Mark Aquilino, the 32 year old President of Outdoor Pride Landscaping and Snow management, may be carrying the torch of the family business, but there was no silver spoon treatment here. He started out in the trenches for years, and since he's taken the helm, he's QUADRUPLED the business. Tune in to hear Marks story.
Eric Girouard 0:00
this is Eric and you're listening to bucket talk powered by Brunt. This week we speak with Mark aquilino, the 32 year old president of outdoor pride, landscaping and snow management, listening to hear how he not only quadrupled the size of his family owned business, but caught the attention of Forbes magazine as well. This is bucket talk weekly podcast where people who work in the trades and construction that aren't just trying to survive, but have the ambition and desire to thrive. The opportunity to trades in construction is absolutely ridiculous right now. So if you're hungry, it's time to eat. We discuss what it takes to rise from the bottom to the top with people who are well on their way and roll up their sleeves every single day. I'm here with Mark aquilino, President of outdoor pride, landscaping and snow management. Mark, just want to thank you for taking the time out of your day. No, you know, you're super busy, especially this time of year, and we really appreciate Avenue. Absolutely, buddy. So can you kick us off and tell us a little bit about your background? You know, you know where you grew up? where you came from? How you kind of got to where you are today and go from there?
Mark Aquilino 1:12
Yeah, for sure. For sure. I'll give you the personal background. So 3030 something years old. I just had a birthday. I feel like I'm getting older. But I know turning 32 and April just introduced my first child to to the world. Little Anthony, my wife and I are he's now 11 months old. So we're super pumped about that and just trying to navigate being a dad, as you know very well.
Eric Girouard 1:38
Mark Aquilino 1:38
So grew up in Massachusetts, and my parents when I was young, moved up to New Hampshire grew up in a town called Londonderry, New Hampshire. Now I moved and live in a town called Bedford. So I've been in New Hampshire for most of my adult life, although our business, outdoor pride is rooted in New Hampshire and now heavily rooted down in Massachusetts as well. But yeah, I grew up playing sports just grew up in a pretty unique household to my, my parents, in particular, my father, and mother started the business. Actually, the year that I was born, when they moved up to New Hampshire, my father had a unique career in banking and decided he wanted to start a landscape business. So it was kind of fun growing up in an entrepreneurial household is definitely eye opening to those that have done it. Because, you know, you get to see all the trials and tribulations and the successes and the failures, and the good times and the bad times of what it's really like to start a family business from scratch. And I was always cherish my time growing up in that household because things weren't sugar coated. I mean, we're an Italian family. And we talk like we're land and planes, and we talk with, with some good conviction. So even as I talk to you right now, I, if my wife came up, she'd be like, are you still in third base, you tried to give me some signs or what's going on? Yeah, but just a lot of fun, a lot of love in the household and got to see a lot of things that, you know, maybe kids my age didn't get to see. And, you know, got to look at my first p&l statement when I was, you know, you know, 1011 years old and asking different types of questions and stuff like that. So it was really cool. And it really, I think, helped build my entrepreneurial spirit, you know, from from when I was able to come in and take over the company, but just growing up love to play sports, if I could be outside, I was there, if I was with my buddies, whatever it was doing, it got spent a lot of time in different places throughout New Hampshire, that's been a lot of fun, whether that's hiking the beaches or up at the lakes, that was that was where you would find the family on the weekends or whatever.
Eric Girouard 3:39
So always good to hear the story behind the business before we get into it. So tell us a little bit about you know, you've got a unique angle, because not only are you the president of the business now, but it also had the complexity of passing it from prior generation on to you tell us a little bit about the business, you know, you know, from the size, the employees, all that stuff, where it is today, and then how it kind of how the torch was passed from your parents to you and all the all the good and the bad that comes along with that?
