Published on March 31, 2016  
collins joe

What is your favorite thing about your job at Samford? My favorite part of this job is the chance to walk this beautiful space every day and to enjoy the opportunity to develop ways to enhance the appeal to our community and visitors. I’ll catch a new vista or another angle of campus I hadn’t noticed before, and it will remind me of the spectacular beauty of creation we are enveloped in every day. It’s quite a blessing that I hope to never take for granted.

What is one thing your colleagues may not know about you? Many people may not know that I have been here 20 years. The role of a grounds manager lends itself to be one in the background, similar to the officials of a football game. If we are not noticed then we have done a pretty good job. I’m still coming to grips with the fact that I have worked here longer than most underclassmen have been alive!

What is your favorite activity outside of Samford? One of the things I enjoy most is watching our two daughters participate in junior tennis. Seeing them work hard and then succeed in doing something they love is extremely rewarding. I also have a great group of friends that I have played softball with for many years. I still enjoy getting the competitive juices flowing and soaking in the fellowship of good people.

How did your background prepare you for your current role at Samford? My degree is in Horticulture with an emphasis on turf grass management from Clemson University (Go Tigers!). My background has primarily been in fine turf management at golf courses and here at Samford on our athletic fields, but I have always maintained a love for ornamental gardens and arboreta. I am allowed to pursue both passions here.

What, specifically, does your job involve? I manage the contractors we employ to maintain our campus. We have specialists in each specific aspect of grounds maintenance, and I work to make sure each entity appreciates and performs to our high standards each day.

What is the biggest challenge you face in maintaining Samford’s award-winning grounds? We have always searched for methods of maintaining our grounds with the utmost professionalism and with the best practices available. Finding time and opportunity to perform these duties in amongst the busy schedules of a living campus setting is difficult. We strive to remain unnoticed and have only the results of our work be evident, but that is not always possible unfortunately.

What is the best piece of advice you were ever given and by whom? I heard the immortal Clint Eastwood say to “overcome, adapt, and improvise” in a movie once and those are words I have fallen back on in many situations over my career. Many people have influenced me professionally whether they knew it or not and whether they intended to or not. I sincerely hope I can continue to observe and learn each day from all that goes on around me.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. The Wall Street Journal ranks Samford 1st nationally for student engagement and U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 66th in the nation for best undergraduate teaching and 104th nationally for best value. Samford enrolls 5,683 students from 47 states and 19 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference, and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.