A man in a bright orange shirt smiles while seated on a chair in a garage, surrounded by tools and equipment like a blue tool chest and a red lawnmower.

Every negative comment is fuel to my fire. It’s nice to know I can push myself.

A collage of five photos of Mason. One shows him as a young child in the backseat of a car with both legs in braces. Another photo shows him as a young man with his arm over the shoulder of a man in a tie. The other photos shows him using a leafblower, standing in the doorway of a bobcat, and standing on a large yellow piece of machinery.

Driven to Succeed

Mason Bailey fought for opportunities to prove himself

Zipping around his grandparents’ farm on a four-wheeler is one of Mason Bailey’s fondest childhood memories.

He also enjoyed fishing and operating farm equipment on their 300-acre property near London, Ky. “I loved the freedom to be able to learn and be out in nature,” he said. “I knew at a very young age that I was going to be doing something with that equipment.”

That early spark stuck with Bailey. After high school, he headed to the Warren County Career Center. He earned his heavy equipment operator license in 2020.

Now, Bailey is celebrating a successful first year as the owner of a small landscaping company, Seasonal Impact.

Bailey’s path wasn’t easy. Often the 23-year-old had to fight just for a chance to prove himself. “Every negative comment is fuel to my fire,” he said.

Bailey has cerebral palsy and uses a cane when he walks. He’s had 12 surgeries to help with his growth and being able to walk. As he got older and spent more time on the family farm, his passion for operating heavy equipment grew.

High school teachers tried to steer Bailey on a different path because of his physical disability. But he persisted with little accommodation from others.
While learning to use bulldozers and backhoes, Bailey built himself a gravel ramp to make it easier to get in and out of the heavy equipment. He also refined his skills as a part-time groundskeeper for Madison Tree Care & Landscaping.

“We brought Mason on and we started off pretty conservative. Once we got some ground rules set, I backed off, like I do with most of my workers and let them develop,” said Jay Butcher, his supervisor at Madison Tree.

“I think people should have the ability to find their strengths and exploit them to the best of their ability.”

Being in an environment where he was accepted was a game-changer, Bailey said. He gained more experience with different equipment, and he learned how to interact with co-workers. He also appreciated the freedom to learn.

After trade school, he tried to find other jobs. “Nobody could look past my disability to hire me or even give me an opportunity to prove myself,” Bailey said.

“I sat through maybe 15-20 interviews of people telling me what I couldn’t do. And so I just said, ‘I’m going to be my own boss and start something from scratch.’”

It was a learning curve, but Bailey officially launched Seasonal Impact in 2022 from his Anderson Township home. He cuts grass, trims bushes, cleans up leaves and more for 12 clients—double his initial expectations.
“Mason is one of the most extraordinarily determined people I have ever met,” said Eric Metzger, a director at Hamilton County Developmental Disabilities Services, who has known Bailey for years.

“His success was the result of Mason and his family’s absolute refusal to go in any direction but forward, despite what seemed like a universe full of oversized and oncoming obstacles.”

As he grows his business, Bailey hopes to acquire more heavy equipment to expand the services he offers clients. “I love to be outside helping people. It’s nice to know I can push myself,” he said.

“You can do it if you dream it, as long as you stay persistent. And don’t listen to other people’s opinions because you know yourself as well as anybody.”

This article originally appeared in the Winter 2022-2023 issue of My Life magazine.