Ed Rockhill and I have been working together since 2014. He joined Fiore as Territory Manager midway through a long career building various Indianapolis-area landscape companies into multi-million dollar businesses. In 2016, he assumed the role of Vice President. After he joined the company, we quickly started working on the supply chain database concept that would eventually become LandscapeHub.
Now that you’ve gotten to know Chad and me, it’s time to meet Ed, the third leg of LandscapeHub’s management triad.
Thank you for sharing your story, Ed!
Believe it or not, my involvement with LandscapeHub probably started when I was about fourteen or fifteen years old. I was at church camp and I was supposed to be the junior counselor. But, the main counselor didn’t show up. So here I was, with a bunch of boys not much younger than me, and I needed to make sure they had a great time. First off, we all had nicknames — a must at camp. Then, we took it upon ourselves to landscape the front of our cabin! We cleared it out, put rocks along the pathway, and cleaned it up.
Who does that? Well, the kids had a good time and so did I. A passion for landscaping was born.
“Oh, I’ll study business.”
Well, I grew up and went off to school. Like many college freshmen, I didn’t really have any idea what I wanted to do, so I decided to study business. I had always been interested in business development, as well — particularly the team building aspects of it. (My fourteen-year-old self-organizing a landscape “crew” of 12-year-olds at camp might have been an early indicator of this additional interest and aptitude.)
During summer break from college, I went to work with a landscaper and loved it. I thoroughly enjoyed the practical application of business principles I learned at school in the field. My course was set.
Learning on the Job
I worked with two companies in the Indianapolis area, helping them scale. The first was Mainscape, where I spent ten years building the landscape construction division. The second was The Brickman Group, which I helped build to a 35 million dollar division in the Indianapolis market. After fifteen years with Brickman, I stepped away to build my own company. I thought that would be my “third act” and that’s where I’d finish my career. Then I met Lisa, her cousin (and business partner), and their fathers, and was sold on what they were doing. What jumped out at me was the way they valued taking care of their employees and customers. I really just feel like our DNA synched up!
Through the years, I’ve gotten further away from hands-on contracting and worked more in the business development side, working with budgeting and forecasting, as well as growing new young leaders in the field. I’ve enjoyed each and every role I’ve held. The industry has given me more fulfillment and experiences than I ever could have imagined.
When I joined Fiore something Lisa and I struggled with (and that most green industry businesses struggle with) was a lack of transparency and consistency in the supply chain. Nothing was digitally organized and at our fingertips.
In the landscape industry, there are two main challenges: sourcing labor and sourcing materials. Before and without LandscapeHub, sourcing meant spending a lot of time looking at catalogs and calling suppliers, trying to work up quotes in a timely fashion. He who can deliver the quote the fastest and procure material the fastest often ends up with the job, so that means spending whatever time necessary, whenever, to secure the work and the materials.
We started building an internal system to streamline procurement but quickly saw that it would be helpful beyond our business. We saw an opportunity to make the process easier and less time consuming for other suppliers and buyers in the industry and got really excited to build it out. Less time spent on work means more time for family and other activities. I’m all about that.
Working Smarter Not Harder
Lisa had the opportunity to meet Chad, and our trio was born. Lisa works on the supply side, Chad is our tech person, and I had the landscape contractor experience. As Vice President of Sales and Supply, I work with the market managers to bring on buyers and suppliers in new and existing markets.
The reason our team works so well is that between Chad, Lisa, and me, we all represent different sides of the market that are all very important, and we respect the importance of each piece to the entire ecosystem.
It has been really neat to build it and grow our team. We’re up to 23 employees, and while it’s amazing to give back to our industry and make supplying and purchasing materials easier, it’s also wonderful to build a business that gives individuals a chance to grow and serve in a wide variety of spaces including tech, operations, customer service, and more.
We are just at the beginning, too. I’m excited to see how we grow.