AGNR Featured Alum
Name: Zach Jones
What was your major at UMD?
Plant Science: Landscape Management (the last person to graduate with this 4 year degree)
When did you graduate?
What was your favorite UMD class?
It's a toss up between Woody Plants in Mid Atlantic Landscapes with Karen Petrof, or Insects of Turf & Ornamentals with Paula Shrewsbury!
What is your current job title and company?
Assistant Account Manager for McHale Landscape Design Inc.
What are your major job/position responsibilities?
- Prepare cost estimates, contracts, invoices and letters
- Sales of maintenance services and enhancements
- Small scale design work, seasonal color rotations, and pots
- Schedule field crews and prepare daily worksheets
- Site visits with field crews, managers, and clientele
What do you enjoy most about your job/position?
I love the fact that McHale is exclusively a high residential design/build firm. This allows us to work for people that live on some of MD and VA's finest real estate, who want to invest a significant amount into their landscape. Every property is unique and thus comes with their own set of challenges. It's our job to help the homeowner overcome those challenges, while also creating and maintaining their version of an oasis for their outdoor living space. For me that's exciting, and it's why I love going to work everyday.
What is the most challenging aspect of your current job/position?
The most challenging part about my job is probably the people side of the business. I'm learning how to manage and communicate effectively with 7 field crews (21 people), as well as numerous subcontractors, and clients. There's also been a learning curve in communicating with my coworkers, since COVID restrictions have limited my opportunities to see the faces or even meet some of the people I need to communicate with daily.
What advice would you give to current students pursuing a career in Agriculture and Natural Resources?
If you're currently pursuing a career in agriculture, you most likely have an undeniable passion for it and I encourage you to keep chasing that. Be involved with clubs on campus, seek out internships, apply for scholarships, and continue to network! All of these various opportunities will help you to broaden your knowledge as well as help to narrow down the specific career path for you. There are a plethora of job opportunities in this rapidly growing industry that provide serious candidates the ability to have very successful careers. If you should ever need advice or a mentor, there is a very broad AGNR alumni base, and we're all willing to help. Best of luck and Go Terps!