The tree T-PEE is a product of GSI Supply, Inc. GSI was established on March 2, 2005 by John G. Georges (Johnny). Johnny is the son of Rick Georges, a pioneer in the citrus industry. Rick is the inventor of the micro-sprinkler back in 1970, revolutionizing the irrigation industry as we know it today. Rick, an innovator in the citrus and irrigation community, invented a more efficient way to water the trees. Instead of using overhead sprinklers to water, water could now be delivered to each individual tree through the micro-sprinklers, then called the ‘Geor-Jet.’ This significantly reduced the amount of water needed and brought a 1-2 degree increase in heat around the grove for frost protection.
Johnny Georges grew up in Winter Haven, Florida where their single mother raised him and his brother. Johnny has been a hard worker ever since he was a kid; he got his first job in the 4th grade at a gas station on Avenue G in Inwood. After graduating from job school, Johnny went to work for his father for over 20 years; learning first hand how to engineer and install irrigation, drill wells and install pumps and motors. Over that 20 year span, Johnny put in over 10,000 pumps and motors and installed over 30,000 acres of irrigation for citrus.
The tree T-PEE was first made by Rick Georges and Georges Enterprise Inc. for frost protection for young trees. The idea came about while banking trees in preparation for a night where frost was predicted. Banking trees is a method where you pack dirt around the young trees in order to keep them warm and prevent damage from frost. The next day, the dirt would be removed so the sun could warm the tree. This process was repeated each night the temperature was predicted to be below freezing. While banking trees one day, Johnny commented that there has to be an easier way to protect the trees from frost. So, Rick developed a small cone and placed it around the tree…and it worked. However, the cone still had to be manually installed with every freeze warning, and then removed the following day, which was very time consuming and manpower intensive. The cone only solved half of the problem.
Johnny saw the water saving potential and decided to make the T-PEE we have today. While conserving water, Johnny saw it as a domino effect. Not only was the tree T-PEE conserving water, it was conserving the electricity, or fuel, it takes to pump the water. The fertilizer savings were just as dramatic with farmers using 75% less because they were only putting it where it was needed. Same with herbicide; when not fertilizing the weeds and grass, you won’t need the roundup to kill the non-existent weeds.
However, changing generations of farming practices doesn’t happen over night! Despite rejection by traditional farmers and their conventional methods, Johnny continued with unyielding tenacity to chip away at the old outdated conventional practices…one farmer at a time. Then, in November of 2013, Johnny got his big break! He appeared on ABC’s “Shark Tank” and landed a deal with entrepreneur and philanthropist John Paul Dejoria. Together, and more determined than ever, Johnny’s dream and his father’s dream of changing the world is becoming a reality…one farmer at a time!