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Palm Coast Intern Learns the Value of Standardization

 

The following guest post was written by Ryan, about his internship experience with us this summer.

During my time as a Finance and Business Intelligence Intern at Yellowstone Landscape, I have gained an abundance of knowledge unparalleled by any other 13-week period in my life. Working under the mentorship of Nicole DiRienzo, Rich Weber, and Gabriel Perez has broadened my understanding of finance in the real world as I work towards my MBA in Finance at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University.

There are two main things I would like to discuss in this blog: the impact my “Mentors” have had on me and the importance of standardization in the world of finance. I have learned that working around people who inspire you every day, makes you want to improve. Every time I have an interaction with one of my mentors, I am humbled knowing there is still so much to learn. Most importantly, I am not intimidated! Having mentors who take time to explain everything helps you build a strong foundation of understanding which allows you to improve during the internship. Highly competent individuals also instill a confidence in you to complete the tasks you have been assigned, on time and to a high standard. During my internship at Yellowstone Landscape, those individuals have surrounded me the entire time. This has resulted in an awareness of the challenges while being confident I can find innovative solutions and contribute to the team and company overall.

Efficiency achieved through standardization is key for any company and Yellowstone has made incredible strides forward. I became aware of the importance of standardization from one of the many lessons Nicole taught me. An efficient workplace must have standards through the entire company. Standardization does not just mean the way in which information is submitted, it also includes the way in which the information is collected and assigned. Aspire, an industry specific software program is an example of how Yellowstone Landscape, through standardization, provided a system to encompass the varying systems that the branches use. Aspire has ensured that all branches enter revenues and direct costs in the same way, which makes the entire reporting of company results more accurate and efficient.

Yellowstone Landscape has many competent and talented individuals who move in the same direction using new software and hardware to ensure positive growth. They are an enviable powerhouse in the commercial landscape industry who I would love to work for upon my graduation!

 

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Charleston Intern Finds a Team Family!

The following guest post was written by Mason, about his internship experience with us this summer.

From a young age, I knew that I wanted to be involved in the green industry. After high school, I decided to continue my education at North Carolina State University where I am studying Horticulture Science and Ag Business Management. With horticulture being such a broad field, I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do. Yellowstone Landscape has changed that! After speaking with Intern Recruiter, Lisa Hall, and the Charleston Branch Manager, Remington Phillips, I knew that interning with Yellowstone Landscape would not only be a great learning experience but a family to join. The staff at Yellowstone is remarkable, they welcome you with open arms, answer any questions you have, and work diligently to ensure you have everything you need to be successful.

With previous experience in residential landscape, Yellowstone Landscape has opened my eyes to the commercial side and how it is different. I have experienced every aspect of the company including maintenance, irrigation, construction, and sales. I have seen these aspects from many perspectives, having the opportunity to work with crew members, Superintendents, Account Managers, Project Managers, and Business Development Managers. Each person I have worked with has had a positive impact on my 12 weeks here. The employees are knowledgeable and want to help you grow as a young professional in the industry. I can truly say I have gained a tremendous amount of knowledge about landscaping as a whole.

After rotating through all the departments, I decided to finish out the remainder of my internship working with the landscape construction division. I worked under the supervision of Project Manager Erick Castelo and Landscape Construction Business Development Manager Ashleigh Ewing. They have both been instrumental in my success within the company! For my project, I oversaw a small hardscape job and had the opportunity to run the project every step of the way. I learned about pricing the job, working with vendors on quotes, the review process, and creating a contract to deliver to the General Contractor. After receiving the signed contract, I learned about the installation process. From grading, to forming and pouring concrete, installing a base for pavers, and finally laying the pavers. I took a lot of pride in this project and it looks great!

Working at the Charleston Branch has been a great opportunity, which has allowed me to gain firsthand experience in the commercial landscape field. From running equipment to enhancing my professional skills Yellowstone Landscape has covered it all. The internship program has allowed me to travel to a new place and gain new skills at the same time. I would recommend the Yellowstone Landscape Internship experience to anyone!

 

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Atlanta West Intern Leaves His Mark!

