Meet Jacob Marsh ’08: Author, Successful Business Owner, and Sustainability Seeker

Jacob Marsh ’08 ΔΤΔ always thinks outside of the proverbial box. As a Westminster student majoring in English and international business, Marsh immersed himself in his senior thesis topic, living in established eco-conscious communities after hearing about them during a sustainability presentation on campus.

The experience resulted in an 80-page completed thesis that later morphed in 2013 into a published memoir: In the Weeds.

“The main purpose [of the book] is to showcase the fact that other lifestyles outside of ‘normal’ society are viable and can be in some ways much more stable and sensical,” Marsh explains.

Fast forward six years, and Marsh continues to ask the hard questions and search for solutions outside of the realm of the average American experience. But don’t let Marsh’s nontraditional interests fool you. The Sikeston, MO, native is the founder and owner of two successful businesses — but with a twist.

Bite Back Bed Bug Removal in Denver, CO, with offices more recently in Boulder, CO, and Las Vegas, NV, was founded and co-owned by Marsh. The pest-control business relies solely on the use of steam instead of chemicals. Nine years of dedicated labor with that business, which involved designing a website and promoting his business while working with search engines, led in 2017 to Marsh founding Fully Human SEO, a search engine optimization company geared to small businesses.

With both companies humming along smoothly, the lover of Jack Kerouac and Hunter S. Thompson decided in 2018 to pursue a lifelong dream. He explains in detail how he purchased a Sprinter van, gutted it, and turned the vehicle into a usable, mobile living space.

Marsh then hit the road Blue Highways style, running his businesses remotely while learning more about sustainability from a variety of individuals throughout the country.

The journey has allowed Marsh to learn survival skills at Maine Primitive Skills School in Augusta, ME; vegetable growing at Songbird Farm in Unity, ME; farm-animal raising at Rebop Farms in Brattleboro, VT; and tiny-house building at DIY Tiny in Asheville, NC.   

“I am honing these skills to help prepare me for the time when I buy my own land and continue the process of getting closer to the roots of my innate human nature,” he says.

Meanwhile, Marsh also is volunteering this year with the Crestone End-of-Life Project (CEOLP) in Crestone, CO, an organization that offers alternative perspectives on death through green burial services. Marsh says he hopes to shift the perception of death in our culture.

He expalins, “I feel the current standard doesn’t support the grieving process for the family, help us accept death as a natural and beautiful part of life, or complete the natural cycle of giving the body back to the land in a healthy way.”

Throughout all of Marsh’s endeavors, the naturalist says his Westminster education shaped his business practices in a surprising way: He presents facts honestly to his customers with objectivity and without cajoling them. “Business does not have to be cut throat,” Marsh clarifies. “This has been such an important technique for me — offering, not selling, the services of my two businesses.”

The discussion of college brings back memories of Marsh’s favorite professors — Professor Emeritus of English Wayne Zade and English Professor Debra Brenegan — as well as a fraternity Christmas party, where he decorated a freshly cut Christmas tree on the Delta Tau Delta front lawn.

Since his Westminster days, Marsh’s life has been in a constant state of conscious change, where he says he isn’t defined by the moment but by the process that leads to each moment.

“That is what I am most proud of,” Marsh says thoughtfully. “I love who I am, how I treat others, the way I work and move through the world. I smile when I’m happy. I cry when I’m sad. That is enough.”

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Sarah Rummel Backer

Sarah Rummel Backer is the Director of Media Relations and Senior Writer at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. A proud Westminster graduate, Sarah has more than 20 years of experience in marketing and strategic communications in the areas of higher education, medicine, agriculture, and the private business sector.