1-Minute Mentor: Harold Enger, LIC


Meet Harold Enger, LIC, director of education, Spring-Green, Plainfield, Ill.

Who’s your mentor? There are three. One is Bob Parmley, who was co-owner of the first lawn care company I worked at, Tempo 21. He was very even-tempered, very thorough and thought-provoking. I was in my 20s and full of vim and vigor. He taught me you have to step back and think about how your decision is going to affect everybody. The second is Bill Hoopes. He was the trainer at Barefoot Grass [where Enger worked as a regional manager for 10 years after it acquired Tempo 21 in 1987]. I’d started doing some training at Tempo 21 and I liked helping people learn. He really helped me decide on a training style, making sure the information I provided people was of use and getting people involved. The third is the chairman of Spring-Green, Tom Hofer. He’s always interested in you and always turns around with a smile on his face.

Harold Enger
Spring-Green’s Harold Enger Photo: Spring-Green

Did you ever have the entrepreneurial itch? Not really. I’d think about it, but in all honesty, I like having someone else have the ultimate responsibility. Owning a business wouldn’t have afforded me the same possibilities, like being able to travel and learning a lot of new things. I like being part of the supporting cast because it gives me a chance to work with more people and train more individuals.

You’ve taken to blog posts and video to help promote Spring-Green. What’s that like? If you need to know how to do anything you can do it on YouTube. We didn’t really want to do a video on how to fertilize the lawn, because that’s what we do, but what about sod webworm damage or how to check for grubs? You have to do lots of different takes. You try to make sure you say everything correctly, but it all has to
be off the cuff. There’s no teleprompter.

What’s changed the most about lawn care since you started in the business in 1978? The number of applications and services we offer. It used to be four apps and we did a soil conditioner called gypsum. Now there are seven applications. Why? No. 1, customers want to know what’s going on with their lawn. If we’re out there more often, we can identify their problems. The other reason, of course, is to make more money.

Another thing is the control products. Our selection is so much more extensive than it was at one time with different modes of action and products that are more pest specific.

The customer has changed the least overall. They’ve become more attuned to lawn care and the environment, but they still want to get a good deal and they’re paying for the results.

Off the clock

What do you do when you’re not working? Gardening, woodworking. But my passion in life is singing. I sing in our church choir and in the bell choir. I’m a tenor. There aren’t many of us.

Tell us about your family. Roxanne is my wife. Through the years she’s worked in lawn care. She was the office manager for Tempo 21 and worked as a customer service rep at Barefoot Grass when we needed help. And I have one daughter, Sarah, who’s a special education teacher. She got married last year. Her husband, Steve, is also a teacher.

Favorite snack food? Popcorn, buttered. We do it the old-fashioned way—a popcorn popper with oil. None of this microwave stuff.

The best time of year is…Fall. It makes me think of going back to school. I really loved high school and college, and it makes me think of that time of my life. Plus, the cooler weather. My favorite temperature to work outdoors is 50 to 60 degrees.

Marisa Palmieri

Marisa Palmieri

Marisa Palmieri is an experienced Green Industry editor who's won numerous awards for her coverage of the landscape and golf course markets from the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA), the Press Club of Cleveland and the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE). In 2007, ASBPE named her a Young Leader. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism, cum laude, from Ohio University’s Scripps School of Journalism.

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