As Buck and Sons Landscape Services celebrates its 40th year in business, it looks to the future, preparing the next generation to run the family business.

As Buck and Sons Landscape Services celebrates its 40th year in business, it looks to the future, preparing the next generation to run the family business.

"We're moving to the third generation of Bucks running the company," CEO Chuck Buck said. "When I was getting out of the Air Force, my dad asked if I'd be willing to get into business with him. My brother was still in high school at the time, but he worked the summers and then when he graduated, he started working with us full-time as well."

The brothers, Chuck and Steve Buck, are 50-50 owners of the company on Hayden Run Road in Hilliard. They took the reins from their parents in 1986 when Charles Buck Sr. and his wife, Marianna, decided to retire. Today, Chuck's daughter, Mandy Rhoades, and Steve's son, Jared Buck, help to manage the day-to-day operations, along with managers Pete Marsh and Mark Crumbwell.

"Right now, I'm just going to keep on working," Chuck Buck said. "One of these days, I'll decide they've had enough of me - but for now, my brother and I still plan on working."

According to Buck, the company was one of the first to use computer-aided design (CAD) for its landscaping design and development services. It has continued to be innovative over the years, Buck said, looking for ways to improve productivity and simplify operations.

"We may not always be the first to use new technology, but we're always trying to look at ways to simplify and improve, like the CAD system. We're part of the 'green' revolution with our 'green' roof technology," Buck said. "That's something that's becoming more and more beneficial since it helps to keep water from going back into the sewer system, and its financial incentives are that you reduce your sewage runoff bills to the city."

Basically, he said, a 'green' roof system is one that uses a plastic container to hold soil and plants that then sit on top of the roof structure. The plants and soil help insulate the building and absorb storm water instead of allowing it to run off.

The company currently maintains two 'green' roofs, one at the AEP building and another at the Miranova residential tower in downtown Columbus.

"More and more people are looking into 'green' roofs," he said. "Last year, we did the Westerville Highland Aquatic Center - we installed a 'green' roof on that which got some national recognition.

"The Dublin Methodist Hospital is going to have a rooftop garden that we'll install in spring," he said.

The economy has been challenging for Buck and Sons, as it has been for most businesses, according to Buck, but in this line of work, the weather has also been challenging.

"We're around 35 employees right now; it may get up as high as 45, but without snow this time of year, we're about as low as we go," Buck said. "We've always looked at any way we can to improve services to our clients."

Buck said the company started with a single truck and two mowers, growing slowly through word of mouth and a lot of seven-day work weeks.

"We grew slowly, a little each year, and I guess we just had really quality people and great clients, and that's what we keep doing," Buck said. "We have great people and great clients and we like to treat them both as family members.

"I take it very seriously that we provide our staff jobs and make sure we provide the customer a quality product at a reasonable cost."