Editor’s note: Collecting quotes from recent travels

September 18, 2019 -  By
Photo: Seth Jones

Seth Jones

Even after more than 20 years as a journalist, I still get a thrill when I hear a great quote. When I go back and listen to audio recordings of my interviews, I often laugh at myself because I get so excited I say it out loud after an especially eloquent answer: “That’s a great sound bite!”

In the course of attending the 2019 NALP Field Trip in San Diego and in doing interviews for this month’s cover story, I got more than my fair share of these nuggets of wisdom. Here are some of my favorites:

“You can’t wait to do budgeting (for) when you can afford a CFO — you’ll already be dead.”

“Too many people are building up for the future … and then you’re old like me.”

Both of those tidbits are from industry great Frank Mariani, CEO of Mariani Landscape in Chicago. Mariani was the co-host of the NALP Field Trip.

Mariani, who has been running the company for 46 years, seems to be driven to help others in the industry by imparting wisdom gained from his years working within it. That second quote, about building for the future, sums up one of Mariani’s key points … he wants people to take time to enjoy their success. Luckily for us, Mariani’s enjoyments seems to come from helping his fellow landscape professional.

“Your goal should be to constantly be looking for low-risk experiments to improve your operation.”

“Your website can make you look like a multimillion-dollar business, while you’re operating out of grandma’s basement.”

These two sound bites come from our own columnist Marty Grunder, president and CEO of the Grow Group and Grunder Landscaping in Dayton, Ohio. Grunder served as the emcee of the Field Trip and was on the microphone often, so I was able to scribble down a few of his nuggets of wisdom.

For Grunder, his energy is focused on one thing: driving his fellow professional to take his or her business to the next level. Grunder is a walking sound bite — I’m glad he’s on our side.

“We want to grow because that means you’re doings things right, and you’re doing good for your people.”

This quote is from Bob Grover, president of Pacific Landscape Management in Oregon. Grover hit on a recurring theme at the Field Trip: This business is more about people than it is about landscaping.

“If you believe that relationships are the foundation of this business, like I do, then you will be successful.”

“Just don’t suck at the landscaping. What you’ve got to be great at is the service.”

Those are both from Mike Bogan, CEO of LandCare, who was the keynote speaker of the Field Trip. He talked about the importance of being on a first-name basis with your customers. He said that when dissatisfied customers cancel their service, they rarely use a name … and that’s because they never got to connect with a person. When customers connect with a person, they’re more likely to be happy with the service.

“Having a growing presence in a growing industry is something we’re committed to.”

This one comes from Brett Newendorp landscape market manager for Vermeer, in regards to GIE+EXPO. I talked to many people about GIE+EXPO in these last few weeks, about why it’s important to them and the effort it takes to prepare for the show. Newendorp’s statement above nicely summarizes the comments many made to me — to maintain your status in a thriving industry, you need to be seen at the thriving show that represents that industry.

“Because walking is overrated.”

This last sound bite comes from David Reeves, owner of Florida-based Reeves Lawncare and Equipment and inventor of the KR Chariot.

To get to the meaning of this quote, I’ll ask you to make it to the last part of my cover story … and then maybe you’ll want to see Reeves and the KR Chariot in person at next month’s GIE+EXPO.

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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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