Kurt Richardson brings a wealth of experience in the landscaping field, including as a business owner, to his new job as Landscaping and Horticulture teacher.
Throughout his career, Kurt has worked in several areas of landscaping, a major asset to becoming a teacher. Because of his vast experience, he is able to give students a firsthand education in what their options are in the workplace.
“I was lucky that I always did something close to my field. I enjoyed working in different aspects of the industry.”
“Our parents worked at one place and stayed there,” Kurt said. “But, one opportunity presented itself to me and then another and I followed that. I was lucky that I always did something close to my field. I enjoyed working in different aspects of the industry. I can’t see going to a job and doing the same thing every day. I like the change.”
Kurt graduated in 1982 from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture. While a student at UMass he worked part-time for the Greenfield Parks and Recreation Department; after he graduated he took a fulltime position with the department.
After a year working for the Town of Greenfield, Kurt moved on to a job as highway foreman at Stewart’s Nursery in Turners Falls. He worked there for two years then started his own landscape contracting business with a co-worker from Stewart’s, doing both residential and commercial jobs.
“I had that business for about six years,” Kurt said. “It was the late 1980’s; we were making money hand over fist.”
When the partnership split up, Kurt went to work as a landscape contractor with Williams Farm in Deerfield. In 1993, he opened his own business called Old Deerfield Garden Center, and worked at his business and at the farm at the same time.
In 2001, he started a business installing lawn irrigation systems.
“It was a one man operation,” Kurt said. “At the same time, I was working as a groundskeeper at the Hallmark Institute of Photography.”
Snow & Sons Tree and Landscaping in Greenfield bought out Kurt’s irrigation business in 2009, and he stayed on as an employee.
That brings us up to last August when he was hired as a teacher at FCTS.
“The people are great here. I tell the kids that you can always find a job in landscaping and you can go as far as you want with it.”
Previously, Kurt served as substitute teacher at the school and jumped at the opportunity to come on board fulltime. Knowing fellow Landscaping and Horticulture instructor Mark Amstein and others at the school greatly influenced his decision to teach fulltime at FCTS.
“The people are great here,” Kurt said. “I tell the kids that you can always find a job in landscaping and you can go as far as you want with it. Because of the way the economy is going, there are more professionals who don’t want to spend the time working on their properties to make them look good. So, that offers a lot of opportunities for landscaping contractors.”
A native of Greenfield, Kurt’s father Cup worked for Western Massachusetts Electric, while his mother Phyllis was in the Health Department at UMass. He has a brother Gary and a sister Laura. Kurt is a graduate of Greenfield High School, where he played soccer, baseball and track.
Kurt and his wife Sharon will be married 30 years this summer. The couple have three children, Nathan, 27; Chelsea, 25; and Alex, 21.
In his spare time, Kurt likes to go downhill skiing, golf, camp, and work in his garden. He also coaches soccer at GHS and is a soccer referee and baseball umpire.