Horticulture Graduate Jacob Logan Finds Career Success with Salem City Parks

When the local front page shared the news that Jacob Logan was named director of Parks and Recreation for the City of Salem, faculty and staff on the Kent State Columbiana County campuses could not have been any prouder.

That’s because Logan was a standout student on the Kent State Salem Campus, earning an associate degree in horticulture (with a concentration in arboriculture/urban forestry) and a bachelor’s degree in applied horticulture in 2012, after beginning his college journey as a student on the East Liverpool Campus.

East Liverpool is Logan’s hometown and he graduated from Beaver Local High School in 2007, as well as from the Columbiana County Career and Technical Center, where he was enrolled in its landscape technology program.

“While I was a student at the CCCTC, I was interested in operating heavy machinery and equipment and I knew that part of landscaping would involve equipment, but I didn’t think that I would end up truly enjoying learning about plants and the qualities that they provide environmentally and aesthetically to homes, businesses and communities,” he related. 

“In my current job, there is a huge responsibility to the citizens of Salem to provide safe, clean recreation and open spaces for physical, mental, emotional and social health,” Logan continued. “My degree, and knowledge, helps me daily to see ways to improve the parks system and help the citizens. From beautification and design of landscape beds, to making sure the tree canopy is being properly preserved and pruned, to grooming all the athletic fields for sporting events, this job is heavy in horticulture in ways that really reinforce the lessons I learned in college.”

Jacob Logan

Logan said he first learned about Kent State Salem’s horticulture program while still in high school after meeting representatives from the program who visited the CCCTC. He said he considered other horticulture programs but chose Kent State Salem because of its cost and location.

“Being able to commute saved me thousands of dollars, yet the education I received was top notch. The professors not only had a vast knowledge of the classroom materials, but also real-world work experience that helped us understand how to apply the theories and ideas we learned in the classroom. Class sizes were small, which meant more time with professors.”

Before his appointment as director of the Salem Parks and Recreation Department, Logan was the athletic fields supervisor at Robert Morris University near Pittsburgh. There, he developed and implemented sports turf programs for field maintenance of all outdoor athletic facilities. Prior to that, he was a facilities manager at a camp/retreat center and earlier worked for Davey Tree.

Logan’s work experience also included time as a student worker on the Salem Campus as well as paid internships that helped reinforce what he was learning in the classroom.

“The Salem Campus has a large variety of trees and shrubs that basically makes it an outdoor classroom for plant identification,” he said. “We made lots of field trips to nurseries, landscape companies, golf courses and other industry businesses to learn more of the application process. Through those trips and meeting industry leaders, it helped us develop our own network in the industry. Because of all the effort put into the program, it really launched my career, but also gave me a lot of encouragement and motivation to continue to learn more.”

While Logan’s expertise is solidly rooted in the green industry, his words of advice to current and future students can be applied to other fields of study:

“Learn all aspects if you are able. … It’s ok to settle in on one specific area, but being more well-rounded not only makes you more knowledgeable, but also more apt to work in a variety of ways in the industry,” he offered. “Jump into your field at any chance and put yourself in positions where you can grow and don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone.

“Always keep the mindset of a student. There’s always something new to learn.”


Cutline: Jacob Logan

POSTED: Thursday, April 4, 2024 08:17 AM
Updated: Thursday, April 4, 2024 09:39 AM