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Is the grass greener in retirement? Ask Greg Wagner

By Pamela A. Keene
 
For more than 30 years, Greg Wagner worked side by side with King Green founder Charlie King. Together, they took the company, which started in King’s garage, to become a regional player in the world of lawn care and pest control. 
 
The two met as co-workers in the mid-1980s, when both worked for TruGreen. “Charlie was the branch manager and he needed a sales manager, so he hired me,” Wagner said. “I moved to Atlanta from Birmingham, fresh out of college, to work for Charlie and TruGreen.” 
 
A couple of years later, when King decided to start his own business, he looked to Wagner and hired him to work at King Green. “I was ready to get out of the corporate world, so it was the perfect time,” Wagner said. “I became his partner and together we just blew the business out of the water. King Green is truly a family business.”
 
King Green opened several divisions in Georgia and the Carolinas. “We became a great employer with between 110-115 employees in three business,” Wagner said. “Early on, we found out that if we take care of our employees, they’ll take care of our customers. That still holds true today.” 
 
Wagner credits King with his vision for the company. “He was really able to build something beyond a mom and pop, providing careers, not just jobs, for our employees, and I’ll always be proud of that.”
 
Personally, Wagner says he’s right where he wants to be. “I was hoping to retire at age 55, but I’m now 57, so I just barely missed it.” Wagner and his wife Michele have two children, Carmen, who plays soccer at Davidson University in Charlotte, and Nick, who attends Colorado School of Mines.

Michele is a marketing executive in the power industry. “Michele and I are looking forward to doing more traveling and enjoying life.” Wagner is also an avid golfer and volunteers in the community.
These days, Charlie King is semi-retired, too, but he’s not letting Wagner completely leave the business. “One of my favorite things working with King Green was being out with customers,” Wagner says. “And these days, Charlie and I do a lot of going out and looking at lawns. It’s what King Green is all about.”
 
Today, King Green operates seven locations – Gainesville, Norcross, Marietta, McDonough, Peachtree City and Watkinsville, Ga. and one location in Charlotte, N.C. King Green is family owned and locally operated. 
 
“It’s been a great ride, and King Green is truly a great success story,” Wagner said. “Working with Charlie for 34 years has been a treat and something I’ll always cherish. And we’ll always be good friends.”
 
For more information, call 770-536-7611 or visit kinggreen.com.

Posted online 9/28/18
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