Most of us, unless prior experience dictates otherwise, are trusting. Why? Because trust is an essential part of human interaction. Often, we trust with no real basis for it, meaning that the trust is freely given. This is a good thing. It’s the basis of good human relationships. Trust starts out free. Each one of us, however, is later given the opportunity to justify the trust that was freely given to us as the basis of our relationship.
This same trust is forged when a customer openly embarks in the trusting relationship with Mainscape. Our customers enter the relationship trusting that we will service them to the best of our ability and do everything we can to meet their needs. At Mainscape, we understand that we must always protect and never break the trust relationship with the customer. There is no price that can later replace its loss. Trust is truly priceless, and Mainscape has built itself on the ability to create and nurture trusting relationships with both our employees and our customer partnerships.
As I see it, trust is just the beginning to a relationship. At Mainscape, there are two “T” pillars we are governed by: trust and transparency. Even though some people trust by default, ultimately, transparency is needed for trust to endure. Transparency, telling the truth and giving people the means to know for themselves, is how Mainscape continues to build the foundation for strong relationships with our employees and our customers. From the outset, we strive to be honest and transparent, and as a result, we feel confident that we are always engaging in opportunity and actively working to maintain the trust we so greatly value. At Mainscape, I truly believe our foundation for success rests on our ability to enter into trusting and transparent relationships with both our employees and customers. These values are at the heart of who we are as a company and have had a significant role in the success we have experienced over the years.
Here’s to a blessed and prosperous 2014!
Executive Vice President
Well, it’s almost time for the running of the Yukon Quest again. You may have never heard of the Yukon Quest, but I am sure you have heard of the Iditarod. Alaska is home to two 1,000 mile sled dog races. The least known, The Yukon Quest, runs between Fairbanks and Whitehorse, the largest city in the Yukon. This year, the race is celebrating its 31st year. It follows along the trails of miners from back in the gold rush era of the Klondike.
Putting on the Yukon Quest is a huge undertaking; it is said that it takes 1,000 volunteers to race 1,000 miles. I don’t doubt that a bit. Logistics is a huge portion of what makes this race happen. I am part of the Logistics Team, our work starts early in the season and lasts even after the race is finished. There are 9 Check Points and 3 Dog Drops along the way. Mushers must stop and sign in and out of Checkpoints. If one is missed, or a Musher forgets to sign out, they must go back. Check Points are staffed by a number of volunteers that need food, water, heat, and everything else that goes with that. It is our job on the Logistics Team to make that all happen. From straw for the dogs, firewood, porta-johns, cookware, dog food, people food, you name it, we haul it in. Some Checkpoints can only be reached by plane. Most can be driven to, but one, Eagle, Alaska, can only be driven to in the summer months. We have to haul in dog straw and whatever is not perishable before the road closes in the fall, long before most even think about the race. Just weeks before the race, there is Food Drop Day. All the mushers in the race are to bring their food and gear needed at Checkpoints, packaged in feedsacks, to a drop location, one in Whitehorse and one in Fairbanks. Here the bags are weighed, separated, and palletized according to location. From there the Logistics Team organizes and coordinates transportation. Food drops from Alaska that need to go to Canada are loaded on a truck for shipping to Whitehorse. The truck meets a truck coming from Whitehorse with Canadian Musher’s food drops; they swap trailers and turn around for home. Logistics Teams on both sides then truck the food drop bags to their designated Checkpoints, usually with 4-wheel drive trucks and trailers. The weekend before the race is when that is done, and keep in mind temperatures during this time of year can easily be between -40F & -60F. The coldest I have experienced was -71F two years ago.
Start Day is always a big deal! The direction of the race switches from year to year. This year the race will start in Fairbanks and finish in Whitehorse. Every time the race starts in Fairbanks, downtown is bustling with people. The starting line is downtown on the frozen Chena River, people are lined up all the way through town on the ice, on the river banks and on bridges crossing the river to catch a view. On a warmer year there can be close to 3,000 people, on colder years,-40, just under 1,000 people have lined up to watch. Heading out of Fairbanks, the mushers first come upon Ft Wainwright, military families will congregate to catch a glimpse of something quite foreign to them. From there, the mushers will head through North Pole; here too, people line the river in spots to wish them luck and take a break from normal everyday activities. On years it starts in Fairbanks, it is much easier to see mushers go by. When it finishes here in Fairbanks, the Mushers can come in over a course of 5 or 6 days, at all hours of the day. I’ve set my alarm at 2:00 am to get down to the river in time to see friends come in.
