Jeff McManus grows things. As the Director of Landscape Services at the University of Mississippi, he grows plants….he grows people….he grows ideas. Jeff is a problem-solver, understanding that doing more with less is a 21st century mandate.
After coming to the University in 2000, Jeff took on the challenge of managing a multi-million dollar landscaping beautification implementation project. Faced with a demand for excellence and high productivity, and a stagnant budget, Jeff knew that growing the people was critical to growing the plants. Through that experience, Jeff developed his approach to managing resources and developing personnel – his GROW-theory; a management and professional development approach based in the belief that all humans either strive for or have within them the elements of Greatness, Resiliency, Opportunity and Wisdom – they just need a fertile environment to GROW.
Taking his grounds staff, affectionately known as “weeders”, and developing them into “leaders” has been a joyous challenge that reaped acres of rewards in the form of national recognition by the Princeton Review, PGMS, Newsweek and every faculty, staff, student and visitor who has walked onto the Ole Miss Campus. Building on that momentum, Jeff has designed a professional development plan for his Weeders called Landscape University – a replicable training program that promotes the individual’s innate ability to GROW.
Jeff holds a Bachelor of Science in Landscape and Ornamental Horticulture from Auburn University and is a PGMS Certified Grounds manager, and Certified Arborist. His message rings true for any industry leader or manager looking to GROW a high-performance and dedicated workforce. Jeff has spoken at Caterpillar Inc, the Biltmore Estates, Leadercast, SRAPPA, Trent Lott Leadership Institute as well as the SEC Ole Miss Athletics. He has also worked with Memphis University, the University of Tennessee, the University of Georgia and private firms in developing their own training programs.