MUBG PROFILE: Brendan Ericson and Nick Mede

Landscape Services student positions improve students' career landscapes

MU students Brendan Ericson (orange shirt) and Nick Mede in the foreground, work to install irrigation for MUBG’s Legacy Oaks at MU’s South Farm.

MU students Brendan Ericson (orange shirt) and Nick Mede in the foreground, work to install irrigation for MUBG’s Legacy Oaks at MU’s South Farm. The pair are working for MU Landscape Operations Manager Blair Crosby, lending valuable aid on essential landscaping tasks across campus..

For Mizzou students who work part-time jobs, finding a position on campus is a definite advantage, and it’s a real bonus to have the work relate to one’s anticipated future career. Such is the case for MU seniors Brendan Ericson and Nick Mede, who are working on the Landscape Services/Mizzou Botanic Garden crew under the direction of Blair Crosby, MU landscape operations manager.

Ericson, who hails from Overland Park, Kansas, is a natural resource science management major who transferred to MU from Kansas State, where he started his academic career as a business major. Mede, from O’Fallon, Missouri, is a forestry major. Both said a career that puts them in the great outdoors was a primary consideration when choosing a major.

“I’m an avid outdoorsman,” Mede said. “I just really love being outside — hunting, fishing. Forestry just really clicked with me. The MU Natural Resource Program has a lot to offer.”

Ericson worked on a residential landscaping construction crew in high school, working full time after graduating a semester early. “As long as I’m working outside, I’m good,” he said.

Outdoors work on the MU campus includes tree planting, revision to existing planted beds, new bed installation and installing irrigation systems, among other landscaping tasks.

“I think this is great thing to have on my resume,” Mede said. “It’s helped me build skills that I need, and at the same time it’s been educational. I’ve learned a lot about how to properly plant things and what you need to take into account.”

“It’s an awesome experience,” echoed Ericson. “Just talking to employers at career fairs and business owners on field trips — I tell them that I work for Landscape Services at MU, and they’re blown away. This job has presented me with some future opportunities.”

Natural resource management major Brendan Ericson

Forestry major Nick Mede, at left, and Natural Resource Management major Brendan Ericson, at right, are working for MU Landscape Services and gaining valuable experience for their future careers.

Mede joined the crew in February 2020; Ericson started working for Crosby in February 2018.

“I was here for the start of the planting of the Legacy Oaks at MU’s South Farm,” Ericson said in reference to the campus initiative to eventually replace the declining pin oaks on the Quad. “I placed the big grow bags into the holes that had been dug and put the trees in them. We went back after the initial planting and installed guide wires, and six months later, straightened the trees up. I helped fertilize them, and both Nick and I helped install the irrigation system this summer. “I’ve learned a lot of real-life applications on this job. Pete [Millier, director of landscape services and MUBG] learned what my major is, and he’s made opportunities for me to do these things,” Ericson added. “I’m very appreciative.”

For his part, Millier also is appreciative. “It’s a real win-win situation,” he said. “We hire these great, hard-working students to help us tackle and complete essential campus landscaping operations, and in turn they receive on-the-job experience relevant to their chosen career paths.”