Contractor Profile: Jennifer Lemcke, CEO of Weed Man

Jennifer Lemcke, CEO of Weed Man, discusses what the industry could use more of, industry trends and more.

Jennifer Lemcke
Jennifer Lemcke
Jennifer Lemcke

Jennifer Lemcke, CEO, Weed Man

Green Industry Pros: How did you first get into the green industry?

Jennifer Lemcke: My dad (Roger Mongeon) got his first Weed Man franchise in 1986. He was one of the first Weed Man franchisees in Quebec. He expanded into Montreal. I dabbled a bit in high school and then went to university where I met my husband. While Roger expanded into Montreal, he approached me about getting involved. After completing one year of training, my husband and I were brought in to run the Ottawa franchise.

We started to buy multiple franchises across Canada. In 1999, I embarked on a very big project of getting everyone set up on the same computer system, and that’s when I moved to Toronto. It was in that timeframe that my dad approached me and asked if I would consider getting involved in our U.S. franchising side of the business. At that time, my goal was to support our subfranchisers to develop the brand across the U.S. Eventually in 2018, the founder’s wife, Brenda Rice, sold us the worldwide rights. We now have more than 350 franchisees across North America.

Green Industry Pros: And what have been some of your challenges throughout your years in business?

Lemcke: I have three children, and that was difficult as they were growing up—I made sure I was around for the big stuff, but it was hard. COVID was also one of the biggest challenges. We’ve got thousands of employees and hundreds of franchisees, and there’s no playbook for how to handle it. We did everything we possibly could, but we learned that you don’t have to have all the answers. We chose to be incredibly transparent with our franchisees through daily conference calls. I also learned I could lead on national stuff with all our top competitors once a month to discuss industry trends. The people who helped me weren’t just our partners, shareholders, directors and certainly my dad, but it was also some of our largest competitors in the industry.

Green Industry Pros: What’s your favorite part of the green industry?

Lemcke: Hands down, the people. The people in our industry are incredible. I’ve had the opportunity to serve on different boards and different committees and with different people who have shaped my career. I also love to see the vast diversity in our industry, seeing ownership at different levels, because everyone brings a different perspective to the table, and I think that’s helping our industry evolve.

Green Industry Pros: Building on that, what does it mean to be a woman in the green industry?

Lemcke: I’ve been very lucky in my career that I had confidants in the industry like my dad and husband, but I also had to be confident in my experiences as a person trying to tell people what to do. It’s helped me develop a sense of trust with my team.

Green Industry Pros: Is there anything you think the industry could use more of?

Lemcke: A few years ago, there was probably a lack of sophistication in IT, but that’s evolved. (The industry) is also seeing more private equity come into play, and that’s great, but it scares me a little bit because that sense of family is probably going to change as there are rollups and acquisitions. AI and technology are also moving so fast, so you have to pay attention and understand.

Green Industry Pros: What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

Lemcke: I love to golf. I have two granddaughters that I absolutely love spending time with and our third grandchild on the way. I’m looking forward to spending time enjoying life. I worked a lot when the kids were young, and I am looking forward to slowing down and being a part of my grandchildren’s and older children’s lives.