Grounds Foreman

Requisition Number: 
Job Status: 
The grounds foreman performs general landscaping and grounds maintenance, operates landscaping equipment, supervises crews, and provides horticultural support for all garden areas. This position is hands-on in the field, and most of the time will be spent working outdoors year-round, performing manual labor and leading work crews to maintain the highest level of landscape maintenance. There will be occasional evening, weekend, and holiday hours requested.
Duties and Responsibilities: 

In this role, you will be responsible for the following: 

  • Under the direction of the grounds supervisor, perform general landscape maintenance and installation tasks consisting primarily of manual labor, including, but not limited to, the following: planting, transplanting, pruning, watering, hauling debris, mulching, mowing, raking, hoeing, digging, chipping brush, weeding, snow and ice removal, removing large trees, deadheading, and edging.
  • Review project schedule with grounds supervisor and horticulture services manager. Maintain up-to-date knowledge of project scope, priorities, and due dates. Provide daily communication on project needs, progress, and completion dates. 
  • Lead groundskeeper crews under the direction of the grounds supervisor in performing general landscape maintenance and installation tasks as assigned.
  • Safely operate large equipment such as forklift, tub grinder, front end loader, skid steer, sanders, snow removal equipment, water wagon, sprayers, and dump trucks.
  • Safely operate small equipment such as golf carts, leaf blowers, mowers, edgers, chainsaws, rototillers, and weed-eaters.
  • Perform general clean-up and equipment maintenance such as picking up trash and compost, removing refuse, maintaining tool and equipment storage areas, cleaning paths, and sharpening tools and equipment. Keep tools, supplies, vehicles, and work areas clean and organized.
  • Train, direct, and monitor staff in the safe use and operation of all tools and equipment.
  • Carry out the daily operation of the landscape waste program.
  • Provide daily information to the manager of horticulture services regarding plant accessions, removals, transfers, and label requirements. Assist with bed inventories and record keeping. 
  • Keep accurate weekly equipment maintenance records. Assist grounds supervisor with inventory and maintenance of tools and equipment. Report any tool or equipment problems to the grounds supervisor. Prepare work orders for repairs to garden features and equipment.
  • Work safely without injury to self, others, property or plants.
  • Interact daily with staff, volunteers, and the public in a friendly and respectful manner.
  • Assist indoors with projects when weather prohibits outdoor work.
  • Assist the horticulture division with support for special events and other projects as needed.

Key Garden competencies/behaviors desired

  • Communicates in a manner that gains the trust and support of others at all levels.
  • Works effectively with others despite differences of opinion and style; builds alliances.
  • Has a tolerance for opposing points of view.
  • Strives for collaboration. Works cooperatively, as a positive contributor to the team.
  • Demonstrates a positive attitude and shows kindness in all workplace interactions.
  • Makes decisions appropriate for level of responsibility.
  • Can effectively adapt to change; can shift gears comfortably; is flexible, and embraces change with a “can-do” attitude.
  • Is self-aware; knows personal strengths and weaknesses; seeks feedback and is open to negative feedback as an opportunity for improvement.
  • Is cool under pressure; can be counted on to hold things together during tough times; can handle stress; is not knocked off balance by the unexpected; is a settling influence during a crisis.
  • Recognizes problems, constructively identifies and articulates solutions.
  • Picks up garbage when it is seen regardless of position.
  • Follows safety guidelines to ensure a safe working environment and consistently demonstrates safe work behaviors.
  • Is welcoming of new hires.

Our ideal candidate will have the following:

  • Minimum two years hands-on field experience in landscape installation and maintenance.
  • 2 years supervisory experience.
  • Associate’s degree in horticulture or commensurate experience.
  • Skilled in the safe operation of small tools and landscape maintenance equipment.
  • Good written and verbal communication skills.
  • Basic computer skills required.
  • Must be willing and able to work occasional overtime as required by the operational needs of the Department including weekdays and weekends.
  • A valid driver’s license and insurable by the Chicago Horticultural Society is required.
  • Obtain a pesticide operator’s license through the Illinois Department of Agriculture within six months of employment and renew annually.
  • Certified arborist preferred.
  • Skilled at operating large equipment preferred.
  • Spanish bilingual preferred.
Physical Demands: 
Must be able to lift, push, pull, and carry items up to 50 pounds. Must be able and willing to work outdoors year-round, when the weather is hot, humid, or cold. Be comfortable working on slopes and step ladders.
Why Apply?: 

Come work in a setting that is like no other as you support our mission: We cultivate the power of plants to sustain and enrich life. Take the first step toward being one of the employees who make the Garden one of the treasures of the Forest Preserves of Cook County. Apply today. Please note that applicants who do not meet the required qualifications will not be considered.

Disclaimer: The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by people assigned to this classification. They are not intended to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities and qualifications required of personnel so classified.

We are an Equal Opportunity Employer and do not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, sex, age, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, status as a veteran, and basis of disability or any other federal, state or local protected class.

In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, the Chicago Botanic Garden does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its programs or activities, including in employment or admissions. Please call (847) 835-8264 to contact our Title IX coordinator should you have questions or concerns.