Mark Aquilino 4:06
Yeah, yeah. It's, it's been it's been a good ride. I mean, the business was started back in 1988. So it's 32 years old. And it's been, it's been like the family's baby too, right? Like not just my brother and I be the babies of the parents. But the business was also a very large part of the family history for sure. So my parent, my father in particular, he was in any unique career. He, once he graduated high school, went to college, he he dabbled just like everybody kind of does after college with what I want to do and worked in construction in the trades for a little bit. And then actually took a job for a bank and had a really unique experience at a bank. He actually worked there for years and started on the ground floor and actually worked up to managing different branches and helping this particular bank get acquired over the years had a real strong tie in sense to the community. So he, although he ran different aspects of the branch from the hiring and firing of the tellers all the way to, you know, closing out the day and, and all the functions that go into the banking world, but he really took a cool approach to building a community bank where, you know, they'd know who Eric was, and they know Eric's family, and people took a lot of pride coming there and having coffee and, and chatting with one another, and he took a particular interest in the loan department. Because back then, if you wanted to start a business, you'd go down to your local bank, and more times than not, you know, you were known, and you really could almost get a loan based off of your name, nevermind your idea, you know, your last name really meant something to the people that that knew you or you grew up around, and it was weighted heavily. So my father took a unique approach to, you know, trying to help people that maybe didn't have the best idea, or maybe had a phenomenal idea, and work that business plan to the point where, you know, they had something that was viable, and something that the bank could get behind and support. So I think that was really, where my father said, Hey, you know, I'm doing all this stuff for, for people, and I really get a lot of joy out of doing it. But you know, I've had this urge to go and start something for quite some time on my own. Yeah, wouldn't it be nice to, to go out and do that. So after you helped the banks get acquired, he, he did that. And he started outdoor pride landscaping, which was the name back then, like everybody else, that that bootstraps, a business, you know, put his heart and soul into really growing that. And those are the things that we saw growing up as kids. My mom, on the other hand, was, you know, had one job for 30 years from the time when she was 19, to the time when she left there at 49, had a pension had a 401k. And, you know, as timing worked out, it would put it to where my mother would have the time to, you know, help my father, I says business started to scale. So, about five years ago, because I really have been working in outdoor pride, as often as as much as I could, I'd always have a lot of fun go into the office, seeing all of the employees seeing my dad, it was like kind of like my thing that I wanted to do growing up. I mean, I got paid when I was 12 years old, in Frosties at Wendy's to go in to help out with little tasks. And if I did a really good job, maybe I get to, you know,
Eric Girouard 7:28
did you in the quick question, you so obviously, from a very young age, but you also were in the trenches at outdoor pride before obviously, you didn't just get thrown in as president. And here's the business. You you. You were doing the real work, right? Well, yeah.
Mark Aquilino 7:41
Yep. Yeah, there was, there was years and years of sweat equity built up there. And, and in all fairness, I mean, I didn't know if it was something that I wanted to do, I had an inclination, but, you know, I was young. I mean, I was like, a kid at 1213 years old, that was like, No, I want to go to work, I want to mow the lawn, I want to, you know, I want to shovel when I can, you know, growing up in the entrepreneurial household, you tend to have a lot of the characteristics that your parents do that rub off on you. And one of the things that I was able to see, and it was so apparent from, from everything, that point my parents got home to give us the time as kids to be able to put us down and hopefully we stayed, stayed in bed and didn't cause too much of a ruckus, but you'd see him, you know, strategize and make plans and have late night conversations. And in really what I equate my parents and seeing all of that and getting us involved into things. So Young was, you know, where I obtained my work ethic, both my brother and I have a tremendous work ethic. And we've, I feel confident and happy saying that because it was how we were raised, you know, that time that I was able to have working throughout high school, and then after high school in the business where I said, hey, there's a passion here. And it's something that I like about it, I think that I could, you know, make a nice career doing that. And it was a weird way of thinking because, you know, as we've changed as a business over time, we've really tried to harness and foster a career and a family like culture, which I feel very proud that we've been able to do, but not something that, you know, a 16 to 18 year old kid says, I want to go into landscaping for the rest of my life, you know,
Eric Girouard 9:14
bring us back to five years ago, right? All of a sudden, you know, you're taking over the reins here for this business, and you're taking a business that was the baby from your parents, you know, how tricky and challenging was that? And and then, and then what have you done with the business over the past few years to where we are today,
Mark Aquilino 9:32
