Jeff Tovar

Jeff Tovar has zero tolerance for slippery sidewalks and snow bound lots. The landscape and snowplow business he created in college is now a snow and ice management powerhouse serving Chicago’s prime institutional and retail properties. When the snow flies, the 22-person, full-time workforce of Tovar Snow Professionals can balloon to 700 workers, all mobilized to make clients’ properties accessible and safe.

Jeff TovarFor Tovar, offering excellence during fierce winter storms is a year-round job. Strategic planning, sales, equipment maintenance, research and development, employee recruiting, training and development: the preparations continue even in the heat of summer. “Hiring and developing great people is essential to success,” Tovar explains. “I look for people who are driven to learn and grow.” He’s particularly proud of one longtime employee, a landscape laborer who worked his way up to become a key manager.

A self-employed entrepreneur since college, Tovar turned to LFGSM when he needed to broaden his business expertise. “My Lake Forest education had a direct and immediate impact. My classmates and I weren’t ‘doing a class project,’ we were running the business.” Indeed, one cost accounting class project led to the strategic decision to sell Tovar’s landscape business and concentrate solely on providing the highest possible service to its snow business customers. “No consultant I hired could poke holes in our analysis,” he says.

Tovar is sold on the value of his Lake Forest MBA. He smiles, declaring, “No regrets.”