The September 2020 exam for FNGLA’s Certified Landscape Maintenance Technician (FCLMT) was unique for a number of reasons, but most importantly because it was the first time a group passed the entire exam on their first attempt.
Mainscape, Inc. hosted an exam for nine of its team members in Ft. Myers and attributed their success to preparation through relatable instruction. Jay Arthurs, Mainscape's regional agronomy manager, gives a nod to instructor Bob Cook.
“Bob’s teaching methods are second to none,” he says. “We recognize him as an industry-leading professional who has the ability to present horticultural education so even those new to the industry can easily follow along and learn.”
The FCLMT exam covers landscape maintenance principles including fertilization, equipment safety, turf management and irrigation. Arthurs explains preparation for this exam has helped their team stay up-to-date with industry standards and be responsible environmental stewards – a part of Mainscape’s core values and standard of excellence.
Jeff Snyder, vice president of Mainscape, sees certifications as a fantastic opportunity to invest in team members. “Recruiting and retaining qualified talent is the number one challenge facing the landscape industry as well as many others," says Snyder. “Certification has allowed an occasion to increase value in newer team members as well as invest in other team members interested in advancing their careers.”
Arthurs agrees, saying “We use certification to challenge our team and empower them to be professionals.”
Instructor Bob Cook says the main reason he likes teaching adults is they are willing to say, “I'm doing well but I would like to know more.” Every student in class seemed comfortable asking clarifying questions and was willing to share from their experiences.
“I enjoyed the challenge of communicating with a diverse group of professionals,” says Cook. “In this team, each one had individual strengths; some were experienced at mowing and trimming, two knew pest control, two were experts at irrigation, others seasoned managers, one in the industry only one year. And yet they all passed all eight stations.”
Mainscape has been utilizing FNGLA Certified Horticulture Professionals (FCHPs) since 2011 and expanded to FCLMT to include more members of their team. Arthurs explains when their staff is well-versed with a well-rounded education, they can speak with customers knowledgeably. And their customers notice. A potential customer contacted one of their account executives because they had heard about Mainscape’s training and certification program.
Mainscape is not resting on its laurels. A second FCLMT class is taking place now and they will begin a Spanish language class in early 2021. “We want our team to continue to grow in their careers and not get stagnant,” says Arthurs.
And he credits VP Snyder as an integral part of bringing this training to the forefront. “Education is important to him and we would not be where we are without his leadership and encouragement.”
"Certifications have built incredible loyalty in team members who have participated,” says Snyder. “I’m extremely grateful to FNGLA and to Bob Cook for all the opportunities to invest in our people.”