Describe your role and responsibilities.
I’m responsible for the Medxcel landscaping team and I try to make quarterly visits to all our customer sites across the country which takes up a significant amount of my time. I generally travel Tuesdays through Thursdays so that I can attend meetings and catch up on other work on Mondays and Fridays. My work each day is largely dictated by what’s going on in our customer markets. There could be a snow emergency, a hurricane or storm, or another situation that requires immediate attention. If any team needs assistance, I may change my plans and travel to help them. I can’t expect my team members to do something if I’m not willing to get out there and get my hands dirty with them. I feel my main responsibility is to remove obstacles and roadblocks for the teams in the field to make their work easier. We’re a more matrixed organization than many landscapers are used to, so I assist my team with processes and hurdles, things like getting invoices paid, setting up vendors, the hiring process, and other things they may not be used to. I’m here to lead the way and help ease their stress.
Talk about your career path and how you arrived in your position at Medxcel.
I was raised as a fifth-generation wholesale nursery manager. My grandfather’s grandfather started a nursery years ago, and from the time I could walk, if I wanted to spend time with my dad I had to go to the nursery. As a result I literally grew up in the fields, learning about plants and everything I could about horticulture. I received a degree in landscape architecture from Purdue and worked in landscaping design at my family’s nursery for the next 12 years. I transitioned to commercial landscaping for five years where I learned more about the turf side of the business. From there I moved to a company where I helped to manage a large corporate property where I oversaw all of their grounds. That job really set the stage for me to join Medxcel because I learned to develop and execute an entire landscaping program and then managed it for a few years. I wasn’t looking for a new role, but I connected with someone at Medxcel who sent me a job description and asked me if I’d be interested in joining the organization. The Medxcel framework was new to me because usually the landscaper is a contractor, and they were establishing an insource model. I liked the idea of a challenge and figured that this opportunity came to me for a reason and was something I should take a chance on. I joined the team and I’ve never regretted it.
What is the best part of your job?
The best part of my job is the people I have the privilege of interacting with on a day-to-day basis. We’ve got great leaders here at Medxcel as well as wonderful associates and technicians, just a great group of people across the board. Getting to know them, being there for each other, and supporting them each day is the best thing about my job.
What types of training and development does Medxcel provide to the landscaping team?
Medxcel offers so many types of training and development, we are dedicated to helping our associates learn and grow and build their career. We belong to organizations that offer a variety of certifications to our associates. We also have a job shadowing program within the facilities management department so if somebody is interested in going inside the facility and learning about HVAC or plumbing, they can take advantage of that opportunity. We offer safety certifications, and all of our teams recently went through CPR and bloodborne pathogen training. Some of our team members have completed OSHA certifications. Several of our associates are currently taking advantage of our tuition reimbursement program to take college courses in pursuit of certifications and degrees. I love that we can provide our associates with these types of opportunities that they might not have at other companies. I think these benefits are huge and they help us attract and retain top talent as we support them in bettering their careers and their lives.
How does the landscaping team help support patient care?
Some people think that since we’re in landscaping we don’t interact with patients but that couldn’t be further from the truth. We interact with patients all of the time and can be a vital part of their care. We recently put all of our landscapers through CPR training because when a patient falls to the ground or has some type of problem outside the facility, we’re usually the first on the scene. We want everyone to have the tools they need to be successful in helping somebody if there is a need. When somebody’s having a problem, you need to be ready to help when you’re called, whether you’re a nurse, a doctor, or a landscaping technician.
Which of Medxcel’s Core Values speak to you the most?
The two values that really speak to me are integrity and creativity. Creativity is critical because Medxcel is still a relatively young organization and so we challenge every associate to come up with ideas on how we can do things better. We never want to keep doing things the same way. When I conduct a site visit and the team has been doing things the same way for a year or two, then I challenge them to mix it up and try something different. If we’re not trying something new, then we’re not going to get any better. When it comes to the importance of trust, integrity is huge for me because we as leaders are not there to look over the shoulders of our associates. We trust our teams to run their sites and do things the right way. I’ve always told my son, “You need to worry about what you’re doing every day and not worry about who’s watching because somebody’s always watching.” I stress creativity and integrity with my teams every day.
Do you have any interesting stories from your time in this role?
The most unusual things we deal with as landscapers are animal extractions, whether it’s removing geese from rooftops or doorways, removing snakes from the property, or relocating other kinds of animals from parking lots. I’ve helped to remove a turtle from a parking lot because the hospital is right along the river. The turtles lay their eggs in our mulch pile and so we’re constantly having to relocate them safely back to the river. Since we’re outside working in nature, wildlife management, relocation and removal sometime becomes part of our job.
Talk about the variety of work within the Medxcel landscaping department and across the country.
People tend to think of landscaping as cutting grass but it’s so much more. We take care of the outdoor grounds of healthcare facilities and that can mean preparing for storms, snow removal, taking care of ice, designing plant and flower beds as well as cutting grass and weeding. Our teams are experts on the plants they tend to and those vary greatly by region across the country. I grew up in the nursery industry in the Midwest, so when I visit our client sites in places like Florida and Alabama, they are dealing with completely different types of plants than what I’m used to in Indiana. When our leader in Alabama comes to Indiana to check on things, he’s not familiar with snow removal so he learns more about that when he’s up north. As we go to different markets, we have to learn the dynamics particular to that part of the country including plant material, weather conditions and more. When Medxcel facilities technicians inside of our hospitals move across the country, they deal with basically the same things inside the hospitals. But in landscaping we see completely different things in different markets, different climate, plants, weather, and soil. I continue to learn more about the business every day.
What advice do you have for someone who is interested in a landscaping career with Medxcel?
Joining the Medxcel landscaping team will provide you with an opportunity to expand your knowledge base and experience a wide range of landscaping climates. If you’re used to working in the Midwest and you’ve never experienced a southern landscape, you don’t know what you’re missing. Working with teams across the country provides us with a wealth of opportunities and experiences, allowing us to learn every day, and to even move to a new part of the country if we desire.
Do you recommend Medxcel as a place for a landscaping career?
Medxcel is a great company. We value individuals and want to see our associates thrive and succeed no matter what their role may be, such as landscaping, safety, and facilities. Every part of the Medxcel organization is focused on the individual and their career growth. We don’t just want to hire entry level employees and see them stay in that role, we offer many paths to career growth and development. If you are looking for not just a job, but a career, consider joining us. If you are looking for an opportunity to enrich your knowledge base, to grow as an individual, and to grow in your chosen field, Medxcel is a place where you can do all of that and be celebrated for it while serving our healthcare clients and our communities.