The following guest post was written by Bradley, about his internship experience with us this summer.

I am a Horticulture student at Auburn University. I found this internship program through a recruitment presentation done by Yellowstone Landscape Intern Coordinator, Lisa Hall in one of my classes last fall. It seemed like a perfect opportunity to further my horticulture knowledge by learning through experience in the field. After several interviews I found myself moving to Atlanta for the summer and so far, my internship has been a fantastic experience! There are countless lessons learned working in the field that cannot be taught in school and I feel much more prepared for a career in the industry.

An experience that I will never forget is my intern project. Every intern is required to come up with a project for the summer with their Mentor’s guidance. Mine was to create a small nursery area for the enhancement crew. This included constructing a shaded hoop house for temporary plant storage. This was on the Atlanta West’s wish list for a while, but their team did not have the time to put it together. When my Mentor, Matt, presented the idea to me during my first week, I told him I had the skills to do it! While I was confident I could manage most of the project on my own, there were times when I needed help. For instance, the nursery needed irrigation, but my only experience was a short time this summer working with the irrigation department. Needless to say, I needed guidance when it came to planning and installing the irrigation. Our Irrigation Manager, Tom, was crucial in helping me complete the job successfully as he guided me through the irrigation process. When the project was finished, I was very pleased with the results and happy to make a positive impact and leave my mark.

The great part about Yellowstone Landscape’s internship program is they provide many opportunities for interns to apply what is learned in the classroom to real-world experience. It is also a great way to expand knowledge and gain new skills in ways one might not expect. I highly recommend this internship to any student interested in becoming more prepared to work in the green industry and especially the landscape field!

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South Florida Residence - 2019 Gold Award Winner

This South Florida Residence is our first ever Gold Award winner in the Residential Landscape Management category of our association's Landscape Awards of Excellence.

While most people know Yellowstone as a commercial landscape service company, we do maintain some beautiful estate homes for our clients. This South Florida Residence is a testament to the owner's vision and the hard-working Landscape Professionals from our Port St. Lucie, Florida location.

The homeowner desired a South Florida getaway that featured her love of pastels and pink, mixed with meticulous attention to detail and an affinity for straight lines in the outdoor spaces of the home.

The biggest challenge facing the home when we began managing the landscape was a fungus that was hindering the health and beauty of the Paspalum turf in the front of the home. The owner had also been frustrated that her previous contractor could not offer her suggestions to enhance the exterior of the home since she had purchased it two years prior.

The turf health was quickly addressed with aerification treatment and a turf health and pest prevention spray application program. A landscape designer was brought in to listen to the owner's wishes and several iterations of landscape design enhancement renderings were done to help the owner find her ideal landscape.

Once installed, the new landscape features and expanded annual flower beds required additional resources and time spent maintaining the property with each visit. Also, many of the plants require non-mechanical pruning, so power equipment was replaced with hand pruners for much of the space.

The result is a Gold Award-winning landscape that finally feels like the South Florida escape the owner had always imagined.

Kudos and congratulations to our Port St. Lucie, Florida commercial landscape maintenance team for their work on this Gold Award-winning project!

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Villa Rosa - 2019 Silver Award Winner

Our first Silver Award winner from the 2019 Landscape Awards of Excellence is Villa Rosa.

We've provided comprehensive landscape management services to this thriving homeowner association for nearly a decade, and it is an honor for us to continue our service partnership into a new decade by bringing national recognition to the community.

Below is the award entry narrative summary and photos that were submitted of the project:

Villa Rosa is an established planned community development, approximately a half-hour north of Tampa, Florida. The Villa Rosa Homeowners Association's goal is to maintain a beautiful and well-kept landscape for its residents. Despite newer communities being developed in the area, residents appreciate that the association's efforts to maintain the community's common areas at a high standard have kept home resale values high for the past decade.

