NCLC Success Story: Lauren Webster
Heading to NCLC? Come visit us! Lauren's story is one example of the many benefits of attending.
Lauren Webster recalls she was not particularly thrilled to be going to Alamance Community College for the National Collegiate Landscape Competition (NCLC) in 2018. After all, she’s from North Carolina and she was a student at Sandhills Community College in Pinehurst, N.C., at the time. Another community college in the same state wasn’t the destination she had in mind when she first heard the words “school-sponsored trip.”
Still, she was excited for the event itself and the opportunities that come with it. Looking back, she’s incredibly grateful for the experience at her first NCLC because it led her to her role today: a client relationship manager for Rossen Landscape.
NCLC is an annual three-day event hosted by the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP). It brings together landscape and horticulture students, landscape companies and dozens of the biggest industry manufacturers and suppliers. Each year more than 800 students participate in competitive events and get the chance to network with potential employers at a career fair. The location rotates among the two- and four-year colleges that participate.
“I'm very glad we went because (NCLC) really does open your horizons to anything and everything in the industry,” Lauren said.
Getting the Most Out of NCLC
In addition to participating in competitive events, such as sales, arboriculture and weed identification, Lauren said she was eager to attend the career fair to begin vetting companies for an internship she would be required to do before graduating.
At the 2018 career, Lauren was drawn to Rossen Landscape’s booth thanks to its bold marketing and friendly staff. There she met Rossen’s Senior Design & Sales Consultant April Sullivan.
“She’s chatty and vibrant, so it was easy to connect with her,” Lauren said. “I was a first-year student, so not really looking for an internship yet, but I took some of their folders and information and kept them in the back of my mind.”
A Lasting Impression
Remembering their interactions from the previous year, Lauren connected with Rossen Landscape again at the NCLC career fair at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colo., in March 2019. In addition to an overall friendly, positive vibe she got from the team, she said she was drawn to the company’s focus on excellence, boutique services and high-end residential niche.
A few weeks after NCLC, Lauren called Rossen Landscape founder Jeff Rossen to inquire about an internship. She was brought on board and by May, she was an integral part of the company’s spring flower program. Throughout the internship, she also had the chance to rotate among other positions in the business. She attended sales meetings, assisted in the design studio and shadowed operations team members.
“I got to see a lot of things and meet other industry professionals that year as well,” she said. “It gave me a really well-rounded idea of what the options are within a residential landscape company.”
Becoming Part of the Team
About two-thirds of the way through her internship, the Rossen team recognized that Lauren was outgoing and interacted well with clients; plus, her horticulture knowledge would help her shine as a client relationship manager. At the time, it was a new role within the company, requiring a mix of client relations, maintenance operations, sales, and project management skills.
“I think it's a great position to start at,” Lauren said. “It very much can be a launching board to anything that you want to do.”
Rossen Landscape offered her a job immediately following her internship in 2019. Since then, Lauren has enjoyed working with her team of skilled, friendly, upbeat coworkers and delivering excellence and beauty for clients.
“I wanted to learn to be the best of the best and work with the top of the top, and that's what brought me to Rossen Landscape,” she said. “I've loved getting the opportunity to work with clients and really help bring the details together on our properties that make a big difference.”
If you’re thinking about going to the 2022 NCLC event March 16-19 at North Carolina State University, we highly recommend it! Come visit the Rossen Landscape booth in the Career Fair while you’re there. We’d love to meet you. Who knows, you may find your perfect match with us the same way that Lauren did!