“Upon the subject of education,” Abraham Lincoln said, “I can only say that I view it as the most important subject which we as a people may be engaged in.”
With innovative training from Ewing Irrigation and Landscape Supply, you can expand your business skills and knowledge by attending education seminars, with topics that include business, outdoor living, irrigation and water management and turf and agronomics.
“We’re providing the necessary tools to help further grow the business skills and knowledge of our customers—that’s what we’re all about,” said Tim Fernald, Ewing’s National Education Instructor.
Fernald first made his footprint in the landscape industry in 1989. A California Pesticide Control Advisor, Fernald parallels his seminars to Ewing’s eighth mission statement, which is, “To have fun doing it!”
Relate, engage and have fun
“We’re instructors, so we need to instruct; we’re also networkers, so we need to engage,” Fernald said.
As an instructor, Fernald takes pride in relating to his customers by making his classes fun. Having a good time with the content he teaches is important to him, as he doesn’t want to put his audience to sleep. Having fun is something that follows him into the classroom.
“My purpose is to interact with the guys in a fun way and to have them engage in what’s being taught,” Fernald said.
Sara Witzel, Ewing’s Education Coordinator, said that Ewing’s instructors personalize the content of their seminars.
“They strive to engage and teach in such a way that’s tailored specifically to the audience at hand,” she said.
Fernald believes the learning environment is an important factor in how customers relate, engage and have fun in the classroom. And although the atmosphere of his classes is fun, relaxed and informal, the content is deep.
“The curriculum is intense. So in order to effectively get through to my audience, I talk with them—not at them or to them—in a fun, engaging and relatable way,” Fernald said.
Nicki Thieme, Assistant Landscape Manager at a Redding, Calif., based church, has been a customer of Ewing and a student of Fernald’s for the past six years. She admits that utilizing Ewing’s education services has been helpful to not only her, but also to her crew.
“We’re more knowledgeable, appreciative and aware of what we’re doing,” she said.
Thieme said the help and expertise received at the counter in the branch are beneficial, but she also praised the value of the in-depth instruction from Ewing’s instructors in the classroom.
“The classes are an added bonus to being a Ewing customer. It’s well worth the cost to enroll in any course,” Thieme said.
Landscaper Jeremiah Wheeler, president of WFS Group, Inc. in Redding, Calif., applauded Ewing for being knowledgeable and willing to help.
“It’s important to me that courses are intriguing and interactive—and Ewing’s classes are,” he said.
“They offer great classes,” Wheeler’s wife and business partner, Brittany, said. “And they always bring the food.”
Technology and trust
Almost everything involves technology—the landscape industry is no exception. Staying up-to-date with technology and participating in education seminars are essential to growing within the industry. Fernald said that it’s important to keep yourself educated because education allows you to stay ahead of the industry curve.
“We’ve got to stay current,” Thieme said. “If we don’t have the necessary education and technological know-how, then we’ll fall behind.”
Thieme said technology is about trust—it’s not to be feared. In order to trust technology, you need to immerse yourself in education—whether in the classroom or at the counter.
“Trust is what builds relationships,” Fernald said, supporting Theime.
Thieme said relationships between contractors are made in the classroom. She acknowledged that Ewing’s education seminars promote community and comraderie.
“We’re able to connect and relate to one another because we’re all in the same boat when it comes to industry-related-issues,” Thieme said.
She said how Ewing’s classes validate that problems aren’t specific to one individual landscape company.
“This is why education is so important,” Thieme said. “We learn we’re not alone, while also learning how to solve problems as they arise.”
Jeffrey Knight, Ewing’s Director of Education Services, said that networking opens up the availability for contractors to learn their trade better, sell more jobs and do more work.
“Don’t be intimidated by the other guys in the classroom—they’re your fellow members of the industry. Instead, view them as resources to further grow your business and better the industry,” Knight said.
The big picture
“Landscape is about that little pop of color,” Thieme said.
Stewardship and aesthetics are a big part of the landscape industry. As a landscape professional, you have to maintain the appearance of your accounts and keep your clients happy, all while saving time and money.
The education services Ewing provides help you be more successful. Education can mold your skillset as a contractor—as an individual.
“The education we offer provides attendees with tools. It’s rewarding when we see them understand the power behind using their education to advance themselves in the industry,” Knight said.
Ewing has a full department dedicated to education and investing in customers. Witzel, who deals directly with Ewing’s instructors and attendees, said the main objective is to have customers succeed at what they do for a living.
“There’s a lot to gain from our classes and very little to lose,” she said. “Trust Ewing—we have the knowledge.”