As with all large scale communities in the area, Villa Rosa's HOA is challenged to manage its water use responsibly. The original developer installed system includes more than 100 zones, connected to the area's municipal reclaimed water source. As the community has aged, the system has begun showing wear. Additionally, the aesthetic tastes of the community's common areas have changed over the years. Originally, the landscape plan was intentionally minimal and natural. But as newer developments sprang up around Villa Rosa, the community has added landscape features like seasonal color beds and additional ornamental palms to the landscape. This includes a recent renovation of the community's main entrance, which now features colorful annual displays around monument signage, palms, and new water features.

Kudos and congratulations to our Tampa commercial landscape maintenance team for their work on this Silver award-winning project!

 

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The Peninsula - 2019 Gold Award Winner

The first of our Gold Award winners from the 2019 Landscape Awards of Excellence is The Peninsula.

It is a privilege for us to be a partner to this beautiful lakefront community and we're pleased to bring national recognition to the tireless work of the Yellowstone Landscape Professionals who help make this such a special place for residents to call home.

Below is the award entry narrative summary and photos that were submitted of the project:

The Peninsula is a lakefront community located in Cornelius, North Carolina, about a half-hour north of Charlotte. The owners association's goal is to create a beautiful community that compliments the lakeside views and
community golf course.

The turf care and flower maintenance are the biggest challenges faced at The Peninsula. The large area, mature trees, and hillsides create many different microclimates within the community's common areas. This means that broad-based, community-wide floral designs and turf care programs aren't possible. In favor of a uniform program, each area is treated uniquely and addressed according to sunlight and water requirements. The Peninsula has a quarterly annual flower program and the bermudagrass is carefully monitored, fertilized and overseeded to maintain its bright green appearance in the season.

  Kudos and congratulations to our Charlotte commercial landscape maintenance team for their work on this Gold award-winning project!

 

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2019 Landscape Award Winners

Fall is a great time of year for the landscape industry.

Cooler temperatures are a welcome relief to the long, hot summer. Activities shift from weekly mowing and detailing to leaf cleanup and preparing for winter. We plan lunches and prize giveaways to thank our full time and seasonal workforce for getting us through another year.

It’s also award season. A time for us to bring well-deserved recognition to some of the beautiful properties that we create and maintain for our clients.

Each year, Yellowstone Landscape participates in the National Association of Landscape Professionals’ Awards of Excellence program. Entries are due in early August, but in late September we find out what the judges thought of our work. And, if we’re fortunate, we get the opportunity to accept our awards during a special ceremony at LANDSCAPES, our industry’s annual conference and trade show.

This year was the 50th anniversary of the Awards of Excellence program, and we submitted 5 projects for consideration.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing the stories and photos of our 5 award-winning projects from this year:

Our 2 Silver Award winners from the Commercial Landscape Management Category:

  • Emory Johns Creek Hospital; Atlanta, GA
  • Villa Rosa Homeowners Association; Tampa, FL

Our Gold Award winner from the Residential Landscape Management Category:

  • Gilbert Residence; Palm Beach Gardens, FL

Our 2 Gold Award winners from the Commercial Landscape Management Category:

  • The Peninsula; Charlotte, NC
  • Old Palm Homeowners Association; Palm Beach Gardens, FL

Stay tuned for more details on each, as we share the stories from each of these beautiful projects.

 

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Marketing Intern Leaves Her Mark!

I am a Food and Resource Economics in Marketing and Management major at the University of Florida. I learned about this internship during the UF CALS Career Fair where I met their recruiter, Lisa Hall and during the interview process I was able to communicate with my soon to be Mentor, Marketing Director, Joseph Barnes.  Both Lisa and Joseph were very personable and excited to have me on board, and this is one, of the many reasons I decided to accept this internship.

At first, I was nervous because I had never worked at a company where English was the primary language spoken.  During my previous internships in Nicaragua, Spanish is the native language.  Coming to Yellowstone Landscape, was a totally different experience from the different business culture and language to seeing my work valued and used.  From the start everyone was so friendly and immediately made me feel welcome and at home!  Of course, I had to adjust, but it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it was going to be. This company is really good at making every employee feel comfortable in their work space and I appreciate that.

At the start of this program there were goals set and a project to develop and present. My project was to redesign the Intern Webpage and create a recruiting video. I had a lot of fun working on this project and was able to utilize my creativity to develop a fresh updated webpage and a really cool video!

