Parks and Rec
LCS Landscapes brings clients’ visions to life throughout the Hudson Valley
LCS Landscapes (LCS) Executive Vice President Daniel Lepore knew that he wanted to be involved in landscaping from a young age. After attending college, he combined his love for this work with the knowledge he gained from business courses, and LCS was born. “I worked for a landscaping company throughout high school. I had a passion for it and started on my own right after college,” he says.
The company was founded in 2004. A spinoff of his family’s commercial cleaning and maintenance company, LCS Facility Group, it started with residential landscaping work and grew as a result of local development and customer demand, branching out to new construction development and grounds maintenance.
Located in Poughkeepsie, New York, LCS provides landscape services, including lawn and bed maintenance, weed control, mulching, hardscaping and stonework, hydroseeding, landscape lighting, tree and shrub planting and sod installation for commercial properties throughout the Hudson Valley. Lepore quickly found his home in commercial work, with LCS serving solely commercial clients since 2007.
“I found there was more opportunity for a scalable business, without the irregularities of the residential market.”
Growing with the Community
Today, LCS employs 45 office staff and crew members and performs grounds maintenance for schools, hospitals, homeowner associations and parks in the Hudson Valley. It is an approved contractor for the New York State Department of Transportation and for New York State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. The company is also certified by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation for Stormwater Management and Erosion and Sediment Control. LCS is a member of the National Association of Landscape Professionals and the New York State Turf & Landscape Association.
The company proudly serves as groundskeeper for the Culinary Institute of America and has had the honor of rehabilitating many local parks, contributing to the tourism and economic development of the area. In the last seven years, LCS has converted eight local parks into recreational opportunities for residents and tourists alike, performing cleanups, adding walking trails and contributing to the overall beauty of the community.
The Hudson Valley is a 10-county region extending 150 miles above the tip of Manhattan north to Albany. It is known for its vineyards, orchards and farms and is home to the Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site and the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum. “Tourism has a big impact on the economy in this area, and we get to play a part in that,” Lepore says. “We are creating recreational spaces that visitors and residents will use for years to come.”
Perhaps the most prestigious park that LCS has rehabilitated is the at West Point Foundry Preserve, a former industrial site overlooking the United States Military Academy West Point that is now home to walking trails and wildlife. LCS performed cleanup and restoration, adding details such as moss glued to rocks and buildings to create an old-world feel. In Poughkeepsie, the company renovated Upper Landing Park, which leads to the Walkway Over the Hudson, the world’s longest elevated pedestrian bridge. LCS installed a mosaic patio, 100 trees, park benches and signage.
A few other prominent projects include Garden Street in Poughkeepsie—for which the company installed 10,000 square feet of Unilock pavers, 3,000 square feet of concrete walkways, granite curbing and street lighting, and Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park, where it installed 36,000 square feet of Unilock pavers and granite curbing. Lepore says, “We take pride in these local municipal projects as they contribute not only to the beauty of the Hudson Valley but also have had a positive economic impact on our community.”
People Behind the Plants
Lepore describes his team as experienced and educated. Most of his management staff have been with the company for many years, building long-term relationships with its customers.
“My team probably has more experience as a collaborative group than any other landscape company in the vicinity,” he says.
Lepore describes Bill Gale, one of the company’s long-term employees who was recently promoted to Branch Manager. He will now oversee and manage the company’s entire landscape portfolio and provide strategic direction for all field activities. Looking to the future, Lepore wants to expand the company’s maintenance division to northern New Jersey and Albany markets, taking on grounds maintenance for more universities in addition to the Culinary Institute of America.
He envisions Gale leading that charge. “As far as succession planning goes, Bill is our lead guy,” Lepore says. “He appreciates our values, our customers and our employees.”
Bill’s work ethic permeates the company, thanks to what Lepore describes as a family environment. “We win together, we lose together,” he says. Lepore attributes his staff’s morale to the support that employees receive from leadership. “We invest in new equipment, new trucks and the most up-to-date tools and resources needed to be the best,” he says. “I’ll give you all the tools and support you need; now show me what you can do.”
It Starts with a Vision
Lepore says that LCS distinguishes itself from competitors with its ability to understand a client’s vision and transform that from the ground level to the finished product. He explains, “A lot of developers come to us with a vision, and we are involved in every step of the design. We like to be involved in the early stages in order to help customers value-engineer their site for minimal maintenance and a nice look for their budget.” He emphasizes the importance of ensuring the “bones” of a design are durable, which allows for a beautiful end result that will stand the test of time.
Lepore describes one customer who hired a prestigious landscape architect to landscape his property. The cost ended up being twice as much as the budget. “He then came to us and said ‘How do I achieve this for half the price?’ ” Lepore recalls. “We found a way to achieve the desired look in a cost-effective way by being strategic with plants and hardscapes.”
The company’s commitment to customer service is rooted in personal relationships. Lepore explains that with each project his staff strives to put the client at ease, managing the project efficiently while turning his or her vision into reality. Many developers that the company has worked for have become close friends, forging relationships that allow them to work in a no-bid situation. “Personal connections make a difference,” Lepore says. “We treat each project as if it’s our own, taking it from a field of dirt and transforming it to a completed design with a wow factor.”