The Professional Grounds Management Society (PGMS) has announced that Jeffrey Schneider of Washington, D.C. has become the 141st grounds management professional to successfully complete its Certified Grounds Manager (CGM) program.
Schneider currently serves as the grounds manager at the Smithsonian Gardens. PGMS recently spent a few moments getting to know Jeffrey, who has been a PGMS member since 2006.
PGMS: Why did you want to become a CGM?
Schneider: The Smithsonian Institution encourages and values professional certification and accreditation of its staff and programs. I became interested in the CGM program because it was the only program of its kind that certifies the abilities and knowledge of the individual grounds manager.
PGMS: How has the CGM program helped you further your career?
Schneider: The program helped push me to organize, update and refine many of the policies, procedures and documents within the Smithsonian Gardens Grounds program. I have already referred back to the information that was pulled together for the various CGM sections on numerous occasions.
PGMS: What advice do you have for aspiring CGMs?
Schneider: You can do it! Set aside some time each week to work on the various sections. I found that selecting and completing the section you feel most comfortable with first made working on the other sections easier. Make sure to start taking photos of all facets of your program including your staff performing tasks before you even apply for the CGM program. I was fortunate that I had many photos of our program which were used for various PGMS Green Star Award submissions over the years. They came in handy when selecting photos for the CGM workbook.
PGMS: What challenges have you faced in your professional career that helped you through the process?
Schneider: Smithsonian Gardens recently went through the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) accreditation process. I was part of the committee that pulled together the extensive documentation that was required. Much of that documentation contained information that I was able to use for the CGM program.
PGMS: What are your favorite aspects of working in the green industry?
Schneider: Our mission at Smithsonian Gardens is to “Enrich the Smithsonian experience through exceptional gardens, horticultural exhibits, collections, and education.” I am very fortunate to be able to play a part in beautifying the public gardens around the Smithsonian Institution and to touch the lives of the millions of people that visit the Smithsonian museums in Washington, D.C., each year. There is nothing better than hearing someone say how much they enjoy the gardens.