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5 questions with Cole Weller

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(Photo: Corey Gross Photo)
(Photo: Corey Gross Photo)

Cole Weller

CEO, Weller Brothers Landscape Professionals, Sioux Falls, S.D.

1. What should I know about Weller Brothers Landscape Professionals?

We’re in our 23rd year of business. We’re kind of the all-American entrepreneur story. My brother and I started cutting grass when we were in high school, we’re just the ones who never quit. We’ve got three branches — our home base, Sioux Falls, S.D., and then we’ve got a branch location in Rochester, Minn., and another branch location in Des Moines, Iowa. The other thing I’d say about Weller Brothers is we’re a good place to work. We’ve got high standards for all of our team. Our internal quality standards for the work we do are high and we’re the best in the markets that we serve.

2. Your company recently landed on Inc. magazine’s list of fastest-growing companies. What’s the secret to your success?

The answer is kind of funny. The construction industry, I would say as a whole, is not known as the most savory industry. Our secret is really simple: We do the fundamentals really well. We answer the phone. We call people back. We tell people the truth. We deliver difficult news face-to-face. That’s it. We show up for our team. I think it’s one thing when you’ve got team members that show up for their manager. That’s good, right? Show up because if you don’t, you’ll get in trouble. But it is a whole other thing to show up for the guy working next to you. And when you can achieve that level of accountability, I think that’s the difference between good and great organizations.

3. Do you have a family?

I do have a family; I’ve got a wife and we’ve got our 10-year anniversary coming up in September. We’ve got three kids: a 10-year-old, a 7-year-old and a 4-year-old turning 5 in May. Girl, girl, boy. I’m in the weeds, busy every day running girls to dance class and my son’s going to start soccer and flag football this summer. I’m excited for that. You like to think that you’re running them out of energy, but it doesn’t work that way.

4. What’s it like working alongside your brother Brent?

We never disagree on anything. We get along every day. (Laughs.) OK, I’ll tell you what, we’re 23 years in and we’re still together and we’ve only come to blows one time. And it depends on who you asked how that went. If you ask me, I had him pinned up against a wall and if you ask him, maybe there’s a little disparity in his version! Overall, it’s good. We have our disagreements. We get along almost all the time. We’ve got a great CFO who is not an owner but has done a good job moderating our disagreements and getting us to a resolution on the things that we tend to not align on. I’m thankful for that.

5. What’s the best part of having your job?

My team members, like Cally (Anderson), who is sitting here next to me to make sure I don’t sound like a total idiot! And she’s not the only one — it takes an army to keep me in line. We’ve got a good team here; there are a whole bunch of people who come to work every day and work their tails off for us. That’s inspiring. We’ve got guys here who started on a lawn mower and now they’re managing a division of 40, 50 people. We’re giving people opportunities every day to improve their careers and do better for their families. That’s where I find my joy at this point in my career.

Photo: Seth Jones

Seth Jones

Seth Jones is is editor-in-chief of Landscape Management, Golfdom and Athletic Turf magazines. A graduate of Kansas University’s William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications, Seth was voted best columnist in the industry in 2014 and 2018 by the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association. He has more than 23 years of experience in the golf and turf industries and has traveled the world seeking great stories.

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