In 2015, LandCare, the nationwide commercial landscape firm operating in 23 states, underwent significant changes including rebranding, restaffing, and restructuring. Since that time the company has seen growing success—something they celebrated at a recent gathering of 120 management shareholders, and their significant others, from across the company.
Many in the industry might remember when ServiceMaster bought LandCare USA in 1999 and rebranded it as TruGreen LandCare. As various companies were bought and rolled into the brand, it became a mismatch of various leaders, team members, and cultures. When CEO Mike Bogan took over the LandCare helm, it was struggling.
“LandCare was effectively reborn in 2015,” says Mark Hopkins, EVP for LandCare.
“The company was losing money at that time so the first order of business was to stop the bleeding,” Hopkins recalls. “Before we made any changes, we evaluated the business and thought about what should be stopped—and what should be started. Establishing a core set of values was one of the first things that we started. We also established a mission, rebranded, and retooled—in some cases making leadership changes. By the time we were through, there was not one area of the business that we did not evaluate. We made changes throughout including from the way we estimate to the way we interact with customers.”
Hopkins says that today, decisions are guided by what is best for the company’s employees and customers.
“Since our leadership employees are the controlling shareholders of the business, it’s easy for us to put support for our employees first and know that good results will follow when we do,” Hopkins explains. “It’s what can happen when the business is owned and run by landscape professionals who grew up in the industry.”
Changes for the better
In 2019, the senior leaders at LandCare formed a group of the company’s managers and ‘friends and family’ investors to purchase the business from its private equity owners.
“My most important goal is to ensure long-term consistency in our culture and a stable, supportive environment for serving our customers,” explains CEO Mike Bogan. “It’s extremely gratifying to know we control the company, have constancy of purpose, and will share the value created in the business with those that work to build it every day. Not everyone can say they know what color their trucks will be next year, or more importantly, what their culture will feel like, but we can.”
There have been many changes for the better over the past six years when LandCare first re-branded.
LandCare has expanded to four additional states in the midwest; introduced the Women’s Initiative Network (WIN) to support the advancement of women in the company; created the Tangerine Employee Relief Fund (TERF), an internally funded assistance program; launched the LandCare Education Assistance Fund (LEAF), providing scholarships to first-generation college attendees who are children of employees; and, has committed to ongoing companywide professional and personal employee development programs.
All of these programs are geared around a common theme of focusing on those who drive the company’s success – LandCare’s team members.
“I’m so proud of the people all across this company who drove these accomplishments,” says Robert Barber, EVP of Operations.
Celebrating the success
There was a lot to celebrate when shareholders gathered in San Diego this past September. The event was the first of its kind for LandCare. The celebration was designed to honor the hard work of team members across the organization to rebuild the company since 2015.
The recent gathering was the first time many had traveled since the beginning of the pandemic and was a welcomed opportunity to finally gather with friends and colleagues. The celebration included a welcome reception, small group dinners, tours and activities around the city and a gala at Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres, with a special video presentation honoring their journey, followed by dinner and dancing.
“We are so driven to look ahead and focus on continuous improvement, it was nice to take a moment to reflect on our success so far, and to recognize how much opportunity lies ahead for the business and each of our team members individually,” says Barber. “Even more special was sharing that moment together with all of our leaders and their spouses. I can’t imagine what this event will look like a few years from now, but it is going to be incredible.”
Hopkins agrees that it was nice to take time to celebrate.
“The pandemic has delayed opportunities for us all to spend time together and many team members had not seen each other in a long time,” Hopkins says. “We are celebrating how far we’ve come but also recognizing that as a company we must always be changing and evolving to keep up as the world changes. We will continue to face challenges and need to come up with solutions. Still, it was wonderful to take time to acknowledge all that we’ve accomplished to this point.”