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Seth’s Cut: Tracking the LM team’s fantastic voyages across the country

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DiFranco got an up-close look at Greenworks’ new OptimusZ zero-turn mower during his tour of the factory. (Photo: LM Staff)
DiFranco got an up-close look at Greenworks’ new OptimusZ zero-turn mower during his tour of the factory. (Photo: LM Staff)
(Left to right) Speakers at the Jeffrey Scott Executive Retreat were Keith Freeman, CEO of the Green Group, Raleigh, N.C.; Jose Andres Genel, director of people and culture for Landscape Renovations in Minneapolis, Minn.; Jeffrey Scott and Kevin Werbrich, president, Werbrich Landscaping, Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo: LM Staff)
(Left to right) Speakers at the Jeffrey Scott Executive Retreat were Keith Freeman, CEO of the Green Group, Raleigh, N.C.; Jose Andres Genel, director of people and culture for Landscape Renovations in Minneapolis, Minn.; Jeffrey Scott and Kevin Werbrich, president, Werbrich Landscaping, Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo: LM Staff)

It’s starting to warm up outside, and the season is about to kick into full gear. My team has been spread out all over the country in these early weeks of 2023, attending industry events and meeting with industry leaders. Here’s just a quick snapshot of the last two weeks:

Associate Editor, Rob DiFranco, went to Morristown, Tenn., to see the grand opening of the new Greenworks factory. I went to New Orleans to attend Jeffrey Scott’s Executive Retreat. And Editor Christina Herrick wins the day for making the trek from Cleveland to Lahaina, Hawaii, for the National Association of Landscape Professionals’ Leaders Forum.

It’s at events like these where we make connections and get to see how much our work is appreciated by the industry. It’s great to see old friends and then have them introduce you to their network of peers — especially when, all the while, a New Orleans jazz band is providing the soundtrack. I’ll always have a fond memory of doing this issue’s 5 Questions Q&A in person with Matt Hunter, president of New Garden Landscape & Nursery in Greensboro, N.C., at a noisy hotel bar. 

DiFranco got an up-close look at Greenworks’ new OptimusZ zero-turn mower during his tour of the factory. (Photo: LM Staff)
DiFranco got an up-close look at Greenworks’ new OptimusZ zero-turn mower during his tour of the factory. (Photo: LM Staff)

More than 120 people attended Jeffrey Scott’s event. Industry veterans and young up-and-comers were included as speakers, talking on a wide range of topics. Scott opened the event by telling the room to get ready for 2023, because it’s set to be a big one for all the companies represented at the event. 

“If you make a better company, your clients will want you to get bigger,” Scott said. “The better you get, the more your clients will want you to get better. In other words, you’re not pushing your growth … your customers are pulling it.”

Perhaps the most interesting talk came from Kevin Werbrich, president of Werbrich’s Landscaping in Cincinnati, Ohio, about what he calls the ‘red carpet exit.’

Jennifer Jorge, chief operating officer of King GREEN; Steve Bromell, CEO of Pro Cutters Lawnscapes; Rosco Klausing, president and CEO of Klausing Group; Tim Portland, chairman and CEO of Yellowstone Landscape; and Britt Wood, NALP CEO, shared their insight into being an effective leader. (Photo: LM staff)
Jennifer Jorge, chief operating officer of King GREEN; Steve Bromell, CEO of Pro Cutters Lawnscapes; Rosco Klausing, president and CEO of Klausing Group; Tim Portland, chairman and CEO of Yellowstone Landscape; and Britt Wood, NALP CEO, shared their insight into being an effective leader. (Photo: LM staff)

Werbrich believes any employee parting ways might someday return to work for him, so he treats exiting employees — even those terminated — with kindness and respect. He calls his ex-employees every January to check in, see how they are and if they might be at a point in their life where they want to return to work for his company. Another thing he does is he “forgets” to remove former employees from their Facebook group, so the ex-employee still sees updates from Werbrich’s Landscaping.

Attendees challenged him with a bunch of ‘what ifs’ on who he would and wouldn’t call in January. Werbrich could not be swayed. You don’t know where these people are in their lives, he reiterated. And by showing compassion to everyone, even the bad apples, it will make employees value the culture of the company and keep them coming back to work.

“If you treat people fairly, that word is going to spread,” Werbrich told the room. 

We’ll have more reporting from these events, including Herrick’s journey to Hawaii, online and in our next issue. And remember, if you’re not signed up for our weekly e-newsletter, you’re missing the most current news resource in the industry. It deploys like clockwork every Thursday morning, and the last issue, once again, was the first place in the industry to break the news of another major acquisition.

In this issue, we welcome a new columnist to the magazine. Neal Glatt, managing partner, Grow the Bench, makes his debut in the magazine with his column “Sales Scouting Report.” 

Glatt is a coach with a passion for the green industry. He took a one-truck snow contractor and built it up to a $40 million company before he left to pursue his passion for coaching and helping others. You can learn more about Neal and listen to his podcast at NealGlatt.com. Welcome to the LM team, Neal!

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