Herbie Champion: Celebrating 15 Years

Herbie Champion: Celebrating 15 Years

By Myatt Landscaping, Posted in Uncategorized
October 26, 2018

Herbie Champion
MEET Herbie Champion, Install Division Manager, celebrating 15 years at Myatt Landscaping. Herbie stands out as a true success story--he started out working as a laborer on the installation crew and rose to division manager, one of the highest positions in the company. I sat down with Herbie a few days before the 15th anniversary of his hire date, wanting to gain some insight into his journey through the ranks. I hope you are as inspired as I was by what he said.

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How long have you been working here at Myatt Landscaping?

15, starting on 16 years.

What was your progression like through the company?

My first position was entry labor on the install crew. I already knew plant ID from studying at NC State, but I had to learn the process at Myatt Landscaping, which was entirely different from anything I had done before. From there it was just climbing the ladder. Whether it was doing drainage, planting trees, or tree collars, I wanted to stand out and be the best. A lot of people will focus on somebody else, or somebody else’s job, but if you focus on your job and what you’re doing, and you do your job to the best of your ability, everything else will work out.

What made you stay at Myatt for 15 years?

The loyalty that they provide. [The Myatt’s] treat everyone like family. It’s real close-knit and they care about everything that happens in your life. And they believe in you—when they put that much responsibility on you and give you these types of projects to do, and you’ve got the freedom to make the decisions yourself, why would you want to start over somewhere else? This is what everybody works toward, getting into this position. You’re not going to be able to go anywhere else and work on the types of projects we’ve worked on.

What do you enjoy most about your job?  

The projects. Seeing it all come together to completion and saying “I had a hand in doing that.” In one of the coolest projects I worked on, we built a koi pond with a 23-foot-long stone bridge. It was concrete and set on piers, with stone veneer, and lights mounted underneath, so [the homeowner] could walk out and sit down on the bridge and have koi swimming under her. It was pretty wild…We had to jackhammer almost 2 weeks into [solid] stone to create the cavity for the pond. Another project I worked on took over a year, out-of-town, in Winston-Salem. [The clients] wanted to have full-size courts for basketball, volleyball, and tennis, and they didn’t want people to see them as they drove by. So we excavated down 20 feet [below grade] and did poured-in-place walls and built [a recessed] sport court. It had lights mounted to shine down in there, a bluestone set of stairs, and a water fountain. [Because of the drainage we installed], they could stand out there in the rain and there wouldn’t be any standing water. It was just a really neat project.

As you know, we are always growing and learning. Is there any one thing you would like to take the time to learn more about? 

Plant material is always changing—there’s always new varieties coming out. I want to learn more about the latest and greatest of the hardscape industry. I’d like to see new ideas or just learn from people and try to incorporate my own ideas. The construction industry is changing at all times. It’s one thing to build a house, but when the inspections [process] changes, you want to learn how and why things are being done the way they’re being done.

Looking at all the people in history, what person would you say you respect the most and why?

Jesus Christ. He made the ultimate sacrifice.

Do you have a favorite inspirational quote?

“To get respect, you have to give respect. To be respected for who you are and what you do, you have to earn it.”

What are your hobbies outside of work?

I love fishing, spending time with family, and koi! I used to breed them, but I don’t anymore. Just as a hobby. I would show koi—once a year, we’d go to the Carolina Classic Koi Show and we won many awards, had fun, and just learned a lot about them. I’m dwindling down now and getting rid of a lot of them. I’m probably going to take a break from it for a while, just because I’ve been so busy. But at one point I had several thousand koi that were mostly fry, back when I was breeding them. Now it’s less than two dozen, but they’re bigger.

Favorite food:

Southern cooking! I like Mexican, I like Italian, but southern cooking just…Takes me home.

Something most people don’t know about you:

I enjoy working out! (This is so true—Herbie is in the office gym every day for an hour after work!—Ed.).

What is something you don’t want to regret once you’re old and retired?

I always believe in telling people how you feel about them.

Is there any advice you would give to a person who is starting out in a landscaping career?

Be patient, it takes time to learn everything and climb the ladder. You can’t climb the ladder overnight. There’s a lot of information to learn, and it’s one thing to learn it, but you’ve got to be good at it too. A lot of people will try to install a little bit of drainage and plants and call themselves a landscaper, but it’s another thing to do it right. That makes a difference.