As president of Dallas-based Earthworks, which is primarily focused on commercial maintenance (namely HOAs in the Dallas-Fort Worth market), Chris Lee says he maintains a fleet that is a 50/50 mix of Ford and Isuzu — altogether comprising 85 vehicles. But Lee drives a 2013 Toyota FJ Cruiser, which is perfect for navigating the North Texas area where Lee says it can unexpectedly rain. Since he’s no longer hauling anything or pulling big trailers, Lee says the FJ Cruiser is more maneuverable and easy to park, which are both helpful since he’s frequently meeting with potential clients. Still, the four-wheel drive capability is key should Lee need to help pull out a mower that got stuck in a small pond — yes, that really happened. Since the main office and Lee’s house are in a rural area, south of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, there are many small country roads, not all of which are paved. Lee says the maneuverability of his vehicle is incredibly helpful in this capacity. Turf caught up with Lee to find out more about his vehicle and some of the surprising items inside.
All of our field trucks are branded. But, beyond that, we don’t feel the need for extra moving billboards. My truck and our managers’ trucks are not branded and that’s intentional. I’m going to meetings all the time, and I don’t need the competition to know I’m there. If I’m going to be bidding a job, the competition doesn’t need a head’s up.
Being a mobile office is essential, and my iPhone helps me do that. I probably answer 50 percent of my emails on my phone. I do carry a Surface Pro 3, but I would say that the majority of my emails need a couple sentences to answer, and it’s usually quicker to just do that on my phone. A vehicle with a multitude of charging options is also really important for a mobile office. My Toyota has three different charging areas so that my devices are always ready to go.
Everything has a place in my vehicle. I’m an organized person in life and in business, and I like everything being organized in my vehicle. When things are not where they’re supposed to be, it stresses me out.
People might be surprised to know I have a 12-inch machete under my front driver’s seat. It’s not for actual landscaping so I guess it’s more for personal protection or emergencies. I’ve switched vehicles three times and each time it’s come along with me and goes back under the driver’s seat — though I’ve never actually used it.
Sunglasses are my No. 1 essential — I have a pair of Costa’s and a pair of Native’s, and I love them both. It’s often very sunny in Texas and almost impossible to go on long drives or be out in the field without sunglasses. They’re both polarized and that really helps on those bright drives.
Olay 15 SPF Sunscreen — I’m always reapplying sunscreen on my face throughout the day.
Bausch + Lomb Opcon Itching and Redness Reliever Eye Drops — These are the world’s greatest eye drops and if you work around plants and pollen, they are an absolute must-have.
Smith & Wesson Pocket Knife — It’s my seatbelt cutter, get-outof- the-car-in-an-emergency type of tool.
My iPod — When I need music to decompress on the road.
Graco Car Seat — So that I can always pick up my 3-year-old daughter.