Success goes hand-in-hand with tenacity for this Rockford-area entrepreneur, who’s built a thriving business on providing quality lawn services. But business isn’t the only part of his life where tenacity rules.
Tenacity is the word Robert Ewald uses to characterize his success as a business owner and as a concerned parent.
It’s a trait developed at a very early age.
“Tenacity is what helped me to build Ewald Services Inc.,” Ewald says. “And it’s the same tenacity that has helped me to take back my health.”
Ewald was just 14 when he began doing yard work, building a neighborhood clientele through his high school years. After graduating, he went to work in the financial industry as a bank teller and mortgage broker. But his heart just wasn’t in it. By 1999, he had saved enough money to launch Ewald Services.
“I was really conservative with my money,” he recalls. “While still living at home, I squirreled away enough cash to buy a mower and trailer. Then, with the help of my parents, I financed the truck I needed to transport my equipment to clients.”
Beginning with a client base drawn from his high school years, Ewald rebuilt his lawn service, providing the basics while contracting with partner companies that provided related services needed to satisfy his customers. By doing this, Ewald says he avoids investing in expensive equipment and payroll.
“Working together with partner companies, I feel Ewald gets to excel at what we are good at. The partner companies do what they’re good at and, in the end, the client receives the best service possible.”
Another key to success is taking time to learn from others, says Ewald.
“Early on, I was offered great advice from two mentors, Marc Gravino and David Montelone, and I listened to them,” Ewald adds. “I had built a fairly decent book of clients before graduating from high school and re-contacted all of them. All but one signed on again. The one who didn’t had moved out of town.”
About two years into his new venture, Ewald met and married Jackie, who took on the role of vice president. He also moved out of his parents’ home and into his own.
“We’ve been in business for 18 years now, providing three core services,” Ewald says. “We mow, fertilize and seed our customers’ lawns, starting in early spring and continuing through late fall. We offer them the finest fertilizer products on the market that utilize the latest technology, chosen to address each client’s particular lawn conditions and needs.”
Hydro-seeding is one of Ewald’s specialties. As an alternative to laying sod, hydro-seeding promotes a lush, green lawn without the problems of straw blowing around, netting getting caught in mowers and bulky sod being moved around. Customers get custom-designed hydro-seeding to match their lawn’s particular challenges, such as high-traffic areas and hot spots.
“It’s the best way to establish a new lawn, either when the old one has been removed or with new construction,” Ewald says.
Today, Ewald Services provides fertilizing services to more than 300 homeowners, plus weekly mowing. He employs six people who work in two-man crews fulfilling customers’ needs.
Along with growing the business, the Ewald family grew when son Maverick was born two years ago. Ewald says that becoming a father caused his ingrained tenacity to kick in once again.
“I was grossly overweight,” he explains. “When Maverick was born, I wanted to be the best parent I could. And I wanted to be able to get down on the floor to play with him, and run around with him in the yard.”
He went to his doctor.
“I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and asthma,” he says. “The doctor told me I had a seven in 10 chance of having a heart attack, and I was only 35.”
He left the doctor’s office feeling depressed and concerned.
“We had waited 13 years to have a child, and I wanted nothing more than to be a great dad,” he says. “I didn’t want to go out like that, so I went back to the doctor.”
During the next six months, Ewald worked with medical professionals to get his diabetes and blood pressure under control. But at the end of that time, he had lost only about 15 pounds.
“The doctor seemed happy about that, but I wasn’t,” he says. “I still couldn’t get on the floor with my son. Then I heard from a friend about a weight loss plan called ketogenics.”
Ewald says he researched the program and learned that ketogenics originally was developed to treat pediatric epilepsy by significantly reducing carbohydrate intake. People in the program consume high-fat foods such as bacon, butter, coconut oil, heavy cream and avocados. When we eat a high-fat, low-carb diet, our liver is forced to use body fat to substitute for the missing carbohydrates, which leads to weight loss, he says.
“I read that it was good for your body and brain,” he says.
Even without an exercise program, Ewald lost 180 pounds in a little more than 18 months. He’s so impressed with the results that he has started to coach others who are interested in trying the program. He emphasizes that he is not a medical professional and is not licensed to provide any medical advice. Instead, he offers moral support to those who are in need of a life-changing improvement to better their health, just as he was.
“I feel great,” he says. “I have more stamina, and my mood is tremendously improved. When I come home from a full day’s work, I can still run and play with my son. I feel life is good.”
Ewald says his diabetes is gone, his blood pressure is back within normal range, his cholesterol and triglycerides are under control and he no longer takes any medications.
“You know, kids spell love T-I-M-E,” he says. “I am thrilled that I have been blessed to not only provide a stable home for my family through Ewald Services, but also that I have the double reward of good health and a longer life with my wife and son.”
For more information on Ewald Services Inc., call (815) 877-3500 or visit ewaldservices.com.