Photo courtesy of Kevin Shackleford

Even though Kevin Shackleford doesn’t spend as much time doing daily tasks in the field like he did in the early days, there are still some things he hasn’t changed from those hours he clocked while on a mower. That includes his food choices.

“I have a basic peanut butter sandwich for lunch or fast food since I’m usually on the go,” says Kevin Shackleford, the CEO of Shackleford Landscape Group in Bear, Delaware. “My lunch food choices have stuck with me since I was in the field, day in and day out.” Shackleford manages almost 25 employees and is 100% commercial, providing snow and landscaping services. Here’s Shackleford’s average day.

I wake up at 5 a.m., take a quick shower and hop on top priorities to get them done. For breakfast, I bring oatmeal or buy breakfast – something with bacon, egg and cheese. I try to avoid caffeine like coffee and energy drinks because I don’t like the crashes associated with them. However, during snow operations, I do drink them to stay awake.

It’s about a 15 minute drive to our main headquarters. If I’m going to our other locations, then it’s about an hour to an hour-and-a-half away. I listen to a diverse pallet of music ranging from hip hop, to R&B, to pop, to some country.

Sometimes I’m in the office at 6:15 or sometimes 9 a.m. My branch manager starts the day and does stretch-and-flex, and if I come in at 9, then we have a quick debrief and go from there.

In the morning, I also usually lead safety meetings although I have a safety director. I’ll hop in to help keep things from getting boring. I’ve learned keeping things fresh and exciting is key to employee development. I’ll also help my team quote projects and talk to clients about what they are looking to get done. Although I have an awesome team, I do have clients who like to hear from me and see my face, so I pay them visits regularly.

We regroup at lunch and go over key objectives to accomplish before day’s end like post- mower morning check. After lunch, I’ll do site visits and visit with those on the front lines. Simply going out in the field has done wonders for my operation.

Around 4 or 5 p.m. we have crews back in. I normally leave end-of-day tasks to the branch manager who makes sure crews are back and any incidents are reported that day. There are times I come in to do maintenance or other stuff for fun.

If it’s summertime, we try to be done with work on Fridays by 3 to give our team time to go boating, jet skiing, or sleep at home – whatever they wish.

In the evenings I like to spend time with family and friends and relax and recharge for tomorrow. I’ll head to bed around 10 p.m.

On weekends, if a client calls, we will get it done. Some clients we have prefer we do major projects on weekends due to less traffic and distraction to their business.