Overcoming Challenges and Looking Ahead to a Promising Future

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By Phil Key, President

While this year’s Management Development Day (MDD) and Awards Ceremony was different than years past, we didn’t want to miss an opportunity to get together—at least virtually—to look back on our year, celebrate our accomplishments and align our plans for the future. Certainly, 2020 has been a year we will likely tell stories to our grandchildren about.  We had to overcome fear or uncertainty, adapt to new safety protocols, communication challenges, ever-evolving customer concerns and labor shortages related to sick or quarantined employees. But even with those many obstacles, we’ve managed to stay the course, serve our customers and work for each other. I know I speak for the entire management team when I say how proud I am of our team. I am confident that whatever challenges lie ahead present us with an opportunity to learn, grow and expand. This past year reinforced that we are up to the challenge!

Our continued ability to adapt and adjust will play a pivotal role in achieving the goals that we have laid out in our Five-Year Plan (2021-2025). That means that we are constantly performing self-assessments, measuring ourselves against our plan, making adjustments based on market changes and internal suggestions received, and looking for new and improved ways we can meet or exceed the goals we’ve set. As we look to the next five years, we are planning for steady, conservative growth within both divisions: landscape construction at about 8.5% a year and landscape management at 10.5%.

With that growth comes the need for more branches and employees. Landscape construction will likely add two to three satellite locations to their existing five branches. Satellite branches (the first of which was recently opened in Nashville, TN) will be supported by an established branch as they  build a team that will live local. These will be run by an assistant branch manager, a position that has been recently added within the division. Our landscape management division, which currently has 21 branches, expects to add 10 new branches—most of which will be adjacent to existing branches which gives us better market presence, route density and close resources for support. Most importantly, adding branches within our current footprint has historically provided more opportunity for existing employees. In 2021, we are opening new offices in Durham (NC), Chantilly (VA) and relocating our West Grove, PA branch to Wilmington, DE.

On the employee side, we will continue our focus on training and development to ensure that our existing team is positioned to take on any new opportunities that arise. We will also be looking to expand our employee base to 2700 by 2025 (nearly 1000 more people than we have today). This should provide good  opportunities for our existing employees to grow their careers with the company. To backfill those positions and hire the team we will need to support our growth, our goal is to be an employer of choice so that we can continue to attract and retain the best and the brightest.

Another positive offshoot of our growth will be our giving. By 2025, with our commitment to give back 5% of our profit, our charitable giving will increase to $3.3M over the next five years, up from $2.7M over these past five. These contributions, which are earned through your hard work, will have a huge impact in the communities where we work and live!

What was shared at our virtual Management Development Day and in this quick recap is just a sampling of some of our initiatives. There are many more—so please ask your manager for details about our Five-Year Plan if you’re interested. We are an open book company and our goal is to ensure that all employees are aware of the company’s journey and can play an active role in its future growth. As we emerge from what has been a very challenging period, we can feel confident knowing that we have the resources and support of our team to overcome anything that may lie ahead. I have no doubt that together we have a promising future.