by Mary Jasch
Katrina Russo is no lassaiz-fair boss when she’s on the job! She is a woman of gusto, energy and dedication.
At 29, she is landscape foreman at Tibur Landscaping and Irrigation in Woburn, Massachusetts. She drives and operates an F350 dump truck and trailer with equipment, cuts lawns, builds patios, driveways and walkways, prepares commercial landscape bids and plows snow. She also works alongside her eight man crew.
Katrina enjoys being out in the field and working with the guys. “I’ve got to be out doing something. Any chance I get to be out on the road, I take it. It’s one thing to be a work foreman and checking on others; I go out with them and work with them. I’ve been a foreman for ten years. ‘Getting it’ came quick.”
Her specialty is lawns: cutting, fertilizing and installing them. While she and her boss, Joe Tibur, collaborate on garden and landscape design, Katrina runs the landscape maintenance department and has dramatically increased the customer base from ten to over 100 – in addition to the hundreds of irrigation clients. Enthusiasm sells!
Her efforts are limitless. She even changes the oil and rotates tires on her take-home truck, a 2003 F350 truck with a pink windshield. When on construction jobs in the Bobcat, she levels the ground, then lays brick and pavers. She does three or four construction jobs a year. “Every certification I can get, I go get it. I’m very big on the education factor of this field.”
As with most gardeners and plant lovers, she spent her youth playing outdoors. “I grew up with horses and dirt bikes. So my two brothers and my dad pretty much raised me,” she says. “My dad pushed me to do sports. My brother had muscular dystrophy. He was my biggest inspiration. He just kept going.” And so does Katrina.
Katrina attended Essex Agricultural and Technical High School, where hard core training taught her to work eight to ten hour days. Her jobs while attending were in a supermarket floral department followed by working as part of a country club grounds crew. “It was one of the best experiences of my life,” she says. “After I graduated in 2007, I knew what I wanted to do.”
Tibur returns the favor and employs students from the tech school in a co-op program. “I love teaching them. If I can bring in more girls and get them certified in the industry, then I’ve done my job.”
Says Katrina: “I’m hoping to move up to the COO position. Now I overlook the maintenance and equipment. My boss jokes that I’m in a 30-year contract. He’s not ever letting me leave.”
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published March 01, 2018