Some folks actually take their vacation every year following the race from check point to check point from beginning to end. To drive to every check point of this 1,000 mile race, due to the way the road system is laid out, you will put upwards of 3,500 miles on your vehicle in 10 days to 2 weeks. There are a number of folks that also work out deals with employers to take that time every year to volunteer for the race. The Quest is really just a big family to a number of us. Some folks travel from half way around the world to come here every year to help be a part of history. Some I’ve met heard about the race, thought it would be fun, bought a ticket north and volunteered just once, sort of a bucket list sort of thing. After my first time getting involved, I was hooked! It’s an addiction almost. It’s cold and dark, what better thing to get involved with to take your mind off things. If I was to ever move away from Alaska, I would still have to come up to be a part of things. If you are one that like to deprive yourself of sleep, creature comforts, warmth, and a regular diet, the volunteering for the Yukon Quest is for you! We’d love to have you.
The Mushers never stop thinking about the race. Many mushers have anywhere from 40 – 60 dogs, some even more. They are always thinking of the future, with breeding, which ones have better characteristics, which ones would match best with each other. As dogs get older, they need to have young ones coming up the ranks. Just feeding them takes a huge amount of money, never mind, keeping themselves fed. Then there’s dog sleds, harnesses, booties, shots, dog houses, etc., to buy. Many mushers will work a full time job, then go home to run and train, feed and clean, and care for their dogs. I think the sleep deprivation they experience definitely helps the two weeks of not sleeping while racing. Some mushers have enough of a following and sponsors, that they can make it work with only working here and there, giving them more time to spend with their dogs. The stronger the bond the musher has with their dogs, the more control and trust there is between them and their dogs. We are very proud to have a close relationship at Mainscape Alaska with two mushers.
One musher, Brent Sass, Brent is a veteran musher having finished 7 Yukon Quests and 2 Iditarods. Brent’s best finish in the Yukon Quest was last year with 3rd place, the year before he received Rookie of the Year in the Iditarod, just two weeks after running the Yukon Quest. Mainscape has been sponsoring Brent for the last three years, along with our customer at Ft Wainwright and Ft Greely, North Haven Communities. Every year Brent brings out a team of dogs and his large freight sled to give the children on Ft Wainwright sled rides. This event always has a great turn out, children of all ages are always excited to take part in an Alaskan tradition that most of them have never experienced.
The second musher that is near and dear to us, is Abbie West. Abbie came to work for us this past spring, and has been a huge part of our success at our newest project, Eielson Air Force Base. Abbie has three Yukon Quest finishes under her belt, with her best finish in 8th place both last year and the year before. There will be a huge absence in this year’s Yukon Quest, as Abbie is going to make a run for Rookie of the Year in the Iditarod.
Brent and Abbie are two of the most determined, self-disciplined people I know. Their work ethic is hard to match. I see Abbie works most everyone into the ground on a regular basis. We look forward to cheering on Brent during the Yukon Quest, and cheering on Abbie as she works toward being the Iditarod Rookie of the Year.
Ryan Hughes, Branch Manager, Alaska
Barefoot Resort is home to over 2,500 individual residences, ranging from single family homes to high rise condominiums. What began as a favorite spot for tourists to shop, dine and relax, has developed into a world-class golf destination along the inter-coastal waterway. Barefoot boasts four championship golf courses spread over nearly 2,800 acres woven through neatly placed communities and conserved wetlands that are home to wild turkey, deer, and the occasional black bear.
Mainscape began working with Barefoot Resort in 2009 as the community continued to develop and mature. Five years later, Mainscape is proud to be serving the residents of Barefoot Resort as the primary landscape provider. It is an outstanding group of individuals that manage, operate, and serve as board members for this community.
Conall L. O’Brien
That time of year has returned when it becomes more and more likely that we will begin to experience snowy and icy conditions. Although some of us enjoy the winter weather, it has the potential to pose some serious hazards. These hazards can come from just trying to travel in these conditions or from the chore of removing snow and ice so that travel is possible. Here at the Fort Drum Branch of Mainscape, we have very stringent safety regulations and procedures to minimize these hazards. Homeowners/residents do not receive the same training that we professionals do, so often, they are not aware of the proper and safe way to remove snow and ice from their driveways, sidewalks, and porches.
