#FeatureFriday: SC Fun Day!

Last Friday, December 21, we held our first Annual Fun Day event at our (relatively) new branch in Charleston, SC! We had 17 local employees in attendance, as well as Ryan Kimbro, the Maintenance Division Manager, and Todd Myatt, the Installation Division Manager, who both drove from NC to spend the day with the crew.

The installation and maintenance employees all came together to compete in fun events, including cornhole, a leaf blower obstacle course, a pine straw relay race, and a race to see who could replace the trimmer line in a weed-eater the fastest.

Employees used leaf blowers to move a dodge ball through the obstacle course
This race involved loading and moving pine straw with a wheelbarrow
Winners of each event were awarded $50

Here are the winners of the competitions:

  • Cornhole: Jake Williams
  • Obstacle course: Albert Smith
  • Wheelbarrow race: Albert Smith
  • Weed-eater: Melvin Seay Jr.

When the competitions were finished, everyone helped remove a palmetto palm tree that had fallen. After all, landscaping isn’t just fun and games!

Following the competitions and tree removal, everyone went to Wasabi Japanese Steakhouse for lunch. There, Ryan, Todd, and Butch (the branch manager) presented the end-of-year awards.

Perfect Attendance award: Thomas Thurman
Employee of the Year: Duane Milligan

Left to right: Todd Myatt, Butch Svagerko, Duane Milligan

Thanks to everyone for your hard work, and enjoy the holiday season! Happy New Year!

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#FeatureFriday: Celebrating the Season, our Employees, and our Industry Partners!

Since today is the last work day before the Christmas holiday, I wanted to share with everyone how much we appreciate all of our employees and our industry partners! Last Friday, December 14th, we held our “Annual Fun Day” event where our employees enjoy a day of games, awards, and delicious food. 

The day started at 7am with biscuits, coffee, and orange juice. Because it rained all day, all the events had to take place inside our shop (which ruled out some of the favorites–the pine straw relay race and the blower obstacle course). Nevertheless, we had some fun indoor alternatives already planned!

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Miss Linda, who handles our payroll and accounts receivable (in addition to a myriad of other tasks!), kept time and sounded the air horn when it was time for groups to rotate to the next station.

The roughly 100 employees from different locations in NC split into six groups and rotated through six game stations, where each station’s winner received a cash prize.

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The ladies of the office (me and Linda)

The management staff manned the game stations and kept track of the winners.

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Ryan Kimbro, Maintenance Division Manager

A new event we held for the first time this year was a trailer tire change challenge (that’s a tongue twister)! It was a big hit, with each employee competing for the fastest time. The high score of the day was achieved by Jeff Solomon, with a time of 27.6 seconds (featured in the highlight video at the end of this post).

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Everyone got a chance to show off their tire changing skills and compete for the fastest time.

Other games didn’t have so much of a practical focus, but were just for fun.

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Ping pong ball toss. The smaller the cup, the more points!

Our plant ID challenge featured plants that we covered in training throughout the year (with a couple of oddballs thrown in!). The high score of the day was achieved by Sam Letaw, with a perfect score. One round was won by Beau Walker, one of our mechanics, which goes to show how much you can learn if you just pay attention to what’s around you! 

A new favorite, the quarter toss game was invented last year, when we also got some rain on Fun Day. Each person tosses a quarter, and the closest one to the line without going over wins.

We also had a new frisbee game since we have official Myatt Landscaping frisbees now! The goal is to knock the water bottles off the cones. Our highlight video shows one shot that hit two water bottles!

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Scott tosses a frisbee in between rounds.
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Jermaine scored!
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These are the winners of all the games!
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Cordarus was one of the finalists for the cornhole championship! Scott Thompson, in the Myatt hoodie behind Cordarus, was the other finalist and won 3-0. 

We also had raffles and a peanut butter cup guessing game, then continued with our annual awards ceremony.

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Scott and Todd presented a number of awards and cash prizes. See all of the winners and Scott’s closing remarks below.

