Faces of the Industry: Olivia Espinoza - The Edge from the National Association of Landscape Professionals

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Faces of the Industry: Olivia Espinoza

Olivia Espinoza got into the landscape industry as a groundskeeper for an apartment complex, taking care of flower containers and beds.

“I enjoyed it so much I decided to take horticulture classes to learn more about plants,” she says.

She spent two seasons working as a groundskeeper and now works for Kujawa Enterprises, Inc., based in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, for a little over a year. KEI is a full-service, four-season landscape management contractor providing a wide range of services throughout Southeastern, Northeastern and South Central Wisconsin, including snow and ice management, interior plantscaping and holiday/seasonal décor.

“I was amazed to learn that the landscaping industry is a multi-billion-dollar industry,” Espinoza says. “There’s plenty of growth for people who want to start their own business.”

Espinoza says her favorite aspects of working in the industry include working outside, finding all kinds of creatures and admiring how plants can turn a yard into a masterpiece.

“Nature is awesome and peaceful and the work is so rewarding,” Espinoza says.

 Her biggest challenge has been adjusting to the late-night hours during snowstorms. Despite the hours, Espinoza still says she loves the snow removal work.

“This job is a very physically demanding job, but completely worth it once you see the final design,” Espinoza says.

Espinoza currently studies at Gateway Technical College in Racine, Wisconsin. She says her instructor, Courtney Greve, has been valuable to her learning experience and has been a mentor for her. She also asks lots of questions whenever she works with someone who has been in the field for a long time.  

In five years, she says she sees herself running her own business.

“I’d like to stick with residential properties doing lawn and garden services, and in the winter doing snow removal,” Espinoza says.

She says she’d like to see more women and more minority business owners in this industry. Espinoza is a member of the NALP Women in Landscape Network Facebook Group. Powered by Bayer, the Women in Landscape Network (WILN) is led by a group of over 20 landscape professionals, women and men, who are passionate about female representation.

The WILN hosts Virtual Networking Sessions where participants can listen and share about relevant topics such as balancing femininity and strength. Members celebrate big and little wins and turn to each other for advice and tips when dealing with challenging situations.

Jill Odom

Jill Odom is the content manager for NALP.