Malcom "Mac" McPhail
Malcolm “Mac” McPhail became a New Hampshire Certified Landscape Professional in 2003 and in the process learned a lot of valuable information. More importantly, he also made new connections with other professionals in the industry that have proven to be even more valuable.
Mac grew up on a small horse farm in Bow, back when Bow was a small town. His family had a few boarders to go with about 6-8 horses they owned, and most week-ends would find them at a horse show. They spent plenty of time shoveling stalls mixed in with some trail rides through the woods. He remembers going for walks or bicycle rides on the same trails; and found he just liked spending time in the woods. And he still does.
From 1975-1982 Mac worked during the summers on a sod farm, to help pay for college. Graduating from UNH with a BA in 1982 Mac didn’t find any employment opportunities that interested him. He enjoyed working outside on the farm so much that when a harvest foreman job became available at the sod farm, he took it. Over the next 10 years he gained experience in turf production from tilling to fertilizing, seeding, mowing, irrigation, harvesting, and trucking. Through those years he read text books and any current studies he could find about advances in turf science. He stayed at the sod farm for 25 years; becoming traffic manager and eventually moved into a sales position.
During Mac’s time at the sod farm, the company was committed to providing education and training. Most employees gladly took advantage of the opportunity for any education that helped them to do their job better. When they heard of the NHLA certification program, it made sense to give it try. On the first attempt, he passed the written exam, but failed the Plant ID portion.
Mac has never accepted failure well so he was determined to become certified and signed up for the Summer Plant ID course with Dana Samson at UNH Thomson School in 2003. He and a co-worker spent that summer working through the weekly lists, making flash cards with a description and picture of each plant for studying material. By the end of the course they had a full notebook of plant identification information. Mac passed the ID exam and became an NHCLP in the fall of that year.
Even though he presently works for a John Deere equipment dealer, he still feels strongly about maintaining his certification and the importance of continued education. Being certified brings instant credibility amongst landscapers and property managers.
Mac currently serves as co-chair of the Certification Committee. He says that gives him the opportunity to work with some great people who are all true professionals in the industry and that has been the most rewarding part of being certified. m
The individuals featured in this column (also on the website) are NH Certified Landscape Professionals. If you are interested in becoming an NHCLP, please find out more information on page 5 and on our website, www.nhlaonline.org.
If you are already an NHCLP and would like to be featured, please send an article and 300 dpi jpeg of yourself to Patty Laughlin, Lorax Landscaping, 603-303-0179, firstname.lastname@example.org.