How does this UNI business student, all-American athlete and entrepreneur find the time?
University of Northern Iowa senior wrestler Bryce Steiert (Management) had never commercially mowed a lawn before he started a landscaping business.
“That’s kind of how he competes,” said UNI wrestling head coach Doug Schwab of Steiert’s willingness to jump into something new. “We’ll have a little bit of a plan for his matches, but he knows where he wants to go.”
Steiert bought a client list from a former teammate who moved away after graduating from UNI and threw his energy into making a business out of it.
“I kind of took this from wrestling, but we’re trying to get better every time we go out there,” Steiert said. “Every time we go out to someone’s lawn, we’re trying to make it look better than the last time we did it.”
He soon coupled lawn care with snow removal and pulled workers from a construction company he co-owns with his brother. The combined crew includes equal parts of full-time and contract staff.
While his entrepreneurial spirit started prior to enrolling at UNI as a management major, Steiert has used all his experiences as a Panther to keep learning.
From alumni returning to the wrestling room or the classroom, Steiert never passes up an opportunity to hear their stories.
“I can’t thank those people enough for taking the time to talk to me,” he said. “They might think I’m a little strange, because I like to ask a lot of questions. Those are some valuable, valuable conversations. It’s been great, in every avenue of my life, to meet great people who have done really well and be able to learn from them.”
When Steiert was a junior in high school, he and his brother started installing and servicing bleachers, auditorium seating, lockers, some basketball hoops and other items.
The entrepreneurs later partnered with a Chicago company to contract work on schools in the area. Steiert now has the rights to sell from more than 30 manufacturers of school equipment and furniture.
“Pretty much anything that goes in a gym or school, we’ve probably installed and serviced,” Steiert said. “We worked with a lot of dealers. This last summer, we did work in Illinois, North Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, Minnesota.
Even with a full class schedule and hours of commitment needed in the gym for athletics, Steiert said he is fortunate for more work at the end of the day that comes from his businesses.
“You wake up and thank God you have work in front of you,” he said. “That’s the brightness in it. We have this mountain in front of us, but thank goodness we have something to do today. And just keep chipping and chipping and chipping. Get it done.”
Steiert earned all-America wrestling honors at 165 pounds as a junior. He earned his first Big 12 title and was set to compete in his fourth NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships March 19-21.