I think for my parents to be able to have transitioned out of the business was obviously very tough. I mean, like I said, that was their baby for years, and years, and their main source of income. So for somebody else to want to step up to the plate and to come to the table and say, Hey, I'm ready to do this. Let's make it happen. There was a lot of you know, tough discussions, very brutally honest discussions about a plan and how to get there. So but but I think my parents you know, About five, six years ago, when when my team and I essentially took over the business, our leadership team, that it was time, the industry was making a lot of different changes, technology was playing a big part in what we were doing, I knew based on, you know, growing up in the business, its potential, and the brand that my parents had put it in place, I just saw this huge opportunity in the market. But I knew it was something that I wouldn't be able to do by myself. So we were able to bring a great team together from our business manager that we had brought in from to kind of hold us more accountable and responsible to the financials, while I had the ability to go out there, and to grow this thing into what it's been. So in the, in the past five years, since we've taken over, we've grown it four times in revenue, and really, really increased the the bottom line profits, because we were able to take this phenomenal brand and foundation that my parents had put in place, exploit it to what we do well, and, and really focus on that. And that's been the key to our six successes by staying disciplined, staying focused, and really becoming a purpose driven company. I mean, in the past five years, we've had a tremendous amount of success that we're very grateful for. And then just the successes is definitely a derivative of, you know, learning and adjusting to any types of failures. But, you know, some of the things that I think really have helped us perpetuate to this growth, is the fact that we are just so focused and purposely driven on our team members. You know, one of the most notable things that's happened to us over the last five years, is we were able to be recognized by Forbes magazine, as a small giant, and a purposely driven company that cares about their culture. So when a 25 companies or 50 companies that care remember how, how many were accepted into this program, that we're nationally recognized for what they're doing. And that's really our secret sauce, you know, we can have, we can have a great plan. And we can put as much strategy as we want into it. But you know, I'm a big believer in culture eats strategy for breakfast, the culture that we've been able to sustain and grow and nurture over the years has really been the thing that I'm most proud of getting up and having the ability to go to work with a bunch of great individuals from so many different backgrounds that are working together for a common goal, you know, holding themselves accountable to one another, for the greatest success of everybody that's like playing that's like, bring me back to playing sports, right, you know, kind of making sure that that business is a team sport. So the growth and the success is definitely a testament to the brand. But more so the group of people that have been part of this brand over the years,
Eric Girouard 12:42
you know, and I spend most of my days, you know, looking at businesses in different sectors across the board. And because I hear that a company grew top line revenue by 4x Plus, and profitability is an anomaly. Usually, you know, people grow top line and they over invest in, they end up losing a little bit of money, they'll make it up later, so or they grow profitability, but then they cut a bunch of expenses and cut top line revenue. So I think it's clear based on what you guys have going on with your cultural mission driven company, is a clear testament to the anomaly of not only growing the revenue, but also growing to profitability, which is like, you know, one out of every 1000 businesses that I look at or talk to you is able to even accomplish that. So I think that's pretty exceptional for what you guys do. And And what about from, you know, obviously, the numbers, you know, numbers around the world they make, they make everything work, it's the it's the scoreboard, whether people like to hear it or not, it's how it works. But, you know, what about you guys have big culture? How about, you know, people, you know, that's, uh, you know, it seems like that's your guys bread and butter, what you focus on? How's the team grown? And where are you guys at today?
Mark Aquilino 13:48
So when Bell five years ago, when we when we started on this growth trajectory, you know, we probably averaged about 25 to 26 employees at our, at our peak for our, you know, our routine maintenance work, which is a landscaping side to then probably jumping up to close to adding another, I don't know, 30 to 40 people for the seasonal side of our business, which is the snow management. And as things have trended over the years, you know, for this year for 2020, we have 73, full time employees year round. And then we add about another 210 to 230 seasonal people on top of that, you can see with the with the growth of the top line revenue, it's obviously equated to opening up more opportunities from a seasonal perspective, which is great, as well as the full time year round career. And that's, you know, that's another piece of our industry. That is so so important. You know, I know you and I even talked before this about like, hey, landscaping is like that summer job that you have, and it was something that I thought I could could do when I was younger because I Hey, I'll work outside. I'll get a tan. I'll stay active. I'll stay fit up again. I play a ton of sports growing up like this will be great. And then I realized that in this industry, there was that fall off, and there was no ability to retain. And I think one of the reasons why Forbes recognized this above and beyond our, our messaging, and our purpose is our track record in retaining employees and making sure that people understand that you legitimately are offering a career that will support you, your families, and your needs, in order to have a good life, and trades, the trades is really something that I think is coming back strong, I mean, even during this pandemic that's going on, it's all of the trades industries that are out there are deemed essential. And the people that are making the world go round right now is a mist of, you know, several other industries that are obviously extremely important to the economies, but it's something that we took a lot of time to develop. And it's something that we're extremely proud that, hey, you know, we have guys that are buying houses, we have gals that are working in with, with the crew, because that's a, that's another big thing, we have a lot of women that are very, very successful in this industry, we're excited about that. And we're excited to have a diverse, unique group of individuals that can challenge one another, to really harness and foster the environment in which we want to constantly produce every single day. I mean, we look at the we're renting people's time during the week, and we want to work hard, we want to play hard. And we want to have a sense of unity that exists every single day. So that this is something that people get excited for, you know, coming to work, everybody wants to go to work with people that they like and, and have a good time while you're doing it. So if we can maintain that, while also making sure that we're doing everything financially to support that, then you've got a nice recipe for success.
