A history of growth Featured

10:39am EDT December 28, 2005
In its early days, ValleyCrest growth was fueled by the booming San Fernando Valley, but innovation played a role, as well. In the 1950s, the company realized it could grow trees in boxes and did so with great success. In the 1960s, it developed a computer system to make its operation more efficient.

Then, in the 1990s, ValleyCrest saw an opportunity to enter the golf world.

“The golf business was just another niche business we saw an opportunity to get into,” says Richard Sperber, president and chief operating officer. “Golf courses have really smart operators who are worried about how to get more people to play. They weren’t as competent in how to make it look good. It was just a niche we found.”

Today, the company builds and maintains landscapes for everything from private residences to hotels and resorts to theme parks. The $700 million in revenue it did in the 2004 fiscal year was a 12.9 percent increase over the previous year.

“I really got involved when we were doing $100 million of work,” says Sperber. “Then we hit $200 million and we thought we were going along pretty good. When we hit $400 million, we said, ‘Wow, we’ve really become larger than we’ve expected.’”

ValleyCrest tried to go public in the 1970s, when it was worth just $10 million. But it didn’t work out and the owners bought back the shares.

“Our type of company is more long-term,” says Sperber. “Everything we do is for the future. When you go public, everything you do is for the next quarter.”