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Generation Next: K. Lynn Tootle Jr.

Age: 37

Title: Co-Owner/ General Manager

Company: Gro-Masters Inc.

 

Top three accomplishments

• Geographically, our company has expanded from the metro Savannah area in 1999 to markets along the coast from Jacksonville, Fla., to Charleston, S.C., allowing our company to hire employees from within and move into managerial positions.

• We have increased our total revenue more than 400 percent in the last 15 years.

• We have worked to improve the professionalism of the landscaping industry by gaining the highest certifications available in our industry. We have worked with local and state trade associations to drive our industry in this direction.

 

Top awards/accolades

• Certified Arborist and Certified Turf Grass Professional.

• Past President of Coastal Landscape and Turf Professional Association

• Graduate of Georgia Urban Ag Leadership program

 

Current Philanthropic roles

• Serve on the Vestry at Christ Church Anglican

• Member of Leadership Savannah, Class of 2015

• Board of Directors of Rotary Club of West Chatham.

 

Questions and answers

Q: How will you do business differently in the coming year or decade?

A: We are focused on taking advantage of the technological advances in our industry. Whether it is new plant health care products or innovations in routing and mapping software, technology is key to our success. In today’s time, a smart phone and computer are as critical to success in my industry as a rake and a shovel.

Q: What technological or cultural advances are you looking forward to in the coming year or decade?

A: I am looking forward to the development and fine tuning of operational software that takes all the operations, sales, marketing, client management and accounting and incorporates it into one interface. The second is the continued evolution of plant health care products as they become safer and more environmentally conscience.

Q: What qualities or assets will distinguish Savannah and preserve/advance our local economy?

A: Savannah’s first quality is the aesthetic beauty that surrounds us. From the Historic District to the rivers, marshes and beach, the natural beauty will continue to bring people to this area to enjoy. Once they arrive, I hope they find a culture that is pro-business, pro-arts and pro-education. I hope this will encourage them to consider relocating their families or businesses to this area.

Q: What economic drivers and business sectors promise the most growth in the next year or decade and why?

A: I believe the service industries will see tremendous growth. As a 40-hour work week is no longer standard, there is a marked decrease in free time. A greater value is now placed on that free time. I believe people will choose to out-source services, previously self-performed, to allow for more of their time to be spent on personal pursuits or family life.

Q: What college degrees will be the most in-demand in the Savannah area and why?

A: All college degrees will be important. However, I don’t think the name of the degree will matter as much. Job related internships, experience, and graduate level education programs will matter most.

Q: What advice do you have for other Savannah leaders in the coming year or decade?

A: Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord… (Col 3:23) Savannah’s business and civic leadership must continue to demonstrate that integrity is equally important as a profit line and that positive community change is promoted by servant leadership, not self-promotion.

Q: What innovation of yours do you hope will be remembered by future generations?

A: I hope my efforts to increase the rise of professionalism in the land-care industry is a trend that will continue. My goal is for our clients to see us as an advisor for their landscape investment and caretaker of their physical environment.

 

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