St. Mary's College of Maryland Grounds Staff
STEVE GREGORY: Assistant Superintendant of the Grounds
Steve Gregory has worked at St. Mary's College of Maryland for twenty years. He is the Assistant Superintendent of Grounds and his responsibilities extend to nearly every aspect of the Grounds Staff's work. He is particularly involved in lawn care and irrigation as well as athletic fields' care. Mr. Gregory attended Golf Turf Management School at Rutgers University and received certification from that program. He is most proud of a special project that he did in remembrance of the tenth anniversary of September 11, 2001. He recreated the mascot of SMCM, the Hawkhead, in a stars and stripes pattern on the athletic field. It was a beautiful piece of work for an important date that needed to be memorialized. See the picture, above, of this event.
CHERYL KRUMKE: Assistant Supervisor of the Grounds, Master Gardener
Cheryl Krumke has worked as part of SMCM's Grounds Staff for about seven years. Her responsibilities are extensive and include taking care of trash pick up, beds, flower planting and care, coffee ground compost, interior plants, managing the burn pile, tool room and equipment storage. She has completed training in the Master Gardener program. Before working at SMCM, Ms. Krumke attended two years of college at Old Dominion University, and two years of horticulture school at the Norfolk Botanical Gardens in Virginia. She has worked on a number of projects that she enjoyed and of which she is proud. The Schaefer Garden is one of her particular favorites; it was very overgrown and required major renovation. She also remembers the work that went into the Townhouse Crescents' back gardens. Ms. Krumke would like to raise awareness about the amount of trash that builds up on the SMCM campus. It takes members of the Grounds Staff two hours every morning to clean up the trash that accumulates over the course of a day. It would be appreciated if students did their part to help keep SMCM a clean and presentable place.
JUSTIN MATTINGLY: Groundskeeper One, Arborist
Justin Mattingly has worked as part of Grounds Staff at SMCM for about two years. His main responsibility is caring for the trees on campus. Mr. Mattingly is a CISA Certified Arborist and a Maryland Tree Expert. His favorite work, and the work that he spends most of his time doing, is pruning and caring for all of the Arboretum Association's trees. This work is never complete because the main business of trees is to grow. His intentions are the best for Mother Nature and he wishes students and faculty of SMCM to understand that pruning is an important part of keeping a tree happy and healthy.
ERIC REED: Groundskeeper One
Eric Reed has been part of the Grounds Staff for about five years and he has a wide range of responsibilities. He is involved in athletic field care, mowing grass as well winter road care, and driving the salt truck. Mr. Reed enjoys planting projects as well as his other responsibilities and working with other members of Grounds Staff. He particularly remembers the tree removal and care that had to be completed after Hurricane Irene. It was enjoyable because every member of the Staff worked together to get the job done, and students came out to volunteer as well with the clean up activities. Mr. Reed is trained in machinery service as well as in safety practices here at SMCM. He also won a scholarship the first year that he was working here and was able to take classes at SMCM. He is interested in the Art Program especially. Mr. Reed enjoys helping to make SMCM clean, beautiful, and safe for students, faculty and fellow staff members.
EARL BARBER: Groundskeeper One
Earl Barber has been a part of Grounds Staff for nearly two years. He works closely with Justin Mattingly to take care of campus trees. Over the course of his time here, he has received training in gardening, learned about tree work with Justin Mattingly, and taken courses in safety. Mr. Barber is happy to have the job here at SMCM and enjoys the work as a whole. He would like to raise awareness about the amount of trash that this campus generates, and the work that goes into its clean up.
JEFFREY GEREK: Groundskeeper One
Jeffrey Gerek has worked as part of the Grounds Staff for two years. His responsibilities are spread out among every task that the Staff undertakes, including cutting grass, weed eating, and planting trees and flowers. He had previous experience in lawn equipment care with Carroll's Equipment, and also received training in equipment from Kevin Mercer. He really enjoys the work that he has done at planting events. For example, he tilled the soil and prepared the land for the edible plants event for the Arboretum Association next to the Daugherty-Palmer Commons. He has also been a volunteer firefighter for nine years.
EDDIE COOPER:Groundskeeper One
Eddie Cooper has worked as part of Grounds Staff for one year. His main responsibilities include maintaining equipment and he spends most of his time in the shop repairing and caring for this equipment. He also dabbles in planting projects. In fact, one of his favorite projects that he helped with was planting flowers with Cheryl Krumke, the Assistant Supervisor of Grounds. Mr. Cooper has a history working in the mechanics trade. He received training in mechanics and equipment care during his time working at John Deere, starting in 1976. He also worked at McDonald-Douglas Airport, where he worked with ground support equipment and completed training in management. He was able to attend the University of Maryland for training in Torro lawn equipment as well. Mr. Cooper has been part of the Volunteer Fire Department since 1967. If you ever have a problem with a piece of equipment, Mr. Cooper would be happy to help out.
In a previous interview with Kevin Mercer, we learned:
Mercer and the SMCM grounds department’s approach to work is nontraditional compared to other campuses. The St. Mary's student community is committed to our being environmentally-friendly in campus landscape techniques, and they advocate strongly with an administration that acknowledges their concerns and works to incorporate their ideas whenever possible. Some of our recent commitments in this arena have included the establishment of meadows, lowering the carbon-footprint, and using less fuel. The Arboretum, with their encouragement (a student government initiative) has pledged to promote primarily native species plantings on campus, to strengthen the natural landscape and support indigenous wildlife of the area. With respect to the acreage that is involved, the grounds department maintains and grooms 45 acres of land, 60 acres of land are given the grass-cutting treatment, and 5 acres of beds are maintained annually. When renovations to the stadium fields were taking place, the idea was presented to make use of the storm water for irrigation of the sports fields and admissions field. This idea is beneficial in two ways; one being that no potable water is being used towards irrigation, and also that storm water is handled in such a way that the nutrients that are beneficial to the growth of plants found in storm water is removed before getting to the river (where such nutrients might impact the shoreline negatively).
Mercer recently won the President’s Award for Leadership by the Sports Turf Managers Association (he has multiple certifications in turf and field management and applications). Mercer did not accept the award solely on his behalf; he acknowledged that without his staff, none of the work undertaken on this campus would be possible. This award was presented to his team for their creative approach to how they think outside the box to get the work of St. Mary's grounds care done well and done right. For Mercer, being environmentally responsible is important. St. Mary’s is often ranked in the top 20 list for the most beautiful colleges, up there alongside much wealthier institutions like Princeton and Harvard. Achieving Level One Arboretum status from the Morton Arboretum accreditation society, and winning this past year Tree Campus USA status from the National Arbor Day Foundation, are two recent awards that have been very satisfying for Mercer and the members of our grounds and facilities staff.
Aside from Mercer’s gratitude for the staff’s contributions, he is also very thankful for the student volunteers who do their part in cleaning up the campus by picking up trash. Mercer is in large part referring to David Wood, a rising junior at St. Mary's, for the great work he and the other volunteers do with the Sunday cleanups. Mercer says that there has been a noticeable difference in the appearance of the campus due to these clean ups, and he wants it to be known that he is very appreciative.
Mercer concluded his interview by saying, “I am very honored to work at a place where I am allowed to be creative and conscientious about how we care for and beautify our southern Maryland community. Come and visit - St. Mary's College of Maryland is worth a visit!“