5 Questions: Tony Distefano

April 21, 2023 -  By
Photo: Angelo’s Landscape Group

(Photo: Angelo’s Landscape Group)

Tony Distefano

Owner and President, Angelo’s Landscape Group, Baton Rouge, La.

1.  What should I know about Angelo’s Landscape Group?  
It was started in 1983. This is our 40th year in business. My parents, Angelo and Trish, started it as a small maintenance company. It’s grown bit by bit over the years. In the 1990s, they added commercial landscape installations for existing clients. I graduated from Louisiana State University in 2004 with a degree in landscape architecture. After I graduated, we started offering design services in-house, and started doing design/build. We’re excited about our continued growth. It’s definitely changed over the years and grown a tremendous amount.

2.  What are your expectations for the industry in 2023 and beyond?  

The term I’ve heard is ‘cautiously optimistic.’ That’s how I feel. I think our industry is going in a fantastic direction. The way people look at us, we’re not just grass cutters anymore; we’re complete landscape professionals. Call it the HGTV craze, call it what you want; the bottom line is there’s a greater appreciation for outdoor spaces. Even on the commercial level, our clients understand the importance of hiring true landscape professionals to care for their properties instead of the cut-blow-go guys. They realize, if the landscape looks bad, it’s a direct reflection of the professionalism of the business inside.

3.  What is your most memorable day at work?  

As we have become more focused on our people and culture, we started doing an employee appreciation field day every year. We do it on the Friday before Thanksgiving. We have a lot of vendors that sponsor the event; this year we had more door prizes than we had employees. We’ll have a weed-eating competition and sack races. This (past) year we had a human foosball game, which was hilarious. It’s fun to see grown men acting like 10-year-olds and just giggling, smiling and laughing. To see the joy on all of our employees’ faces on that day is worth it every time. Every year that we do it, that is my new favorite day.

4.  Do you have a family?  

I’ve been married for 18 years to my lovely wife, Ashley. We have two children, a boy and a girl. Gabrielle is 15, she’ll be 16 this summer. Anthony Jr. is 17. Both of them are very much into athletics. He’s a football player and she’s a soccer player. It definitely keeps us busy on weekends, with their games, training and practice. But I hear from many people who say I’ll miss it when it’s over, so we try to soak it up, as hectic as teenage parenting can be. We try to enjoy it and have them and their friends to the house as much as possible. 

5.  You are part of the ACE Peer Group with McFarlin Stanford, and just hosted a group. How did that group handle a crawfish boil?  

We had guys here from Alaska, Boston, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Seattle, Wisconsin — from all over. You know what, I married a Cajun, she just dove right in there and showed the guys how to peel crawfish. They were a bunch of students, just watching her. My kids assisted in the training. We got some of it on video, it was pretty entertaining. At first, they were pretty timid, you know, ‘We’re eating mud bugs!’ But once they realized how good they actually are, they really dove in there.

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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 23 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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