Eric Girouard 16:52
Now, you said you said a few things that really stuck out which is you know, yeah, you wouldn't be here landscaping, you know, you can think of what you know, what we were doing or what I was doing, here's a little different cuz the family business, but you know, you know, cutting grass leaf blower weed whacking, right, any anyone with with, with those three things, and modes of motor transportation can do it, and it has kind of that optics. But you guys, and I think it's a little bit to do with you coming in, it's like the young blood, which is, you know, times of change, right? You think of the yesteryear, when I was growing up there was, you know, you run a landscaping crew you work for, you know, prior generation when I was a teenager, and you know, no feedback, no coaching, they just wanted to show up, do your job, pay as least as possible, so they can pull off the top. And, you know, the new generation that we're in is, you know, people want to be part of the company, they want to be part of a team, they want to feel like they're part of the organization, just not a cog in the wheel. And I think what you got, you know, you guys have turned that stereotypical landscaping into a platform for the industry, which you know, few people either, I think, start taking your approach, or they're gonna be they're gonna be left behind. If not, Oh, for sure. I
Mark Aquilino 17:57
mean, you know, part of that it's definitely the market that we serve. I mean, where we're 100% commercial, we're working, working for Fortune 500 companies, and we're taking an active role and approach to their business, and no different than the way in which we think about our employees do we do we think about our clients in the same respect, right? We pride ourselves on being that relationship driven extension of your team. And that's how we want to be viewed. I mean, it's a, it's a partnership, it's not just, hey, we're the contractor, that is our customer, it's, hey, we're an extension your team, we're going to do whatever we need to do to make sure that your facility shines, and that we have a focused and collaborative approach to ensuring that we're protecting your biggest asset outside of your employees. Right. And that's still that's your campus. Yep. That where we essentially are responsible for the first look that everybody has, when they pull into that property, we take a tremendous amount of pride in, in our are very fortunate to have some of the customers that we do from the, you know, the schools and colleges to the financial institutions or the insurance campuses that we run all the way to the the hospitals, in the big, big, large corporate campuses, to the trucking, logistical facilities, our clients have a serious demand for attention to detail. And we need to ensure that we're doing everything that we can to make sure that their business looks a certain way functioning a certain way without disrupting it. And our collaborative, you know, relationship based approach to being able to do that is just in turn, work the same way as it has with our employees where we upped the amount of clients that we retain every single year and that's another key to the growth that we've taken on is, you know, protecting the brand, making sure that we're, we're not losing sight of, you know, the people that have helped us on this journey to be able to grow so we're super super focused on the employee and the customer to ensure that they're having the best type of experience with outdoor pride in order to, you know, sustain those relationships for years and years and years. And that's, that's been the case, and a big part of what's important to all of us from a leadership perspective.
Eric Girouard 20:08
So it sounds like you guys are on a great track. But if all we did was talk about everything, you know, all rainbows and sunsets, it wouldn't be that exciting. So what's the biggest challenge that you're facing right now that, you know, keeps you up at night? Or you're thinking about what you want to work on? What's the what's really the thing that that you're working to tackle? Basically, that's not you know, is as rosy as everything else that we're talking about.
