Photo: Bob Grover

Photo: Bob Grover

Working in a city like Portland, which often ends up being a leader in change, Bob Grover, president of Pacific Landscape Management, says that “keeping up with that change,” is a valuable but challenging task. But it’s one that is absolutely necessary for businesses that wish to continue to grow. Making an effort to try and stay abreast of the latest information has helped the company to adapt to new regulations as they come down the pipeline.

“It is very challenging to monitor what is happening in every jurisdiction and state but we do a great job monitoring our own state by focusing our attention on the key players,” Grover says. “Instead of trying to monitor every single city or jurisdiction — which ends up being a lot of places to keep track of — we focus on the larger ones and the most vocal ones. For us, Portland has been one of the jurisdictions that tends to be more progressive so we’ve always got a finger on the pulse of what’s happening there.”

Keeping that ongoing pulse has definitely helped the company make changes when necessary. That included switching out blowers when Portland decided to enact a noise compliance ordinance. While most of the company’s work is in the outlying suburban areas, Grover says they had to upgrade to compliant blowers for a little over 10 percent of their work load — that which was being performed in the city. Grover admits he saw a lot of non-compliant companies when the changes were made.

Another area of recent change is the design and maintenance of rain gardens and bio-swales. It is a new technology and required in most properties today. Local jurisdictions have worked together to develop standards and a training certification program. Grover has had many on his staff get trained and certified.

Although it rains a lot in Portland, Grover says residents do need to irrigate 4 to 5 months of the year and water is becoming a precious and expensive resource. This is another area where Grover has made an effort to remain current. Grover says they work with local irrigation suppliers and the manufacturers to evaluate and train staff on new technology.

“When it comes to keeping up with the latest information in the industry, it’s so important to stay plugged in,” Grover says. “That’s really the only way you can keep up with changes. We make an effort to be part of trade associations and to constantly be networking with leaders in our area.”

Grover says they also work hard to keep plugged in with customers by attending their trade association meetings.

“It is important to keep up to date with our ever-changing industry but as important to keep up with the changing needs of our customers,” Grover says. “Join NAIOP, BOMA, IREM, CAI, IFMA and any relevant other real estate industry association. What you know is important but so is who you know.”

Our Like a Boss series highlights some common business challenges landscape professionals face and how they conquer them.