Zacharie Jackson was pretty sure she’d be studying bacteria for a living after graduating with a degree in biology from Marymount University.
Then she got her hands in the dirt, during an internship at the National Arboretum in Washington DC, spending her days tending glossy boxwood, bright day lilies and fragrant catmint.
So, when a recruiter contacted her about a job at Level Green Landscaping, that career studying bacteria would have to wait.
The plants were calling.
Get Paid While You Learn
Zacharie started at Level Green in October 2018 as a management trainee, a few months after college graduation.
The program prepares qualified candidates for a position as an operations manager or account manager.
Trainees are paid while they learn the ropes of the landscape management business. Then, when they’re done, they’re ready to hit the ground running.
This program is ideal for a recent college graduate or a person new to the landscape industry. Just like Zacharie.
Peaceful Plants and People
Zacharie’s time at the Arboretum proved she loved both plants and people — two key elements of landscaping company work.
“I enjoyed the nature of it,” she says. “It was peaceful and kind of calming being with the plants.
“Visitors would walk through and ask questions — old folks who lived in the neighborhood, people with their kids or walking their dogs, regulars who would stop by. It was nice.”
When a recruiter approached her on LinkedIn about a job at Level Green, she was interested.
“She said they were looking to hire more women, and I was impressed by that,” Zacharie says. “She said it’s a great place to be, even if you don’t have a lot of landscaping experience. They had a management training program that would teach me.”
“It’s Not Easy”
There’s nothing like being on the inside to discover exactly what the crews in those landscaping company trucks do.
“I have a whole new level of respect for these guys,” Zacharie says. “It’s not easy. If it was easy, more people would do it.”
She’s spent the past year making the rounds of all Level Green’s branches, writing proposals, planting flowers, learning the business model, meeting with clients, working on construction projects.
“I like getting to understand what the client needs and what we can do to fulfill that,” she says. “Some clients see landscaping as a luxury thing. But it’s one of the first things people see when they get to a property. If the landscaping is all unkempt, they’ll think the management is unkempt, too.”
During her time in construction, Zacharie helped put together a bid for a nature-inspired playground for an area school.
“It really got my creative side going,” she says. “It was like something out of Winnie the Pooh. It was supposed to look like you just came upon it in the woods, like a fairy tale. It was really cool.”
Hanging with G.P. and Chauncey
Zacharie says she’s a “homebody,” content to hang out with her husband, G.P., and their personable mini poodle, Chauncey.
She loves to read, tend to her plants and go on walks with Chauncey, who enjoys even cold-weather romps, thanks to his thick, curly coat.
The Rewards of the Work
“Sometimes I go home at the end of the day and I feel really accomplished,” Zacharie says. “I think, ‘I helped make that property look better. We really brought their vision to life.’
“I had that feeling a lot working in construction, watching long-term enhancements take shape and getting involved in the full process.”
She’s getting a lot of great advice along the way.
“Everybody here is a great teacher,” Zacharie says. “They’re so smart and knowledgeable. And they don’t keep it to themselves. They say, ‘Let me show you, so you can know it, too.’”
Want to Join the Team?
Zacharie is just one of the dedicated team members we have here at Level Green Landscaping. And we’re always looking for hard-working, talented people to join our team.
Are you ready to work for a growing, successful company that will prepare you for a career in landscaping?