When Jeff Goode was 25 years old, he took a job as a crew member for a small design build company. He was fresh out of college with a degree and the strong body of kid who played college football for four years. He enjoyed being outside and working with his hands and found that he was pretty good at the job. He worked hard for a year and then got his first promotion to foreman. A couple of years later, he got bumped up to supervisor for one crew, and then several.
A few years after that, he joined Perficut as a Landscape Coordinator. His job revolved around making sure the crews had everything they needed to do their jobs. His new bosses noticed that he had a great eye for details and a knack for managing people, so they promoted him to Production Manager. He was responsible for managing production within Perficut’s construction department, which was everything from overseeing crews to ordering supplies. A few years into this job, Jeff started to notice things. Little things, like uneven mowing or landscape edging that wasn’t completely flush with the ground.
“I’ve always had an eye for details,” he says. “It’s just how I’m wired.”
He had a conversation with Perficut President Matt Boelman about the things he was noticing and walked out of the meeting with a new title: Quality Control Manager. His job was basically to just be himself and put his eagle eyes to work on job sites, paperwork, and everything in between.
“My role was basically just to make sure that everything we did was the way it was supposed to be and met Perficut’s very high standards,” Jeff says. “My main focus was to make sure our customers were happy with the work we were doing and to find the little things that make a big difference.”
An Inside Job
On paper, the evolution of Jeff’s role at Perficut is a bit unusual. But it makes complete sense when you consider how Perficut operates. The last 10 years have brought tremendous growth and a shift in the kind of clients the company works with, from smaller residential projects to large commercial landscape construction projects. Any company that grows this quickly knows there will be a few growing pains, but Perficut has a unique take on them.
“We like to identify our weaknesses and then find a way to address them,” Jeff says. “And we do that by looking closely at our employees and their unique skills or traits.”
It’s an unconventional approach that has worked out beautifully for the company so far. Rather than bring someone in from the outside to fix a problem, Perficut looks internally first to identify special traits or abilities in their workforce. Once they find someone with a special trait, like Jeff’s eagle eye for details, they try to figure out how they can use that to help the entire organization while also encouraging growth and development in the individual. It’s happened countless times over the years—with the safety-obsessed supervisor turned Safety Manager, with the mower who hustles his heart out turned Mowing Manager—and in each case, that new role benefits the entire organization.
“We never stop looking for each person’s individual abilities and saying okay, how can we take things to the next level and add to our company?” he says. “We are always trying to think of ways we can use the talented team we have to take care of a client’s need in a way that is different from what anyone else can provide.”
In Jeff’s case, the new role was a perfect fit. His experience starting as a crew member and working his way up through the ranks gave him opportunity to work on many, many different projects. He learned the ins and outs of large-scale residential projects and also commercial projects.
Not long ago, Jeff was promoted again into the new role of Project Manager. He does a lot of bidding for commercial projects and working with general contractors on budgets. And his lived experience working in the field helps him do every part of his job more effectively.
“I can see the project from all angles because I’ve worked each of those roles,” he says. “I know how long it takes to actually do things, which helps tremendously with estimating, because I’ve done those things. I’ve seen enough installations to know when something isn’t done right and how to fix it.”
His latest role also involves some design work, which is a special skill his managers discovered not too long ago. Jeff has been doing woodworking on the side for many years, and the hobby honed his eye for details and his love of precision. He has designed many small projects over the years, but when his team found out about this talent, they recruited him to design and build some unique, modern benches for a residential client design build project. The benches were a big hit with the client, and you can hear the smile in Jeff’s voice when he talks about it.
“A couple times a year, I get tasked with a small design build project for a residential client and I appreciate having the opportunity to use that part of my brain and contribute to the project in a different way,” he says. “Perficut is really good at finding peoples’ strengths and putting them to the best possible use for the client and for the team.”