At the age of 16 when most teens are primarily interested in their social calendars, Bill Dysert was laboring at his first job in the green industry as a nursery tech. That evolved into work as a construction foreman and ultimately a project manager, overseeing the crews. But Dysert was already formulating a plan to go off on his own – and was upfront with his bosses. Dysert had an entrepreneurial drive that was not going to let up. He worked hard on nights and weekends remodeling a home, which allowed him to obtain a line of credit and launch Exscape Designs in 2004. By 2005, he was working full-time on the business, growing it into the leading design/build firm it is today.

When Dysert isn’t working on the business, he’s enjoying outdoor adventures with his wife and two young children.

Here’s more about what makes him tick:

I’m pretty adventuresome, but it took me eight years in business to realize that. I needed an outlet for stress relief. On Memorial Day in 2010, I pulled my ’94 mountain bike out of the shed and decided I was going to train to compete in a triathlon. That day I began a running, swimming and biking journey, and it’s kept me sane.

I want to create a vehicle with Exscape Designs that allows everyone to reach their personal and professional goals while also enhancing the quality of their lives and the lives of their family members. I want the same for customers and vendors.

When my kids look outside our big picture window to the backyard I ask them what they see. They used to say “It’s sunny” or “It’s cloudy.” I always tell them what they should see is “opportunity.” They have the choice to stay inside and be bored, but they have a trampoline or a playhouse outside, and there are things to do. Now my 6-year-old daughter will automatically say “opportunity” if I ask.

Bourbon and dark chocolate — those are my two vices. Bourbon started with an annual hunting trip with my father-in-law. It’s a ritual to have a bottle of bourbon close to the hut. At the end of the day, we start a fire and have a few pours of bourbon while cooking dinner. Whenever I have a sip of bourbon, it takes me back to those memories.

In seventh grade I knew I was going to start my own business; I wrote an English paper about it. At the time I loved big machines, so my first job at age 13 was working for an excavation company. I found out about the green industry through my career center and recognized the opportunity to use my creative skills to execute projects.

Recently, a potential client called me and asked if I was a “landscraper” or a “landscaper.” I asked what he meant by that. He said the difference is that a “landscraper” will just come in and plant stuff or mow grass. But a “landscaper” comes up with thoughtful ideas. I was blown away by his understanding of the value of a true landscape professional.

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