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Property Heroes

Jan 29, 2024

When you think of Heroes, Superman, Wonder Woman or Batman might come to mind. For me, it was usually someone in the Military, Police or Fire Deptartment. Regular people doing extraordinary things.  

The Property Heroes we have at Semmer might not stop a speeding train, but they can make the life of the residents and property much easier by going above and beyond. When considering writing this article, I decided to make this about our unsung heroes, the staff that does the day-to-day work, and rarely is publicly recognized.     

Great examples of a Property Hero are saving the client money, going the extra mile to keep the client happy and taking extra steps to prevent when could be a much bigger issue. Semmer employs over 150 staff team members in season and while all do a great job, there are a few that really stand out.  


The toughest segment of our business as it truly emergency on-call work. Trying to determine the timing of each storm, properly staffing depending on what service is called for, and then providing high level service to allow customers to navigate their lives with minimal interruption. Add to this the brutal environment we work in, minimal visibility, high winds, and freezing temps. This all makes our job that much tougher. While a shout out goes to all the Semmer Snow Warriors, there have been a few that have really stood out.     

One of our clients, Giovanni, a property in the South Loop emailed me how Semmer goes above and beyond saving them money and aggravation over the winter months. “Although the landscape crew does a great job every season, the example of Semmer being a hero at U.V. HOA is definitely in the winter. The snow crew working collectively with their Supervisor (Baltazar) always does a good job clearing snow. The snow crew does an amazing job utilizing the limited areas of the property to store/spread the excess snow that hits our property driveways, roads and parking lots. This allows the HOA to limit the use of having to offload/remove the snow from the property which potentially could saves the HOA thousands of dollars in any given snow season.”   

Sometimes its just a matter of keeping the client happy with some creativity. At a site in Lincoln Park, where space is a challenge, Semmer needs to store a Skid Steer tractor for plowing on site at the board’s request but some of the homeowners did not want to see the equipment sitting in the courtyard all winter. After meeting on site with our supervisor, Luis, and the property’s’ Landscape Chair and Board member Chris, Luis suggested screening the tractor with a hedge of Arborvitae. Chris stated that Luis’ creativity “really impressed the concerned homeowners and was able to keep all parties satisfied.”       

While it may be something as simple as rotating starting points on each property so all homeowners feel they receive equal service, or on site meting to discuss the snow storge areas, the little things can go a long way in keeping the client happy.  


The site supervisors take a very active role in not only making sure the weekly contracted tasks are accomplished, but also on the lookout for any preventative action that could be taken to either improve the sites appearance or the prevent or solve issues that could be expensive for the client.   

From Carrie, the manager of a West Suburb property: “Every week J.P.  (Site Supervisor) meets with the onsite facility manager and property manager to review any concerns that residents may have brought up during the previous week and to discuss the upcoming service schedules. He puts out fires for us weekly keeping the residents feeling their concerns are not only heard but actions were taken to resolve the issues while not incurring any extra expense. He truly looks out for our property and residents.” 

Occasionally, it is the speed in which we make a problem disappear. At one of our South Suburban properties, I had an unusual complaint come in this summer. The report was that a residents American Flag flying in his yard was damaged. I drove out to inspect the complaint myself and was joined by the site Supervisor, Jose R. It appeared that while mowing the lawn, the movable flag stand was accidentally cracked and had later broken after the crew had left. We met with the homeowner, a veteran, and assured him we would repair it as soon as possible. Jose woke up first thing in the morning and drove to Home Depot to pick up parts and he repaired the stand on the way to work that next morning. The homeowner called our office to thanks us for the quick reply as it meant quite a bit for him to have Old Glory flying in his front yard.    

As we service quite a few municipalities and schools, we are frequently asked to modify our schedules to accommodate softball/baseball/soccer tournaments, special events, holiday celebrations, etc. As this service request is sometimes overlooked until the last minute, the Semmer crews need to react and mobilize quickly as soon as the request comes in.  

While this can be a little stressful on the staff, our clients greatly appreciate the effort, and we are usually rewarded with a long term relationship.    

Landscape “Firefighters”

Similar to our respected first responder heroes, Semmer on occasion is called into emergency action to put out a “Landscape Fire”. Something unexpected that just cannot wait for tomorrow.  

At one of our south loop high rises, the property manager Abbey called in a panic. Apparently, someone pulled out all of the flowers on the parkway beds along Michigan Ave. As this is a high visibility account and NASCAR was coming into town that weekend, the building needed to look top notch. One of our account managers, Sean, sprang into action and immediately headed over to the building. Within two hours of the call being placed, Sean repaired the beds to prior condition and saved all of the annuals, saving the building considerable money.   

Thanks to our proactive foreman, Mauricio, we saved our client thousands of dollars in lost summer annuals. While on site on a very hot early July day, Mauricio noticed that the summer flowers at the entrance of a Southwest Suburb property that we service were wilting and struggling. He immediately took pictures and sent them to the salesman and his supervisor. While Semmer installed the flowers, we do not manage the irrigation (the board had already been using a company when we took over). The system had apparently malfunctioned, so the flowers were on the verge of being relocated to the compost heap, certainly not going to make it another day.  The client’s irrigation contractor was not responding. Once again, our supervisor Jose sprung into action and immediately headed to the site. Within one hour, Jose had the system back online and watering and saving the annual flowers. Semmer was immediately awarded the service contract, which we still have today.    

While certainly no company is flawless, I was extremely proud write this article and share some of our proudest moments at Semmer Landscape and highlight some of our Heroes.  

Sincerely, your friendly neighborhood landscaper – Steve