Just a Minute with Bret Achtenhagen, President, Bret Achtenhagen’s Seasonal Services Ltd.

Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:36 pm

Company Address: W336 S8510 Highway E, Mukwonago, WI 53149
Company Web Site: www.seasonalservices.com
Industry: Landscape contracting, specializing in landscape architecture, installation, maintenance, masonry, irrigation and lighting.
Number of Employees: 65
Company’s Annual Revenues: $5.8 million projected for 2006
Education: Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
Family: Wife, Amy; and children Brady, 11; Linley, 10; and Sophie, 7.

What’s the smartest thing your company did in the past year?

"Our leadership team held elaborate strategic planning sessions this winter. We developed short-, mid- and long-term strategic plans, updated our policies and procedures, redefined our company culture and studied our target markets. One of our goals was to increase the communication between our field and administrative staff. In mid-April, we held a two-day orientation and training for employees to introduce them to our new strategies. We have already begun to see the payoffs from these sessions."

What’s new at your company?

"In addition to our continual investment in the latest technology and equipment, we recently hired a director of training and employee development. The sole responsibility of this position is implementing employee development and training programs. We want to maximize each employee’s potential and cultivate leaders from within the company, especially considering how many talented and experienced individuals we already have on our staff."

Do you plan to hire any additional staff or make any significant capital investments in your company within the next year?

"We are always interested in adding qualified employees to our team. We have already filled several newly created administrative positions this year and, this fall, we will begin to forecast our growth for 2007. We have very healthy growth goals in the upcoming years, with plans to open a satellite location in Walworth, Jefferson or Dane County."

What will be your company’s main challenges in the next year?

"Since we do a lot of work on lake homes, we’ll be carefully monitoring the increasingly complex local and state regulations affecting lake properties. Seasonal Services does lakefront property landscaping in eight counties, and each has different requirements. We help our customers navigate these issues and obtain the necessary approvals. Mistakes can lead to costly fines and tear-downs, so it’s important to get it right."

What’s the hottest trend in your industry?

"We’ve seen a dramatic surge in the demand for comprehensive landscape maintenance, which is why we have created tailored packages for our customers. People want to be able to enjoy their yards without having to commit to all of the work it takes to maintain a beautiful property."

Do you have a business mantra?

"Hire great people, give them the encouragement and the tools they need to succeed and then get out of their way."

From a business standpoint, who do you look up to?

"My parents. I was raised in a very entrepreneurial household. My father owned his own business for many years, and my mother helped run our family’s quarter horse farm. It was their entrepreneurial spirit that inspired my own."

What is the best advice you ever received?

"I think the best advice I have ever received stems from the Golden Rule – to treat others just as you wish to be treated. I am a firm believer in treating all of my employees, vendors and clients with the respect and kindness they deserve. It is excellent service that motivates people to do business with us, and by embracing this basic philosophy, we are able to maintain a strong business foundation."

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