When Juan Berriz’s father Gabriel immigrated to Puerto Rico from Cuba in the early 1960s, the landscaping profession was in its infancy. In fact, Juan says many of the developers on the island attributed his dad’s influence to the growth of the profession, more specifically in helping to meld together the separate disciplines of landscape design and installation. Juan now looks to carry on the tradition by strengthening the natural ties between landscape installation and maintenance.
In all my 57 years, I do not ever remember my dad, Max Walker, or my grandpa, Wesley Walker, using the “R” word (retirement). Retirement was simply not part of their thinking and I am much the same. I know there are many folks who plan and dream of retirement. Our culture encourages it, and some companies and organizations force it. Yet the reality is that usefulness, accomplishment, production, experience, mentoring, learning and wisdom are all the positives of a person who stays engaged in living as much as they are able their entire life.
It would be easy to talk about his energy, his confidence or the beautiful surroundings in which he works. But the real story of Bradley Carvalho of BJ Services in Kohala Coast, Hawaii, is where he came from and what drives him and his family to stay close to their roots.
The Alaskan growing season may be abbreviated, but is also very intense. Consider what happens when the sun is shining 22 out of 24 hours in mid-summer. “In August, our two Walkers mow eight hours a day five days a week, and sometimes six,” relates Darrin Edson. “Even then, we can hardly keep up with the new growth.”
You don’t have to look very hard at Aaron Loerzel’s truck to know he is up against some tough conditions running a mowing business on the South Pacific island and United States territory of Guam. “It was a brand new truck,” he relates while pointing to the rusted pock marks that are plentifully scattered over the entire truck. “A typhoon came through here and bead-blasted the truck, and it didn’t take long for the humidity to rust out the dents.”
When asked about mowing in tough conditions, Kim Kellogg, co-owner with wife Char of Grasshopper Property Maintenance in Millersburg, Ohio, gives this reply: “There are no rainy days, there are no sunny days. There are only mowing days.” Rain or shine, the crews and their mowers have to get the job done, he adds. “It’s all about the equipment and the motivation of your crew. Whether catching or sidedischarging the grass, the Walkers do a great job when the lawns are wet, high and hilly.”