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She’s a boss: Women in landscaping

April 21, 2021 -  By
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Don’t call them “girl bosses” or “SheEOs.”

When describing the careers and accomplishments of April Rose, operations manager for Ruppert Landscape; Amy Andre, commercial department leader of K&D Landscaping; and Ashly Neneman, general manager at Sun Valley Landscaping, the best phrase to use is leaders in landscaping.

Here are their stories.

Yes, I’m a woman in landscaping

Amy Andre.

Amy Andre, commercial department leader of K&D Landscaping. (Photo courtesy of Amy Andre)

When Andre got promoted into the role of estimator in December 2019 at K&D Landscaping after eight-plus years working in the green industry, she says she often heard a surprised voice on the other end of the phone line when people realized she was the estimator they were trying to reach.

“I was on the phone with a gentleman at one point who said, ‘Can I speak with somebody about this estimate, whoever estimated it,’ and I said, ‘That’s me,’ and he was like, ‘Wow, you’re a woman and you’re young. Good for you,’’’ she recalls. “I thought, ‘Well, you know what? Good for me.’ There are a lot of gentlemen who have been around for a long time in the industry, and you get a little bit of that kickback when you talk to people, and they think, ‘You’re a woman, this is landscape, this is construction, do you really know what you’re talking about?’”

She says that kind of response can often be intimidating to women trying to make it in the landscape industry.

“I’ve really done my time, and having that confidence in knowing who I am and knowing the hard work I’ve put into it gets me through those times,” she says. “It gives me that extra excitement in what I’m doing, just knowing that it’s different, and knowing that I’m going against the grain and being successful in that.”

Andre got her start in the industry 10 years ago when she was in school to
be an ultrasound technician while performing filing work part time for a landscape company on the side. As time passed, she continued to be presented with new growth opportunities, such as running that company’s tree care department in 2013. She was hired at K&D in December 2018.

Amy Andre says spending time in the field helped her understand the industry. (Photo courtesy of Amy Andre)

Amy Andre says spending time in the field helped her understand the industry. (Photo courtesy of Amy Andre)

She then moved up to an account manager role and started doing some project coordinating in the construction department. From there, she ascended to commercial department leader.

She realized she’d found her place in the landscape industry when, upon receiving an answer to the application she’d submitted to further her ultrasound tech career, she didn’t even bother opening it.

“I was super happy in the career that had organically manifested in my life,” she says. “I felt like it was where I needed to be at that time.”

Within her leadership role, Andre says part of her mission at K&D is to raise the bar in the industry.

“Raising the bar is not some tagline that we would just slap on shirts; it’s actually something that we as a team and I truly believe in, within the landscaping industry and in every day in my life,” she says.

For example, in the construction business, she says landscapers often get a bad rap for being unprofessional, noncompliant or unresponsive.

To fix that perception, Andre says she and her team strive to show up on time at job sites and be respectful to clients, respond to clients’ requests in a timely manner and install high-quality landscapes.

“Our team really cares, and we’re really meticulous in what we do. We don’t cut any corners, and we stand by our work 100 percent,” she says. “Personally, I plan to advocate for change in the landscape industry in challenging others to raise the bar every single day.”

For other women looking to pave their way in the industry, Andre recommends having confidence in the knowledge and skills they’ve attained through their experience.

“I think there’s this big stigma in the landscaping industry that it’s only men, and it’s just not true,” Andre says. “The landscaping industry is incredibly versatile and diverse. When you get an opportunity and somebody believes in you and recognizes your hard work, and you progress through your role and get different opportunities, that fuels you to continue to progress and put your heart into everything you do.”

WATCH VIDEO: Amy Andre on female leaders in landscaping

Sarah Webb

About the Author:

Sarah Webb is Landscape Management's managing editor. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Wittenberg University, where she studied journalism and Spanish. Prior to her role at LM, Sarah was an intern for Cleveland Magazine and a writing tutor. She can be reached at swebb@northcoastmedia.net.

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