17-year-old is an entrepreneur in the making

Published 9:05 am Friday, June 24, 2011

Accomplishing career goals requires hard work, focus and ambition. For one Albert Lea resident, the pathway to success starts early. Cody Haaland is a young entrepreneur in the making. At 17 years old, he is working on the humble beginnings of a landscaping business.

Haaland will be starting his senior year at Albert Lea High School in the fall. As most seniors stress over college applications and tests scores, Haaland plans to rest easy.

“School wasn’t really my thing,” Haaland said. “I’ve always liked working with my hands.”

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His preference for working with his hands inspired the idea to launch a small-scale landscaping business. This June is the first time Haaland has started working on projects as his own business. He hasn’t had any formal training in landscaping, most of what he knows comes from experience.

Cody Haaland poses for a photo. -- Scott Schmeltzer/Albert Lea Tribune

“It’s pretty much common knowledge,” Haaland said.

Haaland isn’t alone in his entrepreneurial ventures. He has an even younger partner, Kohl Kriewall, who is a sophomore at ALHS.

“We’ve always been buddies,” Kriewall said. “It makes sense that we would start our own thing together.”

As of June, the pair has completed one project. According to Haaland, there a few high points in working as a landscaper, such as being outside and having fun with your work crew. He also said the long hours and heat in combination with not wanting to mess up on a project creates a lot of pressure.

“We have a couple other projects in line, but we’re always willing to take on more,” said Haaland.

For anyone interested in hiring them, call Haaland’s cell phone at 507-402-4344. Haaland and Kriewall do rock work, patios, retaining walls, mowing and general lawn care; they essentially do it all.

Haaland’s business is not listed anywhere as he is still in need of a business license and in fact, he has yet to decide on a name for it.

“We’re not registered as a business yet,” Haaland said. “I’m going to wait until I’m 18 to do that.”

One of Haaland’s biggest goals with his business is to expand. He wants to have a larger crew with which to work in order to be able to compete with the other businesses around the area. He hopes that this is something he can pursue as a life-long career. As for Kriewall, he wants to continue working for Haaland throughout high school and during college.

Haaland doesn’t think he’ll change his mind about landscaping. He is dedicated to building his business into something bigger.

“This is what I want to do,” Haaland said.