Who’s Who: Steven C. Smith Grounds Maintenance Supervisor at Airlie Gardens
Meet Steven C. Smith, Grounds Maintenance Supervisor at Airlie Gardens
Steven Smith is in charge of grounds maintenance at one of the most beautiful places in all of southeastern North Carolina – Airlie Gardens. The 67-acre public garden offers guided and self-guided tours along with a range of cultural and environmental programs. In this interview, you can get to know Smith, who says he has “the best job in the world.”
WT: Where are you from?
Smith: I was born and raised in New Hanover County.
What is your favorite part about living in the area?
Smith: Although living in the area has a lot to offer, I believe my favorite part is seeing how things have changed and the direction it’s heading.
WT: What are three words that describe you?
Smith: I believe the three words that best describe me are diligent, patient and inquisitive.
WT: What is your average workday like?
Smith: An average workday changes from day to day and from season to season, but planning for events no matter what time of year is always at the top of my list, whether it’s concerts, weddings or Enchanted Airlie, our annual light display. I also spend time scheduling the day-to-day maintenance of the grounds, ordering materials and collaborating with other team members to reach common goals.
WT: What do you enjoy most about your job?
Smith: I work in a historic garden. I have the best job in the world, but if I had to pick one thing that I enjoy most, it would be the collaboration between team members. Everyone has their part, and it takes all of us to be successful.
WT: What is the most difficult part of your job?
Smith: Letting some of our horticultural practices go by the wayside as we focus most of our energy on events. Unfortunately, we don’t have enough personnel to manage both.
WT: What has working at Airlie Gardens done for you?
Smith: It has given me the chance to hold on and preserve this beautiful garden, even if just for a moment.
WT: Do you have any goals in your job and what will you do to achieve them?
Smith: I would like to pass along a well-thought-out and decisive plan for the next caretakers. Collecting data will help us achieve this goal. We must know where we’ve been so that we can move forward. We have already started implementing plant healthcare programs to improve vigor on some of our beloved plants like the Airlie Oak, camellias and azaleas.
Fun Facts about Steven
- Favorite Movie: The Goonies
- Most embarrassing moment: This interview
- If you could have a superpower: I think flying would be fun.
- Favorite song out right now: I don’t a favorite song, but I have been enjoying The Marcus King Band lately.
- Pet peeves: People throwing cigarette butts on the ground.
- Favorite quote or mantra: “Sometimes we live no particular way but our own.” — Robert Hunter