PGMS Announces Stephanie Krull as CGM #173

PGMS: Why did you want to become a CGM?
Krull: I studied Landscape Architecture at Ball State with a high degree of passion and worked one year for the Fort Wayne Parks Department before taking several major detours in my career. The first was a four year tour in the US Air Force as an Intelligence Officer analyzing imagery, and the second was being a military spouse and spending 14 years raising two sons and working part time while they were in school. To return to career type work once they were in middle school, I completed a Masters in Project Management and began working for a landscape design firm in Fort Wayne. Then my husband was reassigned to Panama City after 9/11, where I worked for a Landscape Architect doing native residential design along the panhandle of Florida. This position here at Indiana State as the Landscape & Grounds Manager has allowed me to build a career even though I was a ‘late bloomer.’ Being a Certified Grounds Manager truly reflects the type of work I’ve done here over the past 12 years and I’m very proud to have achieved this certification.

PGMS: How has the CGM program helped you further your career?
Krull: A large measure of what was needed here at ISU when I arrived in 2006 related to staff education and modernization of techniques. Things had been done the same way for a long time, and the campus was clean but looked tired, stressed and almost lifeless, as was the morale in the Grounds department. No staff had ever attended the PGMS Green Expo, only the Superintendent had ever participated. Including the supervisors and technicians in the yearly trip to Louisville gave them a renewed energy and motivation to learn and improve their techniques. It also gave them a new perspective on how professional the industry is, and how they can take pride in their work and accomplishments. Working on the CGM and creating this open book document has really highlighted what we have accomplished over 12 years, and sharing it with the staff and with my facilities leadership has allowed everyone to share in the warm glow of success. Being a Grounds Manager is really not an individual effort, but rather a facilitation of a group effort, bringing all the skills and hard work of many people together to create a meaningful product.

PGMS: What advice do you have for aspiring CGMs?
Krull: Every industry professional has a unique story, and all of us are tasked to the max! This type of work is not easy!  We might not feel there is enough time to  invest in professional certification or personal growth. This is not the case!  I say, definitely take the time to go through it. Make the time! Going through this certification process will truly give shape to your past accomplishments and direction to your future growth, like no other activity can. PGMS gives you time and support throughout the entire process, and really helps make sure you can succeed in spite of challenges that may come up. Having a mentor throughout the process is another great aspect of the certification experience.

PGMS: What inspired you to pursue a career in the green industry?
Krull: My mother loves plants and my father, rest his soul, was a great developer who thrived on providing housing for seniors and affordable rental housing in small communities throughout the state. With this type of background, when I attended a Landscape Architecture orientation at Ball State, everything clicked. I realized I wanted to create beautiful green spaces for the public to enjoy. Park design was fun, but working as the Landscape & Grounds Manager at Indiana State during this period of massive growth for the university has truly challenged me and given me opportunities I never dreamed possible. My first love was teaching, and my goal at Ball State had been to become a Math teacher. This position has allowed me to teach about gardening and creating green spaces on so many levels, to so many people.

PGMS: What challenges have you faced in your professional career that helped you through the process?
Krull: During my Air Force tour in military intelligence I was given an assignment to study a particular topic. When I presented my results to a room full of generals, a colonel in the room stood up and basically told the entire room I had missed the mark completely and wasted everyone’s time with my work and presentation. This was a difficult experience, and I had to struggle to retain my composure.   A few days later one of the generals from the original group invited me to share my findings with a smaller group, and congratulated me on unique work that truly opened their eyes and changed their perspective on the problem. I gained a measure of respect within the community, and was able to present my work nationally through an ongoing study.   This experience taught me at a fundamental level that all of us have something to contribute, and even if we are not well received initially, with a little extra effort and patience the results can be amazing and rewarding. This has been the case with the CGM process as well. In addition to this fundamental life lesson, all the small challenges in my daily job have forced me to document solutions along the way. These have all helped me create a complete package for the certification committee.

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