n 1972, I began my career in the industry as a laborer in the field. I quickly progressed to operating equipment and pipe fitting, gaining expertise in the trade, and acquiring the ability to read plans. Eventually, I earned the position of a foreman, managing projects. At that time, large-scale landscape companies were not as prevalent. Crew sizes were larger, but less efficient due to the reliance on manual labor. I worked alongside experienced individuals who shared stories about landscaping in the early days, just a decade before my own start.
Over the years, starting a landscaping business became more accessible with minimal requirements like a shovel, lawnmower, weed eater, and rake. Cell phones, emails, and water management technology were non-existent. I recall driving between job sites in non-airconditioned trucks to oversee progress and support other crews. Without computers, tasks such as managing timecards, paying employees, and accessing job information proved challenging. The landscaping industry was not a popular choice for most individuals as it was considered a dead-end, "dirty" job with limited benefits. However, I have personally witnessed significant advancements in technology and education in recent years. These improvements have greatly enhanced overall performance and enriched the lives of landscapers, promoting their happiness and well-being. Safety, in particular, has become a crucial aspect. Unfortunately, I experienced a tragic incident while working with another company, where an employee under my supervision was fatally injured. This devastating event made me realize the real-life consequences of job site accidents and fatalities. As a result, at Agave, our leadership team places utmost importance on ensuring the health and safety of our employees.
Modern advancements in landscape equipment have introduced enhanced mechanization, alleviating physical strain for workers engaged in regular landscaping tasks. Granite shooters, mini excavators, and blowers have made their jobs easier. Moreover, the industry has implemented numerous safety measures to ensure that our employees return home safely to their families every night. Bright fluorescent safety vests are worn by our landscape crews to enhance visibility to the public while working near roads. Regular safety and tailgate meetings are mandatory, covering various topics such as preventing back injuries, heat safety, hearing protection, and the use of personal protective equipment. These measures have exponentially improved the lives of our workers.
In summary, the landscape industry has undergone remarkable transformations in terms of technology, education, and safety practices. These advancements have not only enhanced performance but also contributed to the well-being and happiness of our dedicated employees.