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A University of Colorado student is counting on online votes to win his own environmentally friendly lawn-care franchise in a contest ending at midnight Wednesday.

Emil Motycka, a senior in the Leeds School of Business and native of Longmont, is one of five finalists for Clean Air Lawn Care Opportunity 2010.

If he wins, Motycka will receive an all-inclusive franchise package from Clean Air Lawn Care, with equipment from Black and Decker and marketing by GenGreen worth an estimated $39,000.

“Through my time at CU, even though I’m a business major I’ve taken a lot of environmental studies classes and I’ve seen how things are all interconnected,” Motycka said. “If you’re green you actually save money. As a business you’re kind of stupid not to.”

Motycka is no stranger to the lawn-care business. He started his own company, Motycka Lawns, while still in high school. His motivation, he said, came with his mother’s cancer diagnosis when he was 13.

“I initially got started when she first got it. When I was in college it came back. She fought through it, but with that has come a lot of debt,” Motycka said. “It’s been a little short with money around the family. I help out when I can.”

One of the suggested criteria for judging contestants is the amount of adversity they faced in 2009.

“We did [this contest] partly because we had a great ’09,” said Annie Carey, head of marketing for Clean Air Lawn Care. “Because a lot of people did not, we decided to pay it forward by giving away a franchise to someone that otherwise couldn’t afford it.”

Since being founded in 2006, the Fort Collins-based company has expanded to 19 franchises. All of its shops are powered by wind power, and its lawn mowers are charged by solar panels mounted on trucks.

“The equipment is getting better all the time,” Carey said.

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