Mark Aquilino 20:30
The biggest thing for me right now, just where the noise is loudest is built around this pandemic, right? How long is it going to last? What's life like, and what's life gonna be like the next six months to 12 months to the point where we've come up with a vaccine to the point where we can get back to normal. And, you know, there's a lot of uncertainty there, because there's just so much unknown, right? It's, it's unprecedent, we've never dealt with something to this scale that's affected, you know, our states that we operate into the country to the world. So that definitely has the most amount of noise to it right now. But above and beyond that, you know, it's the tough times, it's the problems that we face on a day to day basis that really build our resilience and allow us to be better. So from a perspective of where things are right now, yeah, this pandemic is, is the biggest disruption. And part of that is making sure that we're doing absolutely everything that we can to protect our employees, right, our frontline group of level. And so we've we've made a ton of updates to our protocol into the way in which we traveled to the way in which we work at sites to the sizes of our crews, all the way to we got these really great fabric masks that are branded, that don't just have the benefits of mitigating their exposure to one another and you know, passing COVID if you had it or you're asymptomatic, or you're around other people that could had it at some properties or wherever you're going to, you know, these things will also keep their SPF 40. Right. So they they block UV they, you can wear them in the wintertime when you're cold. I mean, we're we're looking at all of these things. And we're dealing with all this adversity and we're saying, in the midst of chaos, how do we not live in the fear zone? How do we make sure that we're going to perpetuate this forward and resonate into an area that's more so in terms of growth, in doing better and coming overcoming things and taking a very collaborative team approach to solving problems, and making sure that we're doing everything to combat the pandemic, to taking care of our employees and our clients and doing the right thing? And, and that's where, where the efforts definitely lie. Right now, aside from that, you know, as we've, as we've maintained this, this growth trajectory, it's really come down to the labor market, you know, prior to this pandemic, you know, the economy was cranking on all cylinders. And it's tough to, to get people excited and really find something sexy about landscaping, right? Yeah, yeah. But you know, our message as to what gets out and showing that there's opportunity in our industry, it's not just, hey, come in, mow the grass, with the beds, install the flowers, you know, go home, it's a I can I can have account management, I can work on the client side of this things. I can do outside sales, I can do inside sales, right? Yeah, yeah, there's, there's the finance team and the admin teams that are constantly growing. So really trying to keep the message out there that we're looking for people that want to make a home, want to make a career. And just because we're in landscaping doesn't actually mean this, you'll have those labor functions, you know, aside from all of the other avenues and what it takes to have a well oiled machine. So the Labor has definitely been a challenge with what's happened with the pandemic, the influx of applications have come in. And so, trying to interview during a pandemic is a little bit challenging as well, from having that face to face to try and to set up a zoom meeting to Hey, can you can you come to our office? Can we have a meeting outside, you know, 10 feet apart? And can we interview? Yeah, you know, those are all different things that we're dealing with right now. But my goal as President, is I have two goals. And really two job functions that are what I tell everybody. The first thing is, my job is to clear the path for others to succeed or help them clear the path so that they can succeed, right? Yep. The second thing is to mitigate and reduce any type of risk or exposure to our business. And right now, if my focus isn't on clearing the path that are you know, is essential for us to be out performing the work because we are an essential business taking care of our customers and and helping them at their facilities with safety in supplying the teams with everything that they need to be successful, then we can fulfill that obligation from a risk standpoint right now. It Nothing is more important than playing our part. In having the being very fortunate to be an essential business, but also playing our part in making sure that we're not out there, part of the problem, and we're probably part of the solution and keeping everybody safe, and putting the right cost precautions in place, as well as changing our operational protocols to maintain a safe environment for everybody. So definitely the the loudest thing that's going on right now and the things that we're trying to navigate as we go through the next 612 and 18 months,
Eric Girouard 25:26
yep, yep. And what what stood out to me, from all that is, is, you know, you guys have a really mature approach to it, which, which a lot of businesses that are great businesses, but you know, they're like, I just want to get back to the way things work. And you guys have accepted, hey, even if, if, you know, we can go back outside and start shaking hands and going to dinner, we're our business has changed forever. And we're putting these protocols in, well beyond when COVID ends up, you know, a year from now you guys are going to still be doing a lot of this stuff to which is the mature approach. And I think the foresight to say like, Hey, this is we're not just gonna go back to, you know, pre pandemic, and we want to make sure that we're setting the company and the team up for long term success, which is, you know, it sounds like you guys are investing at a time where a lot of people aren't in this in these types of programs, and really think it through it a lot, a lot of thought the tension, which, which is, I think another reason what sets you guys apart from the fact that the industry,
Mark Aquilino 26:20
for sure, I mean, I had a great mentor, and coach and friend to this day, they told me, he goes, listen, sometimes you just have to slow down to go faster. And you know, being younger, and being a millennial, What is he talking about? Like slow down? And what does that even mean? And
Eric Girouard 26:37
then put the pedal down? Yes.
