A decade of help

A veteran himself, William Krammer has spent 10 years mowing lawns and shoveling snow for military families.
An industry and military veteran, William Krammer dedicates time to Project EverGreen’s GreenCare for Troops program.
Photo courtesy of William Krammer

When William Krammer decided to volunteer with Project EverGreen’s GreenCare and SnowCare for Troops programs, he kept thinking of two things.

One, he knew firsthand how difficult it was to upkeep properties as a deployed or stationed military member, as he spent 2002 to 2004 in the Navy.

And two? Minnesota winters could really be brutal, leaving the shoveling up to military families.

“You get to realize that as a service member, you don’t have this problem because most people live in apartments or townhouses or on base where it’s all taken care of it for you,” Krammer says.

“But their families don’t have the same situation. I wanted to work with a program that takes a few things off a service member’s plate. That’s where Project EverGreen and GreenCare and SnowCare come in.”

Project EverGreen reports 7,000 volunteers nationwide who provide complimentary lawn and landscape services to active-duty deployed military members. They estimate these volunteers have done $15 million in free service for these families, as 12,000 military families have registered since the program’s inception in 2006.

In June, Project EverGreen celebrated its annual National GreenCare for Troops Awareness Week.

For Krammer’s part, he estimates he’s helped over 200 families. He joined the program in 2012 after working a few years in the industry between his own companies and his franchise, The Grounds Guys of Woodbury, Minnesota.

At any given time, he believes he has somewhere between six and 10 military families he services, though it’s a revolving door of families that request the help.

Krammer said he felt compelled to help after reading about the program in an advertisement in a landscaping magazine. He knew what it was like to watch others need the help.

“From a senior in high school, you’re at the age where you’re helping out neighbors, cutting the grass, helping your parents, doing all the shoveling,” he said.

“Now, when you go to the military, it’s up to your parents and neighbors who are not always at the young age of 20s, 30s, and 40s. Now they either need to find someone or do it themselves.”

Krammer said he does his best to line up houses and properties for his military families that are already on his employees’ routes.

But, if they’re not, he’s paying his crew to do work that’s beyond their regular work hours. And if they can’t do the extra work? He’ll grab a mower or shovel and help out, too.

“I don’t mind not making money on these guys when they’re either not here or not able to do it. I’m giving back to my brothers and sisters or the spouses who are not able to do it,” Krammer says.

“I make sure I find the time. I’m not worried about if they pay us — it is volunteer. I make sure that every week or every snow fall that these guys are done, and if I eat the cost, then that’s what I do. I’m not worried about it at all.”

Anybody interested in joining the GreenCare or SnowCare for Troops program can join by visiting bit.ly/greencare22.

Krammer encouraged others to join, adding that it won’t add to anyone’s bottom line in profit but that it’s the right thing to do for people.

“The biggest thing is, you have to be able to accommodate them on top of accommodated the clients,” Krammer said. “You have to look for the long run and say, ‘Oh crap, I’m not getting anything.’ But you are getting a lot more than just overall revenue.

“There are so many families out there that we need a lot of service providers,” Krammer said. “We don’t want to have any waiting list on service members.”

The author is associate editor with Lawn & Landscape.

Ewing acquires Texas Landscape Supply

The new locations began serving customers as Ewing Landscape Materials on May 23.

Ewing Irrigation & Landscape Supply acquired Texas Landscape Supply in the Austin and San Antonio areas, which includes New Braunfels Landscape Supply, Wimberley Landscape Supply and Round Mountain Landscape Supply, which is formally known as Tri County Landscape Supply.

These locations will become the first Ewing Landscape Materials locations in Texas, growing Ewing’s bulk materials business and offering customers access to soil, mulch, aggregate and crushed stone, boulders, pavers and block and more.

“We’re very excited to welcome the Texas Landscape Supply team to the Ewing family,” said Sean Wimble, Ewing’s central territory president. “Texas Landscape Supply has an excellent reputation in the market and aligns with Ewing’s mission of being the top distribution partner for our customers in central Texas and throughout the entire state.”

Ewing has locations throughout Texas, including the Austin, San Antonio, Dallas and Houston metro areas, as well as throughout western Texas. Ewing will also be opening two additional Ewing Irrigation & Landscape Supply locations in Texas later this year.

“We looked for a partner with the right heritage, scale and initiative to help further our evolution across Texas,” said Tres Frey, owner and managing member of Texas Landscape Supply.

These new locations began serving customers as Ewing Landscape Materials on Monday, May 23.

