Q&A with Student Turned Businessman
Why did you decide to attend OCU?
Originally I had my heart set on attending another university with my best friend from childhood. Less than a month before classes began, the strangest thing happened. In the midst of playing guitar, I honestly felt God tugging at my heart to suddenly change my mind and attend OCU.
After my first year of attending OCU, I transferred to a public university. Less than two weeks later, I realized how much I missed the Christian atmosphere, influence and fellowship that only OCU could offer me.
God laid it heavy on my heart to return to OCU. While deep in prayer, I literally opened my Bible to a completely random verse, Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” My decision was made that night and I returned to OCU the following semester.
Was there a faculty or staff member that made a difference in your life?
Never could I have foreseen the opportunities that God opened up for upon my return to OCU! Dr. Mark Smith, President of the university, really took me under his wing through personal mentorship during my years at OCU.
He went out of His way to connect me with an internship that landed me a life-changing 1-year experience in Florida immediately upon graduation! The investments he has made in me as a mentor and President of OCU are directly related to the success I have experienced thus far in my young but exciting career!
I can’t leave out Professor Lear and Dr. Garrison who would allow me to pop in to their offices anytime to discuss real-life business and strategic planning. You just don't get that with larger universities.
I was recently asked by them to be a part of the recent Small-Business Round Table Event (pictured above, Mike is third from the right.) This was a really awesome experience as I was able to offer business advice to students sitting in the same seats as I was just 2 years ago!
Why did you start a scholarship?
In one meeting with President Smith, he asked me, “Mike are you gonna be my first student millionaire donor?” I replied, “I would absolutely love to invest back into the school as much as God allows me too!” It was then that it hit me, “Why not start now with the little that I do have?” I established the Mike’s Landscaping Scholarship Fund my senior year at OCU. I plan to steadily grow this fund each year to as much as God allows!
What are you doing now?
My experience in Florida allowed me to set aside my company that I had started in my college years, Mike’s Landscaping, and dive into the organizational structure of a very large landscaping company. Upon re-launching Mike’s Landscaping in 2013, I was able to use what I learned in Florida to run my company much more efficiently with a much larger vision of what it could be! God has really blessed the company as we experienced 122% growth this past year and are looking forward to an extremely optimistic year of over 165% growth. God is good!
I really have a passion for what I do. It is such a great feeling to be able to give back to the university through scholarships and job opportunities to hardworking students with great character!
I am also heavily involved in Homeland Church pastored by an old basketball teammate and one of my very best friends, Stefan Vasiloff (another OCU alum). There, I lead worship and am involved in many new projects to grow the church. God has given us a huge passion for the church and its mission! We feel that God has big plans at Homeland.
What are your future plans?
As of now, my future plans are to hang around Circleville for awhile. I really enjoy the community and network of awesome people that I have been blessed to come into contact with. Our company is expanding our service areas from Chillicothe to Northern Columbus.