“Pushing snow is not everyone’s favorite thing, or sweating when it’s 110 degrees, but if you just stick it out, you can make a great career out of [landscaping]. You can work 8 months out of the year in beautiful weather, and be outside making a difference and beautifying the earth.”
How did you start working for Myatt Landscaping, and what your first position?
My very first position was Foreman, and it was on our second maintenance crew. I was working for a local fertilizer company [at the time], and me and Ryan were friends and he needed another foreman to grow. Ryan told me to come over and apply. We’ve done a ton of growth in 20 years, that’s for sure!
What was your progression through the company?
I was a Foreman and Spray Technician for a while—we handled all our own spraying before we had a [dedicated] Spray Tech. There was no [account] manager, so we dealt with the clients, and then I became manager once we needed to start growing, about 8-10 years ago. I remember when we first started, we were working sometimes 70-75 hours a week. Some of these guys, I think, have it pretty easy now! For instance one neighborhood where we were growing, I was doing 7 houses a day. Now we have it split because we have so many houses in this neighborhood—the guys do about 5 a day. We started out with one house in the neighborhood, and then we just started picking up the neighbors. I probably have four of those still, which we’ve had since day one when I started.
What made you stay at Myatt for 20 years?
I just enjoy working around Scott, Todd, and Ryan. We’re really good friends and also coworkers—they feel like your family.
As you look back on your career what was the most painful lesson you have learned?
I cut down a live tree! The first month I worked here, I was on a huge project over at Rex Hospital, and back then we didn’t have much delivered, we would have to go pick up our own plants. The foreman of the job had to leave and drive all the way to the other side of Virginia to get that tree that I cut down by mistake. There was one that was dead right beside it, and I was just in a hurry, and of course it was in the winter time. And it was the wrong one. It was a huge pistache tree. I never lived that down around here! People always ask me, “You sure you cut down the right tree?” After that, I always double-checked everything I did. Instead of asking one person, I’d ask two. I remember Scott calling me, and he was not happy with me. I thought I was going to get fired. He even called Ryan and said “I don’t know if he’s going to make it.” It’s funny looking back on it now!
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Working outside. You’re not locked up in a warehouse somewhere, and you have your freedom. Winter is tough, and June, July, and August are tough, but you’re still beautifying the environment and at the end of the day you create something that looks better than before you started.
As a company, we place a big emphasis on growing and learning.
Is there any one thing you would like to take the time to learn more about? I feel like I know my trees and turfgrasses, but I don’t know some of the scientific and common names of flowers. I’d like to learn more perennials, there’s just so many and that’s where I’m really lacking. I know the basic ones, probably 30 or 40 of them, but there’s hundreds and hundreds of them that you could choose from and learn.
What do you feel you have bragging rights to?
I can still prune just as good as [our crews] can at any given time. You know, they do it on a daily basis, but I can still prune and do it just as well, even after not doing it for a long time!
Looking at all the people in history, what person would you say you respect the most and why?
Scott, just for giving me a chance to work here. I’ve learned so much from him, not just maintenance but also the install side. Working back years and years ago we would help install if they needed it. I remember we would finish maintenance around 3:00 in the afternoon and then go help the install crew. We would learn both aspects of how to be an all-around good landscaper.
What is your favorite plant?
Favorite plant would probably be an Osmanthus, just because it blooms twice a year and you get the fragrance. Favorite tree would be a redbud, even though they can be hard to grow sometimes. I think a lot of times [people] just put too much irrigation on them! But if you can get a redbud established, it’s a beautiful tree in the springtime.
What are your hobbies outside of work?
I love watching basketball and football. Love watching sports. I spend a lot of time taking my son to practices, and he plays football, basketball, and lacrosse. So, we’re busy on the weekends! He’s 13, about to start high school this year.
Do you have a favorite food?
I do, steak! You can make it so many different ways—tacos, regular steak, just so many things you do with it if you choose to.
Is there anything you don’t want to regret when you look back on your life?
Maybe just live more, take more vacations. You can work yourself to death at times, so maybe as you get a little older just spend more time with family.
Is there any advice you would give to a person who is starting out in your chosen career?
Stick with it! It can get very tough. [Of the] four seasons, two of them are beautiful, and two of them are pretty hard. Pushing snow is not everyone’s favorite thing, or sweating when it’s 110 degrees, but if you just stick it out, you can make a great career out of it. You can work 8 months out of the year in beautiful weather, and be outside making a difference and beautifying the earth.