The Professional Grounds Management Society (PGMS) has announced that Jimmy Viars of Gloucester, Va. has become the 149th grounds management professional to successfully complete its Certified Grounds Manager (CGM) program.
Viars currently serves as the grounds manager at Gloucester County Public Schools. PGMS recently spent a few moments getting to know Jimmy, who has been a PGMS member since 2009.
PGMS: Why did you want to become a CGM?
Viars: The first time I attended the GIE Expo in Kentucky, I met a lot of great people in my industry. Everyone was very positive and encouraging, all the while planting seeds that were soon to come to fruition. I left there energized, looking for the same thing on a local level. I gathered ten of my local grounds managers and created the VA- PGMS Branch. Soon after, still charged from the LARGEST EXPO I have ever attended and armed with the words of encouragement spoken by every CGM “You can do this!!!” I began. My thoughts about the certification were, I want to be a member of this elite group of Grounds Managers. I didn’t care if it would help with my career, but I knew it certainly wouldn’t hurt it. The main benefit is it would make my operation more efficient.
PGMS: How has the CGM program helped you further your career?
Viars: It is too soon to tell if my career will see a boost from this accomplishment, although my bosses were ecstatic when I notified them of my feat. The Superintendent of Operations (my immediate supervisor) was elated with the fact that he another feather to stick in my cap. He stated he was going to the board with this. So, the jury is still out.
PGMS: What advice do you have for aspiring CGMs?
Viars: My advice to anyone that wants this certification is GO FOR IT!!! Do not delay or procrastinate. The program makes you dissect your operation and update procedures that you may not realize have fallen a little behind the times. It truly is an eye-opener.
PGMS: Did your recent experience with planning of a Regional Seminar and Site Visit help at all?
Viars: VA-PGMS Branch was selected to host the Spring Regional Seminar and Site Visit. That compiled with my father falling ill and passing away very close together was overwhelming. I wasn’t sure if I was going to pull off anything with any sort of success. I received quite a bit of support at the Regional Seminar and it helped to rejuvenate my focus towards completing my CGM.
PGMS: What do you feel is the biggest challenge green industry professionals are facing today?
Viars: There are several challenges that are facing the green industry in the years to come. New laws concerning pesticides, fertilizers,and water management plans combined with shrinking budgets will make our future practices that much more stringent.