A Message from our President
About Larry Shumate
If there is one thing Larry Shumate is passionate about its WATER! Prior to owning Southern Environmental Equipment, Larry was a professional fishing guide on the Harris Chain of Lakes in Leesburg, FL. People who fished on the Harris Chain of Lakes produced enough lunker bass for the entire country. By 1992 the Harris Chain of Lakes went from the best weighs of the Bass Masters Tournament to the worst weighs in a matter of one fishing season. This was partly due to the drastic increase in population in Leesburg, FL; which in return increased the amount of homes, highways and runoff into the waterways. In 1993, Larry was forced to hang up his fishing pole and quit his career as a fishing guide to seek out what he says: "A real job."
After leaving the fish guiding circuit, Shumate was introduced to Jim White, Manager and Owner of Southern Environmental Equipment. For Shumate, the eye catcher was the wash water recycling systems. Because wash water recycling systems were in an embryonic stage, Larry knew selling them was going to be a challenge. Having a commission style sales approach and a hard work ethic Shumate said, "I was hired on the spot at Southern Environmental Equipment and was turned into a salesman."
Soon after Larry began his career at Southern Environmental, he realized he could have easily left and gave up on the wash water industry, but instead he asked to get involved with the service side where his commissions would increase and his skillset would be able to grow. Larry began to perform service on two major wash water brands: RGF and Landa. This side of the business was a real eye opener for Shumate, "I never got discouraged because I saw a real benefit, and servicing the equipment was very useful because I could see so many ways to improve each wash pad design and function."
In 2001, Larry Shumate purchased Southern Environmental Equipment and became the owner for the Florida Branch. When he took ownership there was one other employee besides himself and both wore many hats for the business. Soon after Shumate took ownership, he was introduced to Mi-T-M and became an exclusive dealer of Mi-T-M water treatment systems and pressure washers for the entire state of Florida. The partnership with Mi-T-M, Shumate says happened at the perfect time, because Florida was booming and many sales opportunities given to them. In return, Southern Environmental was able to add 5 team members to their sales staff team.
Mi-T-M introduced the Biological Series in 1998 and Shumate was waiting ready with his hook, line, and sinker! Southern Environmental was the first dealer to purchase and install a Mi-T-M BIO System at the Bay Hill Golf and Country Club. Shumate said he will never forget the day he had the opportunity to meet and speak with the Golf Legend Mr. Arnold Palmer. Still to this day, the first BIO System continues to run at the Bay Hill Golf and Country Club and Southern Environmental performs its regular monthly service.
Our Work Today
Since installing the first BIO System, Southern Environmental has been blessed to work with many other great customers including The Villages. Located in central Florida, The Villages is the fastest growing active retirement community and spreads over 3 Florida counties. The Villages offers retirees a community filled with golf, recreation, shopping, dining, medical and professional services and more. Within the last year, The Villages has purchased and installed 3 Biological Systems from Southern Environmental to wash their golf carts and other recreational vehicles.
Larry Shumate has a deep passion for the wash water business and enjoys coming to work every day ready for the next challenge. He is appreciative for the support Mi-T-M has provided him, "The partnership with Mi-T-M has turned into a family atmosphere. I really can't say enough about the employees at Mi-T-M because they all have a vital roll in our success of surviving through the good times and the bad." Larry said there is always an opportunity to meet and always a friend to be made in this industry: "I. Love. It."