Illinois State University’s Darcy Loy Earns CGM Status

DATE: April 19, 2011
CONTACT: Molly Baldwin,

(Baltimore, MD) – The Professional Grounds Management Society (PGMS) has announced that Darcy Loy of Normal, Ill. has become the 133rd grounds management professional to successfully complete its Certified Grounds Manager (CGM) program.

Loy currently serves as the director of grounds for Illinois State University. She has been in this position for a little over three years. PGMS recently spent a few minutes speaking with Darcy, who has been a PGMS member since 2000.

PGMS: How long have you been in your current work position?

LOY: I have been with the Grounds Department at Illinois State University for thirty years. I began my career at I.S.U. as the grounds gardener, designing and growing annuals for our campus display gardens. I have been in my current position as director of grounds for a little over three years.

PGMS: Why did you want to become a CGM?

LOY: For me, becoming a Certified Grounds Manager was a natural progression in the advancement of my career at Illinois State University. I have a “professional bucket list;” things that I want to accomplish that I know will be useful and of great value in years to come as I advance in my career. The CGM certification emphasizes not only my knowledge of horticultural practices but my leadership skills as well.

PGMS: What did you think of the program?

LOY: The program was challenging. I was most nervous about passing the written part of the exam. When moving into a leadership role, you don’t normally have your hands immersed in the “day to day” as before; you have to focus more on the big, operational picture. I was more comfortable with the inventory element of the program because those are the pieces I deal with on a daily basis. Encompassing the entire campus was challenging, but the end product will be a very useful tool for our department.

PGMS: What advice do you have for aspiring CGMs?

LOY: In regards to aspiring CGMs, I think my biggest piece of advice would be never cease the learning process. Our industry changes quickly and it is important to keep up on current trends, especially sustainable issues. Go to learning sessions and network! I am fortunate that I work within a department which firmly believes that training is a vital piece to being successful in what you do. In regards to this process—organization is key and knowing who to go to for information that you need, but might not have.

PGMS: What do you think is the biggest topic or issue affecting grounds managers right now?

LOY: Like most, I believe that the biggest topic affecting grounds managers right now is economics; how do we do the job we need to do without diminishing budgets? As leaders we need to be able to think outside of the box, or better yet go to our frontline employees for ideas that will help streamline operations. Our employees are a valuable tool and we need to utilize them as much as possible. I would also say that sustainable initiatives are another key area to focus on within the horticultural industry. We need to be the leading force in being good stewards and teachers of green concepts.