Mar­ty Grun­der dis­cov­ered his entre­pre­neur­ial spir­it when he was a teenag­er with a used lawn mow­er look­ing for a way to put him­self through col­lege. Through deter­mi­na­tion and hard work, he grew that ini­tial $25 invest­ment into Grun­der Land­scap­ing Co., a mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar design-build firm head­quar­tered in Day­ton, Ohio. Along the way, his suc­cess sto­ry has been fea­tured by numer­ous media out­lets, includ­ing the New York Times, and he has received sev­er­al awards, includ­ing being named entre­pre­neur of the year by both Ernst & Young and the US Small Busi­ness Admin­is­tra­tion.                    

Today Mar­ty con­tin­ues to serve as pres­i­dent and CEO of Grun­der Land­scap­ing Co., where he leads a team of 60 land­scape pro­fes­sion­als and admin­is­tra­tive staff. With a focus on high-end res­i­den­tial prop­er­ties, Grun­der Land­scap­ing Co. is a rec­og­nized leader in the design-build mar­ket. To date, the com­pa­ny has won more than 40 local and nation­al design awards.

To chan­nel his ener­gy and enthu­si­asm for help­ing oth­ers suc­ceed, Mar­ty estab­lished a con­sul­tan­cy, Mar­ty Grun­der! Inc., and began trav­el­ing around the coun­try to teach, speak to, and coach busi­ness own­ers and their teams. He has deliv­ered more than 550 talks and moti­vat­ed audi­ences of all sizes, from a small gath­er­ing of 20 to a sta­di­um of 9,000. In 2003, his book, The Nine Sim­ple Steps to Entre­pre­neur­ial Suc­cess, was named Busi­ness Book of the Year by the Inde­pen­dent Pub­lish­er Awards.

Mar­ty is a grad­u­ate of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Day­ton School of Busi­ness and sits on the board of Park Nation­al Bank and the Day­ton Devel­op­ment Coali­tion. He and his wife, Lisa, have three daugh­ters, Emi­ly, Katie, and Lily, and a son, Grant.


Q & A with Mar­ty Grunder

What are you pas­sion­ate about, in regards to your business?
I’m pas­sion­ate about watch­ing our MGI clients—the own­ers and lead­er­ship teams of land­scap­ing companies—grow their busi­ness­es. When I see them dou­ble their prof­its and see their fam­i­ly life improve too, that’s a real win for me and the MGI team. It makes what we do mean­ing­ful and worth­while. Both at MGI and at my land­scap­ing com­pa­ny, I’m also pas­sion­ate about our com­pa­ny culture—the beliefs and behav­iors that gov­ern how we inter­act with our clients and each oth­er. I love see­ing the right things get­ting done nat­u­ral­ly because we’re aligned inter­nal­ly and exter­nal­ly to achieve what we’ve set out to do. This is some­thing we work very hard on with our MGI clients, too, because we believe cul­ture is sig­nif­i­cant dri­ver of success.

What is the most valu­able lead­er­ship les­son you have learned?

As a leader, you are always being watched, so you must be great at what you want your fol­low­ers to be good at. Lead by exam­ple. If you want the cus­tomer ser­vice your com­pa­ny deliv­ers to be good, then you as the leader need to be the best at cus­tomer ser­vice in your com­pa­ny. Your team will take their cues from what you do, not from what you say to do.

If you could give the 20-year-old you any piece of advice, what would it be?

Write out a plan for where you want to be in one, three, five, and ten years—both pro­fes­sion­al­ly and per­son­al­ly. Write it down in detail and then share it with a men­tor or a coach who can help you get there.





To read all of our client spot­lights please click here