Mark Aquilino 26:39
Yeah. Right. Like, you know, I like to go fast, right. So yeah, so at the same time, it's like, that really started to resonate with me, because I'm saying now you know, what, we need to be more methodical, we need to take a smarter approach. And things don't have to happen tomorrow, if they're not well planned out. And so that's always been something that stuck in my head, when we get an idea, we try to implement something new, or whether it be part of our growth strategy, part of the way in which we operate, to the way in which we look at acquiring equipment, or, or so on. And that's really helped me slow down, take a more refined approach to really think things through and think about the long term effects, not just the short term. So that's definitely something I have written on my sticky note on one of my monitors here, to just remind you every once in a while of how important it is to, to just make well informed in good decisive decisions, and more importantly, to get input on those decisions from you know, your trusted teams, then those types of decisions that we've made over the past four weeks, are 100% going to be the new policy and procedure moving forward to keep people safe. And I honestly hope that if we can get anything out of COVID as a society, you know, we can think about the things that we never used to do in the past, you know, from everything from the cleanliness to the way in which we went out, you're seeing some of the good changes that are actually happening. I mean, one of the things that that we've seen, the one of the things that which we're really working on right now, because we are a company that tries to take the greenest and most sustained approach to business for our clients, as you know, we're taking care of their outside asset, right. So everything from maybe they have soccer fields at some of our campuses, to baseball fields, all the way to just a very, very beautifully landscaped campus that people are out constantly walking and doing things. And one of the things that we're really, really pushing right now, regardless of COVID, but I think it plays a small hand into it is you know, electric equipment, more so the robotic equipment that we can get out there. We have a couple clients right now that this will be their first year where we are introducing robotic and electrical equipment that will go out and will keep their properties manicured. And these general areas where you can limit down the distractions. The landscapers, I mean, we're guilty of it too, because right now, we'll go to some campuses. And you know, I've seen it from when I go pull into a property to go out with my my wife and our son to go pick something up or maybe to have lunch with them. And you see the typical landscapers, they're on their equipment, they're going around their mo and things. They're allowed. Sometimes they're in the way, sometimes they don't have the best presentation. I knew that was the company that we didn't want to have. We didn't want to personify that we wanted to be uniform. We want to have clean trucks. We wanted to have a great presentation. But part of doing that is to be forward thinking. and sustainability plays a large part in our company from everything that we do and where we can see the industry going forward in you know, robotics in the use of limiting our co2 emissions with electric equipment is is really just a way of the future for us. And we're really looking to push that now with Our clients, a mist of COVID and everything, to continue the innovative momentum we have going forward to set us apart from not just our competition, but if there's better ways of doing things, and there's a greener side that accomplishes the the operational brand and the quality control as well as the financial responsibility that we have to our customers to bring some of these things and to implement them. We look at that as a win win approach, something that we're doing that's also going to benefit the earth at the end of the day.
Eric Girouard 30:29
No, it sounds great. I mean, focusing on you know, it's gonna match not a lot of sustainability is not, that's a buzzword right in the market, and a lot of that the modern companies, but you really don't hear it, especially in the trades. And so I think it's one it's impressive to hear it, and to it sounds like you know, leveraging the latest and greatest technology from that that type of equipment. So the next question is, so in addition to the electric motors, which it sounds like, it's the future of the world, and the residential, you know, you see, you see some stuff like on demand lawn mowing and snow plowing, obviously, that doesn't work in your world, you know, how is modern technology impacting your business? And you know, you being a younger guy, you're obviously you're more well equipped to kind of integrate that into the company, what are you guys seeing? And what are you doing has
If you Google “Is landscaping a seasonal job?” You’ll notice the first thing that pops up, reads like this: “The landscape industry is a seasonal business because there's a growing season when more maintenance is required to care for clients' properties. ... You're hired for the busy season to perform a job, then laid off”
While even those who have worked landscaping jobs may assume this as common knowledge, Mark Aquilino has spent enough years in the trenches to know that’s not necessarily true.
The now 32 year old president of Outdoor Pride Landscaping Inc, Mark spent a majority of his formative years knee deep in the landscaping industry. His father, Outdoor Pride's former President, utilized his entrepreneurial skills to build the bones of what is now a $10 million plus a year business. “I got paid, when I was 12 years old, in Frostys at Wendys just to go in and help out. By the time Mark was 27, the need for advanced technology and robust finances needed to scale his business had outdated his fathers expertise and he looked to Mark to carry the torch.
While it may seem easy to assume Mark's early success with the family business was a cakewalk, his story runs deeper than that. Over the years since he’s taking the helm, Mark has worked tirelessly to build a structure that favors teamwork over strategy. “We are so driven and focused on our team members...I am a firm believer that culture eats strategy for breakfast.” Not only has Mark built a viable culture, but he’s done the unthinkable and transformed the stereotypical seasonal landscaping gig into a platform that is able to sustain over 70 employees year round.
Listen in to this riveting conversation as we hear about Mark's full background, how he quadrupled his family business, and why he thinks landscaping is a missed career opportunity.