Friday, April 20, 2012

Evé is man-of-all-trades at Lynch Creek Farm

Evé recently worked on energy-efficient
re-lighting at Lynch Creek Farm's facility.
There's not much that Evé Munguia hasn't done around Lynch Creek Farm.

One of the Farm staff whose work encompasses both Lynch Creek Wreaths and Lynch Creek Dahlias, Everardo (Evé) Munguia may find himself shifting from overseeing crews digging dahlias in the field one day to organizing shipping arrangements for the impending wreath season the next.

This spring, he's working for the first time at the Olympia Farmers' Market, selling tubers and advising less experienced dahlia growers on how to get the best results in their flower gardens. "That's the last piece toward being able to consider myself an all-year employee," he said. "It's the only thing I'd never done before."

Evé was born and raised in Shelton, where he graduated from Shelton High School. He attended South Puget Sound Community College for a year and the University of Fairbanks in Alaska for a year. He worked for a time for Denali National Park Aeromark Concessions, and did internships with park rangers. "I love Alaska," he says, "but money got hard up there, and my family was here. So I came back to Shelton."

Evé had worked seasonally for Lynch Creek, and on his return, he got the opportunity to join the Lynch Creek Farm staff year-round. Early in the spring, he's involved in stock control with the dahlias, pulling inventory to fill dahlia-tuber orders and shipping the tubers, sounding the alarm if inventory on any variety gets too low to maintain growing stock, choosing what's still plentiful for dahlia overstock sales.

Dividing dahlia tubers demands careful
attention and all of Evé's expertise.
In the late spring and summer, he works intensively at the planting, weeding and cultivating of the dahlia plants, as well as working on plans for the autumn's wreath season with Andy, Nathanael and Patty. In late summer, he'll be working with the cut flowers for market and wedding sales, and in the fall, he'll be digging dahlias, dividing and storing tubers, and finishing up the dahlia season just in time for the tumult of the Christmas wreaths and evergreens to take over.

"The best thing about working here," he said recently, "is how close we are with everybody. It's a friendly environment. Andy does a great job of keeping everybody happy, and making a good working environment for the employees. I love being part of something that has potential and is growing."

Outside of work hours, Evé coaches youth soccer teams for Shelton's city league. He started working out with 15-year-old boys, initially as a translator, but jumping into coaching when the team coaches needed an extra  hand. "I coached that first team until they were 19. Now I'm coaching a U-11 girls' team. I'll probably keep that team until they graduate."

He has learned, Evé says, that the challenge of coaching is learning leadership. Starting out with boys who weren't that much younger than himself, he said, meant that they tended to see him as a teammate. To exert leadership, he had to try hard to gain their respect. "The main thing I realized I had to do was know what I was doing, have an organized practice, keep teaching them something different, showing them how they can do things better and exceed themselves with different drills and discipline."

Once his teams began succeeding, he said, they wanted to go on winning and wanted to do better. The parents could see their progress, and that helped too, he added with a smile.

The same leadership principles, he said, apply to the workplace. "It's important to me to excel at knowing what we're doing, knowing the products, knowing the processes," he said. "People tend to follow people who know what's going on."

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