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Sarasota Intern Understands the Value of Field Experience

This is a guest post, written by Shelby, about her intern experience with us this summer.

 

My internship with Yellowstone Landscape is my very first, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way! I knew after graduation from Southern Illinois University, I wanted to do an internship with a landscape company and gain hands on experience as opposed to only classroom work. I wanted to work in the field and experience all aspects of landscaping.

As an intern I am able to work with the Account Managers, mow and trim crews, irrigation and fert-pest departments, and even the mechanic! I have really enjoyed this rotational internship as it very important for me to learn about each aspect of the company.

It’s awesome that each intern has a project and I was able to do what I enjoy the most, design! I plan to go into design in the future and I have thoroughly reveled in my project. Another favorite part of my internship is working with the irrigation department. Before coming to Yellowstone Landscape I knew nothing about irrigation and after a week with the irrigation crew I gained a new skillset. Irrigation is a must to keep the most pleasing landscape attractive after it’s installed.

The greatest lesson I have learned is every aspect of the company is important and must work together as a team, like a well-oiled machine. Without the mow and trim crews the landscape would become over grown. The irrigation crews keep the lawns and shrubs properly watered when there are broken spray heads and rotors. Account Managers keep the lines of communication open between clients and crews. The fert-pest crew keep lawns and plant materials green, healthy and free of insects and disease. Every part of this company is crucial to its success and no job or position is of greater or lesser importance.

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Tampa Intern Is Grateful for the Lessons Learned

This is a guest post, written by Kennon, about his intern experience with us this summer.

My experience with Yellowstone Landscape in Tampa, Florida is one I will always remember. My previous experience is with residential landscapes, and to come to a company with an outstanding reputation that works on high-end communities has been a real blessing. I have learned more these past few months than from any other experiences in the field.

To make a property look its absolute best you must manage all aspects of the landscape. The mow crews have a huge responsibility to make sure the property is free from weeds and trimmed perfectly. I have the utmost respect for every crew member as they work very hard and do an outstanding job.

Irrigation is the area I have learned the most from and working with the irrigation team has been a rewarding and educational experience. I had very little experience prior to coming to Yellowstone Landscape and have never worked with drip line irrigation. While working on my internship project I had to come up with a way to bring irrigation to four planters under a trellis/arbor, with cemented pavers that could not be removed. I was able to work with an irrigation tech to come up with the best solution. Also, during the installation of my project I lead the crews and irrigation team on where to install the plants and needed drip irrigation. My project was very rewarding and hit all the areas I have been working with.

I have learned skills that are not taught in college; respecting your crews and how to communicate professionally with Property Managers. Great communication skills are essential in this industry. I have learned new ways to keep track of what is going on during the day by placing notes in my phone under the “Notes” app. Managing multiple crews and properties and keeping under the budgeted labor hours is extremely challenging and requires great management skills.

Overall, I have had a wonderful experience that very few interns experience with other companies. I highly recommend Yellowstone Landscape and I am grateful to Yellowstone for this once in a lifetime opportunity.

 

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2016 Summer Interns Gallery

It was so great to have all our 2016 Interns at our Palm Coast headquarters.  This great group of interns enjoyed dinner on the beach, lots of team building activities, and got to hear firsthand from our leadership team what it takes to run one of the leading commercial landscaping companies in the country.

Great job this summer and best of luck to you all!

 

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Jacksonville Intern Learns Valuable Lessons Outside the Classroom!

This is a guest post, written by Matt, about his intern experience with us this summer.

Being chosen to participate in an internship at Yellowstone Landscape has taught me many lessons in the field of landscape management as well as provided me with skills that I will carry throughout of my lifetime. As an intern, I experienced every aspect of the company, from the Account Manager to the maintenance crew.

In the beginning, I worked with the irrigation technicians, learning how to change PGA and PEB valves on sprinkler heads as well as laying pipe for brand new irrigation lines. I then moved into the chemical and fertilization department, learning what chemicals to use on specific turf as well as plants. I collected and examined caterpillars that were infesting a group of Oak trees on a property which led us to treat with a chemical in order to eliminate the infestation. I also learned how to Arbor Jet trees and shoot chemicals directly into the vascular system of an Italian Cypress, something I never knew was possible.

