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Growing a successful garden takes time, patience, a lot of hard work and one very important aspect—the right tools. When Neal Caldwell and his wife, Alice, built their home in Knoxville, Tennessee, they certainly possessed the determination to tackle their difficult yard, and fortunately, Neal had the innovative know-how to create the tools they would need to make their garden grow. What began as a project to beautify a plot of land others saw as useless developed into a series of inventions and even a successful business!
Neal Caldwell is a graduate of Knoxville High School and the University of Tennessee, where he earned degrees in both physics and mathematics. For 40+ years, the seeds he began to sow in his own backyard led to numerous successful products and the birth of Dalen Products, Inc., which manufactures innovative, quality gardening products. Of the products Dalen offers, Neal is especially proud of the Dalen Great Horned Owl.
Each Dalen Owl is hand-painted by American workers and serves as a scarecrow to frighten various critters away from developing gardens. The Dalen Owl has had several modifications over the years, including the additions of solar power and a swivel head that moves in both wind and sun to make it appear more lifelike. Neal enjoys interacting with his customers and encourages them to send in photos of the Dalen Owls they see or what his supplies have helped build. In germinating the seeds of trust with his consumers, he builds relationships and proves that gardening can truly bring people together.
In addition to building a successful business, Neal Caldwell has helped build up his spiritual community at the Cedar Springs Presbyterian Church, where he has served several roles over the years, including deacon, elder, Sunday School teacher and superintendent, small group leader and a community Bible study leader. Not only does he volunteer for his own church, he was also on the building committee as chairman for the New Covenant Presbyterian Church. His heart for serving the community has led him to volunteer as a Board of Directors member for Knox Area Rescue Ministries (KARM) and to work for several charities abroad and here in Tennessee. Neal also believes the growing seed is the most important part of development and needs to be cared for in order to grow into a healthy individual plant. This is why he invests in young people by serving on the Board of Trustees at King’s College, as well as the Jobs Partnership Board of Knox County.
Neal tirelessly works to grow and improve his community, from helping others cultivate a garden to improving their daily lives through charity and volunteer work. The seeds of his tenacity and generosity continue to spread throughout our region, leaving a lasting legacy that will bloom for many years to come.