Bruce Church - Person of the Year
By Patrice Peltier, ILCA Contributing Author
Bruce Church, ILCA’s Person of the Year, thinks—and acts--outside the box.
Early in his career, he transformed Church Landscape, the company his father built, into a national player. In the process, he gave the green industry a new business model for strategic alliances. Recently, he and his family created a $100,000 scholarship fund to foster new green industry leaders who may also think outside the box.
Today, Church is president of Hard Surface Solutions Inc. and Balanced Environments Inc., companies with combined annual revenue of more than $25 million generated by more than 200 employees working out of five branch offices in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin. It’s a business he learned—literally—from the ground up.
Bruce’s father Denny, an active participant in ILCA from its early days and president from 1971-75, started Church Landscape in 1963. Bruce recalls Denny’s vision was “to do a common thing uncommonly well.” He succeeded in the business and in instilling that vision in his son.
Juan Gomez, who joined Church Landscape in 1980, was a foreman when Bruce worked with the crews each summer. He remembers Denny telling him to treat Bruce like any other employee, and so he did. Today the roles are reversed. Gomez works for Bruce managing the fleet, facilities and security for both companies.
“He turned out real good,” Gomez says with affection. He fondly remembers Bruce and Denny sharing an office as father mentored son. He also remembers Bruce attending Gomez’s daughter’s Sweet 16 party, and appreciates the way Bruce socializes with employees. “He’s a great guy besides being a great boss