COLUMBIA, S.C. — Dr. Louis Lynn has a list of titles and accolades that are impressive to say the least.
Order of the Palmetto recipient, Clemson University Board of Trustee, and owner of EnviroAgScience, Inc. one of the largest landscape and construction design companies in the country barely scratch the surface when it comes to accurately describing him.
He’s a Darlington County native, who was born to a family of sharecroppers and at one time was described by his father as a “flower child”. Dr. Lynn has found a way to cultivate his love for the outdoors, horticulture and people to fertilize the futures of many who look to him as an example of what it means to be a great community citizen.
Dr. Lynn was one of just 12 Black students at Clemson University when Dr. Martin Luther King, JR was assassinated. He describes that moment as a core memory that shaped much of his future. His life, legacy and career are all grown in the same soil he’s using to plant seeds of hope for others.
When we interviewed Dr. Lynn it was after the annual South Carolina Prayer Breakfast. Dr. Lynn was the keynote speaker in front of an audience of politicians, leaders in the faith community across South Carolina, and those eager to hear his message.
Dr. Lynn says the speech gave him an opportunity to “share a word from The Lord with his community.”
Dr. Lynn says his number one accomplishment as a successful businessperson has been, being able to contribute to the economic growth of his community but most importantly being able to give jobs to people in need.
Dr. Lynn says his business has allowed him the chance to pay his “civic rent.” It’s a phrase he uses often to describe what many refer to as a pay it forward mentality. Many of the projects Dr. Lynn has worked on are familiar to Columbia residents including but not limited to the Columbia Convention Center and the Hilton Columbia Center. Other projects include the Savannah River Nuclear Site, Spirit Communications Park, and Hartsfield Jackson International Airport.
Dr. Lynn says with all he’s accomplished, it’s proof to others that if “He can do it, I can do it.”
He believes education was the key to his success and now with nearly 3 decades of experience on the Board of Trustees at Clemson University he’s encouraged by the opportunity to offer diversity of race, thought and trade during critical decision making for students. Dr. Lynn says he’s generally, “not shy about offering his opinion.”
His family has been a huge part of the success of his business. He jokes that his children often tell him that he’s failing at retirement. His response, “He works because he wants to, they work because they have to!”
Dr. Lynn says his goal now is to bring others to the table, to share with them the experience he’s gained and to make sure he “doesn’t mess it up for the guy behind him.” He’s an inspiration to so many people and when asked about who inspires him, he said after thoughtful contemplation, politicians like 6th District Congressman James Clyburn and former Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin. Dr. Lynn says that he’s met ever United States President since George H.W. Bush.
Dr. Lynn says, “It takes nothing from my candle to light somebody else’s candle.” That belief is why he is so willing to lend his credibility to those who are looking for an open door. When his time on a board is over, he always wants someone who looks like him to replace him.
Dr. Lynn says that he is in the stage of his life now, where he just wants to finish well.
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