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Cleanest Installation Truck Award: Mauricio’s crew
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Cleanest Maintenance Truck Award: Justin’s crew
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Perfect Attendance Award (left to right): Alberto Aguilar, Emiliano Rodriguez-Ryes, Solomon Hernandez, Antonio Alvarez, Jorge Gutierrez, Gilberto Gonzalez, Justin Niver
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Employee of the Year – Satellite Location: Ausencio Padilla, Chapel Hill
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Most Improved Installation Employee: Antonio Dominguez
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Most Improved Maintenance Employee: Justin Niver
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Installation Employee of the Year: Hector Lugo
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Maintenance Employee of the Year: Neal Baker
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Manager of the Year: Herbie Champion
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Years of Service Awards (left to right): Alberto Aguilar (5 years), Ausencio Padilla (5 years), Mauricio Acevedo (5 years), Marco Acevedo (5 years), John Davis (10 years), Antonio Jaime (15 years), Felipe Morales (15 years), Herbie Champion (15 years), Anna Myatt (20 years), Ryan Kimbro (20 years).

After Scott’s closing remarks, the buffet line was opened up. We had seafood fried by Scott’s long-time friend and mentor, Bryant Montague, and it was delicious. Then some of our vendors and partner organizations started coming by to share in our day of appreciation and enjoy a meal with us. Everyone had a wonderful time! 

Great music was provided by our employee, Drew Mathews, and his wife, Leah.

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What a wonderful crowd of people! 

Thank you to everyone who made 2018 such a great successful year, and we’ll see you all next year!

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Watch our highlight reel below!:

Ryan Kimbro: Celebrating 20 Years

 

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MEET Ryan Kimbro, Maintenance Division Manager, celebrating 20 years at Myatt Landscaping. Yes, you read that correctly, Ryan has been working here for twenty years! Every part of his interview reflects his incredible dedication to his work—building the maintenance division from nothing into a highly successful business representing 50% of the company. Read on to get to know the man behind it all.

“I’m pretty proud of staying at one place for 20 years, you know, not a lot of people do that anymore. [People say] it’s always greener on the other side, but I like it here. I enjoy coming to work every day.”                                                             ~Ryan Kimbro

How long have you been working here?  20 years. A big chunk of my life!

How did you start working for Myatt Landscaping?  All through college I worked on different golf courses— Devil’s Ridge, Lochmere, and a couple of other ones. When I got out of [NC] State, I went to work for a friend of mine who had a landscape business. Long story short, Scott hired another friend of mine called Mark, and then they brought me in [to Myatt Landscaping]. Mark was one of these guys that was always on to the next thing, so after about 6 weeks of working, he left to do something different and moved to Wilmington. So that just left me. When I started working at Myatt, it was just four or five Hispanic laborers, and Todd and Anna [Scott’s brother and wife]. Scott and Todd had historically done a lot of spec homes, where you install a basic landscape package, and they had never done maintenance. They used to not want to do maintenance, but people kept on asking them to do it, so they brought me and Mark in to start, and then I took over when Mark left. I was the first everything really, first foreman, first manager, first spray tech… It’s grown slowly over the years, and now we’re a lot bigger than we were when we started.

What was your progression through the company?  I was the first foreman, and I rode in the first maintenance truck with three laborers. We got our first package of about six shopping centers, and then we did a few houses for one of the owners of the [spec home construction] company, and so on and so forth. We grew the business and eventually we had two trucks. Then they pulled me out of the truck and made me a manager. When we were small, we did all the flowers ourselves, all the pruning, all the pine straw, aerification. It’s just grown in scale. It hasn’t changed so much, but the scale has for sure.

What made you stay at Myatt for 20 years?  (Laughing) People would ask me, “Why don’t you start your own business?” Well, I kind of already have. Scott doesn’t micromanage me, it’s always “answer to the clients,” and I’ve grown [to where] I’m just vested in it. And they treat me like family—we’ve become more friends than coworkers over the years. Scott was at my wedding, and when you have a kid or that kind of thing, Todd would come by the hospital. And I’m pretty proud of staying at one place for 20 years, you know, not a lot of people do that anymore. [People say] it’s always greener on the other side, but I like it here. I enjoy coming to work every day.

As you look back on your career, what do you consider your greatest success?  Growing the maintenance side of this business, and the relationships made through that process. We started with ten accounts, and now we have over two-hundred large, full-service accounts. We still have one of the original commercial accounts, and ten of the original residential accounts.

Is there any one thing you would like to take the time to learn more about?  Excel spreadsheets! We use them for bigger proposals. The billing is done off of our spreadsheets, and [the clients] always want to add more items, so I have to go back to Chris and say, “I need to add another line item here.” That’s the one thing I have to ask for help with! I don’t need to ask for any other thing.

