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Gain knowledge to achieve 5-star customer service at the ACE Summit

February 2, 2022 -  By
Attendees at the ACE Summit learn how to run a 5-star business. (Photo: LM Staff)

Attendees at the ACE Summit learn how to run a 5-star business. (Photo: LM Staff)

What better way to learn about 5-star customer service than to stay at a 5-star hotel?

About 75 people gathered at the Pines Lodge in Beaver Creek, Colo., to attend the annual ACE Summit and learn from executive coaches, share ideas and network. ACE stands for Accountability Creates Excellence and is led by The Grow Group and McFarlin Stanford consultants Marty Grunder, Vince Torchia, James Cali, Jason New, Chris Psencik and Tommy Cole.

The concept, created by James Cali, founding principal, McFarlin Stanford, is for ACE Summit attendees to stay, experience and learn from a 5-star hotel about how they run their business and see the common opportunities and challenges. It also allows the various ACE Peer Groups to network among each other.

Labor and leadership were a few topics covered at the ACE Summit. (Photo: LM Staff)

Labor and leadership were a few topics covered at the ACE Summit. (Photo: LM Staff)

Kyle Narsavage, owner of GreenSweep in Burtonsville, Md., was attending his first ACE Summit. There will be more in his future, as he chose to join an ACE Peer Group this year.

Kyle Narsavage

Kyle Narsavage

“I’m a sponge for knowledge. I love coming to any of Marty (Grunder’s) events. We walk away with legal pads full of notes,” Narsavage said. “We don’t want to implement 50 things. We try to implement three things: one thing that we can implement right now, today, low-hanging fruit, as soon as we get back; then one that is short-term, maybe six months; and then one that is five years away. Maybe we get into robotic mowers. I always task myself and my team to come away with three things, an immediate-term, a short-term and a long-term goal we can implement in our company.”

“Networking and learning from your peers, that’s the biggest thing for me,” Levi Duckett, president of Sunshine Landscape in Boise, Idaho, told LM. “If you can take away one good idea a year out of these groups —which I do all the time — then it’s totally worth it.”

Educational discussions were held on topics like labor law, human resources and understanding your leadership style. Narsavage said a message that stood out to him at this year’s event was the importance of making your business a place where people want to work.

“It’s not about making tall grass short. It’s about engaging your team, empowering your team and setting them up for success,” he said. “What resonated with me: My job as a business owner is to provide opportunities for my team. If I can do that in a healthy, safe and profitable way? Then hey, that’s great. It’s all about the team.”

The 2022 ACE Discovery event for prospective peer group members takes place March 29-31 in New Orleans. Visit to learn more.

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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 23 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

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