5 Questions: Bill Dellecker

October 23, 2023 -  By
(Photo: LM Staff)

(Photo: LM Staff)

Bill Dellecker

Chief Operating Officer, HeartLand, Kansas City, Mo.

1.  HeartLand is the No. 6 ranked company on the 2023 LM150 list. What is it like being the COO of a rapidly growing company with a combined revenue of $434 million?

It’s a lot of fun. It’s been invigorating to work with the team we have here, to grow this business over the last seven years and grow something unique within the green industry. Growth continues to be part of the story — the companies that we partner with and the way that we support them, there’s a lot of energy and momentum.

2.  HeartLand’s companies stretch across 20 states. Is it difficult to manage companies across so many different states?

It’s not so different, market to market. The geography is different. The landscapes, the seasons of the year, whether you’re dealing with no snow or a lot of snow. There are more similarities than differences. People aren’t so different. Clients’ needs aren’t so different. The fundamentals are pretty consistent. As we gather with our account managers, our sales teams and our business leaders, there’s a lot of sharing of common experiences and ideas on how to approach things. It’s more the same than it is different.

3.  Are there any trends in the industry you’re hearing consistently these days?

The trend we see is one that has been continuing for some time: clients are very busy. They have a lot of pressures, a lot of expectations and maybe more on their plate than they ever have had. They’re looking for service partners who can make their lives easier, at least in one part. Expectations, responsiveness and communication seem to be more and more important. The quality of work has always been important; that’s foundational. It’s the other things that we’re seeing greater expectations around.

4.  How did you know you wanted to write the book Leadership Worthy: How Leaders Are Made?

It was a long time developing in my mind. The first time it crossed my mind seriously was in 2010. I read a book by Seth Godin, called Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? It was about shipping and producing value. Fast forward to 2014, there was another book I read by Steve McClatchy, Decide: Work Smarter, Reduce Your Stress and Lead By Example, about doing the important work. That gave me focus. That made me think I should really write these ideas down. A book or any significant project requires inspiration and motivation, and the inspiration and motivation came in 2017 from my youngest son (U.S. Air Force Captain Frederick Drew Dellecker, who died in an aircraft crash on active duty at age 26). The lessons from his life, and the many conversations we had about leadership, gave me inspiration and motivation.

5.  Do you have a most memorable day at work?

There are so many, it’s tough to pick one. One that was recent deals with Leadership Worthy. It was the first time I shared those ideas with a group of up-and-coming leaders in a live presentation situation. I didn’t know what to expect; there was some apprehension. But the ways the ideas resonated and the conversation that came out of that with this group of leaders, that was a great day for me. You put it all out there and then you sit back and reflect on it and you say, ‘That felt pretty good.’ Those young leaders provided the motivation to finalize my manuscript and seek publication; I’m glad that I did.

Editor’s note: to buy Dellecker’s book, visit LeadershipWorthy.com.

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Seth Jones

About the Author:

Seth Jones, a graduate of Kansas University’s William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications, was voted best columnist in the industry in 2014 and 2018 by the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association. Seth has more than 23 years of experience in the golf and turf industries and has traveled the world seeking great stories. He is editor-in-chief of Landscape Management, Golfdom and Athletic Turf magazines. Jones can be reached at sjones@northcoastmedia.net.

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