourself. That’s why we’re successful. The guys know that their supervisors would jump right into a ditch next to them if asked.

5. Do you have any bold predictions about the future of our industry?

It’s not bold, but I think we’re just scratching the surface of water management. From xeric plants to new irrigation technologies, water is going to continue to be a focal point that will dictate how we design and manage spaces going forward.

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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