With March being National Women’s History Month, it seemed fitting that Turf speak to a female leader in the industry. As the branch manager for LandCare’s Orange County division in California, Nicole Hill admits that she wears a lot of hats. She manages quality, the labor force, customer relationships, safety programs, training, fleet management and community outreach — just to name some of her responsibilities. There’s never a dull moment, but that’s exactly what Hill says she loves about it. She says that every day has new challenges as well as new celebrations. Having come to the field through the nursery side of the business, Hill says that being a woman in the industry did not feel that uncommon. But as she has transitioned into more of an operational role, she’s certainly noticed being a minority. Even so, Hill says she has always felt supported and believes more women are becoming interested in management roles, and she’s excited to see that happen. We recently caught up with Hill to find out more.
I love camping and traveling. My family and I spent a year restoring a vintage Airstream camper, and we love taking it out on camping trips. I also love to cook and am constantly looking to try new recipes. My favorite go-to recipes are Italian wedding soup or chicken and dumplings. I also love hosting and cooking the family holiday dinners each year.
I come from a family of farmers and gardeners. Growing up, we always had a huge vegetable garden. When I was in college getting my psychology degree, I began working at a local nursery as a part-time job and fell in love with learning more about horticulture and plant care. Soon after that, I realized my part-time job was becoming a passion and after college I continued to pursue a career in horticulture.
Coming to the green industry through the nursery and floral/plant production side, it was not that unusual to be a woman in the industry. Even when I was working at Disneyland Resorts as the horticulture manager and arborist manager, there were a lot of women in my division. But when I shifted into more of an operations and field management role, I have noticed there were not as many women. I felt lucky to have had the opportunities I was given by many mentors — both male and female — through the years. They encouraged me to develop my leadership skills and gain more operational knowledge.
Hands down, the thing I like most about this profession is the people. I have always appreciated the green industry community and the type of people who choose this line of work.
It may sound boring, but I’m an avid reader. I love any chance I can get to sit down with a good book and a glass of wine. My favorite book genres are science, history and adventure.
I’m following in the family tradition by having a raised bed vegetable garden. I love to play around with it — growing heirloom vegetables.