Mark Hopkins, regional vice president of LandCare, says the landscape industry is all he’s ever known—and he wouldn’t change that for a second. During his time with The Brickman Group, he credits Scott and Dick Brickman as being big influences in his life. And, today, with LandCare, Hopkins says he’s inspired every day by the idea that he can help grow the industry that he loves so much by inspiring others to consider it as a career choice.
What is your proudest moment in business?
It would be too hard to choose a singular moment. But ,just in general, it’s been when I’ve been able to see a team member brought into the business and grow. Being able to help coach and develop and grow that person and watch them attain success and advance within their career is really rewarding.
What is your biggest business challenge?
The field labor market is a challenge, which is the byproduct of a healthy economy. Finding, attracting, retaining, and growing field level people is not easy to do. But there are a lot of things we’re trying. We’re recruiting at the high school level. We’re recruiting at the college level. We have a pretty comprehensive employee referral program that rewards existing team members for bringing in friends and family. LandCare focuses heavily on helping to develop and grow and treat our team members like family to reduce turnover. We also do things in our business to help reduce our reliance on labor like utilizing new growth regulators and different types of machinery.
What motivates you on a Monday morning?
I stay motivated no matter what the day, honestly. Just in general, I love what I do. It’s a career by choice and if you do what you love, you don’t work a day in your life.
Who is your business mentor or idol?
There have been various people throughout my career who have been great mentors. One that obviously comes to mind is Mike Bogan, CEO of LandCare, as well as my direct boss, Neil Carter. I’ve worked with these guys for decades and known them forever—and they continue to be great mentors.
What is your favorite business book?
I read three or four books a month so that’s a hard choice. For customer service, I really love People Love You by Jeb Blount. We’ve incorporated those ideas into our business. Another one we’ve incorporated into business is The Four Disciplines of Execution by Chris McChesney, Sean Covey, and Jim Huling. I really enjoy reading and just this week I finished What You Do is Who You Are by Ben Horowitz, which I’d also recommend. We really encourage book clubs within the branches that I lead. They’ll choose a book and read it as a team every week and then have their operations meetings and talk about what they’ve read.
What does it mean to you to be an NALP member?
Folks who are members agree to hold themselves and their companies to a higher standard and I think that’s really important. I think we have the responsibility to share with each other—to help one another—even though we’re competitors. When you help the industry as a whole, it helps us all.
What does it mean to you to be a landscape professional?
It’s an industry that has always been good to me. To me you get the best of all the worlds—in the office some days and in the field some days. It’s never boring, that’s for sure.
In five years, where do you see the business—and yourself?
We had a really big event in 2019: LandCare being sold to its management team and a small group of investors. We just look to continue to grow and develop the business going forward. I think the core business, regardless of the economy, has withstood the ups and downs. So we are inspired by that and look forward to long and sustained growth.
For me, bringing folks to the industry who might not have thought about this as a career is something that I really look forward to continuing to be a part of doing.