The remainder of my time as been spent with the maintenance crew. Experiencing this aspect of landscape maintenance has been an essential part of the internship. I have learned how to use a 60 inch zero turn mower and was given the opportunity to mow multiple areas and fully understand how to operate it. I have also gained experience using an edger, blower and weed eater. These tools are the backbone in the lawn care industry and gaining experience with them is priceless. Being in the field tested many of my skills. I learned to prepare for the heat, work safely and work hard all which are important for anyone considering this industry to understand.

While observing my Mentor working with customers one on one, I learned the importance of communicating with a customer, understanding what they want, and turning it into actual work in the field. It showed me how hard work pays off! I would say this is the most valuable thing I have learned during my Internship. I recommend anyone considering an internship in this industry should experience as much as possible in order to gain fully what this industry has to offer.

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Daytona Intern Gains New Perspective On The Landscape Industry!

This is a guest post, written by Anthony, about his intern experience with us this summer.

Working at the Daytona Beach Branch for the past eight weeks has been exciting. I’ve seen and experienced nearly every aspect of the landscape business, from meeting clients to working out in the field with mow crews. At the University of Florida I studied crop production, so landscapes and ornamental plants are new to me.

I’ve learned so much it’s hard to recount. I came in not knowing how to operate a lot of the equipment used for landscape management. I can now effectively use an edger, zero-turn and walk-behind mowers with sulkies and a tractor. I’ve been able to interact and learn from my mentor as well as nearly every member of the Daytona team. Sometimes, it can be a little awkward as the intern, but being at this branch and in this environment has taught me how to work with a wide range of people.

I didn’t notice landscapes much before this internship, but now I notice well managed landscapes and those that need an expert’s help all of the time. I can now assess when something’s been done well, or not. I’ve gained a better perspective of the everyday needs of a landscape that I don’t believe can be gained in a classroom. There’s a distinct difference when you learn how to spray plant protection products in theory, and when you carry 40 pounds of liquid solution on your back in the middle of a highway median. I have spent the last few years doing the former, so to have the opportunity to do the latter is more valuable than words can describe.

Interning with Yellowstone is challenging, there is a lot of work required to be done, but it is also one of the most valuable learning experiences in my career so far. I’ve learned so much about an area of agriculture that I wasn’t familiar with. It’s an experience I highly recommend.

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Atlanta West Intern Sharpens His Management Skills

This is a guest post, written by Mark, about his intern experience with us this summer.

 

As a 2016 summer Intern with Yellowstone Landscape, there are a number of experiences that have influenced me in a positive way, but one in particular has really stood out.

Learning how to operate a zero-turn mower could be compared to pursuing an internship. It is an intimidating task that holds a lot of uncertainty if you have never operated one before. The zero-turn mower is much larger and faster than any landscape equipment that I have used in the past. Likewise, this is the first internship I have done, and Yellowstone is a large, fast-paced company. Both tasks seemed daunting at first, but the more you get the hang of the controls, or familiarize yourself with the people at your branch, everything runs smoothly, like a well-oiled machine.

Learning to maneuver a mower over a curb or rough terrain is comparable to the unexpected challenges that the managers encounter each day in the many facets of the business. For example, one day a crew truck was experiencing issues and required maintenance right away. The manager had to get the truck repaired and then figure out the best way to allocate the crew’s time spent at each property that day.

As a management major, it is important for me to observe and learn from my Mentor when situations like this occur. Figuring out the best solution for an unforeseen mishap is a hands on process that you cannot learn in a classroom. I realize that the company must take many factors into account when making decisions that affect the budget, labor hours and safety. Ultimately, with time and experience, you will become proficient in not only running landscape equipment, but also running the many facets of a landscape management business.

 

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Mississippi State University Intern Builds Her Skillset!

This is a guest post, written by Krystin, about her intern experience with us this summer.

