Describe the path to your current role.
I’ve been in landscaping for four years now. I started out in the department as a Tech I. About a year later I moved up to Tech II, and a year ago I was promoted to the Tech III position. I’ve been with St. John Medical Center since August of 1989 in a variety of positions. For the first three decades of my career here I worked in three different areas, the health club, the pharmacy, and on the receiving dock.
How did you transition into landscaping?
My entire life I’ve enjoyed working outside and doing landscaping chores. I’m a self-described neat freak which means I really take pride in results of my work and I love my outdoor spaces to be meticulous and beautiful. About three years ago the Landscaping Manager at the time told me there was an opening in the department. Working in landscaping is something I’ve wanted to do my entire life, so I jumped at the chance to join the team. I’m now in a position where I help my manager oversee the mowing crew and I love it.
What’s the best part of your job?
Being outside every day is definitely the best part of my job. I love working outdoors. I’ve always been a summer person and even though summers are very hot here I don’t mind it a bit. My birthday is the first day of summer and I’ve always thought that maybe that was the basis for my love of the summer season. I don’t mind the heat. I don’t mind getting dirty, and I think that landscaping is very important. I believe that what my team and I do each and every day positively affects everyone on our medical campus, patients, staff and visitors. There’s a lot more to our job than just mowing grass. Nobody wants to go to a hospital that looks nasty or dirty. The first impression needs to be positive and clean. The entrances need to look the best they can so that those entering feel positive. The areas of our responsibility are the first thing patients and visitors see and it sets that first impression. Everything outside needs to be clean, the grass cut, no weeds, beautiful flower beds, clean and safe entryways and sidewalks. This past winter we had two weeks of brutal weather with ice and snow. We had to put a lot of sand down on the walkways to ensure safety and we worked a lot of long nights, keeping everyone safe. After that it was just as important to quickly remove all of the sand and get the campus back to its beautiful self.
What skills or personality traits help lead to success in landscaping?
I can train people on the detailed aspects of the job, but I know what has helped make me successful and happy in my job. Those things include a love of the outdoors, enjoying all types of weather including extremes, and flexibility. At home I like to keep a very clean house and I’m very organized. I try to bring that part of my personality to work as well. One thing I tell my team when we’re mowing is that we want this campus to look even better than their own yard when we’re done. Our work needs to be the best it can possibly be.
What’s the toughest part of the job for you?
Storms and long nights challenge me. One thing I don’t care for is staying and working overnight but at times it’s an important part of the job. I’m getting older and it’s not as easy as it used to be for me to stay up all night. This past winter we experienced a solid week of ice storms then a week of snow on top of the ice. For those two weeks our landscaping crew worked round the clock to keep our campus as safe as possible for our staff and our patients and their families. It was a rough two weeks, but we always pull together and do what needs to be done.
Which of Medxcel’s Core Values do you feel is most important to you and why?
Dedication is the value that speaks most to me. I’ve been dedicated to this hospital my entire life. My mother worked here as a cardiac nurse, and I grew up at the hospital and attended daycare there. As an adult I came back to this hospital to work. It has always been a major part of my life and I have dedicated my life to it. It’s a great place to work.
Tell us about something you’ve learned that you did not expect.
I’ve learned that this job really entails doing whatever you need to do to help people. Working here has opened my eyes to the importance of hard work and caring for others, not just here but in life in general. I’ve learned that you never know what someone is going through and why a person might be at our hospital. I’ve had people come up to me as I’m working and want to tell me their life story. In those situations they just need someone to talk to. I don’t feel like I can turn around and walk away from that, you never know what someone might be going through and how that conversation might make their day or their life a little better. I take that same philosophy into the world outside of work, it’s made me a softer more caring person.
Why would you recommend Medxcel to others as a place to work?
Medxcel is a great place to work, and the benefits are amazing. I’ve never worked for a company as great as Medxcel. I have never heard an employee say something negative about them, it’s all positive. The way they treat their employees, it makes me want to dedicate my career to them and work hard every day.