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Thursday, Jun 1, 2023

Companies Use Tried and True Recipes for Success

Throughout the Business Journal’s list of the region’s fastest growing private companies there are several companies that have managed to claim a spot every year. Some have ridden a somewhat resurgent economy to greater heights, while others have seen competitors fall and used the opportunity to expand. Far from the watchful gaze of Wall Street, the companies on this year’s list have grown in what would seem to be the most obvious ways. They hire more employees and add offices as demand increases. Most of them have no real secrets to offer, aside from hiring the best employees and waiting for growth opportunities. Burton Sperber has been running his landscaping business since 1949. After investing $700 when he was 19 to start the business with his father, the business that became Calabasas-based ValleyCrest Companies now has hundreds of millions of dollars in billings every year. “We don’t do any advertising, we’re not in the yellow pages,” said. Sperber. “We built a reputation. People call us. This year we’ll do about a quarter of a billion dollars of business.” ValleyCrest ranks No. 42 on the list this year with growth at 8.27%. The company now employs over 8,400 people and maintains over 5,000 trucks and other machines. There are 93 offices across 19 states. The company’s clients have ranged from Las Vegas casinos to international airports, theme parks and other high profile projects. ValleyCrest also still does residential landscapes and gardens for many of Calabasas’ famous residents, and the Valley’s business growth over the last 50 years has given it even more clients. “We have the premier people in the gardening and landscape business. With good people, growth opportunities have emerged,” said Sperber. The largest company on this year’s list, Dole Food Co., was converted from a public traded company to a private business. David H. Murdock, the company’s CEO, took over and continued to drive the business forward as one of the country’s most widely recognized brands. Dole introduced a line of fresh mixed salads that has grown at a much higher rate than its traditional product lines. Murdock has also announced plans to gradually increase business on the East Coast. It will be building a vegetable processing plant in North Carolina that will eventually employ 900 employees. The company also plans to ramp up its vegetable and berry crop collection at its new and existing plants. Dole is also investing in a wellness center, which will be managed by Four Seasons, across from its Westlake Village headquarters, which will feature spa treatments, television studios for educational health programs and other services. Most companies on this year’s list will never come close to Dole’s $5.3 billion in annual revenues, but that doesn’t mean other Valley business owners aren’t continuing to perfect their own business models. PCC Network Solutions changed its name from Pacific Coast Cabling earlier this year to reflect a change in its business from providing only cable infrastructure systems to becoming a wireless network specialist as well. Throughout the company’s 20 year history it developed a reputation as a quality cabling company and grew steadily, before changing to meet businesses’ growing needs. PCC has landed a number of high profile jobs, it was selected by the City of West Hollywood to design and build a pilot outdoor wireless network, and it’s designing a similar network for the City of Santa Monica on the Third Street Promenade. “We’re expecting that over the years the networking part of the company will provide more revenue proportionate to the rest of the business,” said Daniel Faurlin, PCC’s vice president of marketing. PCC has built a client list that includes health care businesses, municipal governments and educational institutions, and as it grows it has focused on getting more clients in the Fortune 1000. The Allen Lund company, one of the bigger businesses on the list with revenues over $206 million in 2004, was careful not to expand faster than the pace of the national economy. The La Canada Flintridge firm arranges transport for businesses as diverse as farmers and textile companies, and has steadily increased its business as their clients are getting more work. The company opened offices across the country this past year in Iowa City, Iowa; Tucson Ariz. and others. It also opened its first location dealing with international freight, and is now able to offer more services to its customers operating overseas.

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