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40 Under 40 - Class of 2020
Business Observer Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020 1 year ago

Rob Stalvey, 37

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Coastal Irrigation and Plumbing, Coastal Lighting and Coastal Lawn and Pest, Owner
by: Mark Gordon Managing Editor

Rob Stalvey III wasn’t always interested in being part of the Southwest Florida plumbing and irrigation business his father, Rob Stalvey Jr. had operated. “I was just going to stay for a little bit,” the younger Stalvey says, “then go do my own thing.”

Some 15 years later, Stalvey is still there, and the entities under the Coastal brand have since grown into a $4 million home services enterprise on the cusp of some big growth. The holdings include Coastal Irrigation and Plumbing, Coastal Outdoor Lighting, Coastal Lawn and Pest and Mister Mosquitoes. Stalvey worked his way up in the business then bought an ownership stake in 2013. Rob Stalvey Jr. semi-retired in 2015.

Courtesy. Rob Stalvey worked his way up in the family irrigation business before he bought an ownership stake in 2013.

A key move Stalvey made with the company was to expand into pest control. Some pest control companies, both national brands and local operations, started offering lawn and irrigation services a few years ago. Stalvey, seeing the trend, sought to reverse it, and in 2018 the lawn care company added pest control. That unit has since grown 30% a year, compared to 5% to 10% annual growth in lawn care services. “Now that we are doing both, we are a much more competitive company,” Stalvey says. “It’s grown rather quickly.”

The pandemic has stunted the growth of the pest control segment somewhat, Stalvey says, mostly because the sales strategy that works the best is door-to-door and pitching current lawn customers. With the coronavirus lingering, there have been few in-person sales opportunities. In response, the sales team created some videos walking around properties, to show the things Coastal crews can do. “People have responded well to that,” Stalvey says.

Customers have also responded well to the company following through on a philosophy of not over-doing it in water use, fertilization and electricity. On that front, Stalvey and his crews pay close attention to not having water runoff on laws and using energy-efficient lighting.

A fourth-generation Floridian, Stalvey says the company’s ability to shift to new ideas, in sales and in responding to customer’s environmental concerns, is what motivates him to grow the company even more. “I love being able to come in each and every day,” Stalvey says, “and lead the company in the right direction.”

GAME STATS

Coastal Lawn & Pest Inc of SWF

Title

President

Birthplace

Melbourne, Florida

Years on the Gulf Coast

25

Marital Status/Children

Married with two children

Alma Mater/Degree

High school diploma

What community group or organization are you most involved with?

CCCIA

What's the weirdest job you've ever had?

Printing paper delivery to NASA Cape Canaveral base

What's your top tip for being productive?

Take care of one task at a time, and finish it before moving on to the next. Multitasking doesn't work; you end up with a bunch of task completed poorly.

If you could have a side hustle, what would it be?

Real estate sales

What's your favorite off-hours activity?

Boating

What's your favorite board game, game show or video game?

Monopoly

What’s your go-to delivery service? (DoorDash, Uber Eats, GrubHub, Bite Squad, etc.)

DoorDash

What do you use most — Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams or Google Meetings?

Microsoft Teams

What’s the best binge-worthy show you have enjoyed during the pandemic?

"Tiger King"

What’s the longest virtual meeting you’ve been on since mid-March?

Two hours

How many times had you used video for a work meeting prior to the pandemic?

Next to zero, maybe once

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned during the pandemic?

Business can be managed and ran from anywhere.

What do you miss most about the world pre-pandemic?

Socializing with friends and customers at restaurants

What have you been spending more time doing during the pandemic?

Outdoors activities with my family — camping, boating, fishing

Do you prefer working from home or working from an office?

Office

How have you kept up camaraderie with colleagues during the pandemic?

Through video meetings and staying in touch over the phone

What’s the first thing you’ll do after the pandemic?

Go to a concert

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