With an aptitude for science and math and a love of chemical engineering, Beck Zimmerman could probably play it safe and have a nice career ahead of him.
But playing it safe isn’t Zimmerman’s style. Instead, he wants to own a business, possibly involving something he invents.
“The whole idea of starting your own business, or even inventing something, is risky, clearly, but I’ve just always been one who likes to think of new ideas and be creative,” he said.
He already co-owns a business: Zimmerman Landscaping, where he and his brother mow, mulch and remove snow for more than 50 customers.
“We started with a couple lawns in our neighborhood, and we just started to see that there was a (big) need for it,” he said. “A lot of people in our neighborhood were reaching out to us.”
This first enterprise has given him valuable insight into the stresses of running a business and the need to plan ahead, he said.
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Still, mowing 30 lawns per week (with help from friends and family members) doesn’t stop the Cumberland Valley senior from being actively involved in school activities. He was a varsity soccer captain this year, plays on a club travel team, and maintained a 103 weighted GPA.
Zimmerman credits his disciplined phone habits for helping him stay efficient in all he does.
“Instead of taking maybe three hours to study for something and checking my phone throughout, I just set it down, get it all done,” he said. “I spend time when I have to work, working, and ... when I have time to play, I play. I try to not let them intermingle.”
Zimmerman also uses some of the extra time yielded by efficient work habits to help others. He’s heading the Food Committee for Cumberland Valley’s Mini-Thon, and is active in CV Africa Club, a student club that provides needed equipment like eyeglasses for people in Ghana, where one of his soccer coaches travels each summer. He is also a part of TOPS, which teaches soccer to children with special needs.
One of his favorite service opportunities was five days of volunteer work constructing houses for Habitat for Humanity last summer.
“It really opened my eyes to the effect I can have on people, just by offering a week of my time,” he said.
According to school counselor Mark Ryan, Zimmerman does it all as a “servant leader.”
“I’m not the kind of person who likes to go and give everyone a speech, try to rile everyone up,” Zimmerman said. “I usually just try to lead by example, just by being nice to people and hoping they’ll do the same for others and the same for me.”
After graduation, he plans to attend the Penn State Schreyer Honors College and pursue a degree and career in chemical engineering.
Daniel Walmer covers public safety for The Sentinel. You can reach him by email at email@example.com or by phone at 717-218-0021.