Interview by Uriah Young
QFTD: Tell us about yourself. Who is Johnny Georges?
Johnny: Well, this is a heck of a question...first and foremost, he is a child of God, who is not holier than thou. He is just a man. He loves being a dad more than anything in the world. He loves his family with a passion beyond comparison. Johnny Georges is...you. He is Uriah. He is every guy that gets up and goes to work each day so that he can make the lives of his family better. He is just an ordinary guy who got caught up in extraordinary circumstances, and he loves life.
QFTD: Your Tree T-Pee invention, which earned you an investment partner on the hit show, Shark Tank, evolved from experiences you had with your father. Describe how the Tree T-Pee idea became a reality.
Johnny: My dad owned orange groves, and he was the innovator of all innovators. He was also an irrigation guru. He developed the micro-sprinkler irrigation system as we know it today. He planted the very first one used in this country. They all laughed at him at first; now it’s the norm. Back then, what we did prior to the Tree T-Pee was dig a ring around the trees and cover them with dirt. Some of these trees were 20-24 inches tall. So one day, I looked at dad and said, “Hey, Dad. Can we try something different?” Then, he brought out a bucket, put it around the tree, and said, “Watch this. This will warm up the tree.” Then, we put thermometers around the tree. This was back in 1984; I was in high school. Not only did we discover how to offer the tree frost protection, we were able to conserve water, fuel, and fertilizer.
QFTD: Why are you so passionate about farming?
Johnny: You get up everyday of your life, and you are one with the land. You realize it takes care of you. You watch the sun rise. You smell the grass and the trees. Squirrels are running around. Now, imagine seeing the destruction that people are doing to the earth, like dumping oil down into aquifers. I am willing to protect what we know needs to be looked after. In addition, I’ve put in over 10,000 water pumps in my life. I’ve also drilled over 500 water holes in that time. I feel as though I pump more water than anyone on the planet, and I want to save more water than anyone on the planet. Money saved is money earned in farming.
QFTD: I understand that you live by a code: no lying, stealing, or cheating. Who taught you that code, and why is it so important to you as a farmer?
Johnny: My great-grandfather taught me that code. It is important to me because my great-grandfather lived by it, and my father lived by it. That’s all I know. You can give up everything that you are, over one lie. And a farmer won’t tolerate it. It comes down to doing right by one another. And you don’t necessarily have to go to church to do that; it’s common sense.
QFTD: After checking out your website, I learned how close you were to your father through the letter you posted. It was very touching. If your dad were here today, what do you think he would say about all the wonderful things happening in your life?
Johnny: What would my dad say? I think he’d be proud. He’d probably say he helped make me famous. (laughing) You know, he’s the one who taught me to do right by others. I get told a lot about it, this passion I have, and I say, “I do?” It’s part of who I am thanks to my father.
QFTD: You’ve made strides in your industry, and being on Sharktank has brought you a tremendous opportunity. So, what’s going on these days for the Tree T-Pee?
Johnny: Well, we are in Home Depot. We have our products for sale in Australia. We have expanded our product into Germany and Israel. The Minister of Agriculture in Israel personally called me and said, “Johnny, we are saving 60% on our drip irrigation.” Now, that’s just on the drip irrigation. On the microsprinkler, you’re saving thousands of percent. Every single farmer that’s used it absolutely loves it. The response to the Tree T-Pee’s performance has been phenomenal. The biggest thing I’ve heard lately is, ‘Mr., you’ve got a game changer.’ It is a very simple solution to a complex problem. Because of the Tree T-Pee, trillions of gallons of water are being conserved, globally.
To see more about Johnny's company, click below.