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Getting “Grunderstruck” at GROW! in Nashville

March 1, 2022 -  By
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Sheila Boggs, Chris Williams, Carynell Carlton, Taylor Milliken and Tina Kizer of Milosi gave GROW! attendees a snapshot of their business. (Photo: LM Staff)

When Taylor Milliken, CEO of Milosi, attended GROW! eight years ago, he knew he wanted his business to host a tour when the event returned to the Music City. His wish came full circle last week during The Grow Group’s GROW! 2022 event in Nashville, Tenn.

While the spotlight shone on Milliken’s operation, Milosi, a full service residential and commercial operation out of Hendersonville, Tenn., Marty Grunder, president and CEO of The Grow Group, kicked off the event with his annual tradition of energizing the crowd to “Thunderstruck,” this year with a smoke machine to boot.

It was time to get “Grunderstruck,” he said.

GROW! attendees indeed got Grunderstruck with two days of educational sessions and a half-day tour of Milosi.

Visitors to Milosi's Hendersonville, Tenn., headquarters flocked to a local food truck serving up warm beverages. (Photo: LM Staff)

Visitors to Milosi’s Hendersonville, Tenn., headquarters flocked to a local food truck serving up warm beverages. (Photo: LM Staff)

Milliken and his team rolled out the “Milosi red” red carpet for the tour of the operation with a food truck serving warm beverages, a Nashville singer/songwriter and band playing tunes and team members taking tourgoers through the inner workings of the operation.

Tourgoers learned how Milosi structures referrals from existing clients, IDs its ideal new client, gets daily reports from maintenance crews, how designers serve as project managers and estimators, why Milosi recently brought on a full-time recruiter and more.

Milliken says Milosi’s core values of “we listen because we care,” “details matter,” safety first,” “create and innovate,” “we do what we say,” and “let’s grow beautiful together” reverberate into everything the business does from implementing changes to rewarding employees.

Milosi splits 15 percent of its net profits equally among team members and distributes it as an annual performance bonus. Last year, the bonus amounted to $2,700 per employee for those who had worked there for six months or longer.

“What kind of company do I want to go work for?” Milliken said of the culture he wants at Milosi. He said in doing so, “I can attract like-minded people.”

Milliken’s office manager and sister, Tina Kizer, has worked alongside her brother for 20 years. She recognized the key role their mother played in developing the business saying, “She’s a big part of why we’re here.”

Kizer said she’s amazed by the whole experience of being a GROW! tour host.

“It’s the most humbling thing that has happened to me,” she said. “It’s an amazing group of people.”

Chris Williams, director of operations for Milosi, shared just how much pride the team had in being in the spotlight at GROW!

“We were so happy we were able to do this for Taylor,” said Williams. “This was something he’s wanted to do for a long time.”

2023 site

Siblings Tina Kizer and Taylor Milliken of Milosi squared off against Josiah and Jonathan Peterson in a mini game show, hosted by the Grow Group's Vince Torchia. (Photo: John Rossi, John A. Rossi Photography)

Siblings Tina Kizer and Taylor Milliken of Milosi squared off against Josiah and Jonathan Peterson in a mini game show, hosted by the Grow Group’s Vince Torchia. (Photo: John Rossi, John A. Rossi Photography)

GROW! 2023 will take place Feb. 28 through March 2, 2023, in San Antonio, Texas. Summit Landscape & Design in Hondo, Texas, will serve as GROW! tour host.

Summit Landscape & Design was founded in 1999 by Josiah Peterson. His brother, Jonathan, joined the business as a partner and general manager.

To celebrate the sibling connection between 2022 host Milosi and 2023 host Summit Landscape & Design, siblings Milliken and Kizer squared off against the Peterson brothers in a sibling game that added some levity. While the team at Milosi might have been working together for almost 20 years, the Petersons narrowly eked out a win.

Game show host Vince Torchia, vice president of The Grow Group, vowed to host a rematch in Texas.

A special presentation

Brodie Bruner, executive vice president of Grow! sponsor Weathermatic dedicated the company's latest well in honor of Marty Grunder's mother. (Photo: John Rossi, John A. Rossi Photography)

Brodie Bruner, executive vice president of GROW! sponsor Weathermatic dedicated the company’s latest well in honor of Marty Grunder’s mother. (Photo: John Rossi, John A. Rossi Photography)

Among the giveaways and recognitions from sponsors. Brodie Bruner, executive vice president of GROW! sponsor Weathermatic made a special dedication. Bruner told GROW! attendees how the company donates proceeds from its products with a purpose campaign to fund water wells and projects throughout the country. To date, more than 65 communities have safe drinking water thanks to the company’s donations.

“These people wouldn’t be where they are without this group,” Bruner said, thanking attendees for their support of the company.

Bruner announced its latest project, the Mary Ellen Graham well in Zambia, in honor of Marty’s mother, Mary Ellen Graham. The gesture visibly moved Grunder.

Christina Herrick

About the Author:

Christina Herrick is the editor of Landscape Management magazine. Known for her immersive approach to travel from coast to coast in her previous stint as senior editor of American Fruit Grower Magazine, she uses social media (Twitter/Instagram @EditorHerrick) to share her experiences on the road with her audience. Herrick has a degree in journalism from Ohio Northern University and has been in B2B publishing for seven years. She can be reached at cherrick@northcoastmedia.net.

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