Josh Irvin is the General Services Superintendent for the coastal city of Portland, Texas, where he oversees a maintenance team of nine people. They are responsible for maintaining 13 city parks, many miles of drainage ditches and more. The team mows for 22 workdays straight and then they start the entire process over again in a continuous loop.
The City of Portland is committed to addressing safety. In the past, they were worried about significant consequences and/or liability if there was any flooding due to lack of maintenance or an injury due to unsafe equipment or methods.
In March of 2021, they bought an RC Mowers TK-52XP remote-operated robotic mower to help with the task. The team primarily uses the mower to mow drainage ditches, many of which have 40 to 50 degree embankments. Josh says, “I like how we can work even when it has been raining heavily because the mower can go through the wet and muddy conditions. We don’t have to pause our strict mowing schedule.”
“We also use the mowers on highway easements, so we don’t have to get an operator close to traffic. The operator can be 100 ft. away and remain safe.”
“Enhancing efficiency was another a big reason we invested in the mower, and we like how it can safely access areas that we couldn’t before,” added Josh. He also said that when their bigger machines broke down it took way too long to get them fixed and the RC Mowers machine could quickly fill in. They have also used the TK-52XP to assist towing out other small mowers and like it because “it has torque and, because it is tracked, it minimizes marks or a footprint on the land.”
Josh says that they have a primary operator and a set schedule for the machine.
“We literally evolved our schedule when we bought it. I had been thinking about buying a robotic mower for a few years and finally bought one. Now I am thinking about expanding our fleet with more mowers from RC Mowers.”
He further explained that their primary operator is a gamer. “He has found some ownership in the machine, he loves it. It is kind of like his baby.”
Not only is the RC Mowers equipment helping with safety, efficiencies and team morale, it is creating goodwill in the city.
“We have a yearly carnival in our city with a parade and I plan to run the mower through the parade. The kids like to see the machinery. We also plan to bring it to show-and-tell days at local schools. Now we have something cool to take to the schools!”