LM150: How we got started

June 12, 2017 -  By

Origin stories from a few LM150 firms.
As told to Dillon Stewart


Think back to your humble beginnings. The starry-eyed days where you had nothing but a mower and a dream. There are many reasons the leaders from LM150 list companies may be different from the average landscape company—scale, scope and sometimes just pure luck. But a modest beginning is not one of them.

Landscape origin stories have a few common tropes, and many of them are represented here. For the hand-me-down family company, see Jon Georgio’s story about the origins of Gothic Landscape. For the kid-with-his-mower story, read about Kory Ballard founding Perficut when he was 14. For the outside-the-industry leader with the ability to put the right people in the right positions and take a step back, hear from J.T. Price at Landscape Workshop.

While the stories vary, there are similarities among them all.

Good people and hard work are big ones, but the most omnipresent characteristic among the LM150 leaders we spoke with was a genuine passion and love for the work that they do, a regard for their humble beginnings and a driving set of principles that organically created great company cultures.

“All the talent in the world just doesn’t work without purpose,” says Jon Georgio, CEO of Gothic Landscape. “I think it’s what (Brickman Group, now part of BrightView, founder) Dick Brickman had, and I think when you look behind the curtain of those extremely successful organizations, there was some deep purpose and values that really grew those companies.”

Origin stories

The family man | This is the story of three brothers, Mike, Jon and Ron, took family business Gothic Landscape to new heights
The unemployed plant lover | The story of how Lebo Newman went from the unemployment line to CEO of Signature Landscapes
The girl in the boy’s club | This is the story of a fearless female owner who credits a competitive spirit for her success
The kid with a mower | This is the story of a high school kid with a mower and a dream—a dream of owning a badass moped
The industry outsider | This is the story of an industry outsider’s crash course

About the Author:

Dillon Stewart graduated from Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, earning a Bachelor of Science in Online Journalism with specializations in business and political science. Stewart is a former associate editor of LM.

Comments are currently closed.