Green growth Featured

8:00pm EDT June 25, 2009
Winner
Construction & Industrial Services

Long before the green movement began to sweep across the U.S., Leonard Cherry was already incorporating environmentally friendly ideas into his business.

Cherry is the owner and principal of Cherry Cos., a 57-year-old family business that provides a full cycle of services for industrial, commercial, residential and interior demolition, asset recovery, and waste management customers. He grew up in the family business while pursuing a side career as a fireman until 2001, when he took the company’s reins.

In 1994, Cherry helped found an environmental division. A few years later, he opened the firm’s first recycling center. One of his first green initiatives was a concrete removal division that began taking concrete from demolition sites to Cherry’s crushed concrete yards for recycling. Today, there are four recycling and stabilizing centers.

Cherry liked what he saw almost as soon as he started recycling concrete. He crunched some numbers and found that if debris was recycled at the demolition site and reused for construction there that it would decrease transportation costs by up to 40 percent. So, in 2003, he purchased portable concrete crushing equipment and began using it to recycle concrete materials on-site.

Cherry admits that launching the concrete recycling operation was risky because the start-up costs were high — the initial investment was equal to 100 percent of the company’s net worth at the time. But Cherry’s foresight paid off.

The new operations were the impetus for Cherry Co.’s recent growth. Today, the company has more than 200 employees and is one of the largest recyclers in Texas and one of the 10 largest demolition companies in the U.S.

How to reach: Cherry Cos., (713) 987-0622 or www.cherrycompanies.com