Jay Townsend Volunteer Profile
32 years ago, Jay Townsend left his accounting job and decided to open a landscaping company with one employee. Focusing on building success one job at a time, JW Townsend Landscapes has now grown to 75 employees working on a diverse number of projects throughout central Virginia.
Jay believes that his pivotal moment as a business leader came 11 years ago when he realized that HE was the biggest limitation in JW Townsend Landscapes future growth. He determined that if he could diversify his services and change the organizational structure his business could outgrow his limitations. Jay began this process by hiring consultants to work on numerous types of projects and joined a peer group. His peer group turned out to be particularly helpful as it provided the opportunity for landscaping businesses from all across the country to come together. This allowed for the fostering of in-depth conversations and problem-solving meetings, without the threat of direct competition. Changing the organizational structure from a single owner/manager (Jay) to department leader/managers, with their own goals and objectives, was instrumental in the reorganization. Additionally, Jay started a monthly breakfast which allowed for “communication on a higher level” throughout the company. During the monthly breakfasts, there are, among other things, awards recognizing hardworking and enthusiastic staff, departmental reports, a reading of customer’s letters of appreciation, and a slideshow that highlights the past month’s projects. Jay has found these meetings to be an integral part of their success as it facilitates connection, engagement, and recognition within the organization. Jay believes that one of the keys to building a long-term, successful business, is building integrity into the fabric of the organization. In his own business, he was able to accomplish this and grow the company, by employing exceptional people and developing a culture, where staff have and share similar values, goals, and enjoy working together.
Jay has joined CIC's Loan Committee and has been a discussion leader because of his passion for small business people and a desire to teach other entrepreneurs what he has learned over the years. He thinks that “small businesses create the wheel”, but it then takes the support and shared experiences of others to get it turning efficiently. Jay finds immense value within CIC as it teaches small businesses to foster connections, allowing them “to grow beyond their own experience.” At CIC, Jay has taught a class about cash flow and currently serves on the Loan Committee.
Since selling JW Townsend Landscapes nearly three years ago to one of his sons, Jay now works with the Building Goodness Foundation and CIC Loan Committee, among other projects. When Jay is not in Charlottesville, you can find him working on his farm or sailing somewhere on the east coast with his wife.
Thank you, Jay, for your continued support of CIC!