Dean Intwert is the operations manager at Salisbury Landscaping. In his role, Dean touches every department of the business on a daily basis. He’s rarely in the same place for more than ten minutes, but we managed to steal just a few minutes to chat with him about daily operations, teamwork, and how serious we are about safety.
Can you tell us a bit about what you do?
Well, I’m in charge of running all the crews, ordering materials, warranty, equipment, safety—basically any field operations. I’m also in charge of safety, which is a big one. I’m in charge of making sure we keep our safety COR requirements intact.
How did you become the operations manager at Salisbury Landscaping?
This is my seventh season at Salisbury. When I started, I was in charge of warranty. I did that for four years, and then I moved into this position.
Can you describe a day in your life?
First thing in the morning, I come in and I get all the timesheets recorded. We have a job board and a meeting in the morning, so I make sure the job board is updated—it’s what directs our crews to where they’re going. It also keeps track of all the materials each crew needs for the day.
Then, we run our morning meeting and make sure everyone is set up and organized. The job board meeting is to make sure everyone has the materials they need, and to know who needs more materials first. I’ll also meet with Jessica in the morning to go over the warranty schedule and make sure the warranty crew has what they need.
Then I go out to check on sites, mainly to check that everything is going alright. I make sure everyone has the right materials and supplies, and if we need more I place the orders.
I’ll also meet with Adam during the day to talk about management stuff. Then I usually make another trip to the sites to check on materials and check for any issues that need to be dealt with.
Let’s talk some more about safety. What’s involved in making sure the team is COR compliant?
COR is a government regulation and there’s a lot involved. It’s a daily process we follow to ensure the job sites are safe for workers and customers. It covers everything from making steel-toe boots and hardhats available to ensuring everyone on the crew has the latest safety training available. It’s also about keeping the equipment properly maintained.
It’s a huge list of tasks, but basically we make sure the equipment is safe, the job sites are safe, the crew is safe—even that the office is safe. We go through an audit every year and, to keep our COR, we must meet all the regulations. We also hold monthly and quarterly safety meetings.
What are the parts of your job that you enjoy the most?
It’s the whole build process itself. I really love seeing the design and then going in and finishing it. It’s making something out of nothing. I think that’s what mostly drives everyone on our team. And it’s satisfying to see a finished job. Ending up with beautiful, landscaped yards with nice walls and trees—all that good stuff.
How many times do you check in on a site throughout the project?
It kind of depends on the project, but I at least try to check each one out at the beginning, sometime in the middle of the work, and near the end. We average between 120-200 jobs per year, so I see a lot of jobs.
Let’s chat about warranty. What happens when someone makes a warranty claim?
Jessica is the first point of contact for warranty. She is our warranty coordinator, so she helps me out by taking those calls. Then, after our morning meeting, I coordinate the crew to go out and handle the job.
Can you describe a recent project that you thought went really well, and what was great about it?
Recently, we were scheduled to lay down 16 pallets of sod between a few different sites. It was a Friday and it had been raining all day, but the sod had to go down or it would all go to waste. We had three crews go in to the first site to lay sod in the mud and rain. Then when the first one was done, we all headed to the next site. We worked until 8:30 at night to get all the sod down, but we got it all done before the long weekend. That’s the stuff that’s kinda cool—when everyone comes together to get things done.