Joe Ryder says that his Ford F-150 has been the perfect vehicle for the tasks that he must perform as the landscape production manager for Professional Grounds Inc., based in Lorton, Virginia. Between overseeing logistics and scheduling, checking in on field operations and ensuring that everything is staying on track, Ryder says he spends a lot of time driving around. Ryder, who says he was always on the path toward a green industry career, loves the job as he enjoys spending time outdoors and also working with clients. In his role, he gets a good mix of both. We recently caught up with Ryder to find out more about his truck and what he’s up to on a typical day.
I appreciate that I can load up my Ford F-150 when I need to. If I need to bring materials to a job site or pick them up, I have the capability and space to do that. I can even hitch a trailer if I need more space for something like equipment.
I’m on the go a lot. I may be checking in on job sites, meeting with a customer or meeting up with crews. I’m constantly bouncing around. Sometimes that means sitting in a lot of traffic, which is common in Northern Virginia, but I always look to maximize my time. If I’m in my truck, I’m making calls that need to be made.
The most instrumental thing in my vehicle is its Bluetooth technology. Virginia is not a hands-free state but we do a lot of work in Maryland and D.C., which are hands-free. And given how much I’m on the phone, and how much stop-and-go traffic I’m usually in, it’s just the safer option. Whether I’m setting up work with subcontractors, talking to co-workers about a project or ordering materials, being able to talk while also focusing on the road is critical.
I try to keep my truck neat and organized. Everything has a place and when I go to look for it, I know right where I’ll find it. I don’t snack in the car — largely because I don’t have the time — but also because I really do try to keep things tidy.
One of my favorite things about the green industry is helping bring clients’ ideas to fruition. It’s really rewarding to be able to help give clients spaces they truly love.
Gore-Tex raincoat — That’s a definite necessity since we don’t stop because of the rain.
ZIPLEVEL — For grading.
25-foot tape measure — To check heights or help layout a project.
Soil probe — To get samples from time to time on the chemical make-up of the soil.
Volt meter — Since we also do a lot of low-voltage lighting work.