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5 Questions: Susan McGee

June 17, 2021 -  By
Dustin March and Susan McGee (Photo: Justin Johnson)

Dustin March and Susan McGee (Photo: Justin Johnson)

Susan McGee

Owner, Lawn Doctor of Wilmington and Brunswick Co., N.C.

1. How did you find your way to this industry?

I moved to Wilmington prior to being with Lawn Doctor. Having gone to N.C. State, where I had a few horticulture classes and business classes, and having owned a business previously, I was excited about the opportunity provided to me by Lawn Doctor. It was the perfect fit for my young family, and Lawn Doctor helped train me to be in its franchise model. That was 23 years ago. We have 20 employees, and we’re in growth mode. As the community grows, we’ve had more opportunities. We’re fortunate to have long-term customers, some for 23 years.

2. What is June like there, and any advice on how to endure it?

The heat really comes into play. We start a little earlier in the morning. Flexibility and foresight play a key in every day. I know my team well, (I know) their strengths and I trust in the skills they have. You have to look after the people in your business and be positive as you figure it all out. I really try to look after the staff in the field. I do not subscribe to working on Saturdays. The guys need to recover from a long week. Work/life balance is important for all of us.

3. What do you think our magazine will be writing about for the foreseeable future?

One of the biggest surprises for me as an owner, aside from the day-to-day balance of the workforce in the field, is the ongoing challenge of human resources, whether it’s labor supply or opportunities for advancement. Knowing the expectation of the human resources side of this business is important. You have to take care of people with policies and handbooks, things that, 23 years ago, were not an issue. It takes a lot of time. I think human resources is going to become a bigger thing, especially after COVID. The ways you managed your staff last year? That’s not going to slow down.

4. Do you have one day at work that was really memorable?

I’ve mentioned this day to several of my office staff. I remember when our business was much smaller, and I was the only staff person in the office. The Monday after Easter, I came into the office and there were a number of calls on the answering machine. I thought, ‘Wow, this is going to be a busy day.’ In that one day, I had hundreds of phone calls. I couldn’t plow through one message before getting the next message and the next message. It was a sign that 1) We were doing a lot of things right, but 2) I needed additional help and the right kind of help to handle the volume.

5. What gets you to work on time every day?

I truly care about the people who work with me. This is their opportunity, as much as it is mine, to create a career. I can’t say enough about the kind of customers I have. They really appreciate the value we bring every day to their yards. It’s the science of what we do. I make sure all my technicians and even my office staff get their pesticide licenses, so they can have personal growth and also have a stake in the company.

This article is tagged with , and posted in 0621, Five Questions, From the Magazine
Seth Jones

About the Author:

Seth Jones, a graduate of Kansas University’s William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications, was voted best columnist in the industry in 2014 and 2018 by the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association. Seth has more than 19 years of experience in the golf and turf industries and has traveled the world seeking great stories. He is editor-in-chief of Landscape Management, Golfdom and Athletic Turf magazines. Jones can be reached at sjones@northcoastmedia.net.

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