By Ron Hall/Editor-in-Chief
Taking advantage of a lazy, winter day I polished off a book I’ve been meaning to read since a friend, Dick Bare, bought it for me. Dick, who owns and runs Arbor-Nomics, a successful lawn care company in Atlanta, is a voracious reader, so, in addition to being grateful for his generosity, I trust his judgement when it comes to reads.
The book is "The Professional Entrepreneur, When Cowboys Grow Up" by William Hildebolt, owner of Nature’s Select Premium Turf Services. I’ve known Bill for more than a few years and, about 10 years ago visited his operation. In addition to showing me around his Winston Salem, N.C. headquarters, he treated me to an afternoon tour of the beautiful Wake Forest University grounds. His company serviced some of the university grounds at the time, and hopefully it still does. I enjoyed our time together immensely.
Nature’s Select is an excellent company run by Hildebolt and his partner Gene Queen. The two men came to lawn care from different directions. Hildebolt, started his working career farming, then teaching, and from there climbing the management ladder at a huge multi-national corporation. Finally in1994, he started the the lawn care business, where he uses unique agronomic principles he learned on the family farm in southwest Ohio.
Bill draws upon all of these experiences and those of other successful landscape and lawn care company owners to share valuable and, sometimes, personal insights on the concepts of professionalism and entrepreneurship. He obviously put an incredible amount of thought and effort in writing this book, and it shows because of the great amount of practical information it contains. It’s a fun read too, because most readers will recognize the companies that Bill mentions in his book.
Bill Hildebolt, a past president of PLANET, has been generous to our industry, and this book, available by going to the bookstore at the PLANET website www.landcarenetworkstore.org may be his most lasting contribution, of all.
By the way, all proceeds from the sale of "The Professional Entrepreneur" go directly to the PLANET Academic Excellence Foundation.