Plant High School has been spruced up. Actually, an array of Apostle and African iris, Italian cypress and foxtail ferns beautify its Himes Avenue entrance.
The EDGE Business Community recognized Jared Dorsey, its youngest member, for his $17,000 landscaping plan.
“What a great family, what a great kid and what a young entrepreneur,” said Plant Principal Robert Nelson about the 18-year-old graduate.
Last fall Jared decided to put his paw print on Plant’s landscape.
With help from Assistant Principal Napoleon Wade, they suggested a redesign.
When they presented the project clearly in a notebook, Nelson said his jaw dropped at its complexity.
“When Jared said ‘I want to donate it all,’ you almost had to pick me back up off the floor,” said the principal. “I’ve been here 14 years and the front hasn’t looked better.”
About 30 students seeking service hours helped turn Jared’s 3-D plans into reality.
Turning an outdoor concept into a reality isn’t anything new to Jared, who is also the president of Everything Outdoors, a landscaping and lawn care business, which he has grown into a six-figure enterprise.
“Until I was 16, I did all the work myself,” said Jared, who now specializes in client relations and job proposals.
His education, grades and motivation have paid off. Jared will study entrepreneurship and business at Baylor University this fall.
Meanwhile, Everything Outdoors will continue.
“I’ve set it up to run smoothly while I’m going to school,” said Jared.
At 11, Jared started a business offering to do neighbors’ yards. By the time he could drive he had $15,000 to buy his first truck.
When other children asked for PlayStations or Xboxes, he’d ask for lawn blowers or other equipment, said his mother Sherry Perri Anzalone.
“I’ve saved money and reinvested in my business,” said Jared, who today owns two trucks and two trailers.
During the winter months when business is slow, his company puts up large-scale Christmas lights. His six employees range from 31 to 53 years old.
“Believe it not, they respect and look up to Jared,” said Perri Anzalone, who serves as vice president of operations, office manager and accountant.
As part of earning his Eagle Scout badge, he and a friend worked with Tampa Bay Beautiful to start a Florida learning garden at the state fairgrounds.
“He’s on target to gross $250,000 this year,” said his mother. He shows no sign of slowing as he has two additional business plans.
“I want to start a new company every summer,” Jared said.