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40 Under 40 Spotlight: Mario Cambardella reinvents urban landscaping

For Mario Cambardella (BLA ’06, MEPD ’11, MLA ’13), connecting his professional purpose to a personal passion to make a difference ultimately set him on a pathway for success. It’s why he pursued a variety of service-oriented efforts to reinvigorate urban landscapes before turning his attention to starting an innovative business that relies on technology to better connect Georgia farmers with new markets in the Atlanta area.

For his personal, professional and philanthropic achievements, Mario ranked among UGA’s 40 Under 40 Class of 2021. The program celebrates young alumni leading the pack in their industries and communities.

Mario and his wife, Lindsey Cambardella (JD ’12).

How did Mario Cambardella find his purpose?

During his time at UGA, Mario connected with Jack Crowley, a professor emeritus in the College of Environment + Design. Mario found that “he understood how to find a solution that achieved true sustainability by balancing economic, social and environmental factors in equal harmony.”

After earning his master’s degree in landscape architecture in 2013, Mario landed an internship with a prestigious firm based in Colorado. However, many of his assigned projects didn’t align with his belief that designed landscapes should have a more holistic function that better supports the people who live near them. That’s what ultimately put him on a journey to become the first Urban Agriculture Director in the country.

“The premise is the landscape can be more than beautiful—it can perform, and it can have a function,” Mario said.

He would go on to lead the AgLanta initiative, focusing on bringing sustainable landscaping practices to underutilized properties in the Atlanta area. Relying on its Grows-A-Lot program, Mario acquired several vacant properties that had fallen into disrepair in USDA-defined food desert areas and converted them into community gardens. These spaces would help generate healthy food for the surrounding areas, and would be aesthetically pleasing and create a sense of place for the community.

Mario also helped cultivate the country’s largest municipal food forest, Urban Food Forest at Browns Mill.

What is ServeScape?

After focusing the first phase of his career on revitalizing urban communities, Mario embraced a new challenge when he founded ServeScape. Its goal is to bolster the green industry’s supply chain and enhance its use of technology to better serve customers and empower Georgia’s growers. It is Atlanta’s largest online-only garden center and wholesale plant nursery, sourcing a variety of Georgia Grown plants from farmers and horticulturists across the state.

ServeScape connects the bounty of growers with wider audiences, expanding their market and boosting revenues, while enabling property owners in urban areas to curate their own sustainable landscapes with native plants.

“We can enable beautiful and resilient landscapes all across the country because we’re relying on technology and a simple methodology,” Mario noted. “It’s bringing forward the idea that the products of every farmer can now get to market. And then when it gets to the market, we can actually make sure that it gets to the right hands.”

Mario (left) with his ServeScape team.

How is ServeScape sustainable?

Mario created ServeScape with sustainability in mind. ServeScape elevates locally grown products and locally stationed experts to foster a closer, greener community in the Metro Atlanta area. The company brings together landscape designers, plant experts and professional installers to create a landscape that challenges the norms of retail sellers.

By being a fully online marketplace, ServeScape does not waste resources on large, expensive plant nurseries and instead ships plants directly from the farm to clients’ doors. ServeScape’s designers also create a customized landscape that can last in each individual environment. Plants are meticulously curated to not only be beautiful, but also functional and resilient, reducing the need for replacements and leading to economic and environmental success.

“Through every job and project, I keep in mind that working in the natural and built environment makes you a student of each project site,” Mario said. “I hope I never lose the sense of adventure and excitement of seeing a site for the first time. Losing touch with the land distances yourself from many of the reasons this profession is so unique, engaging and rewarding.”

ServeScape is provides landscape design services throughout metro Atlanta and the Athens area, while AgLanta continues to advance its mission of advancing and supporting urban agriculture in the city.

Do you know an outstanding young grad leading the pack in their industry or community? Nominate them for the 2022 Class of 40 Under 40! Nominations close on April 8.


Written by Johnathan McGinty (ABJ ’00), Partner, The Trestle Collective

Ninth annual TEDxUGA awakens Wonder

It’s no small wonder that transformation starts with one: one person, one muse, one idea. A single stroke of inspiration has the power to unite communities in pursuit of dreams that exist at the crossroads of the unfamiliar and the awe-inspiring. 

