A Milwaukee Lutheran Family Business
Milwaukee Lawn Sprinkler Corp. (MLSC) is a local family business led by many Milwaukee Lutheran graduates. In 1974, Mike Todd (MLHS ’69) founded Milwaukee Lawn Sprinkler Corporation shortly after college. His goal was to become the best landscape irrigation company in the area. Today, it has become the preferred choice from homeowners to owners of Milwaukee landmarks. With excellence in designs, equipment, installation techniques and service, what really makes it special is the family element that founded it and is carried through to this day and beyond.
While Mike was a recently married college student at UWM, he took a job working for an irrigation equipment dealer. “Essentially, I had two parallel educational paths – liberal arts and irrigation. This continued until graduation. By then, I decided to start my own construction company. What could go wrong?!” He had the mechanical aptitude of his electrician father, and the organizational skills from his RN mother. They both helped him get started by working part time, and his wife at the time, Gail Roeder (MLHS ‘69), was the company bookkeeper and co-owner with Mike. Together, they grew the company one customer, one employee, and one year at a time.
As their family grew, so did the family business. His daughter Christine (MLHS ‘88) and son Paul (MLHS ‘93) were no strangers to the office growing up. “When my kids were little, I put them to work doing whatever was practical for their age. Paul’s first real job was raking sand traps at a local country club when he was 14. At 15, he was on a MLSC construction crew! Chris mowed the lawn, did office work and field measuring through high school and college. She graduated from Concordia University and is my assistant, doing everything from irrigation designs and quotes to handling trade shows and advertising. Paul, a graduate of the University of Minnesota, is our Construction Superintendent and future owner of MLSC.” Gail and Mike both remarried and Gail continues to work with Mike. Paul’s wife, Jen, and their children also do work for the company. Jen does service billing in the office, while their daughter Meghan mows the lawn at the company headquarters in Menomonee Falls and helps her sister Maisie with filing. The youngest granddaughter Molly will no doubt find work there soon too.
Even more family and Milwaukee Lutheran connections have been involved with this family business. Mike’s sister Mary (Todd) Krueger’s (MLHS ‘71) has 4 children, all MLHS graduates, who worked for MLSC in high school and college. Jon Busalacchi (MLHS ’93), a classmate of Paul, is a designer/salesman and the CAD tech expert for the company.
Over a 45-year span, MLSC has had the opportunity to design and install irrigation systems for some of Milwaukee’s more famous buildings including the new Northwest Mutual building, ULINE, Discovery World, Fiserv Forum, Miller Park, Martin Luther High School and hundreds of commercial buildings, athletic complexes, and residences. Consequently, the service department is busy taking care of over 2,000 customers each season. Mike is blessed with hard working, dedicated co-workers.
Looking back to his Milwaukee Lutheran ex- perience, Mike recalled, “I benefited from an excellent education. A Christian high school was a good environment to learn and develop. I especially enjoyed English class with Mr. Dobberful, and the emphasis on composition. This served well in college and in business.” Mike mentioned he is also looking forward to next year for the 50th reunion of his MLHS class of 1969. The organizers of the event Mike Kloehn, John Gallen and Marsha (Senfleben) Williams have done a great job and Mike hopes to see everyone August 2-4, 2019.
Along with running his company, Mike enjoys traveling with his wife Pam, live music, especially Steely Dan and Irish Fest, boating on Okauchee Lake, Oban scotch, riding his 2001 Harley, down-hill skiing, politics, and spending time with his six grandchildren and his cockapoo, Winston. He has played active rolls in his churches as well. “I grew up attending Christ Memorial grade school and stayed active as adult on the school board until moving to Brook- field in 1985. I joined Immanuel Lutheran where I taught 7th grade Sunday School and served on various boards. I’m currently a pew warmer only!”
With a successful family business, Mike recognizes the many other blessings in life. “I am so grateful to God for my wife Pam, good health, a great clan of Kruegers and Todds, and a job I love with no plans to retire anytime soon.” Mike’s advice to his fellow alumni: “Find a career that uses your God-given talents and gives you enjoyment every day. Life is short – enjoy the ride!”