Getting the “family” back together after Covid
by Shannon Dias, Imaginif Media
June 28, 2021
Like the old saying goes, it really does “take a village” to provide the feeling of being on vacation with each turn of your golf cart wheel here in The Villages. Everything you see from the roads to the flowers at the entryways is designed, maintained, and enhanced by The Villages, with a lot of help from local businesses that have the resources to support the active lifestyle and high expectation of residents. There are several companies that have been working behind the scenes for many years and ASG Solutions LLC is one of them. “Moving from south Florida to central Florida was a real shock to the system. The laid back atmosphere was concerning to me, as I was used to a quicker pace. The Villages does have a quicker pace, it is just behind the scenes.” Grant Merrick, Director of Landscape Maintenance and Enhancement for ASG enjoys supporting the growth. “We work very hard, but truly enjoy what we are doing at every level of the company. ASG provides us with an opportunity to grow through our potential and provide services we can be personally proud of.” 4 golf courses have been built by the crew, 17 courses are maintained, and more than 30 facilities are carefully trimmed to meet the quality of standards that is expected throughout, with properties being added monthly. But this isn’t a story about that. This is a story about people. On Saturday June 26th almost 300 of them gathered at The Villages Polo field to celebrate each other and the company. Last year Covid took something away from all of us that we will never get back, time. Moments spent laughing together, going out to lunch, playing a game of golf, sitting around a table exchanging ideas with one common goal, to do the best job possible and love the time doing it. It affected everyone.
It has been over a year since the crew has gathered like they did on that Saturday, and it has been hard on everyone despite a successful year of dedicated service. After weathering the storm of 2020, the ASG 2021 Family Picnic was a much-needed respite, and for many it was a first chance to meet some of the newcomers who recently joined the family. Sarah Mahan, a mom on the landscape crew shared this, “My son is having a blast and I get to hang out with my fellow employees and have fun too. It’s great to work for a company that really values their people.”
There was a collective sigh of relief when distancing no longer was required and life slowly returned to some sense of normal. When the ASG staff returned to the main office, there was a desire by all to celebrate getting the family back together with one of the traditional ASG family gatherings, however even this turned into something bigger. There was an overwhelming sense of connection and a need to really give back to the employees for the way that they handled the challenges brought on by Covid. A small company with a family atmosphere, ASG’s leaders wanted to give everyone a chance to just have some fun while also saying thank you for dedication to the team and the community. “Chepy”, as she is affectionately called by everyone, is often seen riding a mower with a smile and was happy to spend the day with her “ASG family”. This sense of combining work and play is part of the company’s Go Green core philosophy and it is one of the reasons the Director of Golf Operations Jeff Morris walks around with a smile. ” I just love the game of golf and every day I get to have a connection with it, give back to it, so that others can enjoy it as much as I do.”
The field around us is filled with bounce houses, running children, three legged races, food trucks, and even prizes that were donated by several businesses that work with ASG. There is that idea of family coming in again. As you look around the field the joy of just being in this one space together with their families is abundantly clear. Augustine Cene, resource recruiter, smiles over his Haitian accent while he shares a little about why this is not just a job for him. “People come from other countries looking for a better life and every day I have the pleasure of helping them learn and grow so that they can provide for themselves and their families” There are several workers from Haiti that have been with ASG since a program was implemented to provide opportunity. The program aids not only with jobs but also acclimating to life in the U.S. and all the paperwork that goes with it. The workforce here is as diverse as the melting pot of America with everyone working to overcome the language barrier and build unity, to grow the family. Timothy Tucker Smith loves his early morning shift, “Because of ASG I am able to get paid for two things that I love to do, getting exercise while being outside and meeting new people.”
“Everyone seems very close and friendly They care about your health and safety”
This is a place of hard-working people from all walks of life who enjoy celebrating and supporting each other. They are the ones watching the sunrise on the golf course, riding mowers by the pond, and putting down lines at the softball fields between games. They are Josh Carter, the Supervisor at The Villages Charter School whose favorite part of his job is “working outside and also being able to enjoy the hard work we put into our property.” They are the ones smiling while they work and sleeping hard at the end of the day. And they are all glad to be back celebrating, with family. Golf Course Superintendent Brian Cunningham shared why ASG has been a great fit for him for the past 9 and 1/2 years, “We have a strong team dynamic, with an owner that cares, and makes himself available for us, and I enjoy being part of something bigger than just ourselves.” ASG is in a growth mode as The Villages continues to flow on further south and new areas for landscape maintenance are added to the schedule. There is a sense of pride in their work and one of belonging. You could see the joy in the faces of parents as their children pushed mini bubble lawnmowers on the pristine grass of the polo fields and in the employees who knocked their co-workers into a tank of water like an old-time carnival. What you could not see was the countless hours and tremendous heart that was supplied by the crew in the office as Jessica, Carol, Kathy, and Grace put this event together. Every detail from the coordination of vendors to the selection of goodies for the SWAG bag was done with joy and excitement as the 4 women worked together to create a place of celebration for the entire workforce. The family picnic stood as a symbol of hope for the coming year as they prepare for whatever challenge is ahead.
ASG is currently hiring and if the idea of spending time outside working both independently and as a team appeals to you then pop over and fill out an application with Carol in Human Resources at 1215 Bonita Blvd The Villages. “I love talking with our employees and helping them. They all know they can call anytime, and they do”. Building healthy relationships with co-workers and customers is part of the Go Green philosophy instilled in every employee to provide an enjoyable and memorable outdoor recreational experience that enhances The Villages lifestyle.
Contractors host family events to thank employees
By DAVID R. CORDER, Daily Sun Specialty Editor
Jun 28, 2021
Marleigh Sumner slides down a bounce house during a picnic hosted by ASG Solutions on Saturday at The Villages Polo Club.