 

This internship has been one for the books! I have had two mentors, which is definitely something to remember, both having helpful tips along the way. I’ve learned that respect between managers and the workers goes a long way. Without that respect, there is a void in communication, and nothing gets accomplished within the time frame that is needed. In order to gain this type of respect, you have to go out and work with the crews, show them that you understand what they are out there doing day to day in the heat. Having the opportunity to be on both sides definitely shows me the managers, or any person higher up than a crew member, truly cares about how everyone is doing. For me, that really means something. It means a lot to me when I’m out working with the service workers, and see my Mentor, or other Account Managers out there breaking a sweat and getting dirty with the crews to help get the work done.

Many of the Crew Leaders, Irrigation Techs, and my Mentors have taught me multiple new skills. I have used plenty of new tools and felt very accomplished when I’ve figured out the technique because I know now I have the skills to do any job. I am capable of trimming trees or finding irrigation breaks or clogs so much easier than I had before. Knowing that there is a specific technique to most everything that is done when taking care of a neighborhood or resort landscape opened my eyes in a whole new way. Being able to spot fungus and identify worms, chinch bugs, or other types of pests on turf or plants, is something I have come to find valuable. I know I can call the fert-chem crew or manager if I spot any type of problem while out in the field, and know that they’ll be there that day to fix the problem. This keeps the client or Property Manager pleased with the way the property looks.

Everything I have learned this summer has helped me so much and I hope with the time I have left in this awesome city of Orlando, that I will continue to learn and make more memories to look back on in the future. I came into this internship thinking I knew so much, only to realize that I had in fact only touched the surface with my previous internship. This being said, I am very pleased that I made the choice to come all the way to Florida, and expereince this hands on opportunity.

 

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Southwest Houston Intern Learns From Unique Experiences!

Accepting an internship with BIO Landscape has definitely been an outstanding decision on my part. I am currently working at the Southwest Houston Branch with some of Yellowstone’s most top notch employees. So far my experience has been one for the books. Once I was acquainted with the team I felt right at home in an enthusiastic and hard-working atmosphere.

I have spent an ample amount of time in the field, whether it is with Account Managers, Business Developers, or Labor Crews.  I started out shadowing my Mentor and the other Account Managers. They showed me their various properties and what is expected of the crews on a routine maintenance visit, what to look for when arriving, and opportunities that could enhance the properties and increase revenue.  While shadowing, I was able to interact with clients and learned how to make wise managerial decisions.

A few times that I worked with the Irrigation/Enhancement Account Manager; we drove to several properties checking irrigation issues.  With a background in irrigation I enjoyed working with him and learning what he had to offer.  One job at the Port of Houston I found very interesting.  It started out as a normal enhancement project, adding a zone to some pre-existing irrigation, followed by creating a bed and adding flowers.  It seemed simple until a sub-contractor had to come out and bore through 6-8 feet of concrete.  The job required us to bore underneath the concrete in order to get irrigation to the bed that had been created and once complete everything would go as planned. Of course the best laid plans never happen.  The bore ended up getting stuck 3-4 feet under the cement where the road bed and cement came together. We tried everything from twisting and pulling the hydraulic hose to get it out but couldn’t make any headway.  We ended up losing the bore and had to make a new one which then worked as planned.  This experience showed me exactly how fast a project, proposed to be done in one day, can turn into a three day job in a matter of minutes.

Most recently I went out with a crew to inspect islands in Galveston Bay.  We reported to the marina at 6:00 AM to meet our ride for the day.  While inspecting these islands we looked for signs of erosion or anything out of the ordinary such as a lot trash or poaching.  The islands are created to store mud that is dredged from the bottom of the shipping channel.  Once dredged, it is pumped into the island (retention pond for mud).  We also pulled drains boards to let any remaining water flow out.  I had never heard of inspecting islands until now, I found the process very interesting.  Once we finished with the inspections the guide took us fishing.  It was the middle of the afternoon and the fish weren’t biting but I did learn something new.  These past few months have been a continuous learning experience.

All in all I have had an outstanding time working out of the Southwest office where I learn something new every day.  I plan to stay in this industry and these experiences will enhance my future career.  I am very appreciative of this opportunity and excited it has been a successful learning experience.

