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Cert Talk: Five Questions for SeaWorld Horticulture’s Gary Weitermann

Friday, March 10, 2017
Article by: Certification News

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Trusty volunteer - Gary Weitermann volunteers his time
to assist with FNGLA's certification showcase during TPIE.
(FNGLA Photo: Merry Mott)

As a frequent volunteer and fervent FNGLA certification proponent, Gary Weitermann, FCHP, FCLMT, is a fixture at many FNGLA certification events. Weitermann, who serves as assistant supervisor, post and baskets/topiaries, has been with SeaWorld Horticulture for nearly a decade. 

Weitermann was instrumental in establishing a permanent test site location at SeaWorld, and currently serves as chairman of FNGLA's certification committee.

FNGLA spoke with Weitermann during a recent lunch break to get the low-down on why FNGLA certification is a priority for him.

1. FNGLA: What made you want to get FNGLA certified?

Weitermann: Well, at SeaWorld, we have a career ladder program, and I saw the opportunity to advance availed to me. One of the ways to do that was to obtain FCHP (FNGLA Certified Horticulture Professional) and FCLMT (FNGLA Certificated Landscape Maintenance Technician)

2. FNGLA: You’ve been instrumental in helping us create a permanent testing site at SeaWorld’s Horticulture base of operations. Why was that a priority for you?

Weitermann: Well, I saw the opportunity for it when I was taking my certification test years earlier, that we needed another location. It’s great to be able to offer a location here at SeaWorld to offer others the opportunity for advancement. Our director, Mark Russell, is very big on education and is very supportive of the program. He’s really encouraged me. We’ve tested quite a few at our facility at SeaWorld, here. It’s good to see others advance.

3. FNGLA: Nice! How many of your co-workers at SeaWorld have also gotten FNGLA certified, would you say?

Weitermann: It must be at least half of them – probably 20 to 30 by now.

4. FNGLA: How has certification changed you, professionally speaking?

Weitermann: Well, nothing’s better than being comfortable with the work that you’re doing - and knowing how to do it properly. Education is the best; what more can be better for your job?

5. FNGLA: So, when will we be seeing you again, Gary?

Weitermann: I’ll be volunteering at the upcoming combination FCLMT/FCLT testing weekend March 24 & 25 here at the SeaWorld Horticulture site. We’ll be prepping with a couple-hour review on Friday (March 24) to help everybody get familiar and prepared with the different stations at the site, then we take the test on Saturday morning (March 25).

One more: 

FNGLA: Nice. Any words for those who plan to attend (or are considering it)?

Weitermann: Those who are taking the test – make sure you’re well-prepared. For those thinking about it – at least come and take a look at the site, if you’re not ready to take the test this time around. You can at least get a feel for what the certifications entail -- and then take advantage of the next test date back here at SeaWorld.

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