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5 Questions: Rob Kurtz

February 17, 2021 -  By
Photo: Rob Kurtz

Photo: Rob Kurtz

Rob Kurtz

Owner, Solid Rock Landscaping, Douglassville, Pa.

1. What do you want to tell me about your family and your family business?

I got married to my amazing wife Mary Ann in 1994; we have been blessed with four wonderful and talented children. Robert is 21, Jeb is 19, Daniel is 17 and Maryelle is 13. Robert is finishing his business degree at Liberty University and is bringing his hard work ethic and talented skill set into the family business. Jeb is in his first year at Liberty University and is a phenomenal multisport athlete, as well as a fine student. Daniel is a junior in high school, is an excellent baseball player and stellar videographer and has his own YouTube channel. Maryelle is a very kind, caring and bright seventh grader and already bakes us the most delicious pies and cakes! We are passionate Philly sports fans. We also like to hike and spend time at the beach and the mountains.

I’ve worked in the landscape trade for my whole 35-year career; I started my business in 2007. The majority of what we do is hardscapes, but we also specialize in ponds, plantings, masonry work and lighting.

2. What trends are you seeing there in the Philadelphia area?

We have been doing a lot of outdoor lighting to go along with the hardscapes and softscapes we are installing. This past year — and so far this year already — I have been seeing my clients wanting to do a complete outdoor living space, incorporating fire features and outdoor kitchens to go along with their new patios and sitting walls. We really enjoy doing the custom work. I am blessed to have excellent skilled craftsmen working for me, and we really enjoy the specialized, challenging projects where we can put our own unique signature on our jobs.

3. Are you a big reader, and if so, what do you like to read?

I do like to read, but I don’t have as much time as I would like to read. I really enjoy reading Landscape Management. It is a very useful, helpful magazine for all of us in the landscape/hardscaping trade.

I like to read the Bible. I also enjoy books about sports.

I am reading a book about fatherhood right now in regards to raising daughters. It is called “Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters” by Dr. Meg Meeker. It is an excellent read. Our daughter is in the very important formative teen years, and this book is helping me to learn everything a daughter needs from her Dad.

4. Do you have a favorite tool for getting the job done?

The one tool I am very impressed with are the iQ dustless saws out of California. We have three of them; they all do a great job in keeping the dust down to manageable levels. I consider my team extended members of my family, and whatever I can do to make the work environment healthier and better for them, I will. I would highly recommend them to any hardscaper. They are well worth the investment. In my early years, I was inhaling a lot of dust, like most other hardscapers, and that is not what I want for my team.

5. Do you have one day or moment that stands out to you in your years of work?

Yes … as my kids were growing up, I coached a youth baseball team for years. A father of one of my players had me over to their house to take a look at a retaining wall. I was standing in his front yard, a nice sunny day. The wall was leaning heavily; it had been for years. Another contractor had put it in and didn’t do it properly. I said to the gentleman, “this wall is in danger of imminent collapse.” I turned my back to face him as I said it, and I literally heard a thud behind me as I turned. The wall collapsed behind me! It had been in for 20 years, and it fell over literally 30 seconds after I said that. The owner said, “Well, I guess you weren’t kidding me!”

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Seth Jones

About the Author:

Seth Jones, a graduate of Kansas University’s William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications, was voted best columnist in the industry in 2014 and 2018 by the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association. Seth has more than 19 years of experience in the golf and turf industries and has traveled the world seeking great stories. He is editor-in-chief of Landscape Management, Golfdom and Athletic Turf magazines. Jones can be reached at sjones@northcoastmedia.net.

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