PGMS Announces Mike Smith as CGM #181

PGMS: Why did you want to become a CGM?
Smith: I have always been a person who loves to learn, including staying up on the latest information and methods. I wanted to become a CGM to help me further my professional growth in the industry. Going through the CGM certification process has made me look at all aspects of how we operate at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, helping to validate our processes across our department.

PGMS: What inspired you to pursue a career in the green industry?
Smith: Ever since I took an elective botany class in college, I was hooked. I received a degree in horticulture and have been in the industry for 35 years. In that time, I’ve done it all, from landscape laborer, foreman, designer, Garden Center manager and owner to Grounds Maintenance Supervisor. And because I live in the Midwest, my job changes every six months with the weather, giving me variety in my day-to-day work — which I love.

PGMS: What advice do you have for aspiring CGMs?
Smith: I thought about becoming a CGM for four years. I would advise anyone thinking about it to just do it. It’s a very educational and rewarding process, and something that will benefit you for your entire career.

PGMS: What challenges have you faced in your professional career that helped you through the process?
Smith: I owned my own retail business for 15 years. When you’re running everything, the buck stops with you. Every day, I managed staff, set budgets, purchased inventory and led customer service with everyone from vendors to customers. Very quickly, I developed a mindset of getting things done. I’ve held onto that in the years since, which helps me to stay focused on the tasks at hand.

PGMS: How do you think having the CGM designation will help you professionally?
Smith: In the process to become a CGM, I feel I have grown as a supervisor. By working on the certification, you must look at all aspects of your department in a non-compartmentalized way and gain a better understanding on how you operate.

PGMS: What are your favorite aspects of working in the green industry?
Smith: I love the transformative nature of what we do. In this industry, we beautify landscapes, fix problems, make sick plants healthy and help the environment. You must be very observant to your surroundings and always look for new ways to solve challenges.

To learn more about how you can obtain the Certified Grounds Manager certification click here or e-mail us at


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