Some of the brightest UGA students, faculty and alumni will step onto the stage for the TEDxUGA: Wonder on Friday, April 1 at the Morton Theatre. The event will begin at 7 p.m. There is also a virtual livestreaming option for those who want to attend from the comfort of their own home.  


The lineup this year features eight UGA speakers, two of which are alumni, and one alumna serving as the program’s emcee. 

Speakers

Darrell Blocker (AB ’86) is the chief operating officer at the boutique strategic risk and crisis management, intelligence and security advisory firm MOSAIC. He creates espionage-themed content in Hollywood and volunteers with nonprofits dedicated to improving the future of youth in foster care and countering the exploitation and human trafficking of youth and women. In his talk, Darrell speaks on why the world should be a kinder place. 

Charlie Mustard (MS ’97) is the longtime head roaster at Jittery Joe’s, an Athens-based coffee roasting company. As a proud Athenian of 29 years and an engaged community member, Charlie takes the TEDxUGA stage to speak on the importance of community participation and how you can make your own home unique. 

Emcee

Dominique Holloman (BS ’01, AB ’01, MED ’04, JD ’04) is a former member of the Board of Visitors and the Law School Alumni Council, and she currently serves on the Alumni Association Board of Directors. Dominique was the inaugural president of the affinity group UGA Black Alumni and a member of the 40 Under 40 Class of 2017. In addition to her work as a government affairs professional, she continues to help create a more diverse and dynamic community at UGA. 


For nine years, TEDxUGA has brought UGA and the Athens community together to listen and learn from individuals and their extraordinary stories, philosophies and ideas. Consider registering to experience the connectivity that fosters creativity and inspiration from the university’s leading thinkers and doers. 

REGISTER FOR TEDXUGA

Tyler Jefcoat (BBA ’07, MBA ’13) guides a new generation of accounting graduates

In 2002, after graduating high school in Columbus, Georgia, Tyler Jefcoat (BBA ’07, MBA ’13) took an interest in Athens and the University of Georgia for two reasons: its music scene and its business school. While music stayed as a hobby, Tyler thrived in UGA’s Terry College of Business as an undergraduate.

After graduating and working as a retail bank manager, Tyler realized that corporate culture didn’t suit him. With encouragement from two key figures in his life, his dad and father-in-law, he returned to UGA and enrolled in an MBA program. It was here where he found his true passion for entrepreneurship.

“I came out of that MBA experience realizing that I just wasn’t a great corporate guy. I needed to build something for myself—so, I did,” Tyler said. “I literally got to present a concept company that we built, Care to Continue, as my final project in the MBA entrepreneurship class. I got great support from the university and from my classmates.”

Care to Continue trained and empowered caregivers for in-home senior care. Tyler stayed with Care to Continue for five years. The first year was difficult as they tried to market their name and build a loyal client base. By year two, though, the company was well-established within the market.

27 target customers met with Tyler and his cofounder to help build the essence of the brand in January of 2013. The name, Care to Continue, came out of this focus group.

“We were onto something because we understood our customer,” he said. “I think we were in a good market, but it was hard; it was crazy. And I was grateful that I got to sell my part of that business, because that was a 24/7/365 animal.”

Tyler sold his portion of Care to Continue in 2018 after realizing that the direction the business was heading didn’t follow his vision. He helped train the new leadership team for 100 days. While selling his part of the company benefitted him and his family, he stressed over what his next steps should be.

His wife, Emily (AB ’08)—whom he met through an undergraduate club at UGA—was by his side the entire time, assuring him of his path while keeping their two daughters in mind.

“I had a bunch of great opportunities. And my wife said, ‘Tyler, these opportunities all seem to be in Chicago or Atlanta or New York. You need to find something that’s not in Chicago or Atlanta or New York.’ And so, we started looking for ideas.”

Not wanting to uproot his family’s life for a career in a big city, Tyler found the answer in Athens. While having a coffee with one of his friends, Tyler considered a new idea: e-commerce. He found that there was a need he could fill in bookkeeping for small-scale entrepreneurs.

“I went to my wife—like I did when I started Care to Continue—and said, ‘I’m thinking about starting a company in an industry in which I’ve never worked or had any business with … what do you think?’” he laughed. “Thankfully, she told me that we should do it.”

