Landscape Contractor / Design Build Maintain

FEB 2018

LC/DBM provides landscape contractors with Educational, Imaginative and Practical information about their business, their employees, their machines and their projects.

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February 2018 19 troduced him to an out of town developer that needed someone to maintain the entrance of a then un-built subdivision. "An 18 inch strip of grass on both sides of a road – so close I could walk to it!" he reminisces. "So of course I said yes." This morphed into contracts for landscape installs around the exclusive homes as they were built, and more than full time work for George and his family. "I never said no. I rented the equipment if I had to." Groundtek - A Family Affair "My kids are so great. I am so proud of them," Bori says in shy, delighted tones. All three of his growing boys would come and help their father work on Saturdays and in the summer. The chance to work alongside their father and brothers for long hours was a great experience growing up, reflects son Gregory Bori. "We were lucky," he says. "It's not a common opportunity in today's urban society." Other members of the Bori family helped in the business over the years. George's brother Albert had the equipment for excavation and site work, and teamed with George for a number of projects. When Albert wearied of outdoor work, the brothers opened a John Deere equipment dealership for Albert to run, and he moved on to that. Pelegrin "Percy" Bori, George's father, joined the family team and managed crews when large Lockheed-Martin contracts offered the challenge of finding qualified workers that would pass the back - ground checks and drug tests and do the varied work involved in maintenance on a 2,000-acre site with 13 miles of security fence, a 5,000-acre test site, and a 280-acre corporate office site. Family members often worked long hours themselves to get the work done. About working together with the family, George says, "Of course we disagreed sometimes, but we would discuss things, not fight about things." Mid-size, not "Middling" George reflects that not getting the Lockheed-Martin rebid after 24 years was not exactly a bad thing. Groundtek's deserved local reputation for hard work and getting the job done quickly led to new contracts for their workers and fleet of equipment, including a number of maintenance contracts along county and state roadways, and the large and highly visible Orange County Convention Center. Employees currently number 145 and include 10 office staff and eight mechanics, with the rest being field workers. The equipment fleet includes 58 trucks, 170 mowers and 310 pieces of two-cycle equipment. It's not just blood family that are part of the Groundtek "family" explains son Gregory Bori, vice president of Groundtek of Central Florida, the landscape arm of Groundtek. "We have some employees that have been with the company for 20 years. We have monthly safety meetings where we share breakfast and the latest on safety. We also have a big year-end party for employees. We give out awards for years with the company, and year-end bonuses. The bonuses are based on performance plus time with the company. Hard work is recognized and rewarded." Gregory Bori knows about hard work from long years working be - side his father. He is keen on safety not just from a business stand- point, but because he took the time almost a decade ago to become a certified arborist, a rating he maintains to this day. A Look Backward First George, then his sons, literally learned the landscape mainte- nance business from the ground up. Now all three boys work in the landscape trade. George Jr. has his own landscape business in Lehi, Top Signature plants, including ponytail palms and fan palms, anchor areas while easily replaceable colorful annuals such as begonia, and perennials such as bromeliads, schafflera and croton are planted for color around their base. Visitors use the space for up to 18 hours per day, every day of the year, leaving little downtime in which to do maintenance work. The compro- mise is to do noisy work in high-use areas early in the day before they become congested with visitors. Bottom George Bori (center) works together with his sons. Geoffrey (left) heads Groundtek Irrigation, which handles the water feature maintenance duties at OCCC. Gregory (right) is vice president of the landscape arm of Groundtek so is in charge of the grounds teams at the convention center. George Jr. (not pictured) has his own landscape company in Lehi, Utah. Utah. "He has done far better than I ever did," says George Sr. proudly. When he turned 60, George started taking a less active role in the company, turning more and more of the work over to Gregory and Geoffrey. Geoffrey manages Groundtek Irrigation LLC, and as mentioned, Gregory is the vice presi - dent of the landscape operation; president in all but name, "And that is coming soon," avows George Sr. Looking back over his career in a line of work that is filled with long hours, physical demands, staffing headaches, and all the other worries that owning your own business entails, George says, "I always enjoyed what I did. I would go to bed looking forward to the next day. I like to accept the challenge and find solutions." LC DBM

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