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North Branch Intern Enjoys Her Time in the Field!

When I first met the BIO Landscape Recruiters at the Sam Houston State University Ag Career Fair I knew at once that if I was offered an internship this would be the one I take.  I was nervous at the prospect of taking an internship in general and I have not regretted my decision to accept this opportunity with BIO Landscape in any way.  I am now ten weeks in and I am quite sad that this internship is coming to an end. 

Throughout my college career I have taken classes that pertain to the landscape industry and although I have gained a great deal of experience through school, it pales in comparison to what I have learned while here at the North Houston Branch of BIO.  Every day is different but I have spent a great deal of time working with my mentor on one contract in particular that maintains over 120 parks in The Woodlands area. 

Most days are spent visiting parks and communicating face to face with the customer but my favorite days are those that I get to spend in the field.  The days that I spend applying my studies to real world experiences are those that excite me most, including those that I don’t have much knowledge on.  If the tractor is available once the crews have left the yard in the morning I will sometimes attempt my hand at cleaning up the brush pile in the yard.  I am not the greatest at consolidating the brush pile but I do greatly appreciate the opportunity to gain some experience. 

On a weekly basis I ride with different Account Managers learning from each of them and their perspective.  This past week I spent a great deal of time with the Irrigation Specialist.  I have very minimal knowledge of the inner workings of irrigation systems so I was very excited when I was allowed to help with an enhancement to an existing irrigation system at one of the parks we service. 

Seeing how life at the North branch is very busy, I never find myself doing the same thing as the day before.  From working with Dario in Fert/Chem to helping Willie organize things in the garage, I have enjoyed every moment of my internship with BIO Landscape.  

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Construction Intern Hunter Learns the Bidding Process

This past week I took off my safety vest and cozied up to a keyboard and mouse.  I was starting the estimating portion of my internship.  I learned more than I expected during the first phase of my Internship, working with Project Managers and crews in the field.  Estimating is what I am most interested in, since it is an area that I am the least familiar with.

When I first started, my Branch Manager showed me the Excel file for bidding.  I must say it was pretty intimidating.  As a horticulture major with minimal computer courses, Excel has managed to slide right by me for quite some time now.  It seemed so easy to get lost in the maze of rows, columns and numbers.  My branch manager came to the rescue.  He did a fantastic job showing me how to navigate the labyrinth of different pages and how the entire file worked.

During my first week in estimating I attended a pre-bid meeting with my Mentor for a potential project. This opportunity gave me exposure to see how the bidding process starts and how professionals interact with each other within the industry.  After the meeting, I was given the task to contact the firm leading the project, obtain an electronic copy of the plans, and begin taking measurements to produce a bid.

During this process I utilized PlanSwift, the program used to take measurements, which was a great learning experience and a fantastic program to add to my “tool belt”.  Using a new program can sometimes be pretty intimidating.  If I had any doubt, an issue about how to do something, or a question about why something was done a particular way, my Mentor was right there to quickly answer my question.  Although I was able to obtain help when needed I was always left to work independently.  This required me to fine tune my time management skills and get tasks completed on time.  After finishing the measurements, I plugged the collected data into our bid sheet and corrected items no longer relevant to the job.  Trailing the data input, I contacted our purchaser to update all material costs such as irrigation, plant material, and other miscellaneous jobs.  I coordinated with the subcontractors to obtain and incorporate their bid for the job.  After all my data was relevant and up to date, I took the totals from our document, incorporated it into the standardized bid form for the job and turned it back over to my mentor.

The bid is a critical component to winning the job.  I am so grateful to be given this opportunity to expand my knowledge in this area of the landscape industry.  During this bid process I was able to learn and understand the entire progression from start to finish.  I now understand the “whys” and “how’s” of the way things are done throughout the industry and why time management skills, and communicating successfully with other professionals is important.

So far this Internship has been a nonstop educational experience.  Whether I am cozied up to a keyboard or putting that safety vest back on, I cannot wait to see what other lessons are in store for me!

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