5 Questions: Seth Pflum

Photo courtesy of Seth Pflum
Photo courtesy of Seth Pflum
(Photo courtesy of Seth Pflum)
(Photo courtesy of Seth Pflum)

Seth Pflum

President and COO, Grunder Landscaping Co., Miamisburg, Ohio

1.  Congratulations on the promotion to president and COO of Grunder Landscaping Co. What does this mean for you and for Marty Grunder? 

I’ve always been a big believer that you’re learning the job ahead of the job you’re at, plus doing the job that you’re currently doing and training your replacement. For me, what I’m trying to do is continue the vision and path that Marty’s laid out for the organization, being supportive and progressive. I’m taking over the strategic planning and the vision of the organization, to push it along and move it along. And ultimately, it’s giving Marty the ability to really focus on what he’s really good at, teaching business development.

2.  What is a book you’d recommend to others in a similar position to you?  

One of my favorite books is The Dichotomy of Leadership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. I took a lot of nuggets away from it. It’s in the top three of my favorite books. It gives good a perspective on life in general, and the balance in business and leadership. Everything has a balance. It helps you find a path.

3.  Tell us about your family?  

I have a wonderful wife named Kara. We have an 11-year-old daughter, Cambrie, and an 8-year-old son, Carter. Carter wants to come work at Grunder Landscaping. He’s fascinated with landscaping. When we do a spring cleanup at my house, he’s out there with the guys working, he has his own wheelbarrow and he pushes it around. On career day last year, he wore a Grunder Landscaping polo to school and said, “I’m going to go work with Gaston (Diaz Ramirez).” He’s one of our operations managers — that’s what he wants to do right now when he grows up.

4.  Do you have a most memorable day at work?  

I have two. The first would be when I first sat down to interview with Marty. I followed Marty’s columns for years before I moved to Dayton. I would cut them out and hang them up behind me at my office. So, to sit down and interview with him was pretty surreal because he was a mentor to me before I even joined the organization. The second was when the promotion became official and was announced. I was just humbled by it and I greatly appreciate and respect the trust Marty’s instilled in me.

5.  What was it like interviewing with Marty that first time? Is he the guy we know, or different in that situation?  

One thing about Marty, is you know what to expect with him. He’s a straight shooter. He asked some very tough questions. He’s the same guy if he’s sitting here chatting with me, or standing in front of a group of 1,500 people. I was pretty nervous that day, to finally meet him. I didn’t share with him that I was constantly reading his columns. My office where I’m sitting today is where I first met him, where he interviewed me. It used to be Marty’s office.

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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