PGMS Announces Michael Gildea as the 159th CGM!

MichaelGildeaThe Professional Grounds Management Society (PGMS) has announced that Michael Gildea of Chevy Chase, Md. has become the 159th grounds management professional to successfully complete its Certified Grounds Manager (CGM) program. Gildea currently serves as the garden and grounds manager at the Chevy Chase Club.

PGMS: Why did you want to become a CGM?
Gildea: Becoming a CGM has been a professional goal of mine for several years. The CGM’s I know are at the top of our profession and are people whom I admire. I am fortunate that the Chevy Chase Club emphasizes career development and is very supportive of staff attaining certifications in their chosen fields. I find it important to challenge myself as well. The process for attaining the CGM certainly challenged me! Our field is constantly changing and keeping current with innovations in horticulture and grounds management is imperative. Since my peer managers hold certifications in their professions such as Certified Club Manager, Certified Public Account, Certified Master Chef and Certified Golf Course Manager, it was important for me to attain the highest certification in my field.

PGMS: How has the CGM program helped you further your career?
Gildea: Going through the process for attaining the CGM helped me in many ways. It gave me the opportunity to review our departmental procedures and to refine them. My staff and I went through every aspect of our operation and made sure it was up to date and our written policies and procedures actually matched what was done in the field. We also went through our departmental mission statement, our vision and our goals and wrote them into our grounds maintenance specifications. Prior to going through the CGM, I had these as two separate documents. Now we have one comprehensive document. Upon review, we were able to add charts to our maintenance specifications that are easier to follow than previously written. We also streamlined our record keeping system. All of these items were on our to-do list but the CGM process moved them up to the top of the priority list. I expect the CGM presentation to be a living document that our department refers to and updates on a regular basis.

PGMS: What advice do you have for aspiring CGMs?
Gildea: My advice is to go ahead and submit your application. There is great information about the requirements on the PGMS website. At times the process seems overwhelming but this is when I leaned heavily on my mentor Jeff Schneider, CGM. I also highly recommend involving your staff in the process. My staff was involved throughout the process and provided critical insight into ways we can improve. I feel the CGM is an award to our department, not just to me. Another piece of advice is even if you are on the fence about making the commitment to attaining your CGM; it is not too early to start taking pictures. I take lots of pictures of our gardens and individual plants but not of my staff actually working. It was helpful for me to document the process, not just the end result.

PGMS: How did your mentor help you along the way?
Gildea: My mentor, Jeff Schneider, CGM, helped me every step of the way. Jeff offered advice about the requirements, urged me to take photographs, gave me copies of his CGM presentation.  Most importantly, he talked me through the times when I thought I would never finish and convinced me I could work through it. I am so fortunate to have had Jeff as my mentor.

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