“The hardest part about my new job is going from full-time laborer to full-time management,” says Kristi Edwards, chief operations manager for Vision Scapes in Fort Wayne. “It’s very difficult when you’re used to having your hands on a job, and then you have to let go of that and allow someone else to do it.”
Edwards has been working at Vision Scapes for six years and started out as a part-time employee watering plants. Eventually, she worked full-time at the company and was outside every day.
“I enjoyed it and I do miss it, but that experience is now incredibly helpful as I’ve switched to management,” Edwards says. “I understand the conditions and frustrations those in the field are dealing with, and I feel like I can empathize with them.”
Judd Edwards is the supervisor of the fertilization department at Vision Scapes and its sister company, Lawnganics, which focuses on organic lawn-care.
“One thing you’ll learn in this industry is that it doesn’t matter what department you work in – landscaping, hardscaping or mowing – there are areas that are always going to be more challenging than others. In other words, they all have their difficulty levels, just in different aspects. That’s something you have to deal with in management.”
Now in its 25th year, Vision Scapes was founded by Mark Nolot who had a vision to create a company that delivered first-class service in the lawn and landscape industry.
“Everyone on the management team really stepped into their roles at a time when we didn’t have those roles clearly defined,” says Nolot. “Many of them had to transition out of the field and become the boss of their peers. That is not easy, but they’ve all done extremely well.”
Chris Tiffany is in his 13th year at Vision Scapes and recently transitioned to the management team after spending those years working as a landscape laborer, landscape foreman and hardscape foreman.
“During the time I worked out in the field, I was deployed for a year with the Army on a European tour and that definitely helped me when I returned, especially with my people skills. It also helps me put things in perspective since dealing with problems on the civilian side is far easier than dealing with military issues. I meet with customers face-to-face now and make sure our guys are staying on track with their jobs.”
“It can be difficult to manage customer expectations. That’s probably the biggest struggle for me,” says Bryce Feller, who handles sales on the management team. “I work closely with Judd. I deal with the customers and he is the boots on the ground. We make it a priority to make our customers happy.”
Donald Parker manages the mowing department along with its 18 machines and 11 people. He started at Vision Scapes 13 years ago as a mowing foreman.
“The mowing is a huge part of our business, and it’s really not just mowing,” says Parker. “We’re responsible for property maintenance — we are responsible for making anything and everything inside the borders look good.”
Everyone on the management team recognizes they work in a unique industry that requires a multitude of skills and knowledge. It can’t be done by one person alone, but instead takes a team to get the job done.
“We work in all kinds of conditions,” says Kristi. “That means mulching on a 95-degree day or snow blowing in subzero temperatures. Having walked in their shoes, we can appreciate the challenges our peers face and work with them to please our customers and deliver first-class service.”
Address: 6608 Saint Joe Road, Fort Wayne, Indiana 46835
Phone: (260) 485-2683
Years in Business: 25
Number of Employees: 30
Products & Services: Residential and Commercial Landscaping; Landscape Maintenance; Landscape Design; Outdoor Living