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Garden Grounds & Facilities Manager

Rockford, IL 61107

Posted: 04/30/2024 Employment Type: Permanent Job Number: J 167362318

Job Description

Anderson Japanese GardensAnderson Japanese Gardens evolved from Linda & John Anderson’s vision to create a unique amenity for the Rockford region into an internationally renowned public garden.  In 1978, the Anderson’s retained Hoichi Kurisu to design and build their garden, which he did over the ensuing forty years.  During that time, five neighboring properties were acquired and incorporated into the garden.   Today, Anderson Japanese Gardens covers approximately 14 acres, is open to the public seven months a year and hosts approximately 100,000 guests annually.   The Garden is recognized as one of the highest quality public gardens in North America and is considered one of the best examples of authentic Japanese gardens outside of Japan.  The Garden operates as an independent nonprofit organization.   Anderson Japanese Gardens was founded and operates on the following principles: 
  1. Authentic Japanese garden design
  2. Excellent craftsmanship
  3. World-class maintenance practices
  4. Unmatched hospitality
  5. Unique guest experiences
 The SituationAnderson Japanese Gardens’ long-time Grounds & Facilities Manager is nearing retirement.  The Garden is initiating a search for his replacement.  It is desired that there is some time overlap between the retiring manager and new manager.   Position SummaryThe Grounds & Facilities Manager is responsible for maintaining the aesthetic principles & world class maintenance standards established by the Gardens’ Founder & Designer.  This entails overseeing the AJG Crew as well as outside contractors to: 
  1. Ensure plant health, the highest quality pruning standards & turf management practices
  2. Maintain all mechanical systems (HVAC, electrical, irrigation, pumps & plumbing)
  3. Maintain all structures & architectural elements (fences, gates, bridges, gazebos & buildings)
  4. Maintain all vehicles, equipment & tools
  5. Ensure a safe environment for employees, volunteers & guests
 This position reports to a Founding Family Member who is a member of the Garden’s Board of Directors.  Key Roles & ResponsibilitiesThe Grounds & Facilities Manager is responsible for leading the team that maintains the aesthetic principals and quality standards that Anderson Japanese Gardens is known for.  The role is critical for presenting a worldclass, authentic Japanese garden.   Key responsibilities include: Lead & Develop a Team of Highly Functioning Gardeners
  1. Lead & manage a crew of highly functioning fulltime & seasonal gardeners
  2. Recruit, develop and train new fulltime and seasonal gardeners on an as needed basis to ensure continuity and a highly functioning team
  3. Establish high individual performance standards & regularly assess crew members against those standards
  4. Seek and provide opportunities for ongoing training and continuous skill development
  5. Lead in a manner that creates a collaborative, energized and results oriented work culture
 Maintain & Develop Relationships with outside Vendors & Service Providers
  1. Maintain and develop relationships with reputable and responsive vendors, service providers and suppliers
  2. Oversee bidding process, review proposals, approve service contracts and award jobs
  3. Regularly monitor work-in-process to ensure compliance with AJG’s quality standards, job specifications and scope of projects
  4. Sign-off on satisfactory work completion prior to approving vendor invoices and submitting to accounting for payment   
 Implement World Class Quality Standards
  1. Develop and implement routine garden grounds, structures and building maintenance procedures
  2. Develop and implement preventative maintenance procedures
  3. Strive for continuous improvement on all department activities
  4. Identify and address quality deficiencies promptly
  5. Address safety issues immediately
  6. Continuous focus on quality improvement.  The small details matter, always.
 Provide Daily Horticultural Staff Management & Oversight
  1. Meet with team first thing every morning to discuss the day’s work plan and key issues to be addressed
  2. Set daily work and project priorities
  3. Delegate tasks and assign work schedules
  4. Schedule time every day to personally work in the garden
  5. Identify, coordinate and oversee repair and improvement projects
  6. Implement proper safety protocols and procedures for AJG employees, volunteers and guests
  7. Maintain all vehicles, equipment and tools
  8. Maintain and keep current all licensing and accreditations
  9. Feedback, both positive & critical, is encouraged & expected
  10. Address challenges and/or conflicts quickly & fairly
  11. Create a culture of continuous improvement and accountability so it becomes “normalized” across the organization.  
 Ensure Long-Term Standard of Excellence
  1. Maintain in perpetuity the Gardens’ original design and maintenance quality standards
  2. Identify and create plans to accomplish immediate and long-term capital improvement initiatives
  3. Ensure all guest features including structures, buildings, pathways & bridges are properly maintained at all times
  4. Ensure all mechanical systems including pumps, motors, irrigation, electrical and HVAC are properly maintained at all times
 Ensure Critical Attributes for a World Class Public Japanese Garden
  1. Plant health including the removal & replacement of compromised plants, bushes and trees
  2. Timely pruning of all bushes and trees
  3. Excellent turf and soil management  
  4. Proper fertilization, pest control and weeding through all areas of the Garden
  5. Adequate watering including spot watering during periods of drought
  6. Good water clarity in all ponds, streams & basins
  7. Removing and replacing any deteriorating plant materials
  8. Identify and repair any deficiency promptly
 Participate in Operational Level Business Functions & Management
  1. In collaboration with management, develop annual operating plan & budget
  2. In collaboration with management, prioritize maintenance and capital improvement plans and budgets
  3. Participate in weekly staff meetings
  4. Participate in industry specific seminars and conference
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About Rockford, IL

Ready to take your career to new heights in Rockford, Illinois? Explore our job opportunities in this vibrant city and uncover endless possibilities for growth and success. Nestled in the heart of Winnebago County, Rockford blends urban convenience with a laid-back Midwest charm. From iconic landmarks like the Anderson Japanese Gardens and the Coronado Performing Arts Center to the mouth-watering cuisine at Beef-A-Roo and the exciting games hosted by the Rockford IceHogs at the BMO Harris Bank Center, this city has something for everyone. The Rockford region boasts a thriving arts scene, with galleries like the Rockford Art Museum and the Klehm Arboretum & Botanic Garden providing inspiration at every turn. Discover your next career move in Rockford, where opportunities abound and a unique culture awaits!