Grow with Grunder: It’s time to get off your island and thank your supporters

August 12, 2022 -  By
Photo: sinseeho/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

I was honored to learn earlier this summer that this column won an award from the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association. I may write it each month, but to me, this column is always about all of you — the readers who flip to the back page. If you’re reading Landscape Management, you’re working on being a better team member, leader or owner. You’re committed to making your company better, and watching landscape professionals across the country do just that inspires me.

Our industry is one of few with such a low barrier to entry. To get started, all you need is a lawn mower, some tools and a positive attitude. When you put your mind to it, rely on mentors and commit to always trying to improve, the opportunities ahead are endless. Education levels don’t matter, background doesn’t matter, native language doesn’t matter — there is an opportunity for anyone in landscaping.

Grunder Landscaping was literally my meal ticket when I started the company. I worked my way through college at the University of Dayton, paying for each semester in cash from jobs we finished. It took me an extra semester, and I graduated with a GPA so low it was barely passing. I’m fairly confident that under my name on the program, it said: “Absolutely No Cum Laude.”

When I finished school, I realized that working outside and in this industry was what I loved. While I started the company just to make some money, I got hooked on the entrepreneurial side of the business as I worked with people to make properties beautiful. Since those days, my own why has changed. Now, I do this job because I want to provide opportunities for my team. I hope they get to support their own families and feel fulfilled while also enjoying the work. It’s extra gratifying that others in the industry want to learn from what we’re doing, and I get so much energy from that.

I’ve been fortunate to have many mentors and cheerleaders in my life who have helped me along the way. The one who taught me etiquette for business lunches, another who showed me what quality landscaping really looked like, the clients who gave me so much grace in the early years, my wife who stepped away from a job she loved so that I could go all-in on my dream, and my mom who taught English and always encouraged me to put my thoughts down on paper in handwritten notes, emails and columns like this one.

I hope each of you reading this has your own mentors and cheerleaders. If you do, take a moment to thank them this month for their support and the time they’ve taken to teach and encourage you. If you’re feeling a bit like you’re on an island, I encourage you to get more involved in industry events. Each time I’m around my fellow landscape professionals, I’m blown away by their willingness to share, teach and support one another. You never know, you may make a new friend for life, and you may be able to help each other through whatever challenges lie ahead. I know it can be a little intimidating to attend for the first time, but I promise it’ll pay dividends for you. I wish I had gotten involved in industry events and peer groups sooner.

Our Grunder Landscaping Field Trips start up again in August. They are a great chance to connect with a small group of other landscape professionals, learn ways to improve your business and get excited again about your work.

Join me. I’d love to personally show you around our shop and share my dream with you:

Marty Grunder

About the Author:

Marty Grunder is president and CEO of Grunder Landscaping Co. and The Grow Group, based in Dayton, Ohio.

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