November 2013 Web Extra: My military experience: L.G. Scott Landscaping & Tree Service

November 7, 2013 -  By

In the November 2013 cover story, “Hiring heroes,” we shared two “My military experience” stories of business owner-veterans and how they’ve turned their military service into private-sector success.

Here’s another: L.G. Scott Landscaping & Tree Service in Providence Forge, Va., is a family business and the Scotts are a military family.

Photo: L.G. Scott Landscaping

L.G. Scott Landscaping & Tree Service is a fourth-generation family business with military service going back to the second-generation owner Larkin Gordon Scott, who served in the Navy in World War II and also served in Korea. His son, Larkin Gordon Scott Jr. (right), who ran the company until 2008, has served in the Navy, the Naval Reserve and the National Guard, including one tour to Iraq. This month marks his 40th year of military service. The company’s current and fourth-generation owners are Luke Gabriel Scott (center), who serves in the National Guard as senior squad leader of an infantry scout sniper platoon, and Larkin Gordon Scott III (left), a Black Hawk pilot in the National Guard and has served twice in Iraq. Their mother, Dale Scott, is the company’s office manager. Photo: L.G. Scott Landscaping

Larkin Gordon Scott III

Vice president, L.G. Scott Landscaping & Tree Service in Providence Forge, Va.
Service: Virginia Army National Guard, 2002-present, currently serving as the 29th Infantry Division aviation maintenance officer

During my 11 years in the military, I’ve deployed to combat twice. Those combat experiences taught me the importance of perspective. Nothing we do in landscaping, though sometimes we have those terrible weeks, is as bad as the threat of imminent death. That perspective helps me stay calm.

Also, through my military service I’ve gained valuable experience in almost all of the management functional areas: maintenance, human resources and operational planning.

Without adequate maintenance of equipment, a landscaping company cannot succeed. Our equipment must work when we need it to in order to meet the timelines required by the environment and to meet our customers’ expectations. The military has excellent maintenance practices for their ground and aviation equipment. The courses I’ve attended as well as the hands-on experience I gained have given me a starting point for our business.

Landscaping is a service. Even in design/build work, we’re providing a service, albeit through construction of a landscape or hardscape. The heart of any service company is the people involved; that’s where human resources comes into play. In the military, leaders are responsible for all aspects of their soldiers’ lives, even down to their off-duty time. Military leaders are taught to never rest until their troops are taken care of. To me, that idea is the core of good human resources. The practical experience of handling the various issues presented to me in the military has made it easy to flow into handling the human resource issues of a small business.

In the military I gained valuable experience in operational planning. As an officer I always keep the mission foremost in my thinking and work back from there.

—As told to Marisa Palmieri

Correction: In the November 2013 print edition, the Web Extras box on page 22 referencing L.G. Scott Landscaping & Tree Service incorrectly stated the company is based in Pennsylvania. It is located in Providence Forge, Va. The editors regret the error.

About the Author:

Marisa Palmieri is an experienced Green Industry editor who's won numerous awards for her coverage of the landscape and golf course markets from the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA), the Press Club of Cleveland and the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE). In 2007, ASBPE named her a Young Leader. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism, cum laude, from Ohio University’s Scripps School of Journalism.

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