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5 Questions: Jesse Wisley talks outdoor lighting, juggling supplies, making Memphis great

July 14, 2021 -  By
Jesse Wisley (Photo: Taylor Wisley)

Jesse Wisley (Photo: Taylor Wisley)

Jesse Wisley
Owner, Mid South Irrigation and Landscape, Mid South Night Lights, Memphis

1. How did you find your way into the landscape and lighting business?

I graduated high school at 19 and went to work for a large irrigation and landscape and lighting company here in Memphis, and I went to school at night for landscape management. I finished that and quit my job and started this 10 years ago in February 2011. It’s going well. We’re at $2.5 million in revenue and just moved into our new shop. We have 16 employees, and we’ll travel an hour east, south, north and west of our shop.

2. What part of your business is really cooking right now?

Lighting, all day long. Gone are the days of putting up 10 uplights and maybe five or six path lights on the front walkway to the front door. It’s a totally different animal now. We do a lot of core drilling into concrete. We do a lot of specialty lighting. Things are so different from when I started in 2008. The opportunities, the specialty fixtures that are manufactured now, it’s so much fun to walk into a backyard and know what you can do versus what you couldn’t do 10 years ago. Lighting has taken off for us. My passion is lighting. I want to hone in on that part of the business and grow it as much as I possibly can.

3. We’re hearing about difficulty getting materials in various markets, what has that been like for you? What has been especially stressful?

Everything is stressful right now. Supply chain is an issue. I just had to bulk order a bunch of lighting wire. We’re sitting on four or five pallets of lighting wire right now, which is unusual. We normally only have one or two, but I heard there is a shortage coming. It took me a month to get that order in! We’re trying to stock up. We’re having trouble getting in certain things. PVC is going up. We’ve had to buy some other products that we usually wouldn’t because we couldn’t get our normal stuff. Some plants are in shortage. The logistics of getting plants here because of the shortage of truck drivers… all across the board it is a mess. You have to stay ahead of it, and that’s why I bulk ordered that wire, because if we don’t have that wire, we’re not working.

4. What do you and your family do for fun?

I’m married; our seven-year anniversary was just this past Monday. We have two boys, ages 4 and 2, so we’re in the thick of it right now. It’s pure chaos in my house, but it’s a lot of fun. My wife and I love to travel. As the boys get older, we’re going to start taking them on trips. We love experiences. We love eating great food. Memphis is a great town. I was born and raised here. It really is a great town to live in and raise a family.

5. What’s the best thing about having your job?

Meeting people. I like talking to people. I like designing, especially lighting and landscape, and seeing things come to life. The job is cool. It’s a very stressful industry — that can’t be underplayed — but it’s very rewarding. Treat people with respect, and if you do that, they’ll respect you back. That makes your job even more fun. I like coming to work every day. If you’re doing it the right way, taking care of your customers, it can be fun.

This article is tagged with , , and posted in 0721, Five Questions, From the Magazine
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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