- Jul 19 2019 7:36 AM
- in the press
- Jason Musch
ILCA MEMBER SNAPSHOT
When Jason Musch bought Dutch Valley, Inc. from his father, the business was focused on roadside res-toration, with a small amount of commercial maintenance. My how things have changed in the last five years. Dutch Valley, Inc. does commercial property maintenance for South Chicago and North West Indiana, as well as commercial land-scape services and snow and ice removal.
It all began about 30 years ago when Musch’s father and uncle, Jim and Bob Musch started a business in South Holland, IL, eventually moving it to Monee, IL where they began a mulch manufacturing company called Rainbow Farms. By the time Jason Musch became involved, the company had 15 employees and was known for its IDOT road restora-tion work. When they moved out of the road work, the num-ber of employees dropped to its current 10, plenty to handle the varied work that they have, he says.
One of these employees has been with the company since before Musch bought it from his father. “It’s all about rela-tionships,” he says. “He stuck with me and I’m glad that he did.” With all the commercial work that Dutch Valley handles, Musch has had a ring side seat to many of the trends in the industry, including increasing requests from property manag-ers to incorporate green or sustainable practices into its land-scape management.
Musch has responded one step at a time, evaluating each to assess its success. For instance, both employees and customers were pleased when Dutch Valley introduced battery powered trimmers. “The guys like them, because they are light weight and don’t blow exhaust in their faces,” he says. The customers are happy, because they perceive them as more energy effi-cient, do a good job and because there is no exhaust, as well. Dutch Valley also has started an organic fertilizer program. The results, says Musch, are similar, if not better than using the chemicals that they previously employed.
Musch grew up in the business, learning by working with his father and uncle. Originally, he thought that he would study business in college, but realized that he would be hap-pier in horticulture. He now holds an associate degree in hor-ticulture, turf and landscape construction from Joliet Junior College.
Even with the good education, Musch admits that the transition from the owner’s son to the owner was challenging. “It’s difficult to prepare yourself,” he says. “When you are the owner, it all stops with you and you have to wear many hats. I had to learn how to manage.”
His education process brought him to ILCA. “I have to be constantly learning,” he says. Pointing to The Landscape Contractor magazine, he believes that it is “a benefit to read the articles.” He has also taken advantage of training and edu-cation opportunities throughout the year and particularly at iLandscape. Best of all, he believes that the level of professionalism that ILCA has, “embraces everything that I stand for,” he says.
Every Saturday Musch’s two sons, ages eight and five, come to work with him. They help clean up equipment and with other age appropriate tasks. He and his wife, Lorrie, a junior high school math teacher, also enjoy taking the boys to Michigan, an hour’s drive away, where they can play along the Lake Michigan shoreline.
All in all, he is pleased with the decision to go into the family business. “I enjoy what I’m doing,” he says.