Education: California Polytechnic State University, ornamental horticulture and business administration
What is the biggest business challenge you’ve faced?
My dad was the founder and visionary, and we have different leadership styles. We’ve had to get people to buy into our different leadership styles. He certainly was able to run the business in a more detailed fashion than me.
He knew how to put a lot of his fingers in a lot more places. The company has gotten to the size that I don’t have the ability to do that. I delegate more.
What is the most important business lesson you’ve learned?
Treat your people with respect. Treat them right and fair. We’re a people business. The other thing is keeping a long-term perspective. We’re always looking at the health of our business for the long-term, not the short-term.
Sperber on hiring: It’s easy to find people who are smart, but it’s hard to find smart people who fit into your culture and have the flexibility to bring something and learn. You have to surround yourself with passionate people and then encourage fun and entrepreneurism.
Sperber on customer surveys: We live by those surveys. I look at a lot of the good ones, but I look at every bad one. What went wrong? How can we fix it? How can we make it right for the customer?
Sperber on working with family: My dad still comes in every single day. He’s a great mentor I can go right next door and talk to. My uncle runs the tree nurseries.
I’ve talked to my dad every day for the last 25 years, and we are really on the same page with where we want to go and how we want to get there. We’re lucky. Sometimes you hear bad things about a lot of family business, but me and my dad have never been in a fight.