In 2018, Tyler launched Seller Accountant, an accounting firm that provides e-commerce sellers on Amazon with bookkeeping and fractional CFO (financial coaching) services. The business works with sellers to create and implement customized accounting plans for each unique circumstance.

Using the experience and knowledge he gained from his first company, Seller Accountant quickly became one of the top accounting businesses in the Amazon marketplace.

Ashley Carter, Partner and COO of Seller Accountant, standing with the company’s first four Terry interns: Lizzie Rose (BBA ’20), Erna Brandt Braxton (BBA ’19, MAcc ’20), Addie Young (BBA ’20, MAcc ’21) and Christian Joseph (BBA ’20, MAcc ’21) in their original 1 Press Place incubator office in downtown Athens.

Tyler is passionate about helping others, and with his new business, he leverages his business and finance background to assist small sellers.

“Leading and encouraging small business owners makes me feel alive,” he said. “It gets me so excited.”

His drive to help others led him back to UGA, where a friend encouraged him to rent space in the Delta Innovation Hub in the Innovation District.

The Innovation District connects bright minds from UGA and beyond. Located across multiple buildings in North Campus and downtown Athens, the Innovation District connects students, faculty, alumni and local businesses. Tyler immediately connected with the Innovation District’s vision.

“The vision of the Innovation District—attaching faculty and alumni ideas to reality and helping them come into fruition—I was like, ‘Man, that’s where I am right now with Seller Accountant.’”

Tyler moved his business into the Delta Innovation Hub in 2021. Now, he and Seller Accountant find inspiration within the Hub while working alongside UGA’s graduate accounting program to help UGA students and alumni.

Tyler proudly wearing UGA gear.

“We’ve made it our mission to empower students, and we’re seeing results,” he said. “Like graduate assistantships for the graduate accounting program: two years in a row, one of our few students has landed that opportunity. We’re seeing anecdotal evidence that they’re getting higher salaries coming out of the accounting program.”

Knowing what it’s like to be an uncertain graduate, Tyler hopes to foster an environment where a student can succeed in finding the career most suited to them–whether that’s as an employee at Seller Accountant or an entrepreneur forging their own path.

“Could I be a part of someone’s story or their career and get a lot of benefit from it? Absolutely. And there’s no better place to be than on UGA’s campus for that to happen.”

LEARN MORE ABOUT ENTREPRENEURSHIP AT UGA

Dawg-gone good gifts: Biolyte

For the health-conscious people in your life—or the ones who struggle to kick those holiday hangovers—fuel their fun with Biolyte, the IV in a bottle. 

Biolyte’s electrolytes match that of a 500mL IV, plus additional vitamins and minerals. It was formulated by Dr. Luther “Trey” Rollins, a board-certified anesthesiologist and pain specialist in Atlanta, GA. One bottle of Biolyte offers the fuel of 6.5 sports drinks to fight dehydration, fatigue, stomach illness, cramps or overindulgence.  

CEO and UGA alumna Jesslyn Rollins (BA ’15) partnered with Dr. Rollins, her father, to bring his product to the masses. After selling Biolyte out of the back of her car, she advanced to director of sales, chief sales and marketing officer and then CEO. Under her guidance, Biolyte has grown into a multimillion-dollar business. It’s no surprise that the 2022 Bulldog 100 recognized Biolyte as one of the fastest-growing organizations owned or operated by UGA Alumni.

Biolyte offers three flavors—berry, citrus and tropical—to help your friends and family quench their thirst, snap out of a funk or reenergize.  

You can purchase Biolyte at select retail locations or on Amazon 


The holidays have arrived! As you finish up your holiday shopping, we’re featuring UGA alumni-owned businesses that we can’t stop barking about. Give uniquely and support a Bulldog this holiday season with a Dawg-gone good gift.     

Want more Dawg-gone good gift ideas?

Dawg-gone good gifts: Svaha

For the genius in your life who wants to share their passion with everyone they meet, give a gift from Svaha.

Svaha USA is a one-stop-shop online retailer specializing in STEAM-themed apparel. 

