Seth’s Cut: We’re in this together

Photo: Seth Jones
Editor-in-Chief Seth Jones was the only person on the rental car shuttle bus at the airport as the COVID-19 pandemic started. Photo: Seth Jones
Photo: Seth Jones
Editor-in-Chief Seth Jones was the only person on the rental car shuttle bus at the airport as the COVID-19 pandemic started. (Photo: Seth Jones)

The world has certainly changed in just a few short weeks. One of the many unusual things about this pandemic is that anyone I talk to, including the lawn care and landscape professionals interviewed in this issue in our cover feature and the guy delivering my Amazon packages, is a potential source. COVID-19 has affected every person in some way or another. I hope it hasn’t hit you too hard, and that you, your family and your coworkers are well.

We’ve been diligently interviewing industry people as the coronavirus pandemic has grown and posting those stories as quickly as possible to LandscapeManagement.net. I invite you to visit the website to see the most current stories. But don’t sleep on this issue — along with our cover story, we also have sage advice from Marty Grunder and Jeffrey Scott on how to maintain your wits, and your business, in the current environment. And there’s also the normal LM goodness, like chainsaws and drip irrigation. The show must go on.

So many people have been cooperative in sharing their stories with us. I recall Mike DePriest of Longs Peak Landscape in Longmont, Colo., prior to our interview, sending me all the documents he wrote up in anticipation of meeting with his team. At the end of our call he told me, “Anything you want to share to help people, share it.” There’s a we’re-in-this-together attitude, and I’m thankful for it.

As you know if you regularly read this page, I pride myself on being present, and I travel often. In the month leading into the pandemic, I was in seven different major American cities along with a short trip to Mexico. Each trip showed more and more smoke to the incoming fire of COVID-19.

It culminated for me with a trip to San Francisco then on to Chicago. My Uber driver was taking me to the heart of San Francisco during rush hour when he started to lose his cool. “There’s normally wall-to-wall people and cars down here,” he told me as the app’s ETA kept shrinking by the minute. “It’s never this empty!”

Two nights later, I was in downtown Chicago and out to dinner with my two publishers. There was a TV on in the distance, and we saw the NBA game between the Utah Jazz and the Oklahoma City Thunder called off midgame. Jake Goodman, our western regional sales manager, showed up in the restaurant. He was supposed to be leaving the country for his honeymoon. They canceled their trip after landing in Chicago and before boarding their next flight. President Trump had just gone to the airwaves with travel restrictions. It was time for all of us to get home.

The next day, I was the only person on the rental car shuttle bus. There was no line through security. At baggage check, I asked how unusual it was for the airport to be so quiet. It was eerily quiet, the baggage check person told me, especially for a week normally packed with spring breakers.

I got home to my family and stayed put. Thankfully, my family and I all feel great. We’ve been occupying our time in different ways, including foosball, darts, yardwork and movies.

The COVID-19 story changes hour by hour, minute by minute. I can’t pretend to know where we’ll be in this drama by the time our proud magazine reaches you. But I will tell you this: Like our readers, we’ll be doing whatever we can to support our industry that, in return, supports us.

In the meantime, please play it safe. Just like you value all your customers, we value all our readers. And I’m very much looking forward to the end of this chaos, when I can get back out on the road and we can again meet together in person.

Photo: Seth Jones

Seth Jones

Seth Jones is is editor-in-chief of Landscape Management, Golfdom and Athletic Turf magazines. A graduate of Kansas University’s William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications, Seth was voted best columnist in the industry in 2014 and 2018 by the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association. He has more than 23 years of experience in the golf and turf industries and has traveled the world seeking great stories.

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