Meeting the needs

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A N.J.-based landscaping company gives time and money to dozens of charities.

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July 30, 2020

Fullerton Grounds Maintenance helps at least 20 companies through charity work each year.
Photo courtesy of Fullerton Grounds Maintenance

From service dogs for veterans to the Boy Scouts of America, Fullerton Grounds Maintenance (FGM) takes charity giving seriously. FGM gives to dozens of charities, says its CEO Scott Fullerton.

Some of these charities include America's VetDogs, Community Food Bank of New Jersey, the Family Resource Network, Jersey Battered Women's Service and the Boy Scouts of America.

FGM has a focus on building up their community on a local level, so it gives to many local children’s sports teams and completes community projects, too.

“I think that once you do (charity work), you'll find that it is actually more self-serving than you think,” he says. “Because it makes you feel good. You see the need, you do it. So, it's almost a selfish endeavor… It's addictive.”

The cost of giving.

Fullerton says approximately 2-3% of the company’s budget is spent on charitable giving. There are 20 organizations that FGM supports listed on its website, but Fullerton and his team gives to many more in smaller ways.

“If someone's looking for a $200 sponsorship, that's just a no-brainer,” Fullerton says. “Again, there's just so much need.”

FGM usually gives financially but will also volunteer company time so many of its 180 employees can give their labor, too. For their volunteer work with Habitat for Humanity, employees will, on a company-selected day, be let out to volunteer and are still paid for their time.

Fullerton also volunteers much of his own time to volunteer work. Usually, he volunteers almost a full workday every week to talk with these organizations and facilitate with them. Outside of work, he also spends an average of two to three nights per week at charity events. During the spring, it can be up to four nights a week.

“I won't say (charity work is) overwhelming,” he says. “Obviously, there's a lot of time that goes into it that's not business time, so it pulls me away from my family… so that balance has always needed to be looked at.”

Choosing where to give.

Fullerton, 60, does have a criteria on what organization or cause his company supports – It has to have a need. Employees are free to ask the company to support a cause they are passionate about. They just need to go to him directly and explain to him the need.

“We have one manager from Honduras when Hurricane Mitch hit way back when,” Fullerton said. “We sent care packages out to his home country and his village and money to rebuild houses. That was near and dear to him.”

Generally, Fullerton is open to sponsoring and giving money, especially when a client or employees asks, but, because there are so many needs, he is not able to do this for every need he comes across.

“There’s charities in your face every minute of every day… so you do have to make choices,” Fullerton says. “There's just some that hit home for you that you then follow up with and you want to do more… you want to go a little bit above and beyond the average sponsor.”

Scott Fullerton, CEO of Fullerton Grounds Maintenance, says his employees are always willing to put in extra work to help others through charity.
Photo courtesy of Fullerton Grounds Maintenance

Recent giving.

One of the organizations that hits home for Fullerton during the past few years has been Project Evergreen, which helps facilitate free lawn care for the homes of veterans while they are deployed.

Since 2018, FGM has provided lawn care to 10 homes of the deployed throughout the Kenvil, N.J., area. This service includes lawn cutting, edge trimming and maintenance of shrubbery.

“We had a young man that just bought a house, a small house, and he got deployed for a year,” he says. “And he really couldn't afford to have it maintained and everything. (Before,) he did all of it himself. So, we maintain this house for him, stay in contact with him and do his spring cleanups – keep it looking lived in.”

Fifteen employees participate in this program, incorporating these homes in their regular routes. This will often add extra time to their routes, but they do not complain.

“They're all like, ‘No sweat. We'll put it into the schedule. We'll figure it out.’ So, I think everybody's 100% behind that,” he says.

Fullerton stands behind this project too for several reasons; one of them being that his daughter joined the U.S. military three years ago.

“It's so easy to go through life and not realize what people sacrifice,” he says. “There's people that are in the armed forces that push paper and sit at a desk, but you know what? They still take a year away from their family or four years away from their family… It just really hit home that what these people give, and (Project Evergreen) just makes their life that little bit easier.”

Other recent volunteer work has included volunteering and collecting food for local food pantries in need because of COVID-19.

Fullerton grew up in a household where giving and volunteering was a part of the normal routine. Early in starting his own family, he helped run a church youth group and got involved in Habitat for Humanity, an organization he still volunteers for to this day.

Fullerton says that those who can give should, especially as they become more successful. Now that he is successful, Fullerton can give back in larger ways. This comes from a sense of morality and care for others.

“I'm a Rotarian, and so when you live in those circles, seeing what people don't have, it almost makes you feel guilty what you have, so it's easy for me to give,” he says.

Fullerton suggests other businesses pursue giving, too.

“It doesn't have to be money,” he says. “Some people are good at giving money. Some people are good at giving time. I think some people might back away from charities because it's like, ‘What can I do?’ Well, you can do a ton with your profession. You can do a ton with your time.”

The author is an editorial intern with Lawn & Landscape.

Roger Zino joins Gothic Landscape as vice chairman

He was formerly CEO of ValleyCrest Companies and vice chairman of BrightView during the company’s integration.

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. – Roger Zino, the former CEO of ValleyCrest Companies, has joined Gothic Landscape as a vice chairman and is now on the company's board of directors. Gothic Landscape ranked No. 6 on Lawn & Landscape's Top 100 list in 2020.

In this role, Zino will partner with Jon Georgio, Gothic’s CEO, to drive the company’s long-term growth strategy.

