Greg Wittstock, who likes to be called the Pond Guy, built his first pond at the age of 12.
Today, more than 20 years later, Wittstock runs a thriving empire that not only builds backyard ponds, but supplies and teaches thousands of contractors every year on the latest and greatest Aquascape techniques.
“I moved from my lakefront home in New Jersey to Illinois when I was 12. My parents promised me that I could bring 11 of my pet turtles with me. On the second day after the move, I started digging my own backyard pond. I had checked out every book I could find from the library on backyard water gardening. Most of the books came from England and most of their techniques didn’t work here in the United States.
“After I got things working, people got interested. In 1991, after my sophomore year at Ohio State University, I launched Aquascape Designs to build ponds for customers. I printed up some business cards and took out a few classified ads. I sold five jobs that summer and got $21,000 for three months of work.
“In the summer of 1992, the Chicago Tribune ran a feature story about me. I learned the power of public relations. My phone started ringing off the hook.”
In just four weeks, I sold 81 jobs. All of a sudden, my fun side-business became a career. I hired my dad, who was an engineer, a secretary, and a full-time foreman to help run the work crews with me. Aquascape became a year-round business in April 1993 — and has been ever since.
Photo by Aquascape.