by Mike Casper, ArtisTree Irrigation Manager
As ArtisTree’s Irrigation Service Supervisor, Leonel Gomez responds to every tough challenge with four words that have become his trademark: “Let me try something.”
Take the hot summer morning when Leonel and ArtisTree’s irrigation crew were out in a small Sarasota community. The well pump was down, and the homeowner association president was clearly agitated, fearing that his neighborhood would be on the hook for a $3,000 replacement cost.
ArtisTree’s crew peered down inside the six-inch-wide pipe. Sure enough, no water, but the pipe was vibrating. That was good; at least the motor was running. But a quick diagnosis revealed that the wires had twisted around the pipe and had become pinched. The men pulled the wires up. No motor, no pump. Both had dropped 80 feet down.
Most landscape maintenance companies would throw in the towel and quote a replacement cost. But Leonel stood up, wiped the sweat off his brow and said, “Let me try something.”
He then fashioned a nearly 80-foot-long rod of half-inch pipe and used duct tape to attach soil staples that would act as hooks to dislodge the pump and motor.
Eight hours later, after twisting and turning Leonel’s invention (and two near successes where they almost had the motor and pump pulled to the top before it dropped), the ArtisTree crew finally accomplished what it set out to do: lift the 200-pound assembly up through 80 feet of six-inch pipe in the dead heat of the summer — a nearly impossible feat.
The HOA president was so delighted that he kissed a crew member standing nearby and then turned to Leonel to kiss him as well. Leonel took three steps back before the kiss ever landed.
Still, he was glad to have helped saved the community a significant amount of money. For another day, he went home tired but happy to have a job that let him flex his skills, support his family — and make a difference in someone else’s life.
Leonel Gomez, ArtisTree Irrigation Service Supervisor