“Roger and I have worked very closely together over the past nine months and I am thrilled by his commitment to our long term-growth,” Georgio said. “He has a unique range of relevant experience, understands family businesses and can see around the corner of where we are heading. He has such great energy, and has blended in so well with our team, in a way that has been very inspiring to our Gothic family.”

Zino has been recently leading Socratic Dialog, a business services consultancy, as its managing partner. He was formerly president of ValleyCrest Landscape Maintenance, CEO of ValleyCrest Companies and vice chairman of BrightView during the company’s integration. Prior to ValleyCrest, he was a partner at McKinsey & Co. and served a range of diversified businesses in that capacity. He has a bachelor's degree in accounting/computer science from Georgetown and a master's degree from the Harvard Business School.

“I am very motivated to take on this important role with Gothic, a family-owned company that is well known for its consistent growth over the past 36 years in the landscape industry that was built on an unyielding focus on having truly extraordinary relationships with its customers and its people and an unwavering focus on doing what’s right,” Zino said.

Sperber adds another company in Florida

Sperber partners with Greenscapes just months after adding Top Cut Lawn Services.

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. – Sperber Landscape Companies has expanded its presence in the Florida market with the addition of Greenscapes in southwest Florida.

The news of the Greenscapes partnership comes after Sperber’s announcement in February that Top Cut Lawn Services, which services the southeast Florida market, would join the company.

With a history spanning 50 years, Greenscapes has built a commercial maintenance portfolio in the state. Headquartered in Naples, Greenscapes President Linda Nelson will continue to lead the company.

“We know that by partnering with Sperber Landscape Companies, we are able to provide even greater resources to our clients and create even more opportunities for our team members and for the future generations to come,” Nelson said. “This is a much-celebrated partnership for Greenscapes.”

“The addition of Greenscapes comes with a lot of excitement for us as we build upon our presence in Florida," said Richard Sperber, SLC’s managing partner. "Linda Nelson and her management team are some of the best in the business. I’ve been impressed with their attention to detail on each project and how that has led to loyal and happy clients across the board.”

Greenscapes was exclusively represented by CCG Advisors, an investment banking firm specializing in the green industry.

SavATree merges with Downey Trees

Downey Trees is a full-service company with offices in Georgia and Florida.

BEDFORD HILLS, N.Y. – SavATree has merged with Downey Trees of Atlanta, Georgia, a full-service company with offices in Norcross and Savannah, Georgia, plus Destin, Florida.

This marks SavATree’s first entry into the Florida market and expands their Georgia presence into Savannah. Both Downey Trees and SavATree’s current Norcross branches will combine to form a metro-Atlanta presence. SavATree now has 43 branch offices serving customers in 23 states.

Since 1984, Downey Trees has focused on serving commercial clients, property managers and homeowners’ associations. Services include tree care, plant health care, vegetation management, retention pond management and emergency response services.

In addition to current offerings, clients will now have access to a wider range of services including professional lawn care, tick and mosquito treatments, deer deterrents, organic options and consulting services.

“With the addition of these three locations we are able to develop and expand our market presence further into the Southeast region, which has been a priority for some time,” said SavATree Executive Chairman Daniel van Starrenburg. “We’re excited to accomplish this by joining forces with Downey Trees.

“We welcome their dedicated, knowledgeable team and believe the union with our existing Norcross office will be beneficial for both teams and customers. We are further excited to have a new entry into Savannah, Ga., and the Panhandle area of Florida.”

Downey Trees Owner Paul Bagley said, “We are very excited about this merger. SavATree shares our philosophy about quality, values and standards, so it’s clear that our two expert teams put together will yield an even stronger, more impactful result for our clients.”

Oldcastle APG acquires B&B Bedding to extend Midwest reach

B&B Bedding specializes in manufacturing bagged and bulk mulches and soils.

ATLANTA – Oldcastle APG, a CRH Company, extends its geographic reach with the acquisition of B&B Bedding, a regional manufacturer of lawn and garden products. As a long-time co-packing partner, the company fits into APG’s existing portfolio. B&B Bedding lawn and garden products are derived from recycled valued woods and natural resources.

Founded in 1984, B&B Bedding specializes in manufacturing bagged and bulk mulches and soils from facilities in Oskaloosa, Iowa, and McLean, Illinois. The company supplies retail and independent customers throughout the Midwestern U.S.

The acquisition follows several purchases by Oldcastle APG in both landscape materials and concrete products. In 2019, APG acquired Ohio mulch manufacturer Buckeye Resources, followed closely by the acquisitions of Allied Concrete Products, Abbotsford Concrete Products and US MIX.

“We look forward to enhancing APG’s geographic footprint to better service our customers throughout the Midwest with the acquisition of B&B Bedding,” said Oldcastle APG President Tim Ortman. “In addition to its manufacturing capabilities and industry expertise, the company’s product offering fits seamlessly with ours and will strengthen and complement our position in the lawn and garden segment.”

The deal was finalized in late June 2020.

MiniTrencher promotes Harris to general manager

JJ Harris will oversee the day-to-day operations of the company.

VANCOUVER, Wash. – MiniTrencher has promoted JJ Harris to general manager.

Harris joined MiniTrencher in 2016 as product manager and has since risen to the executive team.

Harris brings with him 23 years of experience in the Architectural/Engineering/Construction (AEC) industry and has a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Master of Business Administration from Western Governors University - Washington.