Organic Lawn Care Service is Coming to Corvallis

Jack Nickerson, Owner of Clean Air Lawn Care CorvallisJack Nickerson, Environmental Geologist, K-12 Administrator/Educator and renewable energy advocate, is bringing a Clean Air Lawn Care location to Corvallis, Oregon in the spring of 2013.

Jack’s team of Grass Masters will offer mowing, blowing, trimming, edging, blowing/cleanup, as well as Clean Air Lawn Care’s specialized organic treatment services. Click here for a full list of sustainable lawn care services offered. You can contact Jack by phone at (541) 921-4001, by email at, or request a lawn care estimate on this site.

I used to explore for oil & gas, now I don’t want to use it anymore.

What were you doing before Clean Air Lawn Care?

I actually started out in the oil business after college. I was geology major and worked exploring for oil and natural gas in Eastern Texas and Northern Louisiana for about 5 years. Toward the end of that time, I became disillusioned with the truly exploitive and damaging effects of hydrocarbon exploration and wanted out of the business. I ended up becoming an industrial engineer for a brief period of time and then moved on to be an environmental consultant and hydrogeologist focusing on groundwater remediation and environmental impact assessments for property development sites. Unfortunately, I was still working as a “middle-man” for big oil and big business dragging their feet on true environmental remediation.

In an effort to “purify” myself and move even further from the oil business, I became increasingly involved as a business partner with schools and students to turn them onto environmental stewardship. I knew I could have a larger influence beyond myself as an individual working with kids. I eventually traded in my business career to become a science teacher for kid’s full time, which eventually lead to a 10 year run as a middle and elementary school principal. My desire to educate the younger generation about environmental responsibility was trumped by the lack of resources available to public school systems, which became very frustrating. For a brief period of time, I also served as a sustainability management coordinator for multiple school districts, but a lack of funding also eliminated the position. This all led me to search for a new opportunity…

How did you learn about Clean Air Lawn Care?

As schools and school districts I worked for continued to struggle from budget cuts, I began looking for local opportunities that would have a bigger environmental impact. I became involved with the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition and came into contact with a variety of local individuals developing and running business based on sustainable practices. My thought was “I could do that too”, so I started to investigate possible ideas.

Two years ago, I came upon a Corvallis/Albany Craigslist post for Clean Air Lawn Care. I was immediately interested in the philosophy and branding, but not quite ready to forgo my career as a school administrator to “go for it”. At the time, Wall Street and the automotive industry had almost collapsed and the country was mired in the recession it is currently trying to dig out of. I though lawn maintenance was one thing people would cut back on when money got tight. Clean Air Lawn Care stayed in my mind over the next two years and I finally decided to make the commitment this fall.

What interested you in Clean Air Lawn Care?

It was the philosophy that caught my attention. I wasn’t thinking, “I’d like to push a mower for the rest of my life,” per se, but I’ve always enjoyed yard work outside and quickly identified with the Clean Air Lawn Care brand having used electric lawn care equipment for many years at home. It has everything to do with how our family wants to live. The “zero emissions – no gasoline mission” is just the way to go. I used to explore for the oil & gas, now I don’t want to use it at all anymore.

Clean Air Lawn Care also aligns with my wife Kathleen’s career as a Community Outreach Coordinator for 3Degrees, a renewable energy and carbon offset provider working to get people to sign up for renewable energy. The electricity and natural gas consumption of our home is offset 100% with alternative energy credits. Not only can I promote the use of renewable energy for lawn care, I can also honestly state all that my equipment is powered 100% by renewable energy.

What attracted you to the franchise model?

With the Clean Air Lawn Care franchise model, I have the support of and access to an establish business plan that works, while maintaining independence and flexibility to create my own business. Clean Air Lawn Care doesn’t give you a scripted manual and tell you to stick by the plan. They encourage the ongoing evolution of the brand where all owners are part of the R & D processes. There wasn’t a whole lot of upfront research and time needed to develop a business plan and work on financing. The costs are reasonably low for owning a franchise and the model is straightforward so you can hit the ground running.

When you make inquires over the web, you don’t expect to get a response back within 24 hours or speak to a CEO, but Kelly Giard was the first person I heard from…..

As I’ve met and spoken with other owners and Ft. Collins staff, it was easy to see Clean Air Lawn Care’s strength centered on the fellowship of individuals working for and with one another toward a greater good, a philosophy I have always shared in my life. My thought was, “this is neat, but the people are neater.”

What sets Clean Air Lawn Care apart in the lawn care industry?

It’s obvious, lawn care with zero emission, less noise, non-toxic treatments, and sustainable practices. I live on a cul-de-sac with 12 houses. Since buying the franchise, I’ve noticed 5 different lawn care companies working on my block ranging from larger landscaping operations to a guy, a truck, and a mower. They are all loud and the smell of two-cycle engines fills the air. By simply knocking on my neighbors’ doors and asking them, “Wouldn’t you rather have your lawn care done the Clean Air way instead?”, I could get new 5 customers.

When I was in Portland recently for a field training day with the Clean Air Lawn Care team, you could hear the noise and commotion of other lawn companies nearby, while our guys were quietly working away, barely noticed or heard. We are pioneering the new age of lawn care.

Why will Clean Air Lawn Care succeed in Corvallis?

Corvallis is a fairly progressive town. It has a population of about 50,000 when Oregon State University students are in session. A significant portion of the community is involved in making Corvallis known for sustainability. The Corvallis Sustainability Coalition, made up of multiple action teams focusing on issues such as land use, energy, natural areas, food choice, diversity/fairness, transportation, etc., has about 600+ members unto itself. You also can’t go by the downtown courthouse on any given day without seeing community members promoting one social cause or another. There’s a real progressive mentality in the town.

I feel there is a captive audience here that I just need to tap into. Parking my Clean Air Lawn Care “Solar” pickup truck downtown on the weekend might bring in more estimate requests than I’ll know what to do with.

Who should hire Clean Air Lawn Care in Corvallis?

First and foremost, people who want high quality, professional lawn care are the ones who are going to hire us. One third of eventual customers entering into a relationship with Clean Air Lawn Care Corvallis will be those aligned with the franchise mission and philosophy. Another third will just want a nice yard for the right price is right, and see the mission and philosophy as a welcome benefit. The final third will be those who just want you to, “cut my darn grass.”

Outside of Clean Air Lawn care, how else do you promote sustainability?

At home:

  • We drive a Prius when not biking.
  • We compost/Recycle at home and actively seek out purchases with unnecessary packaging.
  • We use cloth bags at store.
  • We use compact Fluorescent Bulbs in every home light fixture.
  • We use natural/organic cleaners in home.
  • All of our home energy usage (electric/natural gas) is 100% neutral offset with purchases of renewable energy credits through Pacific Power/Blue Sky Alternative Energy Program & Northwest Natural Smart Energy Program.

I am a member of:

I graduated from Corvallis Climate Masters Program (Research-based training on climate change science & actions for shrinking personal climate footprints; conducted past audits of personal) – Now part of “Energize Corvallis” program.

I volunteer/past co-organizer of “Green Town” part of Corvallis DaVinci Days Festival (Showcase for businesses & organizations incorporating sustainability in their practices, services, and products.)

How can people contact Clean Air Lawn Care Corvallis?

You can contact us by phone at (541) 921-4001, email at or request a lawn care estimate on our website – Clean Air Lawn Care Corvallis.

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