Chris Pierce spent a decade traveling the country building and renovating golf courses, from Pennsylvania to Puerto Rico.
“I lived in a motorhome and traveled with my dog,” he says. He laughs.
“It sounds like a country song.”
After nearly 35 years of working in the green industry, from nursery jobs to landscape construction, Chris could write plenty of lawn-inspired lyrics.
He Loves to Learn
Chris has been a commercial maintenance account manager at Michael Hatcher & Associates for three years, after an earlier stint here several years ago as an irrigation technician.
He started out as a landscape architecture major at Mississippi State University, but it wasn’t for him. He switched majors to landscape contracting, but ended up with a degree in agronomy, with an emphasis on golf and sports turf management.
Along the way, he learned a lot of stuff. He loves that he’s still learning.
“We’ve become a lot smarter about using water than we were 30 years ago,” Chris says. “New weeds, insects, and diseases show up. We discover new plant varieties, new tools, new technology.
“There’s a constant education piece, not just for our customers, but for us,” he says. “I like that.”
He loves learning off the job, too. He’ll choose a good documentary over an action film any day.
“We’re the Face for the Customers”
Ask Chris the main purpose of his job and he doesn’t even need a second to think about it.
“Customer service,” he says. “It’s as simple as that. We bridge the gap between what goes on in the office, and the crews doing the labor. We’re the face for the customers.”
He doesn’t say friendly face, but it’s implied.
“It’s important to let customers know it’s more than just a client relationship,” Chris says. “We look at it as a partnership.”
Now, more than ever, that humanity is at the forefront.
“Now, with COVID-19, we’ve had customers tell us they’re in a tight spot and need to reduce services,” Chris says. “We understand that. Does it mean we just stop going out there? No. I still go out to their property and make sure it’s in good shape. If there’s a storm, I make sure there aren’t trees laying across their parking lot. We still put our eyes on their property every week.
“We’ve got you,” he says. “We’re not just a service provider. We want to be part of your team.”
Cuban Roast Pork, Anyone?
Chris and his wife, Tammy, have been married for 16 years, but have known each other since elementary school and reconnected decades later through the alumni page on their high school’s website.
Their daughter, Emma Claire, 11, keeps them hopping. She plays about every sport you can name — basketball, volleyball, softball, soccer, and she’s even the quarterback on the boys’ flag football team.
So, Chris spends a lot of time watching sports, which is fine with him.
Members of the Memphis Zoo, Chris and his family spend a lot of time there, home to astounding creatures, from giant pandas to scimitar-horned oryx.
But you’ll likely find Chris at the petting zoo. He likes hanging with the goats.
He’s also the cook in the family. Sure, he’s often manning the grill, but he also whips up some Cuban specialties, a nod to Tammy’s heritage.
You might smell fragrant picadillo simmering, a savory Latin American dish of ground beef, tomatoes, olives, raisins, and spices. Or Cuban roasted pork, marinated in cumin, oregano, coriander, and citrus juices.
Two dogs, boxer Daisy and Basset hound Roy Lee, round out the family.
Payphone? What’s a Payphone?
Things have changed a bit in the nearly 35 years Chris has been in the business.
“When I started, we made sure we had a dime in our pocket in case we had to call the office,” he says. “We’d find a gas station and use the payphone. That evolved to us carrying what seemed like a 10-pound radio on our hip. Now we have cell phones that deliver information instantly and take pictures.”
Through it all, it’s not technology that has intrigued him, though. It’s people. He’s happiest when he’s walking a property with a customer, chatting face to face.
“It’s still a professional relationship, but a lot of times you begin to learn about your customers’ families, how they spend their weekends,” Chris says. “All of that goes hand in hand with great customer service.”
Let Us Meet Your Commercial Landscaping Needs
Chris is just one of the dedicated people on our team who help us deliver the best service to our customers.
Our people make us who we are. We’d love to show you.
Are you a commercial property manager in the Memphis, TN or Northern MS area? Are you ready to boost your property’s appeal or make your job less stressful? Contact us today for a property assessment.
Or do you want to work with our team of skilled, experienced, and personable people like Chris, who goes the extra mile for customers? Learn more about careers at Michael Hatcher & Associates.