Five Questions: Matt Bailey

May 14, 2019 -  By
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Matt Bailey, Alpine Landscape, Photo: Seth Jones

Photo: Seth Jones

Matt Bailey

President
Alpine Landscape Service, Winter Park, Colo.

1. How did Alpine Landscape Service get started, and what all does the company do?

I first moved here in 1997 to be a ski instructor, and I’d commute back home to Wisconsin in the summers. When my wife graduated college in 2004, we started staying here year-round. I started the company in 2005. Our slogan is, “Creating mountain designs for mountain living since 2005.” We’re a high-end residential design/build firm in a resort town area. We service higher income families, in many cases these are their second or third homes. We focus on giving them natural landscaping — from boulders and naturalized areas to outdoor patios and fire pits.

2. Do you have a family?

I’m very lucky … I’ve been married to Erika for 17 years, we celebrate our anniversary this month. We met while we were both teaching skiing, so we came out to Winter Park together. Living out here has been a fantastic lifestyle. She’s a second grade teacher and we have two kids — Ashley is 11, in 6th grade, and Brooke is 13, she’ll be a freshman next year. Ashley is on the Alpine race team; Brooke is active in volleyball and swimming.

3. What’s your favorite vacation spot?

Sometimes I feel like we don’t need to go on vacation because we live in a vacation spot. The summers and winters here are amazing. But if we want to get away, we go to Sanibel Island, Fla., rent bicycles, see the beach, go fishing, snorkel. We also went to the boundary waters of Minnesota recently. It was epic because I was so totally disconnected from the world — no cell phone signal, no GPS, nothing.

4. What would a flat-lander find interesting about the mountain environment that you work in?

It’s basically a three-month season here, and you have to get six month’s worth of work done in that time. It’s a difficult climate — you can see a 100-degree swing in temperature in a day … from -50 to 40-plus in January. It’s unique, I enjoy the challenge of making beautiful mountain landscapes in the short season that we have.

5. What have you learned about working with the younger generation?

To motivate them, it’s definitely not about money. It’s about creating a culture, an atmosphere that they want to come work in. Sure, everyone wants money, but they want flexibility and a fun place to work — then they start to recruit their friends. Oh, and incentives and bonuses are important. “Matt asked me to complete this task by this time, but what do I get out of it?” A good bonus helps them fulfill our goals. One more thing: no one wants to talk anymore. I had a longtime employee send me a text recently, telling me he found another job. There was no conversation. I tried calling him twice. I’m not mad, I just want to shake his hand and say good luck. I grew up when the right thing to do was to speak to someone, no matter how hard it was to say — and you’d do it.

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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 of 2014 by the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association. Seth has more than 18 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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