This internship has exceeded my expectations. I had the opportunity to work with various components of this outstanding landscape company and the experts in their field including; the sales team, Senior Account Manager Scott Barnes, Designer Helena Obrist and Vice President of Business Development Jim Herth. Working closely with each of them helped me discover the essence of what Yellowstone Landscape is all about.

I have learned so much over these past 12 weeks and I’m excited to utilize these skills in my next career opportunity. I am very grateful for this experience and I know that everything I learned from working at Yellowstone Landscape has helped me further develop my professional skill set.  

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Shadowing a Landscape Designer!

I recently had the opportunity to shadow one of our landscape designers, Helena Obrist.

Helena is a mother of two who started working for Yellowstone as an account manager in 2012. Later in 2018, she moved to a position in landscape design, which is originally what she went to school for. Her work requires her to meet with account managers to discuss potential landscape improvement projects that she could work on with them.

The account managers provide her with details about the property so that she can choose the best landscape improvement in that specific location. She designs feature areas for many of the landscapes that we work on, and she also gets involved with operations, creating maps that show where our crews must mow every week and when. This gives the workers direction and a time frame, and it also gives the client a schedule of when the we will be doing what.

Landscaper designers must be very careful with measurements of certain parts of the property in order for the design to be proportionate. Therefore, it is important to ask for them before the design is started. 

Once she is ready to start a design, a lot of Photoshop renderings are used to help the client see her vision, and then help our crews to create it. I thought it would be okay to only take pictures of the place and that’s it. But I found out, it is not what it seems like. When doing these types of designs, Helena must be very careful to make everything perfect, EVEN THE BACKGROUND. I saw Helena today taking pictures of the back of the property that we were working on. At first, I thought to myself, “Oh, maybe she just likes the view”. We were on a beach property anyway, but then I asked her why she was photographing behind the property. She then explained that when editing these kinds of designs, you really have to look on what’s on the back. If you want to take something out, you can’t just leave a hole in the picture, right?

I learned a lot shadowing Helena. She gave me valuable insight of what it is to be a Landscape designer and all the steps that lead into being one. Since I did not study Landscape Design, there was so much I didn’t know about this topic. It was very interesting having the opportunity to see it on a first-hand basis.

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Austin Intern Enhances Her Problem-Solving Skills!

This guest post was written by Brynn, about her intern experience with us this summer. 

This fall, I will be a senior at Kansas State University where I am studying Landscape Horticulture and minoring in Business. I did my internship at the Austin Branch where I have been creating designs and learning about our industry with the help of my coworkers and Mentors, Matt and Robbie. I have met so many wonderful people during my time here and have had an amazing time in Austin. A few of my favorite experiences include; learning about plants native to central Texas, smart plant selection and problem solving.

Even though there are strict water regulations and additional restrictions from the climate and soil conditions, there is still so much room for creativity when it comes to choosing plants and problem solving. Coming from a state with a very different climate, I was nervous about what type of plant materials I would need to know. But that didn’t last long as I was shown many resources for looking up native and drought tolerant plants.  On my first day, Matt showed me a book called, Native and Adapted Landscape Plants: An Earthwise Guide for Central Texas. This book has been a helpful resource for learning more about the plants here, which allowed me to focus on the design aspect of my internship. Another great resource he showed me (that everyone can use) is https://www.wildflower.org/collections/; it is mostly focused on native plants for Texas, but has a lot of great information for native plants in other states as well.

This summer has brought a lot of sporadic heavy rains that have affected the plant life and brought some drainage issues to light. It has been interesting to learn different ways of solving these problems in real situations. Working with people I enjoy, makes problem-solving even easier when we can discuss ideas and come up with a solution together!

Texas has a strong appreciation for their native plants that I have enjoyed experiencing and hope to take that appreciation back to Kansas with me. Although I have enjoyed using and learning more about the Adobe programs, learning about the plants in this region and the design process has been both impactful and inspiring. This internship has been an amazing experience and I have many valuable new skills to take home with me!

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