Apr 10, 2023 Member Spotlight- Wetlands Irrigation & Turf
Every business has its own unique story of how it got started and Wetlands Irrigation & Turf is no different. Wetlands Irrigation originally began in McPherson with Nelson’s Nursery in the early 1990s. That’s when Nelson’s started providing irrigation services. In 1999, the irrigation portion of the business split off and became Wetlands Irrigation, with Bob Baldwin as the owner.
From 2000-2010, Bob and the crew focused on residential clients and built a reputation in McPherson for their service. They did some larger projects along the way, like the McPherson Water Park, Hays Water Park, and Grant Sports Complex’s original system. Their biggest project during that time was Goddard School District.
Olin Unruh bought the business in 2010 and said, “It was an answer to prayer. I was looking for something different to do. … I’d been praying about it and one day my uncle comes up to me in church and said, ‘Hey, I got this friend that is looking to sell his business and I thought of you!’” So Olin got together with Bob, things moved ahead, and he bought it! That was March 2010. It is now 13 years that Olin has owned the business.
2010-2013 were interesting years. During that time, one of those years had over 100 days of the temperature being at least 100 degrees. Olin said, “It’s not (under) the best conditions to be learning how to run an irrigation business, but at least we had lots of work!” At that point in the business, it was only Olin and a couple of guys. As an added bonus Olin got married in August of 2013, which was the hottest, worst month of the year and of course he didn’t know what to expect. But fearing the worst because of the heat, while he was gone the area got 25 inches of rain in August!
From 2014-2017 they kept at growing the business, and in 2018 a Turf Care service was added. Until then, they had only been doing irrigation. Now they added fertilization, weed control, new seeding, and sodding. In 2018-2019 they worked on growing these parts of the business.
In 2020 Wetlands Irrigations added Holiday Lighting and Christmas Décor to their services, “…which has been a lot of fun,” Olin said. “It really helped extend our season into the fall and then we do all the take downs in January, so it gives our teams more hours during those typically slower times. It did kind of switch our peak season. Our busiest month of the year is now November.”
As far as the business goes Olin says, “It’s been good.” They have a strong management team in place. The Wetlands Irrigation team consists of Josh who is the Sales Manager, Stacy the Office Manager, and Haley who is the First Impressions Coordinator (so when you call Wetlands Irrigation that’s who you’ll probably talk with!).
Josh shared more about the Christmas Lighting aspect of the business — “The Christmas Décor has really picked up our off-season and has also opened up some new venues for us as well. We franchise through the Christmas Décor Company which is a national franchise… It’s opened up some bigger projects for us. We’ve teamed up with the State Fair this year. We’re doing a large tree lighting display which is going to be a little over 30,000 lights throughout the fairgrounds. We’re going to be putting those up in June and they’re going to be up year-round.” Olin added, “It’s been fun … Now there’s all this technology. You can put color-changing bulbs on all your landscape lighting. They sync up to an app. It can now do a candlelight theme where it flickers and you can change it for every holiday or event …It’s one of the biggest transformations that you can do if you have a house that is kind of dark. And you come in and you add a landscape lighting system to it. It’s just night and day different. It’s so amazing. The first time you kick it on and people are just like ‘Wow! This is awesome!’”
Smart controllers for irrigation systems are another thing that can be a major change for your lawn. ”As water becomes more and more of a valuable resource, these smart controllers access the weather data,” Olin said. “They’re real-time. They will make automatic adjustments to your watering schedule for your lawn to decrease it. If you have a few days that are cooler, it will automatically slow down and decrease your watering. Also as it heats up, it will increase it.” With the app, you can set up the parameters for your watering system. For instance, if the forecast is for an 80% chance of rain you can program it to not come on. The average water savings with the use of a smart controller is 30%-50%. This is because it can adjust to what the weather really is since it has the weather data accessible. There are many things Wetlands Irrigation can do with all the new technology available to upgrade your current irrigation system and get you better results with less water.
So much great information from the folks at Wetlands Irrigation & Turf, located at 2095 Industrial Drive in Galva. If you’d like more information regarding a new or upgraded irrigation system or if you’re interested in the Christmas Décor service they offer, give them a call at 620-319-8192. Be sure you check out the Wetlands Irrigation website to see ALL of the services they have available, as well as what special offers they currently have going. You can also find them on Facebook. Their hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday thru Friday and 8 a.m. – 12 noon on Saturday. Don’t miss checking out these photos taken at Chamber Connections hosted by Wetlands Irrigation & Turf in Galva.