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Job Summary

Under the general supervision of the Associate Director of Plant Operations, the Grounds Manager is a working supervisor responsible for the safety, cleanliness, aesthetics, and environment of the University’s 220 acres of campus grounds, including: landscape design and maintenance, grounds maintenance, irrigation, disease identification and treatment in turf/plants/trees, storm water management, pest control through Integrated Pest Management practices, snow removal, inclement weather clean-up, asphalt and concrete repairs, vehicle and equipment maintenance, solid waste collection, and recycling. 

Other responsibilities include fostering a positive culture, managing the department’s annual operating budget, planning work assignments, and supervision and leadership of department staff.  All Grounds Department personnel, including the Grounds Manager, are considered essential staff and are expected to report to work during inclement weather, campus closures, and other grounds-related emergencies.

Knowledge and Skills

Knowledge of:

  • Contemporary principles, materials and methods of grounds maintenance and repairs
  • Safety practices relevant to grounds keeping
  • Methods and techniques of grounds maintenance and repair of irrigation systems
  • Modern office procedures, methods and communication equipment
  • Principles and practices of financial record keeping and reporting
  • Principles of supervision, training and performance evaluation
  • Safety and accident prevention practices
  • Horticulture and landscape maintenance
  • Inventory records and systems
  • Applied working knowledge of Storm Water Runoff Management
  • Integrated Pest Management practices and procedures

Skill in:

  • Using reasoning to identify alternative solutions and approaches to problems
  • Communicating with others orally and in writing to convey information effectively
  • The use of tools and motorized equipment commonly used in this vocation
  • The use of tractors and pickup trucks and a variety of common grounds maintenance equipment
  • Utilizing computer technology used for communication, data gathering and reporting

Ability to:

  • Supervise and implement a comprehensive grounds maintenance program
  • Assist in preparing and administering a budget
  • Assign work and supervise assigned staff
  • Monitor the work and prepare/present performance evaluations
  • Maintain accurate and detailed records of work and project performed
  • Establish and maintain cooperative working relationships with individuals, whether members of the public or coworkers, from diverse groups and backgrounds
  • Operate vehicles including tractors, forklift, mowers, and other landscape equipment; towing trailers, and the safe loading of trailers; and snow removal equipment including snow plows
  • Safely lift heavy objects up to 50 pounds


  • Plans, manages, and leads the overall operation of the campus grounds department to maintain a safe and attractive campus.
  • Develops, implements, and evaluates appropriate standard practices for turf and tree care, Integrated Pest Management, irrigation, storm water management, and maintenance of parking lots, sidewalks, and campus roadways.  Ensures compliance with applicable rules, laws and policies including health and safety standards and hazardous materials handling requirements.
  • Manages campus snow removal including monitoring local weather, planning, scheduling, supervising, and assisting with snow removal, salting, and clean-up activities.
  • Proactively communicates with Facilities Operations leaders, assuring that weather-related information and campus grounds status is timely and current. 
  • Annually assesses condition of parking lots, walkways, and roads.  Plans, coordinates, and supervises asphalt and concrete repairs and replacements as well as other grounds-related projects.
  • Designs and implements campus landscape improvement projects and other grounds-related projects.
  • Utilizes principles of positive leadership to foster a culture of teamwork, pride, and accountability.
  • Operates heavy and light equipment for snow removal and grounds maintenance.
  • Works within the annual departmental operating budget; prepares annual budget recommendations; coordinates the requisitioning and purchasing of grounds supplies and equipment; controls and authorizes expenditures in accordance with established limitations and purchasing rules; develops contract specifications and scope of work; provides cost projections.
  • Develops and implements staff training programs including safety training and general education relevant to the needs of the department.
  • Provides set-up and tear-down for outdoor events.  Coordinates transport of chairs, tables, and similar event-related items.
  • Handles work orders for department, exhibiting/developing proficiency in the AiM software.  Generates preventive, predictive, and corrective work orders.  Assigns work orders to appropriate team members, assures timely completion and closeout through the AiM software.
  • Assesses condition of equipment and vehicles, recommending repair and replacement schedules, and providing appropriate budget costs.
  • Oversees and supervises departmental staff including groundskeepers, fleet mechanic, and temporary/student workers, including: interviewing and hiring, training and safe work practices, performance evaluations, assuring compliance with applicable policies, procedures, and departmental expectations, and implementing appropriate corrective actions.  Develops and implements appropriate scheduling for snow removal and other departmental activities.  Assures suitable substitute coverage as necessary.
  • Coordinates campus trash and recycling programs.
  • Engages in positive leadership and effective team-building activities.  Fosters a collaborative and cooperative work environment.  Communicates effectively with Facilities Operations leaders and team members.  Promotes interdepartmental cooperation and engagement.
  • Working knowledge of Microsoft Office software.  Ability to utilize computerized work order system. Ensures data entry and tracking related to computerized maintenance management systems, chemical applications, landscape and irrigation documentation, and related grounds activities. Maintains accurate records for chemical use and work activities. Ability to utilize computer operated irrigation systems.
  • Possesses a high level of interpersonal and organizational skills.  Establishes and maintains effective working relationships throughout the campus community.  Demonstrates strong customer service skills.  Communicates effectively with administrators, personnel and outside organizations to coordinate activities, resolve issues, and exchange information.
  • Conducts regular, detailed inspections of campus grounds; confers with others regarding grounds maintenance activities, coordinates and conducts site inspections; recommends actions for improvement as appropriate.
  • Provides technical expertise, information and assistance to the University regarding assigned functions; participates in the formulation and development of policies, procedures and programs as requested.
  • Performs other related duties as assigned.

Required Qualifications*

  • Bachelor’s degree in Landscape Technology or Horticultural Science plus 5 years related experience in landscape maintenance, Integrated Pest Management and storm water management.
  • Three years leading or supervising a crew of landscape technicians is also necessary to meet minimum requirements.
  • Education and/or experience may substitute year-for-year for specific degree requirements.
  • Ability to obtain a Michigan Pesticide Applicators License within six months of employment.  
  • Ability to obtain a Michigan Department of Natural Resources egg destruction permit and certification for goose control on campus.
  • Must have a valid driver’s license to operate a motor vehicle in the state of Michigan and possess an acceptable driving record.

U-M EEO/AA Statement

The University of Michigan is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.