Grounded by years of experience 

By Jason Golden 07/07/2021
Grounded by years of experience 

Landscaping isn’t just about mowing the lawn and planting flowers. Groundskeepers are responsible for maintaining both a functional and pleasant outdoor space. For nearly 50 years, people with disabilities have been performing this work at federal properties nationwide. 

SourceAmerica® supports this effort through the AbilityOne® Program, one of the largest sources of employment for people who are blind or have significant disabilities. Contract requirements established through the program include the maintenance of areas outside of buildings, including mowing, tree trimming, landscaping, pest control, and snow removal. 

SourceAmerica’s Ron Tomlinson has been supporting grounds maintenance and landscaping service contracts for more than two decades. His current role at SourceAmerica is to provide subject matter expertise to nonprofit agencies in the organization’s network that support grounds and maintenance needs at government facilities across the country.  

Tomlinson and his colleagues are subject matter experts on the SourceAmerica Business and Technical Support team. In their roles, they collaborate with nonprofit agencies in the SourceAmerica network across several lines of business, with the overarching goal of providing support to the AbilityOne Program. 

One of the fundamental ways Tomlinson supports the network is through one-on-one training opportunities. “I can provide nonprofit agencies and their project managers necessary training that act as ‘train the trainer’ sessions,” he said. “This really makes an impact that is positive for the nonprofit, the people with disabilities that are hired to perform the work, and the customers themselves.” 

Grounds and maintenance work is crucial to the smooth operations of a federal agency. As someone who has worked in the federal and nonprofit sectors, Tomlinson has a deep understanding of how nonprofits provide the grounds and maintenance solutions that are required to keep up with the needs of their federal customers and stay on top of industry trends.  

“Doing things efficiently, saving labor, using the right chemicals – all of these things are essential to the success of a contract,” he said. “The industry is changing rapidly, and my job is to keep the SourceAmerica network informed.” 

Mark McKeever oversees grounds and maintenance operations for Goodwill Industries of San Antonio and has worked with Tomlinson for several years. “Ron is the definition of a subject matter expert,” he said. “Several years ago, he introduced himself to a group that I was a part of at Lackland Air Force Base and immediately commanded the room. What makes Ron special is his diverse background in federal, commercial and nonprofit organizations. He knows what a SourceAmerica network nonprofit needs because he has walked in our shoes.”  

In addition to his training expertise and overall experience working in the industry, Tomlinson provides direction to nonprofit agencies on scope of work related to AbilityOne contracts. He counsels these organizations on best practices to meet the government’s requirements.  

“My role is small compared to the overall mission of creating job opportunities for people with disabilities,” said Tomlinson. “All of my expertise is intended to trickle down to keeping people with disabilities employed. I am humbled to be a part of the SourceAmerica mission.” 

To learn more about SourceAmerica subject matter experts and how they support the organization’s network of nonprofits, please read this article. Learn more about SourceAmerica’s capabilities to support grounds and maintenance requirements.