John-Mark Bolton '05
Franklin Road Academy’s mission continues to reflect who I’ve become as an individual and as a business leader and entrepreneur. When coming to FRA in the middle of my high school years, I had a perspective different than most my peers. I had attended other schools throughout my life, and nowhere could have prepared me or molded me as FRA did my final two years before college. There is a clear difference in the importance stressed on developing each part of the students that attend here; their character, their values, and their education. During my years at FRA, I had the chance to live with another FRA family, as my family lived outside of Nashville.
Those years were some of my most formative of my entire life. Having the chance to drive the family’s two lower school students, having the chance to be self-supporting, and having to lean on the faculty and staff around me showed me the incredible support system that made up Franklin Road Academy’s entire campus. I took a leap of faith being away from my family, but I had classmates, mentors, and teachers that were my Nashville family. As a graduating senior, I had felt prepared and responsible, which made my transition to secondary education effortless.
Following my years at Franklin Road Academy, I went to play soccer at the University of Louisville, where I was also majoring in chemistry. In my head, the plan was to play soccer professionally and continue a passion that had always been instilled in me. Due to an injury, my soccer career was cut short and my plans were ultimately derailed. I had so much energy, drive, and focus and I needed a new passion to pour it all into. Early in college, I picked up an entrepreneurial spirit and began creating online businesses. I took the creativity, persistence, and eager spirit I had learned from FRA and started stepping into the business world.
In 2013, just a couple of years after graduation, I was introduced to pest control. I recognized the flagship that could be done, plus what was missing in the industry and began getting busy strategizing. I partnered with two skilled entrepreneurs in the industry who had prior experience and used every dollar I had earned from prior business ventures to start building to where I am currently.
On April 15, 2013, after taking what I’d learned from my previous businesses and pairing knowledge with their expertise, ClearDefense Pest Control was born. My partners and I started from the ground up growing from nothing to $1 million in revenue in the first four months. For the past nine years, we’ve launched twenty locations across multiple states and have earned a seat in the nation’s Top 30 largest pest control companies.
Our goal is to become a national company and a household name. For me, this business is just the start of the beginning and thanks to the perspective I gained from FRA, the passion for my business boils down to the people who help make my company what it is; my employees.
One important thing I learned at FRA was that people can either be taught or they can be developed. At ClearDefense Pest Control, I hope every single day I am doing what FRA does in developing loving leaders. FRA offered a new perspective, and I learned that I could accomplish anything—not only as a business leader, but as a leader in the lives of others. I want my employees to be leaders and not only help grow our business, but to help impact our community.
At FRA, there was an importance to holding people accountable, molding them, and loving them well. FRA has a foundation that supports people and grows them. I strive each day to create a similar culture that not only leads by example, but serves by example. At ClearDefense Pest Control, we are in a hurry to serve!
I will forever be grateful for my years at Franklin Road Academy and for how it has led me to be the type of leader and entrepreneur I am today. Beyond a stellar education, I was taught integrity and how to do the little things right. I chased qualities of success and how to find the best in each human because that’s what was done for me when I was at FRA. I learned to take ownership of who I am and how I achieve the next best thing. I was reaffirmed in my strengths and supported by my teachers, who encouraged me to chase more than just monetary success, but the happiness and fulfillment that comes with loving and supporting others.
Looking back on my years at FRA, I know now that I couldn’t have achieved or ended up where I am without the time I had there. As I currently live away from Nashville, I can only hope to send my two sons to a school just like Franklin Road Academy, where they can be taught to dream, love, and learn well as they become the best version of themselves.
John-Mark attended FRA his junior and senior years and graduated in 2005. During his time at FRA, he was an All-State and All-Region soccer player and a talented art student, winning the upper school Art III award. John-Mark and his wife Shayna have two sons, Stearns and Rollins.