Michael Mayberry started mowing lawns and shoveling driveways when he was just a kid. But he got a more official start in the green industry by working on a golf course — weeding all day long. Even though it was tedious work, Mayberry says he loved it. The idea that he could work outside all day for his career was appealing. After putting around the golf course industry for close to a decade — as well as a brief stint living on a boat in Key West — Mayberry made the change to the landscaping industry. As a technology guru, Mayberry is now the chief technical officer at Level Green Landscaping, headquartered in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. But Mayberry says he makes a point to still get outside as much as he can — including plowing when the company needs him. It’s often all-hands-on-deck during a big storm and Mayberry is more than happy to jump behind the wheel. We caught up with Mayberry to find out more about his time on the road — as well as the two years he spent on a boat.
WHEN I WAS 22 I SOLD ALL MY BELONGINGS, RENTED A CAR, AND MOVED TO KEY WEST. I spent a few years enjoying island life, which had always been a dream. During that time, I had the opportunity to take a sailboat trip, which ended up lasting two years.
WHEN I PLOW, I COULDN’T GET THROUGH A STORM WITHOUT MUSIC. Music is huge in my life in general. If it’s a big snow event, I’ll make a play list and try to match it to the length of the storm so that I never have to hit repeat. But when we had a blizzard two years ago I set it up for three-days of music and it ended up being closer to seven.
GETTING IN A GOOD MEAL BEFORE YOU GET ON THE ROAD FOR A BIG STORM IS IMPORTANT. Once that storm starts you end up living off of whatever is open — a lot of times it’s a convenience store. I do try to prepare and pack some healthy snacks, and I definitely stay away from soda.
I STEER CLEAR OF ENERGY DRINKS WHEN I’M PLOWING BECAUSE I THINK THEY MAKE YOU CRASH HARD. I even try to be careful with my caffeine intake. I won’t have it to start off. But as I start to hit that hump, pulling into a Starbucks keeps me going.
BEFORE A STORM I MAKE A POINT TO RELAX AS MUCH AS I CAN. There’s a lot going on with storm prep, and that can get stressful, too. But at some point, you have to draw a line and say ‘I’m prepared as I’m going to be’ and then take a little time to rest. Once the storm starts, you don’t get that. It’s important to start off on the right foot.
- Music either on my iPhone or iPod
- An extra blanket and a change of clothes — my dad always taught me to be prepared for everything
- Water and snacks — usually some beef jerky and peanuts
- Spare fuses for the salt spreader because you know you’re going to blow a fuse
- Hand tools to make those repairs when they come up.
- Starbucks coffee when I need to get over the hump
- A flashlight because something will ultimately break down that you must check out at night of course.