Sept. 1 2006 12:00 AM

Its almost impossible to map out someone?s career path at a very young age, because no matter how you map it, there are always detours. But this was not the case with Bob Lisle. Since his college days, Lisle has always seen himself as an entrepreneur.

He was born in Chicago, but because of the nature of his father?s job as a government employee, the family moved around a bit. In 1954, they moved to the Washington, D.C. area, and it was there that he grew up.

Lisle attended the University of Maryland, receiving his degree in mechanical engineering. While attending school, to earn some money to help pay tuition, he began washing cars, using a standard pressure-washing piece of equipment.

From this hands-on experience, he started thinking about how he could improve the unit. He began tinkering, and built a pressure-washer that was easier to use and did a better job. He was soon building this equipment for others.

Upon graduation, Lisle decided to go into business for himself. He was already building pressure washers, so he decided to make it official. He has been building equipment ever since, for the past 38 years, and loving every minute of it.

Although he started his business by manufacturing pressure washers, Lisle soon began building other types of equipment. Through word of mouth, people would contact him and ask if he could build something for them. He built some hydrostatic test equipment, and a variety of pumping equipment.

Some people from the pest control industry consulted him about building a sprayer. He began working on one and sold it; then another customer bought one, and before he knew it, more inquires were coming in. In 1968, he formed a company called Pumping Systems, and eventually developed a line of sprayers. This business model developed, and Pumping Systems was alive and well.

One day, someone asked Lisle if he could build them an overseeder. Not one to let grass grow under his feet (no pun intended), Lisle began investigating, and built an overseeder. Sometime later, another customer asked him to redesign a hydroseeder, and Lisle took on that project.

As he began looking into the redesign of the hydroseeder, he realized that there was a need for smaller hydroseeding units. He also felt that with smaller units, he could hit some great price points by using jets instead of mechanical agitators to mix the slurry in the tanks.

In the meantime, there was a slowdown in the demand for pressure sprayers, so Lisle began looking into the feasibility of manufacturing hydroseeding units. He believed that there was a market for these units for the small landscape contractor. In 1992, he changed the name of the company to Easy Lawn, and as they say, the rest is history.

Lisle concentrated on developing small units, using jet agitation. He knew that there were landscape contractors doing hydroseeding on a limited basis, who did not want to sub out the jobs. They wanted the control. These contractors were catering to homeowners who wanted quality turf, but not at sod prices.

As landscape contractors became more successful with hydroseeding, they needed larger units. If you?re doing a small job, you want to fill a small tank; however, if you do more than one little job a day, or if the project size is large, it?s more feasible, economically speaking, to use a larger tank size. It takes time to refill the tank and put in the proper seed, fertilizer, mulch, etc. Remember the old adage, ?Time is Money.? Lisle accommodated his customers by building these larger units.

Along the way, he found other landscape contractors who recognized these same opportunities, so once again, he developed a full line of small-tank jet-agitated hydro-seeders. The largest one he built was a 1,500 gallon tank.

Working with larger-capacity tanks, Lisle realized that jet agitation had its drawbacks. A mechanical agitator was more effective and less expensive to build. As he stepped up in size, he began to offer mechanical units. Today, Easy Lawn offers small-capacity tanks with jet agitation up to 1,500-gallon capacity, and all stainless-steel tanks with mechanical agitation up to 3,300-gallon capacity.

Some years ago, Lisle moved his plant to Delaware, and two years ago moved into an 80,000-square-foot facility, which is vertically integrated. This means that all the metal work is fabricated on site, and all the painting is done there (some other manufacturers sub out the metal fabrication).

The Lisles, Bob and Marcia, have two children: their daughter, Jennifer, lives in Denver, Colorado, and has her own very successful erosion control company. Their son, Robert, worked in the business; however, there were differences in management styles and Robert chose another path. Robert is now in real estate management and homebuilding.

So what does Lisle do in his spare time? What are his hobbies? Simply stated, he has none. He takes no time off. He, personally, with Marcia, travels to at least ten trade shows each year. He likes to keep his finger on the pulse of his market.

Bob Lisle is a workaholic, and it shows. He loves what he?s doing, and this industry is better for it.