Terry Powell: Early Entrepreneur
By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter
LIVERMORE — While many children get their first taste of the vocational realm by performing yard work around their neighborhoods, for Terry Powell, it became a genuine entrepreneurial enterprise. “When I was about seven years old, I started doing chores around my neighborhood to earn money, from mowing lawns and pulling weeds to washing cars and cleaning garages,” he remembers. “Pretty soon, I started advertising my services by putting up flyers, and by the time I was in my early teens, I had about five guys working for me. Later, when I was in high school, I got into tree service. I loved it, and I’ve been doing it ever since.”
Since founding Terry’s Tree Service, Inc. in 1998, Terry has continued to find motivation in the thing that first attracted him to the trade: a love for trees. “I’ve always been an outdoor enthusiast, and I’m very passionate about nature. After all these years, I still get satisfaction from improving the health and beauty of my clients’ trees.”
Residing in Livermore with his wife, Diane, and three of their five children, Terry considers the Bay Area a perfect place to pursue his favorite outdoor activities. “We have a little bit of everything here as far as the landscape is concerned,” he says. “My family and I do a lot of fishing, hiking and camping, so it’s great to have areas like Lake Tahoe and Lake Del Valle so near to us.”
In addition to his professional career, Terry is a full-time family man—a vocation to which he devotes the majority of his free time. “With five kids, three of whom are still at home, life is very full,” he says. “Our family likes to stay active, both with outdoor pursuits and in-town activities like bowling. We also enjoy attending local events such as the Livermore Honey and Wine Festival. Basically, if there’s a crowd, we’re there.”
In regard to a personal philosophy, Terry espouses the importance of living intentionally. “I try to live my life one day at a time,” he affirms. “Life is an adventure, but it’s short, so it’s important to live it to the fullest. The best advice I could give someone is to not dwell on the past or worry about the future, but to just try to stay in the moment.”
When asked what his future retirement might look like, Terry says he’d kick things off by embracing a new hobby. “When I retire, I plan to start skydiving, which is something my wife won’t let me do until the kids are out of school. Another thing I’ve always wanted to do is get an RV and do some more traveling. In addition to seeing a lot of notable sights, it would give me a chance to visit some of my distant friends and family members whom I don’t get a chance to see often.”
Q: What’s your favorite kind of tree?
A: Oak. I’ve always loved the twisted, freeform shapes of their branches. I especially like the Oak trees here in the Valley, some of which are 400 years old.
Q: Do you prefer fiction or nonfiction books?
A: Nonfiction, because I mainly read books that pertain to my industry.
Q: If you could immediately master a musical instrument, what would you choose?
A: The fiddle—Charlie Daniels is one of my favorite musicians.
Q: What’s your favorite smell?
A: Mountain air.
Q: Do you collect anything?
A: Antique glass bottles. I actually had one of the largest antique bottle collections in the Bay Area until the Loma Prieta earthquake wiped out most of them.