# 01 Intro Episode

Ete AhPing explains the purpose and vision of this podcast and also shares a little bit of his story and experience in the green industry as a service professional. 


Hey, Hey, what is up everyone? This is Ete AhPing out of Heber Valley, Heber City, Utah. And just to introduce this new podcast, we have many episodes already recorded, edited, and ready to go. Um, this podcast is called Eco Lawn Science. And really we're going to dive into the science. We're going to go deep into the science of lawn care, of tree care, of plant health. This podcast will be for lawn care, you know, service company professionals. So those of you, like myself, who may own companies and are always trying to improve them and looking for, well, more education, more ideas, it will be for you. It will also be for homeowners and anyone who has an interest in having a great home yard landscape, and just looking for more information there. The lawn care, or the Green Industry, I should say is a massive industry.

And if you go to Google for any problems–lawn fungus, compost teas, carbon-based products–there's a lot of information out there. And I hope that...my goal is to be able to sort through it, is to bring the experts to you, to bring the scientists to you, and let you make the decision. But of course, share what I have learned and what I am learning, with others. I'm very excited about this show and we will be open to, you know, soon you'll be able to submit questions or things that you'd like to learn more about. Or maybe there's someone that's interesting in the industry somewhere in America or even around the world. Let us know and we'll get ahold of them. But that's the point of this show. And so I hope it's a good experience for you and I hope you can stick around to enjoy it.

I just want to take a quick little minute here or two and introduce myself. So I'm Ete AhPing. I have another name called Robert, and that would be my name that is much easier to pronounce than Ete. I tell people my name and they say "What? Huh? I don't understand." So just to get it over with, Ete is E-T-E. Last name is AhPing and people always ask me, "where do you come from?" I'm a 36-year old South Jersey boy. But I come from all over the place. My dad comes from a small Island in the Pacific called Samoa. I've been there and it's incredible. My mom comes from Philly and I've been there and it's incredible too. And we've got Chinese heritage and all kinds of stuff so I wanted to get that out of the way cause I get that all the time.

A little bit about my experience: I currently own a company called EcoLawn here in Utah and our website is ecolawnutah.com And you'll, you will find that I don't, I will not be using this podcast to talk about myself. I'm just doing the first, the first one so you understand where I'm coming from. But basically I've been in the lawn care industry since I was a kid. I was 14 years old, started fertilizing lawns and spraying weeds. And so I'm 36, so that gives me 22 years. And in that time I have managed smaller and some larger companies back East. I've run my own company back East. Eventually, about 9 years ago, I relocated to this beautiful little town called Heber, Utah right outside of Park City. And I wasn't planning on it, but a friend of mine strongly recommended it and we, we took a little jump. It was a tiny little company at the time, but we felt good about it. So I picked up my family, I moved out here, and we started this little company.

And over the course of the last eight, nine years, we've built it into four branches and just a great clientele, great customer relationships. And so I've spent the last many years, after the first 3 years, it was mostly just me and my sister, Cecil, who is always with me on a bit, basically everything I do. We kind of built this company and I don't have experience in business. I, like I said, I got in lawn care and that was it. I've worked for many companies and so the journey began about 9 years and we've been on a mission since then to always be better, to provide a better customer experience, to utilize technology in ways that other companies aren't. And we try to be in the forefront of that. So I travel, I go to conferences, I listen to podcasts to stay in tune with that. And on the same, on the same level, we try to stay on the forefront of technology in the lawn care industry. So even with the products.

And so about 10 years ago as I got ready to start this company, I really wanted to start something...This was it: can I get people, or homeowners, the lawns that they want–the green, weed-free lawns–without all the chemicals, without all the nitrates, the phosphates. Is it possible? And there wasn't a path or a program or...There was no guide for this about 10 years ago. Even now in 10 years, we have a lot more products. We have a lot more options, but back then I just had a vision of what I wanted and it's taken us years to get there and we're not there yet. 

