Employees learn to earn at Weisburg Landscape Maintenance Email
Colorado Green NOW
Wednesday, December 28, 2016 06:00 AM


Weisburg Landscape MaintenanceWeisburg Landscape Maintenance in Colorado Springs, Colo., is celebrating not only its 16th year in business in 2016, but also its status as a top-nine NALP-member company with most certified staff by member category. This year, 11 staff members, including company president Jeff Weisburg and vice president Eric Moroski, are certified with a total of 19 specific certifications. Over the course of 12 years, 24 employees have held Landscape Industry Certified credentials. Two more are testing this year.

“Certification plays an important role in our company,” Moroski said. “It provides a solid foundation for our in-house training program, gives our 60-plus employees an incentive to move up the ladder and sets us apart from area competitors. In the bigger picture, it’s also a process to help raise the industry’s professionalism bar.”

As Eric pointed out emphatically, if customers were to follow Jeff and him or their crews around all day, they would quickly change their impression of the industry. They’re horticulturists, business people, technicians, all the time helping to create a beautiful landscape for their HOA clients and other commercial customers. Certification recognizes this level of expertise, and companies promote their certification on their websites and to property managers and HOA board members during sales presentations.

Learning power
That’s the big picture, the reasoning behind the company’s support of the certification program. Yet, the program generates significant value in other ways, starting with their employees. “Certification offers two immediate benefits for employees,” Moroski said. “First, it’s a badge of honor, something which they can be proud of. Then, it provides an economic incentive. Those who earn certification also receive raises. We call it learn more to earn more.

“At orientation, we roll out the certification program and explain that the company will pay for taking
both the written and hands-on tests* and pay half the cost for retaking an exam. With this caveat, if they leave our employ before a year is up, they have to reimburse us for those costs.”

The latter is very unusual, he said. “Certification is a reliable measure of how serious someone is about
having a career within the industry. Employees with certification tend to stay with us; conversely, those without will likely have less longevity.”

In that regard, certification is one way the company deals with a chronic labor shortage that impacts
the entire industry. As an education tool, it also helps ensure that customers receive top value for their
dollar, which doubles back to the big picture, Moroski emphasized.

“My feeling is companies that don’t pursue and actively promote certification are doing the industry a disservice. By helping raise the perception of our industry, companies that embrace certification are not only making a statement and separating themselves from the competition, they are also advancing the industry. In other words, customers who learn more about who we are and what we do will allow us and our employees to earn more in the sense of not just have money but in having better lives.”

Weisburg's Landscape Industry Certified team. Top row, from left, Chris Cronk, Stacy Curry, Jeremy Hughes, Carl Jordan (HR), Phil Blackmon. Bottom, John Connolly, Leif Liles, Barrington Miller, Jeff Weisburg. Not shown are Ben Maggard, Kristy Samora and Eric Moroski.

*Landscape Industry Certified Technician-Exterior written and hands-on exam as administered by
NALP certification licensee Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado.

This article was written by National Association of Landscape Professionals and first appeared in the November-December 2016 issue of their magazine, The Landscape Professional.

Read more in this issue of Colorado Green NOW:
New state law permits employees to inspect personnel file
Wage and benefit changes for 2017
Key things to know about ADA compliance
Updated Boulder County ordinance affects landscape companies

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