As a high school student, Matt Davis ('02) mowed lawns to earn money. He called his business College Fund Lawn Mowing -- and the moniker was no exaggeration.
"It was literally my college fund," he says.
Twenty years later, Davis still operates the business, now called College Fund Landscaping, which in turn supports UNT College of Business students with The College Landscaping Fund Scholarship, requiring recipients to have a part-time job.
"I love running my own business," Davis says. "At the end of the day, you can look to yourself for your success and failures. I like that responsibility."
He learned hard work from his parents. His mother, Cheryl, was a nurse who woke up at 3 a.m. to make her kids' lunches and get to work by 4 a.m. And his father, Ron Davis, was a Marine Corps veteran of the Vietnam War. When Matt wanted a stereo system at age 11, his father suggested he get a job. So Matt got up at 4:45 a.m. to throw newspapers. When his father was switching careers to become an IT professional, he started a small lawn business to fill the gap. After landing a job, Ron gave Matt the lawn mowers and the 25 accounts he had established. When Davis expanded the Plano-based business in 1996, he mowed about 100 lawns a week.
Davis transferred to UNT from Collin County Community College, scheduling his classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays so he could work the rest of the week. After graduating cum laude with a degree in business administration with a specialty in entrepreneurship, he focused on expanding College Fund Landscaping. It now has 19 employees who work with 2,000 clients on services that range from mowing to landscape design.
"I know how difficult it can be for students to pay for tuition," Davis says, remembering having to charge his tuition on his credit card and then pay it off every summer. "We simply want to help ease this burden with the scholarship."
What advice does Davis give students about how to succeed? "Just work hard," he says. "It's not a magic potion. Just put your nose to the grindstone and work."
-- Jessica DeLeón