What do you enjoy most about your job?  I still like being outside. I like the satisfaction of taking on projects that don’t look as good, and turning them around in a year’s time. Briar Chapel was really the first big one. It was in pretty tough shape when we got it and we’ve done a lot out there as far as what it looked like and how small it was and how big it is now. I enjoy turning residential properties around—when [clients are] willing to pay our premium and a year from then say, “You know, it’s really worth it. We really got what we paid for.” Currently, the fun challenges are these other [new] markets, the Wilmington market and the Summerville market. I would like to grow those books of business, and I still want to see us grow here as well.

What do you feel you have bragging rights to?  The growth of the maintenance division. It’s not all mine, it’s “ours” as far as the maintenance team. Because all my managers have been there, like Robby, who was the second foreman after me, so I’ve built it with other key people.

Looking at all the people in history, what person would you say you respect the most and why?  My father. He’s just always been there for me.

Hobbies outside of work: I like to spend time with my family, and go hunting and fishing. I usually go fishing with my wife’s side of the family in Wilmington, and I usually hunt down at Shady Grove (a large nursery in SC with a longstanding work relationship and friendship with Myatt Landscaping.—ed.). We go to see Widespread Panic a lot, which is kind of a hippy college band. We have a group of friends that gets together and travels to see them. Now that we have kids, it’s once or twice a year, but it used to be more.

Favorite food: Anything cooked on my Big Green Egg. I like to grill, and I do most of the cooking at my house. Just because it’s a hobby—my wife can cook too!

Something most people don’t know about you:  I’m a great dancer!

Is there any advice you would give to a person who is starting out in your chosen career?  Have a good attitude, be dependable, and be willing to learn!

#FeatureFriday: West Johnson High School Field Trip

Yesterday, we hosted thirteen horticulture students, a teacher, and an assistant teacher from West Johnson High School in Benson on a field trip to learn about the landscaping industry. This was our first time hosting such an event, but we were excited to share our facilities, our experiences, and our knowledge with young people, and encourage them to consider careers in the industry in the future. Everyone had a blast, and we hope they left with a better understanding of the diverse roles and partnerships that are essential in leading a landscape company to success.

The tour started off with short talks from Scott Myatt, company founder and president; Ryan Kimbro, Maintenance Division Manager; and Herbie Champion, Install Division Manager. They shared the history of the company as well their own professional development through the years, and talked about some interesting facets of their jobs (while the students enjoyed coffee and doughnuts from Krispy Kreme!).

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Scott Myatt talks about the importance of standing behind your work.

Next, Blake Bennett led a tour of our facilities, introducing all of our support staff and explaining many of our organizational processes. Many other staff joined the tour and answered questions from the students.

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Zach Daigle explains how plant deliveries are organized.

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Blake Bennett talks about why sorting our landscape and construction waste is important.

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Blake shows the students our on-site fueling area.

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Herbie Champion talks about our different types of trucks and how we customize them.

After the tour, we had some activities with a competitive edge planned–a plant ID quiz and a paver challenge where student teams had to fill a grid with a certain pattern correctly, the fastest team earning t-shirts with our logo. The students also designed their own planters with fall flowers to take home.

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The students participated in a plant ID quiz (with no multiple choice!).

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After the quiz, Caitlin Clineff shared some ID tips and tricks for each plant.

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Each student designed their own planter to take home, with guidance from Myatt Staff.

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We love sparking creativity with hands-on learning.

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Everyone enjoyed getting their hands dirty!

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Herbie demonstrates the use of a laser level prior to starting the paver challenge.

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The two teams set up for the paver challenge.

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Every person engaged in teamwork and problem-solving.

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Matching the pattern was harder than it looked!

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Just a few errors to correct… 😉

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Pausing for a team discussion.

Both teams did a great job, and exercised their teamwork, problem-solving, decision-making, and spacial reasoning skills.

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The students were treated to gigantic sandwiches and salads from Bagels Plus, the local deli.

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Winners of the plant ID and paver challenges were given their choice of Myatt t-shirt, and everyone received a Myatt Landscaping frisbee!

We had such a great time interacting with this fantastic group of young people, and we hope that they were inspired to learn more about the myriad of unique opportunities the landscape and horticulture industries have to offer. This class was a real pleasure to host–they asked great questions and engaged fully in all of the activities. We look forward to hosting students from West Johnson and other schools in the future!

If you would like to arrange a tour of Myatt Landscaping Concepts for your class, 4-H club, FFA chapter, Boy/Girl Scout troop, etc., please contact Caitlin@myattlandscaping.com.