Chris Moore grew up learning how to do things.
“How to fix the car, how to mow the grass, how to use a weed eater and chainsaw,” he says. “Anything my dad knew how to do, I learned it. Back then, if you wanted money, you had to do something to earn it.”
He’s still at it, figuring out problems and fixing them, as irrigation manager for Greenscape Inc.
“I just sort of fell into it,” Chris says of his irrigation career. A summer job at a landscaping company in Connecticut stuck. He was moved into irrigation installation, then service.
He liked it. Thirteen years later, he still likes it.
“It’s something different every day,” he says. “I need that. If I had to be at a desk all day, that just wouldn’t fly.”
Most of the time he’s out in the field, just like the three irrigation technicians who work for him.
Maybe a zone is stuck and won’t turn off. Maybe one area of a property is too wet. Is there a leak? Too much run-off?
Maybe a site is too dry. Is there an electrical issue? Is a valve not opening?
He loves this stuff.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Chris says. “You use your hands and your body, so it’s physical, but you’re using your brain, too.
“And there’s instant gratification,” he says. “You fix the problem, make things better and see right away what you accomplished.
“All of us really care about what we do,” he says. “I take my work personally. Probably too personally. I’m lucky to have a good group of techs who work with me who all really care.”
“He’s a Water Guru”
“Chris is one of those rare breeds that lives and breathes irrigation,” says Jon Davis, branch manager at Greenscape and Chris’ supervisor. “It’s all about trouble-shooting, and he has a passion for it.”
Chris is part electrician, part plumber, part detective, he says.
“The problems can be so different from one hour to the next,” Davis says. “It’s always an unknown. And it’s all underground. Chris doesn’t have x-ray vision, so he has to use his mind and his expertise to investigate, solve, repair and then move on to the next problem.”
He’s the type of guy who can “fill a room,” Davis says — confident and up front. But he has great finesse with customers, who love how well he explains things.
“He can explain to a customer why they should spend ten thousand dollars for a bunch of underground pipes they’ll never see,” Davis says, “but how much it will benefit them three to five years down the road.
“He’s a water guru.”
Sprinklers, Sensors And Saving Water
Part of Chris’ job is keeping up with new advances in irrigation technology that save precious water.
“It’s really where the industry is going,” Chris says. He loves telling clients he can install equipment that will reduce their water bills and use their water more efficiently.
No more watering the pavement, overshooting the grass or watching extra water running down the street.
Smart irrigation controllers use data from sensors and local weather forecasts to deliver just the right amount of water at just the right time, with little waste.
High-efficiency rotary sprinkler heads use much less water than traditional fan-shaped heads.
“You have to maximize the water you have,” Chris says. “The days of just letting water run everywhere are over.
“I love taking an old system that’s 20 or 30 years old and replacing it with new rotary heads and smart controllers,” he says. “Even if you spend just a thousand dollars, you can make a big difference.”
Milo And Me
Chris shares his home with his loyal dog, Milo, a pit bull and plott hound mix he rescued 10 years ago. Milo’s great at lounging, even though the plott hound part of him was originally bred for hunting boar. Never heard of a plott hound? It’s actually the state dog of North Carolina.
“I work six days a week, so on Sunday I mostly lounge on the couch with Milo and relax and watch TV,” Chris says.
He tunes in to history documentaries or how-to shows.
Chris belongs to a shooting range and loves heading there with friends.
“I like the challenge of trying to shoot more accurately, or shooting longer range,” he says. “It’s good for relieving stress.”
Like irrigation work, there’s instant gratification, he says.
“You see your results on the target, right then and there.”
He even built his own rifle, assembling it from a pile of loose parts.
“Your Word Is Everything”
“Greenscape is the first company I’ve worked for that really recognizes your drive and helps you move up,” Chris says.
When he was promoted from irrigation technician to irrigation manager, he realized being a manager requires its own set of skills.
“I don’t tell people what to do,” he says. “I say ‘Can you do this?’ You can be over somebody without constantly reminding them of that.”
He doesn’t ask his technicians to do anything he wouldn’t do, he says.
His goal is to do the best job he can, every day. He’s big on follow through.
“If you say you’re going to do something, you do it,” Chris says. “Your word is everything.”