January 5, 2021
Steve Hernandez
Steve Hernandez

How did you get started in the profession?

I got started in the profession by chance. I worked in the hotel and hospitality industry for about 15 years, then started selling life insurance for a couple of years. One evening, while I was out with a friend, we met a friend of his, who was looking for an irrigation crew for the summer. We decided to join him on an installation, and I enjoyed the work so much that I decided to keep doing it. The physical aspect was enjoyable and it was a very peaceful experience.

How did you get involved with the LO Irrigation sector group?

I was asked by a product rep many years ago, to join in the irrigation sector group meetings as a contractor. I believe we need to stay involved with our preferred industry in order to have any say in how the industry moves forward. We are always discussing various issues related to our industry, and if we don’t keep involved, then certain decisions could be made without our input that impact us and our businesses.

How did you get involved in teaching?

About 12 or 13 years ago, an irrigation contractor I had been working with mentioned my name to the Horticultural Landscape program coordinator at Humber College, as they were looking for an instructor for their irrigation course. So I called her up thinking it was a one-off thing at Humber Nurseries, only to find out it was for teaching at the college. I taught that class for about five years, and I guess LO got wind of it and  was later asked to teach some of its irrigation related classes and courses.

"...if we don’t keep involved, then certain decisions could be made without our input that impact us and our businesses."  
— Steve Hernandez

Do you volunteer with any other groups?

Over the past five years, I have been asked to present many irrigation topics and classes for organizations such as the Ontario Parks Association and Sports Turf Canada.

How has volunteering helped your career?

By staying involved with LO, I have been able to continue teaching and presenting at irrigation related events. I have been recognized based on those events, as someone who is committed to constant improvements and learning in this industry. I think that this has allowed me to sell myself (when needed) as a preferred contractor in this industry, or even as someone who can be referred to for information.

What is the best part of your work day?

I would have to say that I enjoy meeting and spending time with customers. Helping them discover their irrigation requirements or upgrades and maintenance of their properties is quite rewarding. I still enjoy the irrigation experience and the challenge of troubleshooting something and figuring it out, or creating a new design for a property that isn't irrigated.

What is the best part about the landscape profession?

Like many that get involved in the landscape profession, I still enjoy those beautiful summer days that allow me to get out into the fresh air and participate on a project that I consider to be more fun than work. Getting paid for it is a bonus!

Do you have any hobbies, talents or interests outside of work that you are passionate about?

I have been extremely lucky to have lived in different parts of the world. Having grown up living in various places such as The United Kingdom, Germany and Italy, and having spent a short time living in Washington D.C., I have a great fondness of travelling. I love seeing different parts of the world and encountering new and interesting people and cultures.