At only 29 years old, Dave Fairburn, CEO of North Point Outdoors, a Windham, N.H.-based multi-service lawn care and irrigation company, has already made a name for himself.
Founded in 2009, his business has grown from $700,000 to a projected $4 million in a short time. While he’s been working in the field since high school, the green industry wasn’t where Fairburn imagined he’d end up. Throughout his childhood he dreamed of a career in aviation, working as a corporate pilot. Still, he’s come to love his job on the ground almost as much as he loves his free time in the sky.
I ended up in the green industry by accident. During high school I began working for a close family friend at his large property. Through a few summers we designed and installed a 150-head irrigation system. As a very successful retired building contractor, this gentleman became a mentor to me, and as graduation approached he suggested I start an irrigation business of my own. Next thing I know, I have a stack of T-shirts and business cards in the front seat of my truck. I ended up attending college full-time while running the business in the summer, weekends and on school breaks.
I received my bachelor’s degree in aviation and completed my commercial multi-engine pilot certification. My goal was to become a corporate pilot. As I kept looking to the sky, I had a functioning irrigation business working on the ground. In the time I spent looking for entry-level flying jobs, the irrigation business had doubled in size and merged with a landscaping company. It was clear my green industry business was taking off while my flying career was sitting on the tarmac.
My wife is in air traffic control and we share a passion for aviation. Our airplane is amphibious so we take it out to Maine for breakfast, Nantucket and the islands for dinner, and the lakes for camping and fishing. Or we just fly to enjoy the beautiful scenery of New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine.
I still fly. It’s in my blood. I was always the kid looking out the window at the airline contraol or low flying Cessna. I never thought that at 28 years old my green industry job would give me the ability to buy my first airplane.
I don’t really plan for the future anymore. After all, my first plans didn’t really pan out the way I thought they would. All I know is that I will do my best to continue to learn, have fun, face challenges, help others and enjoy as many opportunities as I’m presented. I’ll work on that and see how the future plays out. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll be in the pointy end of the North Point Outdoors corporate jet.
Read more about Dave Fairburn in When Quick Growth Overwhelms