Sked Is Entrepreneurial
Force in Green Landscaping
Windsor, N.J. - Informing the public about the benefits of
going green has long been a mission of Shannon Sked, who graduated
from MCCC in 1997 with dual degrees in Biology and Plant Science.
As sole proprietor of AgServe Land Management in Bordentown,
N.J., he provides consulting services to an array of clients,
many of whom seek eco-friendly, sustainable options for the
care of their lawns and landscapes. His job runs the gamut
from designing blueprints, to providing marketing and accounting
analysis, to service delivery.
"I'm a one-man show," he proudly admits.
Sked relishes the opportunity to be a local force in the green
movement. Growing up in rural Bethlehem, Pa., he worked on
a farm, where he gained an understanding and appreciation
for agronomy, which involves all phases of plant growth and
health. Attending Mercer County Community College after moving
to New Jersey, he soon discovered his calling.
recalls that MCCC faculty member Eileen Boyle, the former coordinator
for Ornamental Horticulture, saw his potential right away. "She
told me I had a future with trees and plants. I knew from that point
on I would spend the rest of my life working in the industry. I
have not regretted it."
Noting that he was not a strong student in high school, Sked came
to embrace education. "MCCC gave me the second chance I needed;
it was up to me to take hold of it. I realized there was much more
to agronomy and horticulture and I was hooked."
Sked says he also gained confidence that led to future achievements.
"Coming from modest means, I am the first from my family to
graduate from college. My experiences at MCCC and beyond have demonstrated
that anyone can make a difference with a lot of dedication, hard
work and drive."
After graduating from Mercer, Sked went on to earn a bachelor's
degree in Natural Resource Management from Rutgers University, a
master's degree with honors in Entomology from Penn State University,
and certifications from the University of Georgia, Plant LandCare
Network, and the Entomological Society of America. Both his undergraduate
and graduate research on the cross benefits of sustainability and
cost efficiency have been published in scholarly journals.
Now as a sustainable landscape entrepreneur, Sked says his biggest
challenges are overcoming the negative reputation of a once pesticide-laden
industry and educating customers about the long-term cost-effectiveness
of going green. "Most people want to feel good about it, but
they don't necessarily see the value of dollars spent until they
take the plunge and just try it," he said.
In addition to his consulting business, Sked serves as a branch
manager for ValleyCrest Landscape, the largest privately-owned commercial
landscape and lawn services company internationally. He has also
worked as a civil scientist and instructor for the Department of
the Navy, overseeing pest control and horticultural programs on
naval and marine bases. He is driven to continue to promote sustainability
and one day make AgServe a household name.
Sked is optimistic about job prospects for Mercer's current students
in the multi-faceted landscape industry. "Find the next new
thing," he advises. "Dreams all start with a simple idea.
Hold on to your idea, develop it, and show how that idea can benefit
people. Make your dream reality."
the AgServe Land Management Website
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