“The Texas Landscape Supply teams have been leaders in landscape and bulk materials throughout central Texas. Through this partnership and aligned vision, we are in the right position to further enhance this strategy of being a market leader and growth in this category, serving the Austin and San Antonio areas,” said Douglas W. York, CEO and president of Ewing.

Bartlett Tree Experts acquires Tree Top

The Colorado-based company will now be Bartlett’s third business based in the state.

Bartlett Tree Experts has expanded its presence in Colorado with the acquisition of Tree Top. Since 2002, Tree Top has served residential and commercial clients throughout the Larimer County, Fort Collins, and Loveland areas.

The acquisition and addition of a new Fort Collins office represents Bartlett’s 157th operation and third Colorado location.

Joining Bartlett, James and Anna Knotts, the owners of Tree Top, said they are excited to integrate new tools and protocols to help them take even better care of customers’ trees.

“Bartlett invests tremendously in arboricultural research to support its local offices in providing the most advanced tree care solutions available,” James Knotts said.

“We are proud to join Bartlett and honored to be part of a team as dedicated to scientific tree care as they are.”

Bartlett Tree Experts President and COO Jim Ingram said, “We are excited about this acquisition because it allows us to expand our full range of scientific tree care services in Colorado while continuing to honor our commitment to exceptional safety, quality and customer service.”

The acquisition, which closed on May 23, completes Bartlett’s coverage area along the Front Range and follows Bartlett’s acquisition earlier this year of 303 Tree in Boulder.

Bartlett began serving the greater Denver area in 2018 when it acquired Colorado Treescapes in Littleton.

Outdoor Living Supply acquires The Rock Garden

The acquisition extends the OLS platform into California and strengthens its regional presence in the Lake Tahoe market.

Outdoor Living Supply, a distribution platform for outdoor living products with a focus on hardscapes, announced it has acquired The Rock Garden, an independent distributor of natural stone, hardscapes and architectural elements such as mantles and hand-hewn stone furniture. The acquisition extends the OLS platform into California and strengthens its regional presence in the Lake Tahoe market.

Based in Truckee, California, The Rock Garden was founded in 1998 and is a division of Marsh Ventures. The Rock Garden is a natural stone supplier to the North Lake Tahoe and Truckee markets.

Their product offering and commitment to their customers has made The Rock Garden the first choice of local architects, contractors and homeowners.

“I am proud to welcome the dedicated team at The Rock Garden to the OLS family of companies. This exciting new partnership expands our OLS footprint into California,” said Brian Price, CEO of OLS. “With its proximity to our Parker Hardscape Supply location, The Rock Garden is an exceptional fit. The combined strength and resources of these two locations will allow us to form the region’s market-leading platform, delivering best-in-class customer service to the Lake Tahoe and High Sierra markets.”

“We are extremely proud of the business we have built and are confident OLS will be an excellent steward of our Marsh Ventures, Inc., partnership legacy,” says Brian Marsh, president of Marsh Ventures.

OLS shares our commitment to providing an exceptional customer experience, along with providing growth opportunities for our employees, customers and suppliers alike. We are thrilled to have The Rock Garden join the OLS family of companies and look forward to watching the next chapter of growth unfold.”

Green Lawn Fertilizing promotes Willey to COO

Josh Willey has been with the company since 2017.

Photo courtesy of Green Lawn Fertilizing
Josh Willey

Matt Jesson, president and CEO, of Green Lawn Fertilizing / Green Pest Solutions promoted Josh Willey as chief operating officer.

In his new role, Willey will oversee all lawn and pest operations, facilities, human resources and sales — while owning the company’s profit and loss. He will also continue to shape and manage the company’s leadership development program which he started in 2019. Willey brings his natural people skills and high aptitude into his new COO roll, which will help achieve the company’s aggressive growth goals.

Jesson announced the promotion during the mid-year managers meeting. “I am so proud and thankful for all of Josh’s accomplishments over the last five years. I am looking forward to where his outstanding leadership will bring us over the next five years and beyond,” he says.

Willey started at Green Lawn Fertilizing / Green Pest Solutions in June of 2017 as Director of Business Development. He was promoted to Sr. VP of Operations after only five months with the company. Since Willey has joined Green Lawn Fertilizing / Green Pest Solutions the company has more than doubled in size from just under $13 million to over $30 million in revenue. Under his leadership the company’s growth has accelerated with YoY growth rates exceeding 20% the last three years.

Willey recently completed the General Management Program at Harvard Business School. During his time in the program, he competed in the GMP’s strategy finals and was selected as one of three winners out of over 110 fellow HBS students.

Willey brings over 20 years’ experience in the green industry, starting as a technician before moving into sales, and then management. He currently lives in Malvern with his wife, Tracey, and five kids.

July 2022
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