Colin Wereley learned in seventh grade that a job well done pays dividends.
He did such a good job mowing his parents’ yard that the neighbors hired him as well. What started as an $8 chore for Mom and Dad led to one referral after another, until the odd jobs became a business.
Now a high school senior, Wereley’s Affordable Lawn and Outdoor Services has grown into a business with corporate accounts and jobs booked months in advance.
“I’ve never once spent money on advertising,” he said. “Every year it becomes larger and larger. I’m inundated with work at this point.”
Wereley’s success as an entrepreneur gained him admission into Coeur d’Alene High School’s DECA as a freshman. Typically, students must be juniors to participate in the program, which develops skills in leadership, entrepreneurship and marketing.
This is his second year as state president. He is reportedly the first president in Idaho DECA to serve two terms.
Entrepreneurship is in his genes.
“My dad has always had his own business,” he said. “My parents have a very independent attitude. It’s something I adopted from them.”
He has invested earnings back into his business for new equipment, but also pays his own bills, including cellphone and car payments. He’s saving for college, though he’s already been awarded scholarships to cover his first two semesters at North Idaho College.
After NIC, Wereley plans to attend the University of Idaho to study computer engineering.
For his senior project, he networked with friends and family and found a connection at Microsoft. He spent four days at the company with in-depth access to its cybersecurity department.
He was one of the first civilians allowed into the company’s security operations defense center – the “war room” – and had to sign a confidentiality agreement that limits what he can share. He witnessed a cyberattack in real time.
His interest in cybersecurity was sparked when he participated in CyberPatriot, a program under the auspices of Civil Air Patrol.
Someday, Wereley would like to be a contractor or consultant.
“I don’t like having a boss,” he said. “There’s something about having your own business, having to push yourself because there’s no safety net to catch you. I really drive off that.”
In addition to four years in Civil Air Patrol, Wereley was on the CHS varsity skeet and trap team and lettered in academics.
His mother, Camie Wereley, said she and her husband, Jason, are extremely proud. When Colin was in first grade, he struggled with dyslexia and an auditory processing disorder. She pulled him from public school and home-schooled him so he could have tutoring and extra attention.
From the time he returned to public school in junior high, his hard work has resulted in success after success.
“He’s really driven and enjoys setting tasks for himself and accomplishing them,” Camie Wereley said. “He takes a lot of pride in it. I don’t think he would be pursuing his business and be a good student if he didn’t.”
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