“The success of our company goes to hard work, determination, and the belief that whatever can be believed can be achieved.”
Growing up on a farm in Acapulco among five children, Mario Gorjon was responsible for milking the cows and feeding the horses. From an early, he was taught to take care of plants and planted mangoes, corn, and coconuts. After graduating high school in 1975, Gorjon was sent to Mexico City to live with his aunt where he attended the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM). Gorjon decided to study dentistry and specialized in endodontics.
CEO of Green Angels Landscaping
His journey to the United States
After graduating from college in 1980, Mario worked in Acapulco until he met his future wife, Donna, on the beach in front of his mothers’ restaurant.
A Virginia native, Donna married Mario in December 1985, and they both moved to Columbia, MD. Although Gorjon had grown up in a tourist-friendly town, he jokes that his “resort English” made communication with others difficult in the U.S.
His switch to landscaping
Gorjon practiced dentistry in Maryland until 1999 when back problems forced his retirement. After retiring, Gorjon was free to pursue his hobby of landscaping. Soon, family and neighbors were requesting his assistance and singing his praises. “Donna and I decided to take the plunge and start the business in July 1999,” he says. The name Green Angels is an English translation of Los Angeles Verdes, which is an organization in Mexico that aids distress drivers on the highways. Mario and his wife felt that helping families with their landscape needs was similar to the mission of Angeles Verdes. They used the organization’s name as inspiration for the name of their business.
The initial struggles
Green Angels began as a residential landscape installation business, but soon experienced some growing pains. “As the business grew, we were challenged by not having commercial property to park trucks and store equipment,” Gorjon recalls. “We eventually invested in real estate that would accommodate our growing business in 2003.” As a result, the Green Angels Design Center was opened in 2007.
His contribution to his community
The company has become a family affair as nieces and nephews began working for Green Angels. Mario’s brothers have also worked on the team and one of them is the firm’s LED lighting engineer. The Gorjons believe in helping employees reach their fullest potential. With the Design Center at the core of their initiative, Gorjon notes that their goal over the coming years is to “remain committed to training Hispanic workers and encouraging Hispanic attitudes of success in the landscape industry,” an approach which has been shaped by his own experiences.
His advice for other immigrants
Mario Gorjon encourages his team to study and “become certified in everything possible.” He advises to “take every opportunity to teach and train others, because that is the best way to be proficient at your own skills.”