Svaha’s mission is to shatter the gender stereotypes in the apparel industry and encourage STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) education for both girls and boys, and women and men. Svaha carries clothing for adults and children as well as a variety of accessories. 

Jaya Iyer (MS ’03) is an expert in the fashion industry. She teaches fashion buying and authored a widely-used textbook on fashion in emerging markets. When she couldn’t find space-themed clothing for her astronaut-aspiring daughter in 2015, she discovered an unmet need in the fashion industry. Svaha was born. The 2021 Bulldog 100 recognized Svaha as one of the fastest-growing organizations owned or operated by UGA alumni. 

For gifts that are out of this world, explore Svaha’s gift boxes, curated by topic. Svaha also offers matching family sets and puzzles celebrating biodiversity and women’s impact on history.   

Svaha’s curated marine biology box

You can find all that Svaha has to offer and shop by interest on Svaha’s online store.  


The holidays have arrived! As you finish up your holiday shopping, we’re featuring UGA alumni-owned businesses that we can’t stop barking about. Give uniquely and support a Bulldog this holiday season with a Dawg-gone good gift.     

Want more Dawg-gone good gift ideas?

Dawg-gone good gifts: Onward Reserve

For the people on your gift list who love the outdoors, college football and the South, look to one of Athens’ own: Onward Reserve. 

Onward Reserve is a specialty men’s apparel and lifestyle brand headquartered in Atlanta. The Onward Reserve experience mixes laid-back southern hospitality with a world-class retail atmosphere. Collections include men’s classic clothing, watches, shoes, sportswear and accessories. 

UGA alumni TJ Callaway (BBA’07) established Onward Reserve with the motto, “Live authentically.” During a hunting trip in Onward, Mississippi, Callaway crafted a vision for a brand that is laid-back, unwavering in quality and supportive of authentic experiences. Each season, Callaway carefully selects the collection of other brands with that vision in mind. The 2019 Bulldog 100 recognized Onward Reserve as one of the fastest-growing organizations owned or operated by UGA alumni. 

For the Dawg fan, give the gift of Red and Black with a Bulldog-printed polo ($115), a UGA needlepoint flask ($65) or a “Run the Damn Ball” hat ($34.95). For the outdoorsman, equip adventure with a new cooler or a pair of shades. For the well-dressed, browse the Thomasville collection.  

Give a fellow Bulldog some red and black with a UGA needlepoint flask from Onward Reserve ($65).

To explore Onward Reserve, you can shop online or visit one of Onward Reserve’s 12 locations throughout Georgia and the South.  


The holidays have arrived! As you finish up your holiday shopping, we’re featuring UGA alumni-owned businesses that we can’t stop barking about. Give uniquely and support a Bulldog this holiday season with a Dawg-gone good gift.     

Want more Dawg-gone good gift ideas?

Dawg-gone good gifts: SculptHouse

For the people on your gift list who live in athleisure attire, check out SculptHouse. 

SculptHouse is a fitness studio, activewear and lifestyle boutique with physical locations in Atlanta and Dallas and a robust online presence. It focuses on helping clients lead healthy, happy and confident lives through fitness and fashion. 

Founder and CEO Katherine Mason’s (ABJ ’12) built SculptHouse from her experience in New York City’s fitness industry. Mason launched SculptHouse to fill a void for effective, efficient workouts while also offering an extensive activewear line. SculptHouse Buckhead, its first location, opened in 2016, and a Dallas, Texas, location followed in 2019. This year’s 2022 Bulldog 100 recognizes SculptHouse as one of the fastest-growing organizations owned or operated by UGA alumni. 

SculptHouse sells everything you can think of when it comes to activewear: crop topsleggingslounge sets and more. SculptHouse also partners with Esseutesse to sell fringed-out, fun sneakers that ensure you’re putting your best foot forward.  

SculptHouse partners with Esseutesse to sell fringed-out, fun sneakers that ensure you’re putting your best foot forward.

 Browse SculptHouse gifts through the online store, or purchase a boutique gift card if you just can’t decide what to give. 


The holidays have arrived! As you finish up your holiday shopping, we’re featuring UGA alumni-owned businesses that we can’t stop barking about. Give uniquely and support a Bulldog this holiday season with a Dawg-gone good gift.     

Want more Dawg-gone good gift ideas?

