Why Wouldn't You Want a Mentor? - The Edge from the National Association of Landscape Professionals

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Why Wouldn't You Want a Mentor?


Author Rod Dickens talked with Michael Becker an NALP Trailblazer Peer Mentor, and his mentee Casey Hurd about their mentoring experience. Now is the time to sign up for a mentor in 2017. 

Trailblazer Michael Becker, Landscape Industry Certified, is offering something special for his new mentee, Casey Hurd, Greenscapes Land Care in Still Pond, Maryland. The owner of Estate Gardeners in Elkhorn, Nebraska, is sharing more than 30 years of industry experience.

“After being in business 23 years and in the industry more than 30 years I can appreciate the need for another perspective,” said Becker, whose favorite question to ask mentees is “what keeps you awake at night?”

Casey’s answer is one that is universal throughout the industry, added Becker, how to find people to grow your business.

“He’s only been in business six years but already is on the fast track to grow aggressively, something he cannot do without the right people in place. I suggested that he consider getting an HR person to help with recruiting and come up with a program to help retain and motivate employees.”

Hurd, a member of NALP for two years, appreciated Becker’s advice. “Yes, we’re growing rapidly and look to expand our involvement especially in the commercial landscape management market next year,” he explained. “Here, on the eastern shore of Maryland, finding general labor is less of a challenge than finding foremen and other supervisory-types. Michael also suggested we look outside our geographic area to find employees. As he put it, many young graduates would likely find it inviting to live and work on the eastern shore.”

He continued, “We’re also starting to partner and recruit more with area tech schools and universities.”

Dinner hour

Mentor and mentee met for the first time at LANDSCAPES this fall. They had dinner together and continued their discussion afterwards. “It was great to talk with someone with so much industry experience and who has faced similar problems,” Hurd emphasized. “Michael also shared his selling process with me as well as some advice about growing commercial landscape management.

“Even though his business targets high end residential accounts, he’s been involved in the industry and NALP for so long that he not only understands some of the challenges in the commercial market, but was able to connect me with landscape professionals who focus on these services.”

“That’s one of the best things about being a Trailblazer and a mentee,” said Becker. “It’s called networking and making connections. “Trailblazers naturally become more involved with their association, putting them in touch with other landscape professionals. Similarly, Trailblazers can expand their mentees’ networks that create learning opportunities so critical for successful growth.”