Aug. 1 2006 12:00 AM

Every once in a while you run across someone who has a talent that seems so natural, it’s as if they were put on this earth just for that purpose . . . meet Judy Guido.

Guido is a principal in a business management firm that specializes in the green industry. Although there are a number of consultants with expertise in our industry, Guido seems to consult on a broader scale. She received her master’s degree in business from the University of Connecticut, and has the credentials few in our industry have. One of her first jobs was with a real estate development company.

It was here that she learned the importance of alliance partnerships. She also learned how companies grow. In her spare time, she became part of an executive networking group. One of the people in the group was in the landscape business, and he kept talking to Guido, exchanging information and trying to learn more about how he could grow his business. With her mentoring, he became more successful. At one point, he suggested that she meet some other people in the landscaping industry. He felt there were a lot of people like himself who needed this kind of help.

He took her to what is now PLANET; then it was known as the Associated Landscape Contractors of America (ALCA). She was introduced to their executive director, and after some conversation, she was invited to give a lecture at one of their seminars. I guess you could say this was the beginning of her career in the green industry. Guido has been involved in the green industry since 1988, so when a few landscape firms began to think about merging their companies and developing a truly national landscape company, Guido was asked to get involved.

LandCare USA was formed and shortly thereafter it went public. Guido became their chief marketing officer. Here she perfected the finer points of a sales and marketing strategy specifically for the green industry.

In 1998, ServiceMaster purchased LandCare USA, and merged it into their Tru-Green division, now known as TruGreen- LandCare. Guido went along in the merger. She helped create the name and the brand. ServiceMaster has other divisions which include pest control and exterminating, janitorial services, etc. Guido soon became involved in cross-selling between the brands. It was a wonderful opportunity to polish her skills in both marketing and sales. Environmental Industries, now ValleyCrest Companies, invited her to join their firm. She became a vice president and their chief marketing officer. After a few years, Guido felt the time was ripe for her to establish her own company, so she left ValleyCrest and formed Guido & Associates. Her experience and training give her an overview from many vantage points. She covers a wide range of subjects, from strategic planning, research, sales, marketing, acquisitions (she has been involved with the mergers, acquisition and integration of 81 companies to date), from alliances to communications, and training. She helps people grow their businesses and their profits. The momentum Guido has built just keeps rolling along.

Not only is she busy, but she loves her work. She is unique in that she consults with many companies— not only the landscape contractor but manufacturing companies that sell and service the contractor as well as distributors and dealers, and other diversified companies.

She is a recognized writer and a speaker. On the lecture tour, Guido does seminars for private companies, as well as trade associations. Guido says that having an opportunity to work with the financial people on Wall Street was very exciting. She learned how to work in a public company, enjoyed the challenge of helping develop a company name and helping brand that name.

This was an opportunity few people in our industry get the chance to accomplish. She is as comfortable sitting on a board of directors as working with a billion dollar company, talking with Wall Street, or working with a small landscape contracting company. It is interesting to note that the Wall Street Journal has listed Guido as the highest ranking female in the green industry. So what does Guido do in her spare time? She has been mentored by Jim Gregory, the globally renowned acclaimed branding expert (he created the Corporate Branding Index (CBI) for Wall Street); she was a contributing author to his book, Branding Across Borders, so she feels this is payback time.

She donates a good deal of her time mentoring and teaching others. She is also writing a book about our industry; it’s going to be called Titans of Our Industry . . . Lessons learned from the greatest in the green industry. In this book, she’ll talk about how this industry has developed into a $75 billion dollar market in a relatively short period of time. She’ll write about those people who contributed to making our industry grow, outlining some of the movers and shakers, and charting their careers. It certainly sounds like it will make interesting reading for those in the green industry. Judy Guido makes a difference in the lives of people in our industry.

She is the consummate professional. We are fortunate she has chosen the green industry in which to fulfill her life’s ambitions.