Founded in 1971, after the birth of his daughter, The Yard Works, Inc. had a very humble beginning. "I guess you could go all the way back to when I was in the 6th grade. I used to pull the old fashioned reel mower behind my bike and mow my neighbor's yards. I would get $1.00 per yard and I had about eleven customers," said Jerry. "I did that for years. It was my only income until I got to high school and could drive."
Jerry went on to graduate from Ohio State University with an Education degree, and then a MBA from Kent, all the while still loving the outdoors. He got his first job teaching in LaGrange. Then in 1972, he took a job teaching for the Sheffield Lake School system. It was there that several other teachers had the opportunity to cut grass during summer break to supplement their incomes.
"It was hard work. Very hard work. I push mowed from morning until night and it wasn't self propelled. It was the old style Lawnboy mower. I would come home tired and sore, but I loved the work," remembers Jerry.
That fall, a condominium association approached the teachers and asked if they would like to submit a bid for the lawn maintenance the following year. They did, and won the contract. Jerry bought a riding tractor, some additional push mowers, and a van to transport the growing equipment. After that, two more associations hired them. The business was growing! Jerry continued to teach full time, and work on the lawn maintenance jobs after school, on the weekends, and every break from school.
"I decided to expand into snow plowing. I made up flyers and went door to door passing them out. Back then I used my tractor with a plow attachment to do the driveways."
After that, people started requesting more and more services. To keep up with the demands, Jerry hired on extra help. The business employed his wife Karen, his son Chad, his daughter Shannon, in addition to several other family members. He retired from teaching in 1994, but continues to be a lifelong learner. He attends seminars, conventions, and continuing education/licensure courses. He is a licensed pesticide applicator with the state, a Certified Landscape Technician, and is currently working on his Snow and Ice Management certification. He will attend as many learning opportunities as he can, to keep up to date.
In January of 2013, his son Chad, bought the business and took over so Jerry can enjoy his retirement. He is still frequently in the office, always eager to stay involved and help out when needed!