The Pro Landscaper team met Frederick Maxwell during the FutureScape EXPO this past March in Atlanta, GA. Frederick had so much enthusiasm for the industry, we knew that we needed to get him in one of our issues. Our May/June issue focusses on the topic of diversity, equality and inclusion so it was a perfect issue to include Fred and his opinions on the industry and how to improve as he has more than 20 years in the industry, working with companies across the southeast.
Fred details two major roadblocks that he believes would create great strides toward workforce equality in the landscape industry:
“As a black man sitting at leadership tables in this industry, I see this often… There’s a lack of recognition. From an idea standpoint, from a respect standpoint. So, often a minority’s accomplishments, craftsmanship, workmanship and knowledge are all overlooked. We need to understand when a person is in a position, they are there for a reason. Then we should recognize and appreciate them for that. They should not have to prove themselves over and over again.
“Many problems develop without fair representation. We are a very diverse community, we have a lot of minorities that work with us. It blows my mind that they aren’t better represented among the leadership of our industry. I’ve heard dozens of different reasons why: the most common is that they’re unqualified. Really, though, I believe that people in higher roles are uncomfortable with people who don’t look like them, speak like them, or act like them… A leadership team should reflect what the workforce looks like, because a lack of diversity leads to a lack of understanding for different cultures.”
Frederick Maxwell is a creative sales director with Snow Creek Landscaping in Arden, North Carolina.
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