This issue of Who Makes Millersville Special features Seth Taylor, groundskeeper supervisor.
Q: Where are you from?
A: I was born and raised in Lancaster County in the Lampeter/Willow St. area.
Q: Where were you educated? What did you study?
A: I went to Lampeter-Strasburg High School, where I graduated in 1995. I then attended Harrisburg Area Community College, where I received my associate’s degree.
Q: When did you begin working at Millersville University?
A: I started here on February 14, 2010. Being that it was Valentine’s Day, it is an easy date to remember!
Q: What are your responsibilities as the groundskeeper supervisor?
A: The grounds department is responsible for the entire campus plus the outside of all the University buildings. We handle all mowing, mulching, trimming, pruning, trash, leaf and snow removal and just about anything else that pops up. But to me, a supervisor or manager does much more than just assign work and make sure it’s completed to set standard. A manager must be a teacher, student, coach, player, mentor, orator, therapist and a disciplinarian.
Q: What does a typical day consist of at the office?
A: We begin each day with morning meetings before we break off into our assigned areas. Much of what we do is dictated by the seasons, so jobs frequently change. The one constant is trying to keep an overall clean appearance at the campus.
Q: What grounds are you responsible for on campus?
A: As most of you know, we have a very large campus. We manage all the grounds from Centennial Drive over to Cottage Avenue and from George and Prince Streets. This includes all athletic fields and the University owned houses.
Q: Can you list some of the everyday problems you encounter in terms of grounds-keeping?
A: Student safety is always our biggest concern. But most of our normal problems that crop up have to do with trash and recycling. However, each season brings different problems.
Q: How did you enter this line of work?
A: I started my landscaping career when I was 15 years old. I was looking for work close to my parents’ house, so I could ride my bike to work. The only place close was Meadia Heights Golf Club. One summer there, and I knew working outside was for me. Yet the following summer, I worked in an office setting just to make sure. What I found was, eight hours inside felt like 16, and eight hours outside really felt like four. From that point on, I knew grounds work was in my future.
Q: How many years of landscaping do you have?
A: I have been working in the landscaping field in one way or another for the last 20 years.
Q: What do you love most about groundskeeping? What do you dislike?
A: Because most of what we do is dictated by the seasons, our work is always changing. Each season brings with it new jobs and challenges. So what that means for the grounds worker is that as you tire of doing one job, the seasons change and that brings with it a whole new job that needs to be done. It really keeps things fresh and interesting. The downside to the seasons is the temperature changes we have to work through. Extreme heat and cold seem to bother me more as I get older.
Q: What is your favorite tool to use?
A: Probably a mower. I enjoy the accuracy in striping the grass with the mower. Also, I like the mower because you use it over every square inch of ground, allowing you to see things in the campus that would otherwise go unnoticed. Plus, it’s just you and the mower, which gives you plenty of time to think.
Q: How do you prepare for potential storms?
A: Depending on the type of weather event predicted, we usually get specific pieces of equipment ready. We also set up work schedules, depending on the time the event begins. After those things are done and in place, we just monitor the situation and wait.
Q: Where did you work before Millersville?
A: I was the grounds superintendant for the Murry Companies for seven years.
Q: When not working, what is your favorite thing to do?
A: Spending time with friends and family.
Q: Do you have any hobbies?
A: Sports! Watching. Coaching. Playing. I have been playing hockey now for 30 years, still play hoops and have just recently taken up golf. Coaching my children and their friends has been pretty rewarding, as well.
Q: What are some of your favorite movies?
A: Comedy: Step Brothers. Action: Book of Eli. War: Band of Brothers. Drama: Game of Thrones
Q: Please complete this sentence. People would be surprised to know that I…
A: I love to read; I love to learn.