Dawg-gone good gifts: Sock Fancy

For the person on your gift list who embraces style from head to toe, check out Sock Fancy. 

Whether you’re dressed for fashion, function or fitness, Sock Fancy covers it all. The company also offers beanies and face masks. Sock Fancy, based in Atlanta, has been featured by Esquire, FQ, RollingStone, Vogue and more.   

Stefan Lewsinger (AB ’11) co-founded Sock Fancy to change the way people talk about socks. Sock Fancy earned the title of “most subscribable” at the 2019 Bulldog 100 because of its unique sock subscription service delivering new socks to customers every month.  

 Between the Sock Fancy beanie ($18)brightly-designed crew socks ($14-54) or emoji-embroidered performance socks ($54), Sock Fancy has colors and patterns for everyone on your list.   

Want to give a gift that keeps on giving? Purchase a subscription that delivers fresh socks with fresh designs every month.  

Explore all that Sock Fancy has to offer on the online store.  


The holidays have arrived! As you finish up your holiday shopping, we’re featuring UGA alumni-owned businesses that we can’t stop barking about. Give uniquely and support a Bulldog this holiday season with a Dawg-gone good gift.     

Want more Dawg-gone good gift ideas?

Dawg-gone good gifts: Baylee Bakes

For the people on your gift list who can’t get enough of the Great British Baking Show, fulfill their sweetest dreams with custom-decorated sugar cookies from Baylee Bakes. 

Baylee Bakes’ founder and operator Baylee Marsh (BA ’20) never planned to own a cookie business. While studying advertising at UGA, a casual Instagram account featuring her cookies and a series of accidental cookie orders led Marsh to the UGA Entrepreneurship Program’s 2019 Summer Launch Program, where she won $5,000 in funding. Marsh hasn’t stopped baking since.  

Baylee Bakes offers holiday-inspired boxes of various sizes ($10-20). For the Dawg who bleeds red and black, gift a UGA Football half dozen box ($20). For the person on your list who wants to earn their treat, purchase a Christmas Cookie Decorating Kit ($18) or a Custom Paint Your Own Cookie set ($5) 

Give the gift of red and black with UGA-themed cookies from Baylee Bakes.

Looking for a holiday party idea? Book a private class with Baylee Bakes.  

To order custom cookies from Baylee Bakes, explore the website and submit a customer order request form. Once your order and timeline are confirmed, you can work out cookies designs and pricing. Then, pick up or receive your delivery order so you can share holiday cheer in the sweetest way possible. 


The holidays have arrived! As you finish up your holiday shopping, we’re featuring UGA alumni-owned businesses that we can’t stop barking about. Give uniquely and support a Bulldog this holiday season with a Dawg-gone good gift. 

Want more Dawg-gone good gift ideas?

Dawg-gone good gifts: Gently Soap

For the people on your gift list who know that skin-care is self-care, look to Kristen Dunning’s (BSA ’21) Gently Soap. 

Gently’s products are made for all skin types—even the most sensitive. With Dunning’s knowledge of plants, herbs, natural oils and soap-making, Gently crafts products that are sustainable and free of fragrance and essential oils. 

Dunning, founder and CEO of Gently Soap, studied agricultural communication at the University of Georgia. After battling irritation from skin and hair-care products, Dunning studied medicinal plants through the Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities. She put her knowledge into practice and  won $2,500 in startup capital from the UGA Entrepreneurship Program’s 2020 Idea Accelerator Demo Day contest. Dunning also won the spring 2021 Innovation District Quick Pitch Competition. 

A hand holds up a container of Gently Soap Whipped Body Butter

For a stocking stuffer, look to Gently’s original formula herbal soap Gardener Knauft’s ($9). For  the coffee-lover in your life, snag a bag of Gently x Jittery Joe’s Coffee Scrub ($25). And for that person who deserves a little extra TLC, gift Gently’s Herbal Whipped Body Butter ($30). 

To purchase Gently Soap, you can order online or find a store near you. 


The holidays have arrived! As you finish up your holiday shopping, we’re featuring UGA alumni-owned businesses that we can’t stop barking about. Give uniquely and support a Bulldog this holiday season with a Dawg-gone good gift.     

Want more Dawg-gone good gift ideas?