One of the most important tips regarding snow removal is do not let it accumulate and get away from you. It is much easier to remove smaller amounts of snow several times than to let yourself get buried and then attempt to dig yourself out when the event is over. Not only is it physically easier, but it makes it easier for you to leave your home or to have your home accessed in the event of an emergency. After the snow has fallen, choosing to walk and drive over it instead of removing it will create a hard pack base. This hard pack base is much more difficult to remove than fresh fallen snow and will require extra materials (salt/sand/ice melt) to clear your surfaces.
Mainscape prides itself on outstanding customer service. In order to provide the best customer service, we recently overhauled our entire department. For many years our customer service coordinators were located at various branches throughout the company. This type of service worked when we were a much smaller company. As the company grew, we knew there needed to be a change in the way we handled our customer service in order for our customers to get the best service we could provide. We looked at many of the top customer service departments throughout the country and pulled all the positives from those and molded them to how we wanted Mainscape customers to be treated. We decided to centralize the department at our corporate office in Fishers, Indiana to ensure our staff training was the same for all markets and there was someone on site who was able to help our coordinators answer our customer’s questions.
As a company, we value our customer’s time and understand that they want their landscape maintenance and snow removal issues handled as soon as possible. Consequently, we do all we can to make the communication process efficient and reliable.
“Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.” -Benjamin Franklin
This year, 2013, has been an exceptional year of growth for Mainscape. We were awarded three new military contracts, the Eli Lilly corporate headquarters, and Solivita active-adult retirement community. Although very exciting, growth brings on changes that can and do stress and challenge an organization. So why grow? Mainscape’s growth this year has forced me to think about the “why” more deeply.
Growth is a natural outflow of, as well as a critical element for, a vibrant organization. To attract and maintain the best workforce in the industry, growth is a necessity. People want to be a part of a dynamic organization that, through its growth, provides the opportunity for each to advance. Stagnant organizations lose momentum and confidence, resulting in an exodus of a company’s best people. Mainscape wants to provide our people with the opportunity to grow and excel, to reach their potential. For this reason, we strive for growth. We seek the challenge and the change. Though rapid growth often requires learning at a light speed pace, doing so allows each of us to encounter new ideas and invent new solutions on a daily basis, in turn driving us to an invigorating culture.
Mainscape was very proud to have partnered with Lend Lease and the Winn companies to help sponsor the 18 Fore Military Families golf outing this past month. The funds raised from this outing go to various military family charities, including The Wounded Warrior Project, Birdies for the Brave, Operation Shower, Not Alone, Blue Star Scholarships, and Military Homefront.
Camp Lejeune and Cherry Point are Marine Corps bases nestled along the coast of North Carolina. Mainscape has proudly been serving each of the locations since 2005 when Atlantic Marine Corps Communities, who manages the privatized single-family housing at each location, honored us with the partnership. Before Mainscape took over, each home’s landscaping needs were the responsibility of the family that resided there. Some residents stayed on top of the landscape; others did not. Either way, there was no uniformity. Initially, the communities were released to Mainscape’s care in phases as Lend Lease remodeled the existing units or tore down some of the older homes, replacing them with brand new communities with community centers, swimming pools, and parks for the residents to enjoy. We at Mainscape are really proud of the privatized housing landscape at each of these Marine Corps bases, and we value the partnerships that have made these two such a success!
Branch Manager – Camp Lejeune/
With Fall in the air, Mainscape added central control monitoring to it’s water management offerings. Some of the larger more sophisticated irrigation systems are run by one single computer. This type of system can control several hundred if not thousands of zones. The advantage to a centrally controlled system is that the computer can manage all the zones to work in harmony. Without this synchronization, irrigation technicians must be responsible for making dozens of field controllers work together. This can be a tedious task with the slightest mistake causing the program to fail.
Does this picture look familiar? This picture was taken in October 2011 after a long hot wet summer. I want everyone to focus on the front side of the bed. Do you notice the elevation change? The area of declining Junipers holds water. Note the Juniper in the background appear healthier, they also have an incremental grade change that allows excess water to be channeled away from their roots. Please also note the algae and mold on the sidewalk, also an indicator of poorly draining soils.
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