You know a lot of, I love transparency and so I would say we have, in my mind, we have miles to go, but we've come very far. We've replaced the bulk of our fertilizers with more environmentally friendly fertilizers with low or no salt content. We've brought in compost teas. I've been certified and I've, I've actually brewed compost teas for years. You know, we've introduced, about 7 years ago, humates, humic acid, fulvic acid, things that people are doing now. You know, we've been doing that for about 7-8 years. On the weed control side, we've been bringing products in from New Zealand, Australia, Germany, Canada to try to find an organic solution that is consistent. And we've made great progress, but I will tell you, as I tell everyone, we're still not where–that vision that's in my head– we're still not there. And we're a little bit limited just from the advancements in the organic weed control. There's a lot of inconsistencies and they're very difficult to work with, but they work. It's taken me about five years to kind of figure out a recipe, a little bit of an enhancement to get them to work in my climate. But they're still not 100% accurate as far as, you know, if you were to use a chemical to spray a dandelion, you know, nine times out of 10, you know, that thing's gone. With the organics, I don't have that 9 times out of 10. It might be closer to 7, but I'm getting closer. Cause when I started it was 5 times out of 10. So anyway, I'm on a mission to get it to where basically...I'm on a mission to get it to where, you know, we can get the lawn, the homeowners this great lawn and just be, you know, using products that are, that are all organic and all natural.

And so the bulk of our program is, but there are times, and I tell my clients, you know, we might hit problems or infestations or harder to kill weeds where we might have to come in with something a little stronger. But generally we run, you know, eco-friendly programs. And my goal is to move, eventually, to all organic programs. But anyway, that's a little bit about my vision of where I want to go. My vision for the customer experience: I want to give customers the best experience they can have. I'm not there yet, but we've made great progress. I spend my days trying to improve the company and trying to get us there.

So I love business. I love customer experience. I love research. I love being creative in business. And so that's kind of where I'm at. And that led me to, to start in this podcast because I've been meeting so many interesting people in the industry that know things that I don't know.

And there's so many, there's so many hot topics right now in the industry. Some things people say, "Oh, this works great." And then you ask another person, "Oh, that doesn't work." For example, like organics, like compost tea, like carbon, like all these things, like humic acid. You Google them, you're going to get a million articles and half of them are going to hate it. Half of them are going to be for it. And that's why I wanted to start this podcast: to bring more information and hopefully try to help you, the homeowner or, or the other landscape professional really get more info and get the good stuff.

And so that's a little bit about me. Side note, I'm a musician. I've been playing my whole life. I have a home studio, so I record some other bands and I love it. And that's what I do in my winter time. I spend time with my family. We travel out of the country and I write music and I create music. I can play mostly every instrument, you know, that you need to play in a rock or a band type setting. And that's my passion.

One of the things I hope to do to this podcast to make it enjoyable and interesting for you to listen to–I don't want to waste your time–is, and you will see some of the episodes I've already recorded with some different interviews and experts, we go deep and I try to, I do my homework. I research the person, the individual, the company, and I try to tell kind of their story, not just an interview about, tell me what your name is and tell me, you know, how much revenue you're doing, those types of things. 

And that may be part of it, but generally I try to dig deep into the story of their lives, of how they got to where they are. So that those listening, who may be just starting or, or aspiring entrepreneurs, can be inspired and, and kind of get into the process of how people are thinking, how some of the people I've interviewed, these scientists or these inventors of products, how they had this idea, and then all the way to the final step. They did the research, they did the testing. They got it certified and now it's being sold, you know. And so sometimes for me, the process is really interesting. So this will be, we will answer tips and lawn care advice. We will give... We will also interview experts on a deeper level. So I hope to have everything so that there's something for everyone out there. But again, I'm open to any suggestions or ideas that you would like to learn more about. 

And so I'm really excited to introduce this podcast. I hope this will be useful for you and I'll see you on the next episode.

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