Voorheesville landscaper rakes in accolades 

The Enterprise — Michael Koff

Jerry Parmenter sits on a stone structure he built for the Voorheesville Public Library. He has donated the labor, equipment, and some of the material to install similar signs at Voorheesville’s elementary-, middle-, and high-school campuses. This past fall, he was inducted into the New York State Nursery and Landscape Association Hall of Fame. 

VOORHEESVILLE — Induction into any hall of fame typically signals the capstone of a career. For Jerry Parmenter, the owner of Elemental Landscapes in Voorheesville, it’s been a nice midpoint marker.

Parmenter, 43, was inducted into the New York State Nursery and Landscape Association Hall of Fame last fall. In addition to the individual award, Parmenter’s company also won a landscape association’s beautification award in the category for garden structures and pavement that cost over $25,000.

Elemental Landscapes, a design-build company, is in its 20th season, Parmenter said; this is his 30th season in the field. He earned a degree in ornamental horticulture from Cornell University.

Parmenter usually has six full-time employees and three part-time employees but has scaled back to two crews of two each who are still working because he petitioned the Empire State Development Corporation to be deemed an essential business.

“This was a case where being a small business paid off,” Parmenter said. Because he has only two people per crew working — to maintain social distancing — everyone travels in their own vehicles and has their own set of tools that they work with. “It’s keeping us working; whatever it takes,” he said. 

Elemental does high-end residential hardscapes, Parmenter said. Installation projects can range from one week to seven weeks, “so, it doesn’t take long to fill up a calendar,” he said, but the average project is about two weeks long.

He’s already got a work backlog that extends into August. 

Getting into the New York State Nursery and Landscape Association Hall of Fame had been a goal of his, Parmenter said, which he achieved earlier than he thought. At 43 years of age, he said, he’s about 99-percent certain that he’s the youngest person who’s ever been inducted into the hall of fame.

Many landscapers who are part of the statewide association are older and more established in their careers, Parmenter said. He did it while running a business and raising a family. But he said that he never once missed events. 

The hall-of-fame induction is based on service to the landscape association, Parmenter said. Parmenter was the Region III president for six or seven years — that region stretches from Columbia County to the Canadian border; there are eight regions. Parmenter then became a member of the statewide executive board and was president for two years, he said.

The hall inducts one person per year and has done so since 1960.

As for why he joined the landscape association so young and became so involved, Parmenter said that he believes in his business and professionalism, and wants to raise the standard of all the other landscaping companies in the area. 

“I truly believe that,” he concluded.

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