Lawns USA conducted their annual Turfgrass and Plant care workshop on September
26, 2019. The event was held along the beautiful beachfront in Surf City, NC at
the Surf Center conference room.
filled lineup of speakers presented valuable information to our franchise
owners and their employees. Matt Martin Extensions Turfgrass Specialist, NC
State University discussed some of the latest research and products in the lawn
care industry. Horticulture extension coordinator Susan Brown gave us insight
into the some of the more common insect and disease
issues that were problematic during the recent growing season. Dr Susana
Milla-Lewis, NC State University gave a fascinating insight on the Turfgrass
Breeding and Genetic engineering of new Turf varieties and cultivars being
worked on at the University. Lee Butler, Coordinator of the NC State University
diagnostic lab and extension plant pathology Department, explained the process
that takes place in diagnosing various diseases and plant parasitic nematodes.
Lawns USA’s CEO and Founder Mark A. Tamn gave the group some good information
on steps for diagnosing lawn and plant care problems and making sound agronomic
decisions in the field.
The group also enjoyed a tasty lunch at Daddy Mac’s Beachfront Restaurant compliments of the Freedom Lawns Corporate office following the workshop. The day was considered a great success by all who attended!
Being a woman in a predominantly male oriented industry such
as professional lawn care hasn’t deterred Kathleen Smith, owner of Freedom
Lawns of Charleston, SC, from achieving success with her organic based lawn
At a young age, you could find her on the court and on the green with the rest of the guys. She loved sports and was always outside. When her brothers were too young to play golf, she played in a “father and son” golf tournaments with her dad. Never did Kathleen feel out of place or at a disadvantage because she was a girl. “I was just another one in the game, trying to win! That’s how I even feel now in the business world,” said Kathleen. As one would assume, lawn care of any type is not a job you would expect to see a woman in a leadership role. Never has she viewed herself as different from the guys she works with.
In owning a Freedom Lawns USA Franchise, Kathleen found that
her greatest challenge is not working with men, but rather juggling all her
responsibilities. “Owning a business means that there are many times in which
business bleeds into your personal time. I get behind on my own lawn work,
things around the house and even having quality time with my daughters,” stated
She has also faced challenges in her family life all while
trying to run her own business. In the same year that Kathleen started her
Freedom Lawns her husband was diagnosed with ALS. In a year and a half her
husband’s ALS progressed and with it came adjustments during his illness and
after he passed. To make matters worse, a couple of years later her business
partner decided to pursue other interests.
These events, however, did not discourage Kathleen from
growing her Freedom Lawns business. “I wouldn’t have believed I could overcome
all the hurdles. I don’t ever stop and think about it. I just stay in the
present and try to keep moving forward,” expressed Kathleen.
When starting the business, Kathleen stated that the corporate office really set her up for success. “The franchise gave me the framework to build my business. By following the guidelines they created for success, I was able to adapt to the world or entrepreneurship.” She also mentioned that during those difficult times in her life the corporate office was there to guide her. “It never goes without bumps in the road, but the corporate office is there to guide me through those too,” added Kathleen.
So, in her advice to woman who want to become business
owners she states that, “as in everything in life, things don’t always go as
planned. Don’t give up, just adjust to the situation and find a way to keep
moving forward.” Kathleen also mentioned that you must take the time to find
something that will be fulfilling to you and to know your strengths and
weaknesses. “Make sure you understand what you can expect out of your business
at start up and aim high but anticipate the struggles that will surely come
along with such a journey. Sometimes setting yourself up for success can take
years. You have to decide the path that will work best for you.”
Kathleen has certainly found her path and now her Freedom
Lawn operation is one of the finest lawn care companies in the Charleston area.
Great work Kathleen!
Freedom Lawns is an organic based lawn care franchise
company based out of North Carolina.