Jeff McManus

Jeff McManus
  • Author; Speaker Topics: Leadership, Motivational, Business
  • Company: Jeff McManus Speaks

About Jeff McManus

  • Director of Landscape Services, University of Mississippi
  • Author & Speaker
  • Book: “Developing Weeders to Leaders”
  • Topics: Leadership, Business, Motivational

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Jeff McManus

Engage, Educate, and Empower Your Audience or Team with Author and Motivational Speaker, Jeff McManus

Leadership practices are sacred at any level in any organization. All across the country, in every industry, leadership development that offers the individual employee the opportunity to thrive on both a personal and a professional level is needed. If employees, whether sitting at their desks, standing on a production line, or pulling weeds, understand that their ideas and investment of time, energy, and skill matter, then the culture of leadership begins to grow.

Jeff has been with the University of Mississippi since 2000. He is the Director of Landscape Services as well Airport Operations at Ole Miss. Jeff has a bachelor’s degree in Landscape and Ornamental Horticulture from Auburn University. He is also an International Society of Arboriculture Certified Arborist. He is member of many professional organizations and served in leadership positions in various non-profit organizations.

His background in 5 star resorts such as Grand Cypress Resort in Orlando, FL and Turnberry Isle Resort and Club in N. Miami, FL have given him the vision and understanding of how important it is to make a great first impression with landscaping. “You only get one chance to make a first impression,” McManus says. “Whether we like it or not, people often judge our organization by the outside appearance.” Our objective is to expand the beauty of the campus in order to attract, support, and increase a healthy, safe learning environment.

  • Jeff McManus recognized with Professional Grounds Management Society President’s Award for 2016 | Article
  • In 2002 Ole Miss Landscape Services received the very coveted, Professional Grounds Maintenance Society Green Star Award for Best Maintained University.
  • Landscape Services has also won the Urban Forestry and Green Development Award for 2007 Scenic Community of Mississippi.
  • The University of Mississippi was recently selected as one of America’s top 50 most beautiful campuses by The Best Colleges. Article
  • Ole Miss was recently ranked Most Beautiful Campus by Newsweek. Ranking List   Article
  • The University of Mississippi was just ranked as the best tailgaiting school by Tailgater Monthly. Article
  • The University of Mississippi was named the 2016 Best Beautiful College Campus by USA Today Article

“When I arrived at the University of Mississippi, affectionately known as Ole Miss, as director of Landscape Services in 2000, I came prepared to confront the truth of all those national rankings that listed the state of Mississippi at the bottom. What I discovered at Ole Miss was innate beauty and creativity just waiting for permission to grow. But Ole Miss’ grounds were not prepared as they could have been for recruiting America’s finest young minds at the start of the 21st century.”

“When then-Chancellor Robert Khayat interviewed me, he let me know that it would take time and effort to develop the potential of this campus. He understood that a total college campus experience, including an inspiring outdoor environment, was critical to recruiting top-level students, faculty, and staff to the university. He knew that students’ (and parents’) first impression of the campus would be a major factor in deciding where to go to college”.

His goals were big, the landscape budget was small, and so it was critical to look to the people who maintain the landscape to give the university a competitive edge.

Growing “weeders” into “leaders” became the secret sauce that put Ole Miss at the top of several lists. It won four national awards for its beauty, including Most Beautiful Campus by both The Princeton Review and Newsweek. (We affectionately call these awards our four national championships.)

I studied environments, practices, and methods that allow plants to thrive at Auburn University’s School of Horticulture. I learned how to diagnose unhealthy plants and make changes that help plants grow stronger. Learning how to grow thriving plants as well as observing Khayat and other great leaders, I discovered ways to help develop great people and a great team culture.

 I learned that having teams participate in the decision-making process has given them greater ownership in what we do. Some of our best ideas come from our front-line staff members. Former U.S. President Ronald Reagan kept a quote on his desk that read, “There is no limit to what you can accomplish if you don’t care who gets the credit.” Listening to, trusting, and respecting those I work with has paid huge dividends at Ole Miss.

Leadership practices are sacred at any level in any organization. All across the country, in every industry, leadership development that offers the individual employee the opportunity to thrive on both a personal and a professional level is needed. If employees, whether sitting at their desks, standing on a production line, or pulling weeds, understand that their ideas and investment of time, energy, and skill matter, then the culture of leadership begins to grow.

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Recommendations:

“During my years as Chancellor at Ole Miss, I had the privilege of working on many landscape projects with Jeff McManus. Jeff’s experience, insight and vision of growing and developing not only the campus, but also the people with whom he worked truly enriched the campus environment.”

Robert Khayat
Chancellor of Ole Miss
1995-2009

“In my role, I look for three attributes in a speaker: (1) a great message, (2) someone who is easy to work with, and (3) someone the audience can relate to. JEFF IS ALL THREE! He is a very genuine speaker and did an awesome job connecting with our Nutrition Staff members and providing an outstanding motivational message that set the tone for our entire day of training.”

Jennifer L. McNeil, RD, SNS
Assistant Director, Nutrition Services
Hemet Unified School District

“I would like to see Jeff do a plant wide version of this training at some point.”

 

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