For Nina Williams, getting into the landscape industry was by chance. Her previous jobs in the medical field required her to travel a lot and work long hours.
“I had been working in the medical field for a long time, and I was just wanting a change and so I was out looking for jobs and I came across the LOVING Companies,” Williams says. “It just looked like it was a really good place to work.”
She says LOVING had a family feel to it and she felt like it was a place for her. LOVING, based in Gastonia, North Carolina, was a smaller company at the time when she joined, but even as it’s grown Williams says the company has retained that family feeling, especially since she’s returned from maternity leave.
“Having an infant and still being able to work the way that I do and to have a company that understands being a new mom and the changes I’ve been having as a mom,” Williams says. “I appreciate everything about how they’ve been in regard to me and my family.”
Williams has been working in the industry for five years now and she says she’s learned so much about sod, plants and more. She says her favorite thing about working in the industry is learning more about landscaping and watching things grow, move and change.
When she joined LOVING she started out in builder services, working with the construction managers of the different homebuilders. She’s been on the scheduling team and is now involved in logistics handling order fulfilment. In order fulfillment, she works with the customers who request sod to be delivered. They contact her department, then she inputs it in the system and that goes over to their expeditor.
Williams was happy when she realized could make a career out of working in the landscape industry.
“If you’re somebody that’s on the outside and you’re just driving around in your neighborhood, you see nothing but men,” Williams says. “You don’t see women. In the time that I’ve been here, I’ve been able to see so many different things. I’ve seen women come in and actually go out and do the field work that you would normally see a man out there doing. So for me, it’s been a good experience because it shows that we can do whatever we want to do, as long as the opportunity is there.”
Williams says when she started it was just her and a few other women at the company. Now there are women all over the place at LOVING taking on so many different tasks. She encourages other women to go for it.
“Don’t be afraid to just say, ‘You know what, let me go ahead and try this out and let me see,’” Williams says. “You may get in it and you may love it. So don’t be afraid of it. Don’t be like, ‘Oh my God. I see all these men and this is what men do.’ No, honey we can do whatever.”
One thing she’d like to see change in the industry is for more women to own landscaping companies.
“I’d like to see more women in positions where they’re just taking it on and taking it over and not feeling like ‘I just got to be behind the scenes,’” Williams says.
While Williams says company owner Mike Haynes hasn’t been a direct mentor, she does say the way he lives his life and achieves his goals has been inspiring to her.
“Mike has really inspired me a lot to see how he built this business, to see how he was able to start it from the ground up as a young guy,” Williams says.
As for where she’d like to be in five years, Williams hopes to still be thriving with the LOVING team.
“For the way this company is growing, I hope to see myself still here and still growing with it,” Williams says. “Being able to move into higher levels, being able to hopefully take on some of the different tasks and different things that will be coming down the pipeline within the organization.”