The Level Green Culture Blog

Behind the scenes and insider information for landscaping careers and green industry jobs.

It's time to get a job. Are you ready to meet with a recruiter?

While you might assume getting a job in landscaping is a more casual situation than in other industries, recruiters in landscaping are looking for some of the same qualities that are valuable in any profession.

James Kole, branch manager at Level Green Landscaping, knows his way around the recruiting table. He and his colleagues visit several colleges and universities, collegiate competitions and professional conferences each year, looking for prospective new employees.

What impresses him?

He'll tell you.

Sometimes, it’s the little things that make you feel good driving home at the end of the day.


Scott Rupert has worked on sprawling commercial enhancement projects and luxury, high-end residential landscaping, but it’s a simple M created from flowers that he mentions when he tells of the rewards of his work. 

 

On the campus of the University of Maryland, a Level Green Landscaping client, is a giant M created entirely of flowers. Crews plant the striking floral M, in a circular sea of emerald green lawn, with 1,000 sturdy red begonia plants in the spring, and swap it out with 1,000 cheerful yellow pansies each fall.


“That M is a very popular place to stand in front of and have mom and dad take your picture,” Scott says. “It's neat to see folks stand next to it with their buddies and get their picture taken, and know we have a part in that.”


Scott, an account manager, has worked at Level Green Landscaping for six years, after three decades in the landscaping business at companies around the country.


He worked with Level Green co-owners Bill Hardy and Doug Delano years ago at Ruppert Landscaping. (No relation— note the number of p’s.)


He graduated in 1985 from the University of Maryland with a degree in horticulture, then got a full time job at Ruppert, where he had worked part-time during school.


But his landscape experience goes further back than that. He was one of those kids with a lawnmower who knocked on neighbors’ doors.

When Amanda Holmes moved to her new job in accounts receivable, her new desk was tucked in a corner.

“I was pregnant, and I guess I was in a mood,” she recalls. “I said I didn't want to be in a corner — I wanted to be by the window.”

People listen to you when you're pregnant, so Amanda got her desk by the window – right next to Level Green co-owner Doug Delano's office.

Is that good or bad?

“I guess it depends what kind of mood he's in,” she says with a laugh. “But I like it – I'm right in the middle of everything.”

Brooks Lee discovered he loved landscaping by working for an electric company.

The next thing he knew, he was covered in dirt and helping to plant 11,000 liriope.

Fate works in mysterious ways.

While studying environmental compliance at the University of South Florida, Brooks spent his summers working at Pepco, an electric utility serving Maryland and the DC area.

Last September, as he started his senior year, the company offered him a full-time job.

“You’d think I’d be excited,” he says.

But he wasn’t. And that worried him.

“I had a sit-down with myself,” he says. “Is this really what I want to do?”

While working at Pepco, Brooks supervised the installation of a garden to attract pollinators like bees and butterflies.

“Nobody at the electric company knew how to install a garden, so I had to teach myself from the ground up,” he says. He loved it.

As he researched landscaping, Brooks discovered the Level Green Landscaping website, and the more he read, the more he was impressed — with the company philosophy of “Do the right thing,” the steady growth, the owners’ commitment to efficiency and safety.

“I was sold before my first day,” Brooks says.

When you hear about another company that pays a dollar more an hour than your current job, or offers a few more hours a week, it’s tempting to duck out the door for that “better” opportunity.

When the snow starts to fly and the temperature drops, an indoor job sounds a lot better than shoveling snow.

We understand your instincts. But you’re missing out.

Stay at the same company for a while, and there are lots of benefits that frequent job hoppers don't get.

Let’s take a look.

The sand was warm, the grilled sausages hot and the atmosphere laid back at the annual Level Green summer picnic for managers and supervisors.

About 70 managers and supervisors gathered to celebrate their hard work, setting that work aside for an afternoon of fun.

“It’s mainly just to thank our guys for working hard,” says Level Green co-owner and founder Douglass Delano, who hosts the annual party with business partner Bill Hardy.

While the company’s different branches are naturally competitive with each other for sales and production, the event reinforces the fact that everybody works for one company, with one common goal of success, Delano says.

“I see my role in this company as a coach, more than anything,” he says. “I love encouraging people.”

Walter Munguia has “manager” in his title, but he still gets his hands dirty. You’ll find him on a paver installation job with his laser level, painstakingly measuring to be sure the base is level before any pavers go down.


“I check the grading first,” says Walter, operations manager for construction at Level Green Landscaping. “If the grading isn't right, the pavers will be too low in some areas, too high in others. It has to be exactly right.”


Walter has been with Level Green Landscaping almost a year, after working for several years at a landscaping company in Richmond, Va. That’s where he met Paul Weaver, now Level Green construction branch manager.

The Weather Channel says it feels like 101 degrees, and Miguel Herrera and his crew are pruning trees and pulling weeds at South River Landing in Edgewater, Md., one of Level Green Landscaping’s top customers. The gated, waterfront community on the Chesapeake's South River features 84 custom-built luxury homes. The lush landscaping has to be perfect.

When Don Gates came to Level Green Landscaping in 2012, he brought all sorts of experiences with him.

He’s worked in plumbing, handled quality control at a Chevrolet dealership and supervised 35 employees at a commuter airline company based at Dulles International Airport in Virginia.

“I know how to deal with a lot of different situations,” Don says. “And I carried all of that with me here. Working at the airport, there were people from all different cultures, who believe in a lot of different things. You need to be respectful of that.”