If you have the opportunity to meet Roger Braswell, you will immediately feel a certain charm and warmth. You?re made to feel comfortable right from the very beginning.
Little did Braswell realize when he was growing up, where life would lead him. At the age of 14, he went to work for a local nursery for the handsome salary of $1.40 per hour. One year later, at the age of 15, Braswell bought a pick-up truck, a riding mower and a push mower and started a lawn maintenance business. Since he was too young to drive, he hired some one to drive the truck.
Braswell learned the business from the ground up. He had a step up on his peers. Starting out at a young age, Braswell acquired business expertise early and was able to use it to his benefit. As his business grew, he expanded into landscape construction. In 1973, at the age of 21, Braswell took in a partner and started a greenhouse, nursery and garden center called Village Nurseries. Three years later, he sold his share to his partner.
Nine years after he started it all, at the ripe age of 24, he acquired Southern Shade Tree Company, and began to offer tree care service as well. 20 years later, by 1997, Southern Tree & Landscape Company was the largest landscape business in the Carolina?s.
Braswell stumbled across the Dingo, a mini-skid steer loader manufactured in Australia in 1995. He saw opportunities in new types of equipment and began a new company, Dingo Digging Systems, to market and sell the Dingo product in North America, through a dealer network.
In 1997, Braswell was approached to help start and become a founder of a public company. He as well as a few other contractors merged their companies and LandCare USA was formed. He kept the tree farm.
Within a few months, LandCare USA was acquired by ServiceMaster. One year later Braswell left the company. Shortly thereafter, an ex-partner joined Braswell and he now runs Southern Shade Tree.
About this same time, Braswell and The Toro Company partnered to develop a rep group to sell Dingo. They called the company Sitework Systems. The Toro Company purchased the Sitework Systems rep group in October 2000,
With the sale of his company to LandCare USA and the sale of his share of Sitework Systems to The Toro Company, Braswell could easily have retired. But not quite fifty years of age, what would he do with himself?
Braswell now had a well rounded background in landscaping, the nursery business and distribution of equipment. He felt he knew what the contractor needed. Not one to let any grass grow under his feet, with his faith in the Lord and sheer determination, Braswell started Powerhouse Equipment to retail products in certain markets. He had mini skid steer loaders and backhoes private labeled for him. In a short period of time, he converted the product for sale to commercial users.
In mid 2003, Braswell was approached to market and distribute the Kanga line of products, as well as the Boxer line. He knew this undertaking would require tremendous sums of money and expertise.
Braswell, with his wife Teresa, live outside of Charlotte, North Carolina. They have a daughter, Angela, 32, who is raising two children of her own. For relaxation, they have a mountain retreat they like to visit. The Braswells enjoy playing golf once in a while, but love playing with their grandchildren, and are very active in their church.
Braswell has a passion to see how high is high. He loves the opportunity to give back to his community, his church, and the industry that has been so good to him. One of the greatest compliments Braswell can receive is the accolades he gets when he talks to some of his former employees. In and around the Charlotte, North Carolina area, you can find some fifteen companies where the owners were former Braswell employees.
Roger Braswell had a vision; he saw something very few people saw only a few years ago, a market for equipment in miniaturization. ?The idea of replacing labor with equipment will drive the business,? commented Braswell. ?To be able to put equipment in places you couldn?t get to before is exciting. Areas that had to be done by hand can now be done by machine, because of miniaturization of the equipment. This is the perfect tool for the landscape contractor, among other building trades contractors.
It was as clear to him then as it is now that hydraulic power and miniaturization charts a whole new course, and with it new opportunities.
Braswell is truly self taught, his achievements will be a high water mark for others to attempt to reach. Yet through it all, he maintains an integrity that speaks volumes.